Cigar Review – Don Abram Harris El Jefe

I’d be lying to you if I said I knew who Don Abram Harris was a week ago. We received a few boxes of his cigars the other day, though, so I felt compelled (after all, it’s my job) to do some digging. I took a look on the company’s website and discovered that Don Abram Harris is a cigar manufacturer based out of Puerto Rico that primarily uses 15-year-old Puerto Rican-grown binder and filler leaves, along with Brazilian maduro or Connecticut shade wrappers.

I’ve never had a cigar that was either rolled in Puerto Rico or made with Puerto Rican anything, so I had no idea what to expect when we received a box of sample smokes, one of which was the Don Abram Harris El Jefe. Given that the box-pressed robusto is probably my favorite cigar shape of all time, it was naturally the one that I went for first.

What I noticed right off the bat about El Jefe was that the wrapper looked awesome. It was dark brown with some black and red accents, and it was even smoother than most Connecticut shades I’ve come across. The construction was also very good, and once I clipped the cap, the pre-light draw was very generous with beginning notes of cedar and black pepper.

Once I lit up, the stogie started fairly intense with a ton of black pepper, cedar, and a little bit of char. Given how dark the wrapper was and how sweet the cigar smelled, I was expecting your typical maduro barrage of cocoa and coffee, but this thing was all business. Normally I like a bit more sweetness, but I’ve been on a bit of a maduro kick lately, so it was refreshing to smoke a stogie with a slightly drier profile.

Anyway, further into the cigar, the pepper mellowed out a lot and I started picking up some undertones of roasted nuts (reminded me of Brazil nuts), a little bit of dry cocoa, leather, and a slight hint of subtle floral sweetness that had previously been hidden under the spice. Around this point I had to correct the burn, but after hitting it with a torch lighter for a second, it straightened out perfectly.

About two thirds of the way in, this thing dropped in strength and became unbelievably smooth. I tasted cream, earth, and a little bit of campfire on the retrohale. With an inch and a half left in the smoke, the pepper heated up just a tad and I started noticing an oaky vanilla note on the finish. With just under an inch left in the smoke, this note faded out, giving way to black pepper and leather, and I decided to put it down.

Like I said earlier, I had no idea what to expect from this stogie, but it was definitely a solid smoke. The roll was consistent, the draw was phenomenal, and I only had to touch up the burn once. I’d like to see what a few months of aging in my humidor will do to it, but as it stands, I’d definitely smoke this one again. And after smoking one of each of the samples in the box, I can say that any one of them is worth taking a chance on.

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