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CA Review Panel: Aganorsa Leaf Rare Leaf Reserve Maduro
Discover Aganorsa Rare Leaf Reserve Maduro Flavors with our Cigar Review & Video!
Rare Leaf Reserve Maduro Backstory
Before we dive deep into our Rare Leaf Maduro cigar review, it’s worth noting that the original Rare Leaf was a national hit for Aganorsa Leaf. Initial batches sold out, backorders piled up, and with Covid throwing an additional wrench into production, a perfect storm of demand landed at the boutique company’s feet.
A small-batch star was forged.
With the pandemic dust (hopefully) settling, it was only a matter of time before Rare Leaf got wrapped up in a Maduro of its own. “Due to the success of the original release, we are adding Rare Leaf Maduro, a truly powerful expression of Aganorsa tobacco. This blend will make you sit up and pay attention,” said Aganorsa Leaf VP of Sales, Terence Reilly.
And paying attention, we are. You’d expect a cigar’s home base to trumpet its virtues from the rooftops. Our goal, however, is to see if it lives up to the digitally inked hype. Because we’ve got no dog in the fight. Join us for our video and written cigar reviews (to be consumed in your preferred medium). Read it, watch, or do both—as long as you find out if Rare Leaf Reserve Maduro belongs in your collection.
And make sure to leave us a comment below to share your experience with this popular smoke!
Factory: Agricola Ganadera Norteña S.A. Esteli, Nicaragua
Size Reviewed: 6” x 54 Toro
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres
Construction & Draw: All agreed the cigar was firmly-packed with a slightly-tight draw.
Pre-Light & Toasting Flavors: Each found different notes like cocoa, whisky, and an earthy sweetness.
Key Cigar Flavors: Sweet across the board with chocolate, sweet tobacco, and nuts.
Smoke Aroma: Rich, woody, and spicy.
Burn & Ash Color/Quality: Some burn sway at times with no needed touch-ups and speckled grey ashes.
John’s Tasting Notes…
Summary: The Rare Leaf Reserve Maduro is a performer from the start: the first few rips of thick, delicious smoke are loaded with layers of bittersweet chocolate, coffee and cedar; there’s a peppery sensation that keeps trying to climb up into my nose. At the first 1/3, a molasses note adds a bit of sweetness to the dark coffee component. The earth is ever-present, the pepper lives on in the finish.
Second 1/3 is where most of the action is: coffee holds over from the first 1/3, but now sweetened with caramel; spice is hanging in the background until it forces its way out during retrohale, along with a flowery, almost creamy feeling. What becomes a sweet n’ creamy smoke coats the whole palate, in a mocha kind of way. Last 1/3 finds a still-constant earthiness, the sweetness is back to a bittersweet chocolate (like how it started) along with less creamy/more dry hay, cedar and mineral.
This Rare Leaf Reserve Maduro is a whole different animal than anything else I’ve smoked from Aganorsa Leaf. And I’d be bold enough to say it holds up to any top shelf smoke, even the ones that would cost you an additional 5-6 bucks per stick. There’s something in every 1/3 to love – so experienced palates will enjoy picking out the flavors, casual smokers will appreciate the slow-burning complexity of the smoke as a whole. Bonus: these are small batch as opposed to limited edition, so they are very gettable (as opposed to all those one-and-dones lately). Which means you can have that positive smoking experience at almost any time – and I hope you do.
Gary’s Tasting Notes…
Summary: The opening puffs were spicy as the smoke itself coursed its way up into my nose for a peppery “Hello.” The smoke was also welcomingly dense and issued a mostly earthy mix with a tart, chalky quality to it. Moving beyond the first inch, the cigar rounds out to a more straightforward, earthy Nicaraguan. The smoke was impressively smooth, medium in body, and the tartness appeared more as a layer than just another flavor note.
Just past the second inch, the flavors began to intensify as new layers of nuts and wood appeared, while the earthy-spicy base continued to remain the most dominant. When I arrived at the midpoint the cigar was mostly dark, earthy, full-bodied and still mighty smooth on the palate.
In the final inches, the tartness and earthy spice increased, as some natural tobacco sweetness arrived for a pretty satisfying ending.
Both of my Aganorsa Rare Leaf Reserve Maduro cigar samples were largely earthy, spicy, and full-bodied. Yet what impressed me most was the blend’s smoothness—a nod to Aganorsa’s fermentation and aging. Looking back at my review notes, I was reminded of what Aganorsa Leaf vice president of sales and marketing, Terence Reilly, said about the cigar: “It’s a little sneaky because it’s not aggressive… It’s rich, but it does not come across as strong as it is until you’ve smoked it for an inch or so.” That was my experience. Although the flavors occasionally blend into each other, I found the cigar more layered with some curious subtleties, and not aggressively strong. It was a little dark, earthy, and full for my personal taste preference, but since a lot of smokers, especially fans of Aganorsa Leaf cigars love bold Nicaraguans, their ship has come in.
Paul’s Tasting Notes…
The wrapper—undoubtedly Maduro—offered a lighter shade of San Andres and displayed visible toothiness. The cigar was firm and felt formidable in the hand. Once clipped, the draw offered a tug of resistance but it’s nothing to make me go digging for a draw poker or abandon the smoke altogether.
Remember Jolt cola? The first few puffs of this Aganorsa—with black pepper and a damp gravel minerality—snapped me back to attention like the first gulp of the caffeine and sugar-laden soda pop. Soon earthiness came to the forefront and basically camped out for a bit. And now, another couple layers—a bittersweetness—similar to baking chocolate and charred wood. The draw remains snug, while the strength and body remain solidly within the medium to full spectrum.
At the midway point of the Aganorsa Rare Leaf Reserve Maduro it’s worth noting that the draw has opened, and the construction remains excellent. Also, as mentioned the flavors are layered as opposed to them mixing all together into a stew. Charred wood, earthiness, and bitter-chocolate all return with some added depth and pizzaz and the body and strength are right where I left them—medium to full.
With Nicaraguan double binders, this stick is a slow burner. As in, set aside a minimum of ninety minutes. The flavor train chugs steadily along, the layers on layers entertain without overwhelming. As with all Aganorsa blends—the leaf shines supreme—and the Rare Leaf Reserve Maduro embodies that ethos.
I was struck by a couple of things. One was the Aganorsa Rare Leaf Reserve Maduro’s accessibility—both in price point and flavor profile. It’s a rare feat in that this blend can satisfy both connoisseurs as well as the cigar smoker next door. Even more rare is close to 2 hours of cigar smoking bliss for under a tenner.