March 8, 2010

Review Series: El Triunfador #1

Today, I'm continuing on with my series review of the new El Triunfador from Pete Johnson. In case you missed the earlier posts, these cigars were generously provided to me by Dan (NHCDAN on twitter), the owner of New Havana Cigars.

Vitola: Lonsdale
Length: 6 1/2
Ring Gauge: 42
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Price: $6.75 (when bought in boxes of 25)
Smoking Location: House of Cigar, Columbus, Ohio
Beverage: Coke

My El Triunfador #1 had a slightly less consistent color in the wrapper than the #3 I reviewed. The wrapper was mainly a milk chocolate color, but in some areas, there was a slight marbling with a lighter tan as well. The cigar also had one small vein running from the foot all the way to the cap. This vein was so small, though, that I didn't think it would effect the burn at all. The pre-lit aroma was faint, but what I did smell was of natural tobacco. Once clipped, the draw was free but lacked any real flavors.

First Third
The first puff after lighting the stick, I was hit with that same white pepper flavor that I had gotten from the #3. This cigar is very spicy at the start, but again, like the previous review, the spice didn't last long. Five or six puffs in, the cigar started to mellow and some other flavors started to emerge. Unlike the #3, the first flavors I got off of this cigar (after the pepper rush was over) were not cedar, but were what I would describe as a hay taste. The draw on the cigar was great and the smoke was very creamy but another difference from the #3 to the #1 was showing up...and that's the ash. The ash on my #1 was very weak. So weak, in fact, that even after just 1/4-inch burn, it fell onto my shirt. Not so classy.

Second Third
Starting my second third of my El Triunfador #1, the flavor profiles changed up again and started to take on the familiar anise and ceder notes. Those were the same flavors in strength as I had experienced in the #3 review and were very enjoyable. The ash was still very weak and flaky but the smoke volume and texture did not give any impression of a loosely-rolled stick. The body was a mild to mild-medium and very relaxing.

Final Third and Final Thoughts
In the final third of my El Triunfador #1, I got one more new flavor to the party. The anise flavor was still very strong, but the cedar had now given way to more of a burnt wood taste, which was great because I am a fan of that particular flavor profile. The body of the cigar towards the nub also picked up in body just slightly, but not enough for me to put it into the solid medium category.

final thoughts: The El Triunfador #1 is another great cigar. The flavors, like in the #3, changed a lot and never left me bored. The weak ash on the cigar was a bit annoying and somewhat embarrassing when you drop it on yourself in a room full of seasoned cigar smokers, but I can deal with it. I'm not a big fan of hay-tasting cigars, so I was glad when the first third flavors ended. Personally I would buy the #3 before I would buy another #1, but I'd rather smoke either of them over a lot of other cigars.



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