Toro, 6" x 52 ring gauge / $8.00, Burns
The Rosado Oscuro (Black Label) is the most recent offering from El Primer Mundo, debuting in 2009 (this does not count new releases from new year's IPCPR which have yet to hit store shelves at this writing). This blend features filler from Panama as well as Nicaragua's Condega and Esteli regions and is finished off with a Nicaraguan Habano Rosado Oscuro wrapper leaf.
Just looking at the cigar in the cellophane, my initial thought was "Someone, somewhere is pushing the definition of 'oscuro' (Spanish for 'dark') a very long way." Removing the cigar from the cello, I saw a very square box-pressed cigar that had a nice heft and feel in the hand. The wrapper was just under medium-brown with a touch of red to it and a lot of darker mottling. The veins were easily visible but not really large under the fingers. In feeling along the length there was a fairly soft spot just south of the band. On the body of the stick I got a faintly barnyard and hay aroma; from the foot I got more barnyard and chicken coop. When I clipped the head it appeared that I was left with several folded-over leaves still, so I had to dig out those a bit and trim them further. When I got done, the draw was excellent and I got faint hints of cocoa powder along with a strong natural-tobacco sweetness.
Light up was more difficult than I anticipated--I ended up wishing I had brought out my triple-flame torch. Initial puffs were full of natural tobacco flavor in a relatively thin smoke. I have to be honest and say I did not find much to be excited about in about the first half inch of this stick. The smoke was thin, the burn line ragged, the ash flaky and ugly, and worse--there just was not much flavor. Somewhere between a half-inch and a full inch, though, it seemed to wake up. Suddenly the smoke was more abundant and the flavor started picking up, too. I was getting some nice earthiness along with a bit of citrus zest on the tongue and a nutty retrohale with just a touch of pepper spice. The burn line was still rather ragged and ugly but at least the ash was not as flaky by the end of the first third.
The second third started out with tunneling in two places accompanied by the return of flaky ash. I do not mind touching up a cigar, but I hate having to babysit it and really do not like feeling like I am burning half the stick away with touch-ups. The flavor, thankfully, was still nice--a little spicy, a little sweet, mostly just good, premium natural tobacco flavor.
As the final third got underway the smoking experience was not getting any easier; I was still almost constantly touching it up and fighting against potential flame-out. the flavor was good still, but I just was not getting very much complexity out of it. It was a nice, medium-bodied cigar that mostly was natural tobacco goodness with a little sweetness here, a little spice there. Others love this cigar, though--Jason at Burns practically insisted that I give it a try as I picked up the other 2 El Primer Mundo sticks I am featuring this week. I have to say I am on the fence for this one, though--while the flavor was good, it just did not do as much for me as the Blue Label (Connecticut) and the construction on this review sample was fairly maddening. I would like to give it another try and see if construction is better and if that would lead to an overall better experience. Or maybe it's just a stick that does not hit the right flavor receptors for me...it happens!
Agree, disagree or have your own thoughts you would like to share on this cigar? Please leave a comment and speak your mind!