Note: I apologize for the inconsistencies in publishing this week...a missing post, pictures not loading, general strangeness...call it an extended cigar hangover from the Chattanooga Tweet-Up last weekend. For whatever reason this is when my computer's hard drive chose to take the dirt nap. Combine that with a fried palate from smoking too many cigars over the last weekend and a massive pile of work and I just haven't been able to get back in the groove with regard to what happens here. This review was written before the Tweet-Up, but I got to meet Kurt Kendall at the event and got to tell him how I felt about this one in person (always great to do that when you love a cigar...when you don't really like it, it's funny how you keep avoiding that person). I know some want to hear about the Tweet-Up itself...hopefully I'll be able to post that article over the long holiday weekend...
Lancero, 7.5” x 38 ring gauge / $8.80, Burns Tobacconist
Who’s always a sucker for a good Lancero? That’s right...this guy is! On a regular basis, I end up buying more Coronas, Corona Gordas and Robustos for a couple reasons: first, most sticks are available in those sizes...moreso than are available as Lanceros anyway; second, they are less prone to the construction issues that Lanceros can have...namely, tight draw. When a Lancero is working right there is hardly a vitola better in the universe, but getting a 38 or 40 ring gauge stick to draw exceptionally is not something a roller learns to do overnight. I’ve looked at the original blend of 7-20-4 in the past, but I wanted to give it a fresh look since it is now available in this size. For this blend, the filler is from Columbia, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua; the binder is Costa Rican; and the wrapper is Brazilian Mata Fina. I’ve had this blend several times before, but this sample is my first Lancero, which I bought at Burns in Chattanooga.
This 7-20-4 Lancero came wrapped in a cedar sheath with a red ribbon footband. The presentation was nice, but taking it off revealed the real beauty: the Brazilian wrapper beneath. It was a brown just a shade darker than milk chocolate with plentiful oils and no out-sized veins. Giving it a good sniff, I got a sweet earthy smell on the wrapper, while the earthiness on the foot was more of a ripe barnyard note. I clipped and found the draw to be excellent. The cold draw flavor was a slightly sweet, with a bit of sour zing and almost a chalkiness to it.
I lit the Lancero with a soft-flame Xikar EX. From the start I got a spicy kick through the nose and a sweet and sour combo on the palate...notes of chocolate and citrus, and some more bitter notes of black coffee, as well. Overall a very nice intro to this cigar, starting things off with lots of complexity. As the first third burned on, I picked up more of a raisin note to the sweet and sour, and less of the coffee. So far I was enjoying this more than any other size of 7-20-4, including the famous Dog Walker.
The flavor profile didn’t change much during the second third, but that wasn’t a totally bad thing as I was still really liking the flavors it served up: more raisin and some anise. Construction was superb, especially for this vitola. So far, I had experienced a strong ash, flawless draw and very even burn line that needed no touching up.
Again, the final third did not see much in the way of flavor change, but despite its relative lack of complexity I did enjoy the 7-20-4 Lancero as it continued to deliver a nice medium-plus bodied flavor profile of dark fruit and black licorice along with more subtle notes of earth and coffee. This was my favorite size I’ve had so far of the original 7-20-4 blend and I was very pleased to find zero construction problems. I will definitely be smoking more of these in the future...along with the Dog Walker, essentially the same cigar but about half the length...I call those “Half Lanceros.” There was not so much body or strength that anyone but absolute newbies would be affected by either; in fact, this may serve well as a “step up” cigar for those wanting to graduate out of strictly mild-bodied cigars.