Rosedale Handmade by Topper – Cigar Review

At A Cigar Smoker’s Journal, one of the benefits of being based in Connecticut is our proximity to one of the most well-known tobacco growing regions in the world, The Connecticut River Valley. Connecticut Broadleaf and Connecticut Shade Tobaccos are some of the most sought after tobaccos for both wrapper and binder and appear on top selling cigar brands all over the world. Connecticut tobacco growers provided most of the leaf for cigar factories in New York City and Philadelphia, all the way to Tampa, Florida.

Topper Cigars are a brand based in Connecticut with a long history in the cigar business. Now in its fourth generation, the company is still using the tobacco that hails from the Connecticut River Valley. The Topper Brand has been around since 1896. Chris Topper runs the day to day operations of this century-old company.

In the 20’s and 30’s, demand for Connecticut Handrolled Cigars was incredible, with millions of cigars being produced annually by dozens of mostly family run businesses. Connecticut broadleaf was the wrapper and filler of choice for factories all over the world. In the 1960’s, all of these cigars were converted to machine made cigars, coincidentally at the same time as start of the Cuban embargo. At the time of the conversion, Chris Topper’s father had about 25 rollers with an average age of 70. After these craftsmen lost their jobs to automation, the art of US handmade cigars has faded.

The Topper Cigar Company makes several lines of both traditional Connecticut and premium cigars. They produce the Topper Danli Handmade, Cosmo, Shorty, Long-T, Topper, Rosedale and are working on other handmade premium lines.

Rosedale is a brand that was produced by the Toppers in the 1950’s and  the Topper Family acquired the brand for their own portfolio in the 1980’s. Chris Topper, the current family member running the company, has recommissioned a broadleaf cigar in a traditional handmade format. He found a factory in the Dominican Republic that was able to produce a handmade cigar with broadleaf wrapper at a cost competitive to the automated machine manufacturers. Rosedale Factory Press is that creation. Complete with remastering the artwork from early 1900’s boxes, Topper is introducing his handmade vitola.

Chris told us he would have something special for us in June. He dropped by and he asked us to try his reintroduction of Rosedale and we are reviewing it today.

Size: 5¼x46 box press
Wrapper: Broadleaf
Binder: Broadleaf
Filler: Broadleaf (short fill)
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Flavor: Full
Cigars Smoked For Review: 1

Construction and Appearance: The Topper Rosedale has a dark brown wrapper with a slight reddish hue. The wrapper has plenty of veins and oil with a slightly rough and rustic feel to the touch. The sample smoked for review did not feature a band, and was a box press with a torpedo cap.

 

Flavor and Notes: The wrapper of the Topper Rosedale has notes of sweet cocoa and oak. The foot has a similar scent with notes of sweet cocoa, oak, and hay. On the cold draw there is a mix of cocoa, oak, hay, and a light mineral flavor.

Smoking Characteristics: The Topper  Rosedale starts out with a draw that is a bit tight, providing only a medium body of smoke. The notes during the first third are a mix of oak, sweet cocoa, and a slight light spice that lingers on the palate lightly. After the first inch or so, the draw opens up a bit and provides nearly a full body of smoke. The smoke is rich, creamy, smooth, and cool, quite delicious.

During the second third, the flavor becomes richer with the cocoa developing to a full chocolate flavor which is quite rich. The oak flavor remains with the oak spice still lingering on the palate between draws, now joined with a nice chocolate flavor. The draw really improves in this third, providing a great body of the rich, cool, and creamy smoke. The ash holds firm easily to the inch point without flaking, surprising for a short filled cigar.

Into the final third, the flavor doesn’t change up much, which isn’t a complaint. The smoke is still rich, cool, and delicious with plenty of chocolate and oaky flavors. The draw is still excellent, providing a nice body of smoke with each draw. The strength starts to catch up on me a bit, from the retrohale I’d place it at the upper end of the medium spectrum. Towards the nub a bit of a espresso flavor joins the blend with a light bitterness to it, which pairs well with the cocoa flavors.

Conclusion: While this cigar may not have the sleek attractive appearance that many seek in their smokes, it certainly has the flavors people look for. It is a rich maduro with tons of cocoa and light oaky flavors which is smooth, creamy, and rich. At its price point it really can’t be beat. Many machine made cigars retail at a higher price and don’t perform nearly as well. This would not only be a great every day stick, but just a good smoke in general! For this price, no-brainer for a daily smoke….or chew.

Rating: 90

MSRP: $1.87