These big, dark cigars are lush with plenty of smoke and a mouth-fllling character with a long finish. We guessed there was some Nicaraguan filler mixed in, but we guessed wrong. According to La Flor's website, it's all Dominican right down to the binder, all of it from their own farms, which testifies to the diversity of tobacco now available from the DR. Long gone are the days when Dominican = Macanudo.
But the big departure here is the use of a dark and handsome "San Andreas" wrapper — a cigar industry marketing code word for "Mexican." Cigar makers must believe there's some stigma attached to Mexican cigars going back to the days of Te-Amo, which is admittedly kind of a love-it-or-leave-it proposition. We think it's time to put that to rest since the quality of Mexican tobacco has grown by leaps and bounds, and the cigars that use it no longer have the one-note quality once associated those Te-Amos of old.
The resulting cigar is an intensely flavorful experience without the excess strength of other La Flors. In fact, the 1994 hits the same sweet spot we appreciate so much in cigars like the new Davidoff Nicaragua -- medium body, but full flavor. With prices ranging from just $7.50 to $8.30, that's impressive.
The sizes in the 1994 lineup seem to have come from the Altadis playbook of fat, fatter and even fatter. There is a 5x52 robusto called the Conga that will have to stand in for a corona until Litto comes to his senses; we think this blend would be awesome in a 44 or 46 ring gauge. There's also a 6x58 gordo called the Adalba (that's surprisingly not huge-feeling) and a churchill called the Mamba that's a reasonable 7" long but sports a too-thick 54 ring gauge. We think the best of the line is the subject of this review, the Rumba, which is sort of double corona/toro hybrid at 6.5x52.
Get comfy, because this is a movie-length smoke best suited for a long and decadent post-lunch afternoon chill out session. And we don't mean pre-gaming with a half tuna sandwich and soup. Make it a rich one and then kick back with a coffee for this guy. You're in for a treat: deep cocoa and nougat notes that hint at chocolate candy; an earthiness uncommon to Dominican filler tobacco; and meaty notes capped with a dusting of black pepper.
Nothing will ever replace the discontinued and deeply missed Coronado by La Flor (review) in our hearts, but this new 1994 certainly takes the edge off our grudge. Day in, day out, we feel it's the most easily enjoyable and most rewarding cigar in their entire line and therefore one of the best they've ever released. Factor in the reasonable prices and you've got an uncommonly attractive smoke.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING — NEW!
Starting now, for your convenience we'll be ending each review with a roundup from other sites we like. We generally avoid reading reviews of a cigar before we sample it ourselves so as not to be inadvertently influenced. However, we make it a point to read all of them we can find afterwards to see how our experiences compare to others.
The folks over at Halfwheel seemed to have a similar reaction to ours, coming away very impressed with the 1994. So too were The Cigar Authority, though Leaf Enthusiast reported having draw problems; our experience was quite the opposite. Based on the sum total of the reactions, formal and informal, we think La Flor Dominicana has a hit on their hands, and one that may even expend their fan base beyond the extremes of mild blends from their early days to super-heavy stuff in more recent years.
W: San Andreas Maduro (Mex.)
B: Dominican Republic
F: Dominican Republic
Rich but far from overpowering. Lots of smoke coveys cocoa/candy notes balanced with earthy, meaty, peppery character. One of La Flor's best. Good value, too.