VINTAGE CIGAR - J.L. SALAZAR Y HERMANOS RESERVA ESPECIAL SERIES MADURO BY CUBAN CRAFTERS
TORO - 6 INCHES x 52 RING GAUGE - 25 IN CEDAR BOX
Thanks to Luis Alvarado of Cuban Crafters for providing samples of the Salazar cigar. At first glance, it looks like a candy bar. The prelight smells like cocoa and wood and leather. Construction is a light box press. Wrapper color changes from dark chocolate to milk chocolate. Very few veins. This stick is solid. Not a single soft spot. Very alluring.
I believe that their web site has some great descriptions and I shall insert them amongst my review:
Vintage Cigar J.L. Salazar y Hermanos Reserva Especial Series Toro is an extremely limited edition Maduro. Only 100 boxes are made per series because the dark and rich Maduro wrapper is so rare.
I light up. The first few puffs taste like cocoa puffs, black walnuts, and wood. Smoke just billows from the end like a 1915 coal refinery chimney.
The tobacco leaves are aged for over four years and specially cured through four hanging fermentations. This is the exclusive curing process that the Salazar brothers brought over from Cuba. It's what makes these vintage cigars so special.
This little anecdote is on the web site and I find it interesting and endearing:
Since 1810, when the Salazar family settled in Pinar Del Rio, Cuba, they have been growing some of the worlds best tobacco and handcrafting fine Cuban cigars. At 12 noon every day, the 4 Salazar brothers would meet in the porch of elder brother Mario’s house. Mario would open his burlap bag which contained the finest tobacco leaves of the farm’s harvest. The cured leaves were perfect in appearance and taste. They were envied by all the farmers in Pinar Del Rio, Cuba’s prime tobacco growing region. The burlap bag would be passed around and each brother would roll their own cigars. They would each roll enough for the day’s smoke. Each would have a different preferred size but the blend would always be the same for all four brothers. Mario’s sons, J.L. Salazar and his brothers, have carried on that tradition and special blend of tobacco leaves in these exquisite boutique premium cigars.
I continue to smoke and so far, the cigar has a dead even burn. Flawless.
RATS!! Apparently, I put the cigar down too hard because the ash fell off. I'm very bummed out. (Yes, I made it through the 1960's in one piece). Don't you love those personal photos of cigars that have 6' of ash and 1/2" of cigar. The perfect ash tower. But do you ever feel sorry for the guy who smoked the cigar and had to lay flat on his back the whole time so the ash wouldn't fall off?
An inch in, the flavors bloom like a beautiful flower. I'm getting more nuts, but in addition to black walnut, I can taste cashew which makes it milky and creamy. At this early stage, it reminds me of the foam and dusting of cocoa on a Starbucks fancy shmancy coffee.
Note: I've tried most of the cigars in the stables of Cuban Crafters', including their new stick...the Eden. I am extremely pleased at the level of quality and taste from all their blends. This is one of the few procurers that after I am given a sample, I go out and buy a box. Reviewing their cigars is killing my bank account.
The J.L. Salazar y Hermanos Reserva Especial cigars are totally handmade by a master roller. They use the secret blend that the Salazar Brothers brought from Cuba and with only the finest Cuban Seed leaves. The mellow and rich premium taste is unmatched. After trying these cigars, you too will know why J.L. Salazar and his brothers are so proud of their family tradition.
I've had these sticks in my humidor for exactly one week. They taste like they've been there 2-3 years. Amazing.
I'm just finishing the second third. I've been introduced to all the flavors now.
As the second third begins, the medium body becomes very apparent. The complexity of the flavors kicks into high gear. This is a slow burning stick. It invites you to savor it. I'm drinking some bottled water with it. That's all I drink when I review. Alcoholic libations and sodas and juices only kill the nuances and finesse of the cigar. The only exception is when I smoke a couple big brand name sticks that are so chocolaty, that I must drink a Diet Coke with it so I get the 1967 Bob's Big Boy experience of the Chocolate Coke.
I just checked. 25 sticks for $110. $4.40 a stick. The depth and aging should make this a $10-$12 stick.
As I approach the halfway point, I get a little bit of black pepper in the back of my throat. Lots of companies claim anise or licorice. But on the long finish, I get black licorice acting very dainty.
This is a cigar you treat yourself to. You get your buddies together and you hand these out. I guarantee you will be the Big Shot of the evening.
The only downside to this is that the last half is so phenenomenal, no one will talk. Depending on your company, it's iffy if this is good or bad.
The last third of this cigar builds to full body. The creaminess and cocoa are just engulfing my taste buds. This is a superb cigar by any scoring means.
Check them out at: http://www.cubancrafters.com/products.php/item_id/4938