Robusto, 4.5" x 54 ring gauge / approx. $8
"A triple play in baseball is one of the rarest things in the world." That's how my local Altadis rep introduced this cigar to me. This is one of 3 cigars that I know of that are completely composed of maduro leaf--the other two being the Camacho Triple Maduro and CAO's MX3 (available while supplies last at Burns--there is no word yet whether this cigar will continue to be available under General Cigar's stewardship). The A. Turrent name may mean "Mexican cigars" to some, but this stogie blends leaf from Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico (San Andres) in the filler, while featuring a Connecticut Broadleaf binder and a Mexican San Andres Morron wrapper. I received this review stick at Burns' Membership Renewal Party. Keith previously smoked and reviewed an IPCPR show sample that he was given; to put it politely, he was not a fan.
The Triple Play looked attractive--the dark leaf offset the silver, copper and black band. The cigar had a fairly chocolatey aroma when I removed it from the cellophane, but the wrapper leaf itself had more of an earthy note with a little spice--something like Paprika; the foot had a manure and earth note. I wondered where that chocolate aroma had gone--very odd that it should just disappear. Squeezing along the length of the stick, I was surprised at how much give there was--this stick just did not feel like it was properly filled...but at least there should be no draw problems, something that often plagues heavily-maduro sticks because of the leaf's propensity to hold moisture. After cutting the cap with my Xikar MTX, I was surprised the draw was not looser...it was actually close to ideal, with just a little effort required. The cold draw had lots of earth, some chocolate sweetness and a little chili pepper spice.
Opening puffs had flavors of licorice, earth and cocoa powder. I have to admit my first puff was not all that pleasant, but it got better quickly. The first third quickly settled down to a dry cocoa powder flavor with just a hint of sweetness. There was a bit of coffee on the retrohale, but all the flavors seemed somewhat subdued and muted. Toward the end of the third I got some subtle spicy notes as well.
Perhaps the muted flavors were a blessing. In my experience, many Mexican-wrapped cigars are too earthy and bitter for my liking. This one had the earth and bitterness but not nearly at the level of some others. The second third saw a slight increase in the chocolate sweetness as well. The draw was very good so far and I had seen no burn issues other than a slight tunneling at the very beginning of the cigar, but it had worked itself out.
The last third saw an increase in both pepper spice and earthiness, as well as a slight increase in body, up to the medium-to-full range. I have to admit being very surprised by the Triple Play. My background with Mexican cigars in general and A. Turrent in particular led me to expect to not enjoy this stogie. I was very pleasantly surprised, however, by this cigar's accessible flavors and excellent construction. While I cannot see putting this high on my purchase list, I will at least give it another go around or two when the opportunity presents itself. I would encourage others to do the same: put aside your biases, whether they be against Mexican wrappers (like me) or Altadis products (like a lot of you out there...you know who I'm talking about) and give the Triple Play a try--you might just discover that you like what you find.
Agree, disagree or have something else to say on this subject? Please feel free to leave a comment below!