George Rico S.T.K. Miami American Puro 4 3/4×52 (Pre-Release)
One of George Rico’s (Gran Habano, G.A.R.) latest creations, the American Puro is comprised of 100% American tobaccos from Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Connecticut and is handmade at Rico’s GR Tabacaleras Unidas Co.factory in Miami. An all-American cigar, made in America- what a concept. The closest thing to this that I can think of is Pete Johnson’s La Casita Criolla, which is made entirely of Connecticut Broadleaf but is produced in Nicaragua. Anyway, George was kind enough to gift us a few sample sticks of the American Puro at IPCPR, so for today’s review I decided to spark up the 4 3/4 x52 vitola.
The Connecticut wrapper on this cigar was one of the toughest looking Connies I had ever seen, with lots of veins and a good amount of texture to it, which was accentuated by a smooth oily sheen. Construction looked and felt solid, and the tiny pigtail cap made for a nice touch. Both the aroma and pre-light draw on the cigar had a distinct “pipe tobacco” vibe going on. Very interesting.
The smoke opened up with a cool profile of white pepper and charred oak. I had opted not to cut the cigar, but instead just “pluck” the pigtail off, which worked well for a nice, neat draw. The burn line was just a little bit bumpy, but nothing too bad. A few puffs in I was picking up a subtle note of espresso and some syrupy sweetness on the finish. It was at this point that I realized that this cigar was significantly stronger than I was expecting it to be.
In the second third the peppery dark wood flavor of the profile now had a nutmeggy baking spice component in the mix. This portion of the smoke was smoother than the first 3rd, but silky-smooth, not creamy, and flavors remained crisp with a heavy and slightly spicy finish. I began to pick up a lot of tasty little nuances of Vanilla, cedar, salt, and earth. This stick was now pumping out tons of chewy smoke and burning nice and straight. When I had burned past the halfway mark I still hadn’t ashed.
The final third of the American Puro was extremely rich and earthy with notes of leather and undertones of cream. This portion was heavy in flavor but still pretty smooth. Then, just before I was ready to wrap up the session, this stick surprised me with one last tasty transition- I could suddenly taste black pepper and a vivid salted pretzel note-something I had never before tasted in a cigar. This prompted me to smoke on a little longer than usual, just to make sure I didn’t miss out on any other last-minute flavors.
George Rico is damn good at what he does. Regardless of whether or not you like them, all of his blends are different and none of them are half-assed, this one included. It started off a bit strong for my taste, but quickly tapered off to a manageable strength level. I’m guessing that the pipe tobacco aroma can be attributed to the use of the fire-cured Kentucky leaf that everybody’s been talking about lately. But I digress- The American Puro had a decent burn and good, easy draw, and is an absolute standout smoke in terms of flavor and complexity. I give the 4 3/4x 52 a well-deserved A grade and I’m going to be picking a few of these up for my personal stash, but don’t take my word for it, check them out yourself, we’ve got them available for pre-order right here.