The first act presented a sweet-spicy character with a pronounced nutmeg flavor. The smoke was quite smooth and very rich in flavor. I paired it with a Corona (the beer), which allowed the flavors of the cigar to come through nicely.
The cigar was also very consistent. Darker, woodier flavors revealed themselves by the mid-section melding with the sweet spice notes. The result was a very satisfying and semi-complex medium-bodied smoke. The ash was also quite firm with a fine, light grey grain.
All-in-all, a pretty darn good smoke, especially for newer cigar smokers who want to move up a more full-flavored, quality-made cigar without busting their budget. That said, my office mate prefers mostly full-bodied cigars, so if they satisfy him, Cariños should satisfy just about any experienced cigar smoker.
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Mi Barrio El Forro (61/8″ x 50)
I approached this cigar trying to remember the experience I had back in February when I wrote my review on the Mi Bario El Puro. That cigar was 7 x 52, and my journey with the El Forro may also prove that size does make a difference. The blends are essentially the same: Nicaraguan Esteli and Jalapa tobaccos rolled in dark, oily Nicaraguan Habano wrappers. The El Forro was not as sweet overall to my palate on this occasion, however, it did hit on all cylinders in terms of its construction, ash (only two ashes during the entire smoke), and balance of flavors.
The pre-light flavor had that dark, earthy-espresso character which I usually compare to a Padron. Once lit, the sweet, woody flavors came right on in accompanied by notes of espresso and a hint of dark chocolate. I paired my El Forro with coffee, and as I noted above, the ash defied gravity resulting in only two long grey nuggets.
Since I had very little to eat that day, between the coffee and the fullness of the smoke, by the mid-section I was feeling a little heady and even a little speedy, too. The El Forro was so smooth it’s strength was almost imperceptible, which may be why this cigar is so stealth in the way it delivers its punch.
Like the El Puro, every puff in the El Forro was brimming with flavor. Taking those longer breaks between puffs in the last third really helped, too. I smoked it until only about an-inch-and-a-half remained, and it never turned sour.
Once again, I was very impressed with this Mi Barrio and happy that I got the box at a such a good price. I’m curious to see how well they age up in my humidor, too.
~ Gary Korb