(Size: 5″ x 52 — Time: 1hr)
Wonderful, warm sunshine (and biting cold wind!) were the conditions when I smoked this large non-Cuban. I headed down to the Barbican after lunch to light up a Vegas de Tabacalera Robusto. I smoked this with a large glass of diet coke.
This cigar has a filler comprised of triple-cured Cuban-Seed Habano 2000 tobacco, meanwhile the binder and wrapper are aged Cuban-Seed Habano Criollo. Here were my impressions of this Nicaraguan cigar.
From the top… There were a few veins on this cigar’s wrapper leaf – nothing major, but I couldn’t call this the world’s prettiest cigar. The VdT Robusto has a fairly dark criollo wrapper and a pretty well applied cap. It was very firm to the touch, possibly even a little hard (perhaps this prefers a slightly higher humidity than I have set up?). 13
Smoking Characteristics /25
The pre-light aromas of this cigar were wonderful – rich cocoa. The lighting process was relatively straightforward. Despite a first-time light, a small amount of touching up was required to get the cigar onto to the straight and true. That said, nothing was required after the first minute and it burned evenly for the rest of the time leaving a solid, light coloured ash as it went. A slight bit of coning around the half-way mark was the only (minor) negative point of this cigar’s burn. The draw was excellent until the final third, when it became quite tight. The aroma’s were quite interesting – the cocoa was noticeable even after lighting for a short while, and about 15 minutes in I got a very fresh smell from the cigar… I have decided to trademark this as the ‘aloe vera’ aroma… Overall, well constructed, just a little tight on the draw towards the end. 22
This was definitely a cigar of two halves… The first half was excellent, providing a meandering course through many, pleasant flavours. However, the second half just seemed to give up – it provided little by way of distinct flavours and lost all of the nuances that makes a good medium bodied cigar. Back to the start though… On lighting, the cocoa aromas translated into wonderful cocoa flavours – it was like a really good, bitter, dark chocolate. This start gave way very quickly to an even drier, roasted coffee flavour. This was fabulous – it was like smoking a wonderfully rich Italian espresso, it really took me back to my coffee revelation in Courmayeur at the start of the year. These coffee flavours developed a certain creaminess (and a slight bitter-sweetness) – this really was a coffee in a stogie . Slowly, as we approached the half-way stage of the cigar, these flavours mellowed towards a toasted nuttiness. The nuttiness gave way to a fresher, woody resemblance. One more quick blast of roasted cocoa at half way and the cigar gave out. The second half of the cigar was a big let down given the quality of the first half. Along with nondescript aromas, the flavour just seemed to fudge along with a fuzzy ‘tobacco’ flavour – slightly vegetal and leathery. No developments, not much distinction between the flavours and a general ‘lack’ of something. With probably ten minutes more left in the cigar it started to burn a bit to hot and develop a harsher taste. Combined with the biting wind, I decided it was time to lie this cigar down. To conclude on the flavour front… a tale of two halves – the first easily worthy of 24 points, the second barely scraping past 15. A difficult one to score really. 19
Overall Impression /35
What can I really say to conclude about this cigar. Maybe it was one of these that Zino was smoking when he declared that a man should smoke no more than half a cigar? The first thirty-five to forty minutes of this cigar were pure bliss – a woman even came over to compliment me on the size of my, ahem, cigar… A good draw and excellent flavour development gave way a little too soon to the cigar flavour equivalent of Dave in accounts (no offence intended to anyone called Dave who works in accounts). A tricky cigar to mark… as a forty minute smoke it’s great, at its full hour long length, not so. 27
Grand total… 81/100