George Rico S.T.K. American Puro Robusto – Cigar Review
Out of all of the cigars that were released at the 2013 IPCPR in Las Vegas, NV there was one that interested me the most. I’m speaking of the George Rico S.T.K. American Puro, which is a cigar made of 100% U.S. tobacco in Miami. When I first heard of this blend I was instantly intrigued since it is quite a rarity to hear of a premium cigar made of all U.S. Tobaccos. Even more intriguing was the pricing coming in at $8.00 to $9.00 a stick. The blend is going to come in three sizes, a 4 3/4 x 52 Robusto, a 5 7/8 x 54 Toro Grande, and a 5 5/8 x 46 Corona Gorda. Luckily for me I was able to snag one for review, so today I am exploring the brand new George Rico S.T.K. American Puro Robusto.
Size: 4 3/4 x 52
Wrapper: Connecticut Habano
Binder: Connecticut Habano
Filler: Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Kentucky Fired – Cured
Body: Medium to Full
Cigars Smoked For Review: 2
Construction and Appearance: The American Puro features two bands, the top one is white with gold accents and a red crest in the middle that says George Rico S.T.K. The STK stands for Stay True Kid. The second band is also white with gold accents, in the center it says American Puro and to either side is a shield with the colors of the US flag.
The wrapper of the American Puro is a golden brown with a fair amount of veins and just a bit of oil to it. The American Puro is topped off with a tight cap and a nice little pig tail. The sample I am smoking for review does not have any soft spots, but the foot appears to have received a slight press during shipping. I’m not sure if this will have a negative impact on the smoking experience, the cigar appears to be completely intact.
Flavor and Notes: The wrapper of the American Puro has notes of cedar, spice, a light mineral tone, and a slightly smokey scent. The scent on the foot is almost totally dominated by a deep smokey scent, along with a bit of oak. I’m starting to suspect that the Kentucky filler on this may be fire cured. To prepare smoking the American Puro I decide to by pass the pig tail and go with a straight cut, on the cold draw there are flavors of a deep charred oak, wood, and a bit of spice. The cold draw did not appear to be impacted by the slight press the foot received during shipping.
Smoking Characteristics: The draw on the American Puro starts off a bit tight, I suspect that this is due to the foot being a bit compressed. On the first few draws there is a blend of a deep smokey oak, cedar, a rich mineral honey sort of sweetness, a little graham cracker, and a nice rich spice. None of the flavors are very dominant, the most present is a mix of cedar and honey. As I smoked past the area with the compressed foot the flavor opens up a bit, and the smokey oak flavor becomes much richer, pairing well with the rest of the blend. I’d place the strength of this first third some where in the medium range. Once passed the foot the body of smoke also opens up quite a bit, providing a nearly full volume with every puff.
Into the second third of the American Puro, the blend of spice, cedar, honey sweetness, and spice continues. In this third, the smokey oak is an undertone which mostly lingers on the palate with a bit of spice. While the flavor has a bit of complexity to it, there is something missing. I can’t really say what it is, I’m not sure if it is the different notes aren’t blending right, or if it just isn’t “popping” for me. The strength remains in the medium range, and the body of smoke is still just under full, with the draw being a little tighter than I prefer. The ash holds firm, well past the inch point, and the burn hasn’t required any corrections thus far.
During the final third of the American Puro, the flavor really rounds out and improves. The cedar and rich sweet honey blend very well together, and a light earthy flavor also joins the blend. The smokey oak and spice still linger on the palate between draws, but it is much more subtle now. This is by far my favorite part of the American Puro, the blend now has a nice bit of complexity to it. The draw opens up more in this third as well, now providing a nice full and rich body of smoke. The ash still holds firm, and the burn is razor sharp. I nub the American Puro enjoying every last bit.
Conclusion: The concept of a cigar made of 100% American tobaccos in Miami is very appealing and interesting to me. For the sake of novelty alone I would have kept some of these in my humidor. Yet when you add in the fact the flavor is pretty decent, and the price is quite low, I think a few is going to turn into a lot. I’m quite shocked by the pricing on the American Puro, it ranges from $8.00 to $9.00 a stick, even while being made in the U.S. Overall my verdict is that this cigar is a must try, also you really have to listen to Hulk Hogan’s Theme song while you smoke it.