Los Blancos cigars are handmade in Esteli, Nicaragua under the supervision of the Blanco family, a cigar family with close ties to the Plascencia family, and Cuban roots dating back over a century. Their core line, the Premiere Selection, is a blend of Nicaraguan filler tobaccos and Honduran binders and wrappers, and is available in four different wrapper shades: Connecticut Shade, Habano Criollo,Sumatra, and Habano 2000 Maduro. The Premiere Selection is relatively new to our shelves, so I thought I’d give it a proper initiation today with my customary taste-test. I selected the Criollo wrapper in the Robusto (5 x 52) size for today’s review.
The cigar looked well-constructed with a nice, even fill. The silky and veiny Criollo wrapper was topped off with a sturdy cap-job, and sported two green and gold bands, one in the typical band-spot, and one at the foot. Cold draws gave off a really interesting taste, with notes of a cinnamon/nutmeg baking spice, and a “meaty” kind of vibe. Thinking I was in for a unique smoke, I toasted it up.
Right off the bat I was met with a deep and earthy spice flavor, one that I honestly can’t say I’ve tasted before, coupled with a slightly sweet and peppery finish. The draw was a bit firm, but not to where it hindered tasting. The wrapper had a thick and leathery look to it as it burned. Ensuing draws saw notes of butter and cream pop up, smoothing things out a bit, and about an inch into the smoke the flavors had evened out into a nice, balanced taste.
In the 2nd third, while there wasn’t a huge flavor transition, this portion was very mellow and smooth, and I was picking up a sweet anise note on the finish. The burn had gone a bit crooked, but I attribute that at least in part to the insane March winds we were experiencing here in northeast Pennsylvania today. The big black and grey ash I had accumulated finally dropped off as I burned into the last 3rd.
The final portion of this stogie can be summed up in one word: cream! The last part of this stogie was super, super-creamy and smooth. I could still detect a bit of peppery spice on the back of my throat, and a light sweetness coating my palate, but for the most part, the ending of this smoke was all about the cream. After a graceful finish I set the nub down with about an inch remaining.
I was surprised by this cigar, not because it was good, but because it was actually something good and different. More often than not, I’m faced with stogies that have great flavor, and burn like a champ, but bring nothing new to the table, almost like they were striving for mediocracy. The Los Blancos Premiere Selection Criollo Robusto was far from mediocre, and delivered awesome and interesting relaxed flavor from start to finish. I look forward to sampling the other wrapper shades in this series, as the Criollo is definitely deserving of repeated smokes. I give the Los Blancos Premiere Selection Criollo Robusto an A grade, and I’ll even go as far as to say that Los Blancos is the best new brand I’ve tried in 2012. I know we’re only a couple of months in, but still, this one stood out.
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