Construction and Overall Appearance: At the risk of sounding redundant, I just LOVE those sweet curlicue pigtails on some cigars, and according to Abe Flores, his are done by one of the best in the business. The chocolaty brown Mata Fina wrapper was thick with an attractive, shimmery patina and even in tone. Cigar was well-packed and rolled.
Draw: Very good. No problems here.
Pre-light flavor: Very spicy and a bit salty
Toasting & Light: Excellent
Base flavors: dark wood, earthy, mild pepper, and a hint of sweet tobacco
Retrohale: Woo! Creamy, yet potent.
Aroma: Very inviting with a unique malty quality
Burn / Ash Quality: Even-Steven burn, resulting in a very firm grey marble ash.
Balance of flavors: Excellent and impressively complex
General Observations: I cut the pigtail at the base, and though it looked like it was still sealed, the cigar drew well. The first few puffs weren’t spicy, but the malty aroma really stood out. Shortly after, some pepper entered the picture leaving the back of my throat a little prickly. That said, the smoke was impressively smooth. At just under an inch the pepper faded, and all I could say for the first act was “Wow.” The smoke was very creamy with plenty of earthiness, plus some light peppery notes that didn’t overpower the lighter flavors. The finish was long with some pepper remaining on the palate
At the midpoint the flavor was more like that of dark wood, with light peppery notes and a hint of sweet tobacco. Looking at the clock, I noticed this cigar had been burning for a long time, which was most likely due to the choice of dark tobaccos and the excellent packing.
By the last third, the cigar bloomed into a very robust smoke. Mostly very dark woody, charry flavors while the pepper, though not overpowering figured more prominently in the mix.
Summary: I really enjoyed this cigar and smoked it down to the last inch. Even then, it never turned bitter, had great balance all the way, and the cigar burned perfectly, even after surviving three re-lights. Though I paired it with spring water, and smoked it during the afternoon, I think this cigar would be wonderful as an after dinner treat with a good Port to give it some extra sweetness, or a fine single malt to dovetail with the cigar’s earthier elements. Not for rookies, as this blend may be a bit too heavy for those new to cigars. Suffice it to say, you will really get your money’s worth out of this reasonably-priced cigar.
? = Fair to Middling?
?? = Good?
??? = Very impressive
???? = Excellent
????? = Spectacular!