Rodrigo La Fortaleza

7-22-13 been in humidor since 12-5-12

Rodrigo La Fortaleza Absoluto (5.125 x 43)

Wrapper: Dominican Habano Oscuro

Binder: Dominican

Filler: Dominican

Blender: William Ventura

The La Fortaleza is the third release from Rodrigo cigars and it is designed for an experienced palate in both power and complexity. “La Fortaleza” translates to “the strength” so the name is fitting. The cigar is Rodrigo’s homage to master cigar blenders everywhere. This is the first and only Dominican puro from the brand witch adds it to the very short list of brands with Dominican puros on the market.

George Rodriguez and William Ventura first met in 2010 when Rodriguez was looking to learn more about cigars in the Dominican Republic. Rodriguez was touring factories looking for information and trying to make connections. When his trip was almost over and little was accomplished, he happened, by fate, to run across Tabacalera Ventura, the independent cigar factory of former Davidoff blender William Ventura. The two hit it off and Rodrigo Cigars was born.

The dark oscuro wrapper is varied in color and has a few dominant veins. It is not a pretty wrapper but an oscuro leaf from the Dominican Republic wouldn’t be considering the process of creating an oscuro and the climate in the Dominican. This cigar looks downright rough. The pigtail cap is a wonderful addition to the otherwise unimpressive outward appearance. The Band of La Fortaleza is black, white and silver with two griffins surrounding two tobacco leaves just above the Rodrigo name.

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When I take the band off of the cigar, a tiny bit of the band sticks to the wrapper but I am able to remove it without damage. Minor crisis averted. The lick on the cap is earthy and licorice. Its very strong and wonderful. After a clip with my double guillotine I get an almost identical flavor on the draw as I did from the cigar before the clip but a touch more spicy. The draw is on the firm side.

I light with a double flame torch.

The first few puffs are surprisingly mild with mostly earth notes. There is a spice late on the finish. As the cigar develops in the first third there is a nice subtle cinnamon-like spice up front. This has Earthy undertones and a nice mouth coating cola and licorice flavor that fades in shortly thereafter. It fades out just as smoothly and leaves a woody aftertaste. Through the nose there is a bit of spice and a slight burn. This is where the power of the cigar is noticed the most. This is starting off impressively.

The middle third has a few uneven burn issues. The flavors are pretty much the same with a bit more push on the spices. The finish is lasting longer than the first third. Through the nose there is the same amount of spice but it has picked up the cola and licorice flavors found on the palate. All around the umami flavors on this cigar are fantastic. The ever so slight salt note that has crept in compliments this very well.

The final third, surprisingly, has not picked up in body. The flavor has picked up an underlying sweetness. The incredible balance of this cigar is enjoyable and the transitions are smooth. This combination makes the cigar seem uneventful because it is possible to predict what is going to happen next flavor wise. The ash throughout has been a bit flaky but it has not hindered the experience in any way.

The cigar ends with much of the same only hotter and less defined flavors.

Burn to the burn

time: 1 hour 50 minutes

burn: 8.5
draw: 9
taste: 10
aftertaste: 10
construction: 9
balance: 10
feel: 10
overall: 9.5

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~ by kuzi16 on July 23, 2013.

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