The journey these days seems to go like this: Start manufacturing cigars under contract for the mail order houses and/or other established brands. Introduce a line of your own. If it succeeds, buy a gigantic wristwatch (you apparently can't be a baller without one). Finally, introduce something really expensive.
So that brings us to this $14.40 robusto. It's a brawny 5x56 with an imposing Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper and Honduran and Nicaraguan guts. In fact, the whole line is a uniform 56 ring gauge, whether you choose the toro, churchill or torpedo. Though the company's website offers only a vague description of the line, it's clear the combination of a dark and oily wrapper with big ring gauges promises a full-bodied smoke.
The two big bands cover at least half of the cigar's surface area, so you'll need to wrestle them off to get a look at what's underneath. The wrapper is a nice uniform hue with only a few veins and the cigar feels every bit like the chunky little bruiser it is. Construction is very good, as we've come to expect from Fernandez.
The pre-light aroma has the characteristic sharpness that suggests a substantial nicotine hit is on the way, which is confirmed quickly upon lighting. There's prominent pepper and fresh tobacco notes, with an interesting top note of fizzy cola. The draw is free enough that it would be easy to smoke this too quickly. Perhaps a tiny bit more resistance would make for a better smoke.
As the cigar settles, the sweet cola impressions are replaced by something more like espresso, balanced by an occasionally tangy woodiness and a very light smattering of white pepper. The burn is nearly flawless, and the cigar produces a tight gray ash that easily holds on for three-quarters of an inch. Robustos are supposed to be a quick smoke by definition, but this one smoked for an hour and fifteen minutes.
It's a fairly strong cigar, and while the flavors are balanced, they're also somewhat muted. It isn't big on the palate or especially mouth filling. A few months or a year of aging might burn off some of the excess power and allow the flavors to open up more.
If you like a strong yet subtle smoke, the Mayimbe Robusto is something to try. Total production is limited to 2,500 boxes of each size, so don't wait too long to seek it out.
W: PA Broadleaf
One of a small but growing number of cigars to use Pennsylvania-grown Broadleaf wrapper. Limited to 2,500 boxes. Strong but subtle. Smokes longer than its format would indicate.