October 2012 Cigar of the Month

J.L. Salazar y Hermanos Reserva Especial Series-Robusto

These are extremely limited edition Maduros.  Only 100 boxes are made per series because the dark and rich Maduro wrapper is so rare.  These box-pressed beauties provide rich clouds of smoke and a refined taste that is a notch up from the regular J.L. Salazar line.  The master rollers have handmade each one to draw and burn perfectly.  The tobacco leaves are aged for over four years and specially cured through four hanging fermentations.  This is the exclusive curing process that the Salazar brothers brought over from Cuba.   It’s what makes these cigars so special.

The filler is sun-grown Cuban Seed Habano tobacco from Tabacalera Esteli.  The binder is a wrapper quality Cuban Seed Habano leaf and the wrapper is a flawless Maduro Cuban-seed leaf.  This full-bodied cigar has a powerful, yet smooth taste.  The taste starts with leather, licorice, cocoa and white pepper notes that quickly transform to creamy clouds of bittersweet and dark chocolate, licorice and earthy tones, with just enough pepper notes.

Since 1810, when the Salazar family settled in Pinar Del Rio, Cuba, they have been growing some of the world’s best tobacco and handcrafting tine Cuban cigars.  At 12 noon every day, the 4 Salazar brothers would meet in the porch of elder brother Mario’s house.  Mario would open his burlap bag which contained the finest tobacco leaves of the farms harvest.  The cured leaves were perfect in appearance and taste.  They were envied by all the farmers in Pinar Del Rio, Cuba’s prime tobacco growing region.  The burlap bag would be passed around and each brother would roll their own cigars.  They would each roll enough for the days smoke.  Each would have a different preferred size but the blend would always be the same for all four brothers.  Mario’s sons, J.L. Salazar and his brothers, have carried on that tradition and special blend of tobacco leaves in these exquisite boutique premium cigars.  These cigars are totally handmade by a master roller.  This Robusto cigar is 5 ½ inches long and has a ring gauge of 52.

My impression: 

This is one of the best drawing cigars I have smoked.  It’s full of flavor, spice and the smoke is really creamy.  The ash holds together well and burns evenly.  It’s a delicious spicy cigar and very affordable considering the excellent quality of the smoke.  Medium to full flavor.  Because they are fairly rare, you’ll probably have to buy these from an online tobacconist.

Definitions:

Maduro-It is the Spanish word for ripe and is used cigar-wise to refer to the extra time required and the dark colors achieved during the natural fermentation of maduro wrappers.  Typically, these wrappers are oily, plush with flavor, and earthy to the nose.

Box pressed Cigars-When round cigars are packed tightly into dress boxes, which are stacked into piles and then compacted in a hand controlled press to apply pressure.  The result is a cigar that is between a circle and a square.  It is a very delicate process and must be performed with great care to avoid splitting or damaging the wrappers.

Tabacalera Esteli-A Nicarauguan cigar Factory

Robusto-A cigar with a length of 4 ½ to 5” with a ring gauge of 48 to 50.

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