Tobacconist’s Review – San Lotano “The Bull” torpedo

San Lotano "The Bull" torpedo

Brand/Line:  San Lotano “The Bull”

Purchase date:  2/24/15

Smoke date: 6/22/15

Vitola: Torpedo

Size: 6 1/2 “ x 54

Purchase price:  $6.85 ea.

Packaging: Cellophane wrapped single

Country of Origin: Nicaragua

Wrapper:  Ecuadorian Sumatra

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler blend:  Nicaragua

Manufacturer:  Tabacalera Fernandez

Blender:  Abdel J. Fernandez

Distributor:  AJ Fernandez Cigars

Appearance:  Beautifully done. Each cigar comes sleeved in cedar which has the bull’s head logo “branded” onto it and banded with the standard San Lotano band. The wrapper is a deep reddish-brown, almost colorado rosado, with a healthy sheen of oil and a very slight tooth. The cigars are slightly box pressed and look just gorgeous.

Construction:  The Bull feels great in the hand, thanks in part to the soft press of the cigar. Each stick feels well filled, not too soft, not to firm… but just right. The foot reveals several bunches of well placed filler tobaccos and the pointed head is shaped and finished to perfection.

Cut and light:  I was able to cut the head with ease using my Xikar Xi1 grip cutter. A soft light with a Bic lighter was all it took to get the foot glowing and the smoke underway.

The Smoke:  The initial puffs of the San Lotano The Bull are filled with pepper and woody notes. While rather intense for the first ½ inch or so, the pepper quickly subsides yet remains present in the background for the rest of the cigars. The cigar maintains a woody, earthy profile like most Nicaraguan cigars, but the Sumatra-seed wrapper contributes a layer of pleasant spice not usually found in Nicaragua tobacco.

The Bull smokes perfectly maintaining an even burn and immaculate burn line. The ash held for over an inch before I tapped it off. I was able to leave the cigar unattended for well over 5 minutes without ever having to re-light or touch it up, a testament to the great construction AJ Fernandez’s cigars are known for.

Smoke time:  1 hour, 15 minutes (I smoked this to the nub!)

Discussion: Billed as medium to full bodied, I find the San Lotano “The Bull” closer to the full-bodied end of the spectrum. While I wouldn’t recommend this cigar to a beginner, I think that as full-bodied cigars go, this is one of the most easily approached.

Why I like this cigar: With all of the Nicaraguan tobacco based blends hitting the market right now, it’s nice to find one that’s just a little bit different. The Sumatra-seed wrapper from Ecuador is one of my personal favorites for its ability to add a deep spiciness to the aroma of a cigar. In selecting this wrapper for The Bull, AJ Fernandez created another great “Nicaraguan” cigar that doesn’t taste like every other Nicaraguan cigar out there.

I’ve been a huge fan of AJ Fernandez work and we have featured several of his blends as “Featured Boutique Blends” this year already. I’m glad that we’re able to offer this blend too for it has a profile that is unique and unlike any other blend we offer.

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Customer Review: Foundry Elements Cobalt Robusto by Thurston Howell IV

Foundry Elements - Cobalt robusto

Back again with a special stick from those strange folks at Foundry Cigars.

The Cobalt robusto, aka “The Goblin,” is from the Foundry Elements line created by master blender Michael Giannini. Now there’s not much info on any of the cigars he makes, but I can tell you that the Cobalt robusto is 5 ¼ x 54 and it contains Nicaraguan, Mexican and Mysterious tobaccos. The element the cigar derives its name from is used to build alloys and bring components together. The same can be said about this cigar because it brings all these different tobaccos together to make a truly unique smoking experience.

Things to notice when the cellophane comes off is the big band which is very cool looking that sticks with that steampunk vibe that all foundry cigar have. The cigar has a rather strong sent of cedar to it. The wrapper has a nice brown hue with no cracks in it. You’ll notice that cigar is more oval shaped then round, like it was box pressed. It cuts with no issues and has a good draw, one that’s not too tight but doesn’t feel like I’m drinking through a straw.

The first few puffs bring a whole assortment of flavors for you to discover. It has a taste of cedar and almonds, which is an unusual flavor combination, but it works. There’s also a slight acidic taste to it, which leaves a tingle on your tongue. There are some spicy notes that I can’t put my finger on. All together this is quite the flavor experience and we’ve only just started.

As I smoke more into this cigar the flavors seem to intensify, showcasing how the flavors work together. The ash is a nice white color and holds together well. I did notice an irregular burn line near the start of this cigar but it quickly corrected itself. This cigar also doesn’t need to be constantly watched while it burns. I’ve let it sit in the ashtray for a few minutes while I’ve worked on this review and it hasn’t needed to be relit. As I come to end of the Cobalt robusto, I’ve noticed a strong surge of spice bringing things to a nice end.

A few notes. I’ve noticed the smoke is relatively light so this could be a great social smoke. It is a mild-medium bodied smoke so even a beginner smoker would enjoy this little treasure. I would say this cigar lives up to its namesake and gives us something new, unlike anything else I’ve tried.

My hat is off to you Michael, You’ve once again made a cigar that truly one of a kind and I look forward to whatever brilliant creations you bring us next!

Customer’s Review: The Vega Fina Gran Toro by Thurston Howell IV

Vega Fina Nicaragua Gran Toro

It’s been awhile since my last written review and what a gem to be given. So let’s start with getting some facts out of the way. This blend comes in three different sizes: Corona (5 ¾ by 42), Robusto (5 by 50), and Gran Toro (6 by 52). I’ll be smoking the Gran Toro today, which is perfect for the lovely weather we’re having here in Wisconsin. This is a very reasonably priced cigar at only $6.05 per stick.

This is a Nicaraguan cigar all the way through, from the wrapper to the filler. The wrapper is a Nicaraguan Habano 2000, binder is Nicaraguan Seco, and the filler is Nicaraguan Ligero, Nicaraguan Viso, and Nicaraguan Seco. The wrapper is a nice dark tan color with a few veins and bumps. Upon smelling the foot of the cigar I get some subtle note of chocolate and cherry. The cigar cuts easily and has an excellent draw. Let’s light her up and see how she smokes.

As I take my first puff of this cigar the word that jumps to mind is spice. It hits the tongue and back of my throat hard. With each puff there is quite a large volume of smoke, probably because of the easy draw. After the few puffs it mellows out and brings in a subtle sweet taste. It really rounds out the flavors and makes for an enjoyable smoke. As I get through the first third of the cigar I notice how well the cigars burns. Nice and even. It’s been very well rolled to the point where the ash stays on the cigar without always needing to be knocked off or falling from its own weight.

About halfway through the cigar now and seems to have developed a black pepper taste. It’s quite interesting as far as flavors go. Overall I’d say its medium to full flavor but medium strength so not too harsh for every day smoking. As we come to the end of the smoke the flavors seemed to mellowed out but leave a nice tangy aftertaste. There were a few issues while smoking that I noticed. It liked to go out if you weren’t paying too close attention to it, which isn’t good if you’re trying to socialize. The smoke is very thick and likes to linger so it’s best to smoke outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. One problem my stick had is that the wrapper started to crack slightly as I got further into the cigar. I hope it was just my cigar and not all of them.

Overall I would say this is a fantastic smoke and it would be foolish to pass it up.