Rodrigo La Fortaleza Dominican Puro – Cigar Review
George Rodriguez from Rodrigo Cigars sent us a package last week with a production sample of the new La Fortaleza to be released this spring. Box production is the only thing I can see that is keeping this stick from release. This cigar has all the makings of one of the star cigar releases of 2012. If so, 2012 is going to be another great year for boutique releases. George says that La Fortaleza marries full strength and full flavor in a Dominican Puro. They said it could not be done when Fuente released Opus X and doubters were proved wrong. Now George cannot boast all components from one farm, but blender William Ventura has shown that he still has some tricks up his sleeve and has created an impressive blend.
Size: 6¾ x 48 (Churchill)
Wrapper: Dominican (Habano Oscuro)
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera Ventura, Dom. Rep.
Vitolas: Corona, Robusto, Churchill
Cigars Smoked For Review: 1 (I smoked the Robusto before I decided to review)
Appearance and Construction: The cigar I received was “box pressed by UPS” but I will not discount that on the score. It is a beautiful dark brown with minimal veins and uniform in color and a nice dull sheen. The wrapper is much darker than the pictures convey. The cap is a mini pigtail but I chose to cut with a Xikar double blade cutter. The cigar felt firm and comfortable in hand and the cap extended well beyond the head of the cigar, a characteristic that is important to me as I am a biter and keep a cigar in my mouth for much of the duration of the smoke. This cigar did not come unwound.
Flavor & Notes: The prelight aroma from the foot was sweet and nutty and the prelight draw had mild spice to the lips with some hazlenut notes. While toasting the foot, pleasant dry notes of dark coffee are distinctive. The first draw confirms the toasting aroma. When retro-haled, the body of the smoke is a medium strength with mild pepper.
Smoking Characteristics: The first third of the cigar brought a mild pepper to the front of the mouth, not what I would expect from a cigar billed as full bodied. Woody notes and a subtle sweetness subside and begin to be replaced by more peppery but pleasant spice. The cigar smokes on the dry side but with no bitterness. The smoke is very complex with no predominant flavor and woody and earthy undertones. The aroma of the smoke is incredibly smooth and silky with a beautiful gray ash. The burn through the first third is a little uneven but catches up with no touch-up. The second third produces smoke with a beautiful brown tinge on exhale and is stark in contrast to the blue/gray smoke of the burn. The spice and strength continues to build with a perfect balance of flavors that are woody and earthy yet with a creamy pleasing finish and absolutely no bite. The ash falls as I enter into the last third of the cigar and the exhale smoke changes to more of a blue/gray like the burn. The spiciness becomes much sharper and the creaminess begins to disappear revealing the true strength of the blend. A tangy subtle sweetness begins to come to the palate and continues with an undescribable complexity. The ash continues to burn beautiful white/gray but the dead center of the burn shows a brown/taupe ash denoting a much different component at the center of the cigar. A defined nicotene buzz comes over me as the strength increases. As a rule, I drink water with my reviews, but despite my resistance I go for a sip of black coffee to compliment the spice and nuttiness I am tasting. The pepper concentrated at the front of my mouth upon first lighting returns as I smoke this cigar to the nub! Incredible!
Conclusion: With Nicaraguan powerhouses getting the lion’s share of attention these days, I think that George Rodriguez, William Ventura, and Rodrigo cigars could single handedly force a pendulum shift towards attention to Dominican Puros. I can’t wait to see the rest of the line and what else George and William come up with in the future
Price: N/A cigar was sent as a sample. Thanks George!