Thursday, February 20, 2014

Cigar Review: LEAF by Oscar, Corojo

Vitola: Toro
Size: 6” x 50 ring gauge
Price $9.50
Provided by Puros de Ballard

Background
Last week I started a look at the three varieties of LEAF by Oscar cigars. To refresh: Oscar Valladares blended these originally for Leaf & Bean Cigars in the Pittsburgh, PA, area. Now they are being distributed by Kevin Ballard through his Puros de Ballard company. I looked first at the Connecticut Shade version of LEAF by Oscar and came away dutifully impressed by the amount of flavor that came through. Today I will be looking at the Corojo version.

There wasn’t much online about this cigar, just this on the website:

This unique blend fuses spice with sweetness to deliver a truly amazing journey with an amazing Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper and flavor packed Honduran binder and filler.

From that we can take away that the LEAF Corojo uses Ecuadorian wrapper and Honduran leaf for everything else. They come in only the Toro size which has a suggested retail price of $9.50. This review is based on a single stick, which Kevin Ballard sent to me.

Prelight
I almost want to just copy and paste my paragraph on the outer leaf from last week...I have nothing to add: I just love the look and rustic feel of it. The Corojo wrapper on this cigar is dark...much darker than I really expected from looking at the loose outer wrapper, although perhaps not quite as dark as that used by Joya de Nicaragua on their “Dark Corojo.” At any rate, I would almost mistake this for a Maduro under some light, except that there was quite a bit of red in the brown, which is not so much a characteristic of most Maduros. It was quite an oily wrapper, too, and had a few large-ish veins. The aroma from the leaf was leathery and earthy, while I got more barnyard on the foot.

I noticed that the cigar seemed a little bent...it happens, whether you get them shipped to you or buy them at your local B&M. I confirmed that by rolling it on my desk. I feared it might cause a slight draw issue, but that was not the case. The cold draw had mostly woody flavors of cedar and oak, along with touches of earth and a mild cayenne pepper spice.

Flavor
Once lit, the LEAF Corojo had more cedar flavor, along with a dry earthiness, a slight bitter cocoa powder note, and just a dash of that cayenne pepper from prelight. The retrohale had a little more pepper than the palate, but everything seemed to be well-balanced and within what you might expect for a Cojoro wrapped cigar. Through the first third, I got a mix of earth and wood flavors, wrapped up in an oily, full-bodied smoke. The cayenne was especially nice as it wasn’t overwhelming, but wasn’t diminishing either by the end of the third.

I did notice the flavors muddying up and getting a little muted in the second third, something I’ve often noticed with Honduran-heavy blends. The one note that continued bright was the pepper spice, which was a bit of a saving grace. In the last third, the flavors did come back a bit. I got a dark roast coffee along with a semi-sweet chocolate and the ever-present cayenne.

Construction
The burn line went a little crooked and had to be touched up several times, but it wasn’t too bad. The ash was strong and held on for half an inch or more and the draw was excellent.

Value
Like the Connecticut, I found the value on these to be in line with the flavor experienced.

Conclusions
While the flavors did get muted in the middle of the cigar, for the most part, the Corojo version of LEAF by Oscar delivered a very nice experience. It was medium to full bodied to start and ended in the low end of the full bodied range, while never having a large nicotine hit. In some ways, this reminded me of the Camacho Corojo, another Honduran-heavy blend (puro, in that case); although this was not as spicy, it had lots of flavor and a very good balance.

By-The-Numbers
Prelight: 2/2
Construction: 2/2
Flavor: 3.5/5
Value: 1/1

Total: 8.5/10

2 comments:

  1. As I said a couple posts ago.... like 10mins as well a shop in the semi-near area is getting these in and I can't wait to try them... Great job guys... also.. did you burn the wrapper leaf to see what it smelled like?

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    Replies
    1. I did not…guess I could have taken the outer wrapper, cut it up, then stuck it in my pipe and smoked it! :)

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