Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cigar Review: Imperiales Clasico by La Aurora

Robusto, 5" x 50 ring gauge / MSRP $5.00
Like the Maduro Imperiales I reviewed the other day, the Clasico is meant to appeal to every day smokers, and thus has a fairly low price point and accessible strength level. The filler and binder are listed as being from the same countries...DR, Nicaragua and Brazil for the filler, Dominican Republic for the binder...but this features a Connecticut-seed wrapper...although from the price point, I would guess it is grown in Ecuador.

This makes for an interesting study in opposites. While the Maduro had a beautiful wrapper with a band that looked poorly printed, the printing on the Clasico is sharp, crisp and professional and the wrapper looks like it was uncomfortably stretched to cover the bunch. Larger veins were very visible with the light colored leaf as were puckers and folds. Being honest, it looks like the best and most experienced rollers were tasked with some other project when this one came up...and that's fine as the price point usually reflects that kind of thing. I got a nice sweet hay aroma on the wrapper, with more of the same, as well as some earthiness on the foot. The foot of a cigar is often a little softer than the rest, but this one seemed overly squishy, like some filler had fallen out. My Xikar Xi made a clean cut, leaving a great draw that had a dry earthiness as well as a bit of sweet, natural tobacco flavor and it left a spicy tingle on the lips.

After lighting up I got a hint of maple along with earth and a grassy note. I was curious to see where this cigar would go as it had the classic wrapper of a mild cigar, but the interior bits of something with a bit more kick. At the beginning the body was in the mild-to-medium range and the flavor mix was different than anything I had experienced in a milder smoker...more syrupy, is the best way I can describe it now. There were those hay notes you get in mild smokes, but also a good earthy balancing note and a pepper spice that was already building on the palate. The retrohale had a sharp chili pepper edge to it and a rich roasted nuttiness. Belying its bargain-cigar price, the Imperiales Clasico burned over an inch with the ash holding on tightly. By the end of the first third it was squarely in the medium-bodied range.

It seemed simple to pick out the flavors characteristics of some of the different tobaccos used here...sweet hay and creaminess from the Connecticut Shade wrapper, smoothness in the Dominican leaf, earth and spice from the Nicaraguan and Brazilian contributions. The missing element here, then, seemed to be in making all those blend harmoniously. It was all good, but it seemed a bit scattershot in the overall profile.

That is the impression I was left with after the last third of the Imperiales Clasico was done, too. Overall, a good cigar and pleasant way to pass an hour in the afternoon, but it just felt like the cigar didn't know what it wanted to be...medium-bodied Nicaraguan or mild-bodied Connecticut. Where some of the New Breed Connys are blended to be a Connecticut with a kick, I just didn't feel like this was nearly as coherent in its blend and balance. Despite that, it has a great price tag and enough enjoyment that I would occasionally purchase it. It might be a good smoke for newbies as it does not have any nicotine kick to speak of; fans of "knock your socks off, full-bodied" smokes should look elsewhere.

Body: 5/10
Strength: 4/10
Complexity: 7/10

AFP Scale
Prelight: 1.5/2
Construction: 2/2
Flavor: 4/5
Value: 1/1
Total: 8.5/10

1 comment:

  1. I enjoy a nice mild cigar, but this cigar is too mild. I smoked the Belicoso (torpedo shape). The wrapper, as you mentioned, looked suspect--like a piece of rain-soaked paper that was left on the driveway in the hot sun for a week or so. The draw was very nice with just a touch of resistance, and the burn was really sharp (classic La Aurora). I did not get any chilli or rich nuttiness, only mild, dry tobacco notes. I had to grab something something sweet to dring to balance out the dry finish. This cigar was just not my cup of tea.