I smoked the Don Alejandro a couple of weeks back at the Hunters and Frankau evening held at the the Ten Manchester Street Hotel. It’s a cigar which I had wanted to try for some time, being a huge fan of the VR line of cigars. It seemed a fitting tribute to the great Don Alejandro Robaina who sadly passed away in April.
As well as a fitting tribute to one of the greatest tobacco growers of the last one-hundred years, the VR Don Alejandro will also be the first of the ‘World Cup selection’ I shall be reviewing – a few cigars which should see you through a whole match: from kick off to final whistle.
If I remember correctly, scuttlebutt was that the evening’s cigars came from a 2007 box in H&F’s chamber of wonderment. That wouldn’t surprise me at all, it was a nice, refined smoke, as I shall now describe…
What a great looking cigar the Don Alejandro is. It has the typical milky wrapper (perhaps a little too light for some tastes) and just the right amount of smooth lustre too – both of which you expect on a VR cigar, both helping to create a good first impression. There were just a couple of very small marks or veins preventing perfection, but this was still a great looking cigar! To the touch it was a good story too: nice an firm, but with just the right hint of springiness at the foot. 13
Smoking Characteristics /25
The Don Alejandro lit nicely on the first attempt, I suspect that this may have aided the great early burn – so straight you could measure it with a spirit level… The draw was excellent throughout the whole cigar. However, for a short period at the very start of the cigar the amount of smoke produced was not quite enough for my liking, though this soon sorted itself out. At around the half-way stage (which was over an hour in) there was a slight issue with the burn, which started to become a little uneven, but it was nothing too drastic, and only a couple of minor touches were required to keep it in check. Towards the end of this large cigar, as you might expect, the draw became a little bit tighter, and even purging didn’t help too much. Surprisingly though, it only needed a relight once, and that was at around the two-hour mark – so you could happily lie it down there-and-then and be very happy with the experience you’d had. Overall, a couple of minor issues, but cigars of this size are rarely without a small imperfection or two. 22
Right off the bat the Don Alejandro was smooth, wonderfully smooth. It was a light, peppery start which had a cream like feel in the mouth. As the cigar progressed to the one-third stage, the flavours became slightly sweeter, with the cream leading to a lovely milk-chocolate profile – one of those wonderfully VR flavours for my money. As the cigar burned down, further typically VR flavours came to the fore, with the milk chocolate gaining the slightly stronger profile of dark chocolate. Some nuttiness was here and there too, with roasted almond hanging around at times, especially with the darker chocolate notes. What a delectable cigar this was turning out to be! Finally, the nutty, cocoa led to a creamy coffee which increased in intensity as this big, double-corona, cigar reached its climax. Just a hint of harshness was present at the end, however, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, after a cigar has been burning for well over two-hours there are a couple of things that are essentially inevitable… That aside, this was a beautiful cigar, and I don’t doubt for a second that it had at least three years of age on it – the flavours were wonderfully rounded and they were fantastically balanced. A well blended cigar. 23
Overall Impression /35
This is a big cigar, named after a big man in the Cuban tobacco world. Alejandro Robaina was so brilliant that the cubans named a brand after his family (Vegas Robaina), he was so revered that they named a cigar after the man himself – the Don Alejandro. Unfortunately that cigar is now a tribute to the man. It is, however, a very fitting tribute. At over two-hours long it provides a great afternoon or sports cigar. It is well belnded, and the flavours develop and change harmoniously. The strength is just right, starting a little below medium and working up to a little above medium towards the slightly more powerful finale. It is a joy to smoke, but it isn’t completely without fault. This is definitely one to bring out of the humi for a World Cup match. I very much doubt that I’ll be watching any of the matches myself, but I’ll certainly be smoking many more of these. 33
Grand total… 91/100