Merlion by La Sirena – Cigar Review
The Merlion is the new cigar from the La Sirena @lasirenacigars brand distributed by Miami Cigar & Company. Their first release, La Sirena, was a very well received broadleaf wrapped cigar which came out in 2010 and produced in the My Father factory in Nicaragua. The Merlion is rolled in the La Aurora Factory in the Dominican Republic and combines tobaccos from four different countries including Ecuador, Brazil, Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua. It is available in three sizes, a 5 x 50 Robusto, a 5 1/2 x 54 Toro (which I am reviewing today), and a 6 x 58 Gran Toro.
Size: 5 1/2 x 54
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Corojo
Binder: Brazilian Sumatra
Filler: Brazillian Bahia, Dominican Corojo, Dominican Criollo ’98, and Nicaraguan Ligero
Strength: Medium to Full
Cigars Smoked For Review: 1
Construction and Appearance: The Merlion by La Sirena’s band is simply amazing. I mean some of the best banding I’ve ever seen. It is simply a beauty, featuring a mermaid sort of lion in the center, and lots of purple shading in a silver theme with La Sirena written on the bottom. The coloring on it is more than eye catching, really it is simply captivating. The wrapper on the Merlion by La Sirena is a sort of lighter brown color, but not nearly as light as a Connecticut shade, with some mild veins and a nice oil to it.
Flavor and Notes: The wrapper of the Merlion by La Sirena has notes of sweet wood and nuts. The foot has a scent which is a blend of spice, earth, and wood. I use a straight cut to prepare smoking the Merlion by La Sirena and on the cold draw there is a flavor which is a blend of pepper, spice, wood, and grass.
Smoking Characteristics: The Merlion by La Sirena kicks off with some nice spicy, peppery, and woody flavor. After the first draw the spice and pepper lingers on the palate creating a light warming effect. The notes of spice, pepper, and wood continue to dominate the first third with a bit of a floral undertone joining the profile after the first quarter inch or so. Although the warming effect starts to become subdued after the first few puffs, the smoke is very smooth, creamy, rich, with a dry finish. The draw is slightly tighter than I normally prefer, but the body of smoke is still full, so it is more a matter of preference.
Into the second third of the Merlion by La Sirena, the spice and pepper start to fade out of the profile, becoming a bit of an undertone. The dominate flavor becomes this nice woody, nutty, slightly dry tone, combined with a subtle orange peel, which adds an excellent balance and complexity to the blend. The rich woody earthy flavor subdues the powerful spice and pepper. The strength is in the medium range, just slightly higher, with a very rich retrohale. The burn isn’t extremely even, but it manages to correct itself each time before I deem a touch-up necessary.
During the final third of the Merlion by La Sirena, the flavors remain very complex but no evolution really occurs. The woody, cedar flavors still pair with the earthy tones, floral tones, and light orange peel which work to subdue the spice and pepper which linger mostly on the palate now at this point. The woody flavor still has this nice toasted sort of nutty tone to it as well, which is very enjoyable. The draw is still a little tighter than I prefer, but the smoke is still smooth, creamy and rich, with the dry finish causing some salivation. The ash easily holds firm, well past the inch point, and the burn still has required no correction. The strength finishes in the medium to full range, providing an excellent mellow buzz, relaxing me wonderfully.
Conclusion: The Merlion by La Sirena is an excellent addition to the La Sirena brand, which will appeal to a very different smoker than the original La Sirena. The La Sirena, which was also an excellent cigar, mostly appeals to maduro smokers with its rich, sweet, bold flavors. The Merlion on the other hand has that excellent spicy, peppery blend, with a nice wonderful range of flavors which help subdue them, making it appealing to a broad range of cigar enthusiasts. With its strength building only into the medium to full range, this is a cigar I’d recommend to someone who is willing to venture outside of the Connecticut shade wrapped cigars. It is a wonderful flavor experience.