Toro Grande, 6” x 54 ring gauge / MSRP ~$7.90
I was a big fan of the J. Fuego Origen from the first time I had one a couple years ago...and an even bigger fan of the “Originals” soft-pack size that has become one of my favorite short smokes of all time. So when I heard that this year would see the introduction of the Maduro version, I eagerly anticipated. Actually, not technically “the release” I guess, since I’ve heard this was available since last year at one shop, but this would be the “nationwide release” of the Origen Maduro. The original Origen was a 100% Corojo cigar with fillers from Nicaragua and Honduras, a binder from Costa Rica and a wrapper from Brazil. The country of origin has not changed much on this Maduro expression of the cigar; of course, the wrapper is a Maduro--but still listed as Brazilian--the binder is still listed as Costa Rican, and the filler still has Honduran and Nicaraguan in it...and some Mexican leaf added as well. This review is based on my first sample of this, which I got at the Chattanooga Tweet-Up.
In a move that is sure to be familiar, but totally different at the same time, the big change from regular Origen to Maduro is that the background of the band is red instead of cream colored. The black lettering and metallic gold accents all look the same, but the red is quite striking behind them. The wrapper is a dark chocolate hue with some darker mottling and a fine-grain toothiness. It was mildly oily to the touch and to the eye and had an aroma that was a combination of earth and licorice. The foot had even more of that licorice/anise smell, along with a raisin sweetness. I got almost the same notes in flavor during the cold draw.
When lit the Origen Maduro imparted a medium-bodied smoke with a flavor of dried fruit, black coffee, and earth; the retrohale was nutty, with more subtle notes of cocoa powder and pepper spice. As the first third burned on, the dried fruit resolved into a more raisin note, a mixture of sweet and a bit of sour tang; the anise note was in full evidence, but the slight pepper spice on the nose from the beginning went away completely.
The cigar burned slowly and the flavor was consistent as I really started to get into the second third. The construction of the Origen Maduro was excellent so far, with a great draw, very even burn line and a solid ash. Through the second third, the flavor turned a bit more to roasted nuts and bittersweet chocolate, with a little espresso in the background.
During the last third earthiness and coffee bean took the lead in the flavor profile. There was enough sweetness left to balance it, as well. I really liked the Origen Maduro, possibly even more than the original Origen...except in the Originals size...and this sentence is just getting confusing. Speaking of the Originals size, though, I understand that this blend will be available in that size, too, and I look forward to trying that. In all, this was a very good medium-plus bodied cigar with a medium amount of strength and a very good amount of flavor. Definitely something I would smoke on a regular basis.