Robaina's plantation

Friday 29 March 2013

Conde de Villanueva LCDH Custom Roll (cigar review)

                   This shaggy foot monster was rolled at the Conde de Villanueva La Casa del Habano in Old Havana. Almost everyone assumes that every cigar they buy from there is rolled by Reynaldo, store manager and master roller, himself. Truth is I rarely see him rolling cigars nowadays, unless for show, and would guess most of them are rolled by his disciple. Regardless, as always the construction of the cigars that come out of this shop are some of the best I've seen. The only issue I've ever had with a cigar from Conde is that sometimes, actually most of the time, they're too strong for my taste. He has toned down the strength of his cigars lately, creating a milder version of a couple of the vitolas.
                     Looking at this cigar, I didn't think it was going to be one of the milder ones but I couldn't resist. It was about 5mm longer than a RyJ Wide Churchill and just shy of a 60 gauge. It had a smooth, shiny, oily, maduro coloured wrapper with a bumpy cap and no prominent veins. It was simply a beautiful looking cigar that was hard to the touch, I didn't know what to expect. The pre-light draw gave me light cedar.
                     Once lit, the first puff was big, bold and full of floral notes. I've mentioned before how much I hate a floral cigar so I hoped it would change. The draw was absolutely perfect. The burn started a bit on an angle due to the loose leaf at the foot and not to far into the cigar it was already burning hot through the middle. Had to keep touching it up through to the first quarter. The flavour was just over the top floral. I absolutely hated it up to this point.
                      Passing the first quarter and a bit of earth starts to creep in....not enough for my tastes. This smoke started out as mild to medium but is stronger than a medium at this point. As far as strength goes, it was a perfect balance for my tastes, not too strong and not too mild. It seemed to burning hot through the middle again and after flicking the ash I discovered I was correct so I touched it up with my torch again.
                      Nearing the second half and the floral bouquet is toning down to the point that past the half it's barely there. Now the cigar is getting stronger and some bitterness is coming through. This is the typical Reynaldo cigar that I can't smoke much past the of these days I gotta age me some.
                       Have to keep touching it up getting to the last quarter. It's a bit of a fight for me as it keeps getting stronger and stronger. It's all earth and wood now as I get to the last quarter but way too strong for me. I had to put it down at this point.
                       In conclusion: the burn on this cigar, both inside and out, made it a lot of work to smoke so I have to say it scored poorly in the construction department. As far as flavour goes, for my taste, I hated it. If you like floral, this is a great cigar for you but if you're like me and don't like it, stay away. It wasn't even a fluke, I gave the person I smoked with one of these cigars to smoke as well and as far as flavour went he found it to be identical. As I said, I should age some one day and see how they taste with some time. I hope this doesn't stop you from buying cigars from the Conde de Villanueva shop but you should at least try a couple before you buy in quantity. Some people I know swear by these cigars so as everything in life, it's all about your personal tastes. Besides, the blends that come out of these cigar shops can be inconsistent at times.