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Old 01-12-2004, 12:04 PM   #1
jazznut
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Location: Montreal, Canada
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El Rico Habano Habano Club Robusto

El Rico Habano Habano Club Robusto
5 inches by 48 ring gauge (the same as a Cuban Hermosos No.4)
Wrapper: Ecuador
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Cuban-seed grown in Honduras and Nicaragua

It's a rare occurence these days when I elect to smoke a non-Cuban cigar. This fact has as much to do with the relatively elevated prices of most 'domestics' here in Montreal as it does with the ready availability of Cuban vitolas. In this particular instance, Todd (sevenmag) very generously sent me along a fine sample of the Habano Club Robusto to put through its paces. Thank you sir!

There can be no doubting the excellence of construction of this cigar. It possesses the slightest of box-pressed contours, a very rich brown Colorado wrapper leaf sporting myriad crystalline oil deposits on its surface with but one suppressed vein interrupting the otherwise remarkable smoothness, and a more rounded and deep-set than normal but beautifully rendered three-seam cap. The El Rico Habano's density of tripa is notable, with a very firm feel in one's fingers. Examining the foot of the cigar revealed a high proportion of blackish-brown ligero tobacco swirled throughout the middle of the roll like a dark chocolate marble cake.

I took some time to carefully prepare the Habano Club before taking my first draw, first creating a 30/64ths of an inch inverted conical cut with my trusty surgical blade and then extensively torching the cigar's foot before taking my first draw. The El Rico Habano responded by burning consistently and in essentially straight fashion from beginning to end, with the pale grey ash refusing to drop until almost 2 inches in length. My entire session spanned approximately one and a quarter hours.

The opening salvo was stunning in its forcefulness and I substantially moderated my rate of draw from thereon in order to partake of the full range of flavours. These included, from the outset, a Brazalian sort of coffee extract taste, very dark chocolate, cloves and cinnamon as well as a rich earthiness overlaid with toasted tobacco. The flavour spectrum evolved toward exceptional smoothness at mid point when notions of cherries-in-chocolate candy momentarily appeared. The aroma was leathery, spicy and tobacco-laden as it wafted upward. As I progressed into the final portion of the cigar, the Habano Club's intensity resonated back to strong, no-nonsense, dense, spiced coffee and earthy tobacco tones. This charged finale reminded me a lot of what one encounters in a well-aged H. Upmann from Cuba. I was certainly satiated!

I had chosen to accompany the El Rico Habano with a glass or two of Dow's Christmas Reserve Port, and the fortified wine's clean, fruit-laced quality provided just the right foil.

Now, I've read that these cigars can be a hit-or-miss affair in terms of their consistency, with some issues being outstanding while others flirt with mediocrity. Yet if my particular example is any indication, a search for a good batch of these might offer the promise of many happy hours of smoking pleasure.
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