The cosy little factory on the corner of 8th and 11th in Little Havana, Miami, might be my favorite factory in the world. Not only because they produce great cigars but also because of the warm welcome I get every time I step in the door. Owner Sandy and her family are great people, I met them in 2009 when I was on vacation, I was expecting a 10 minute tour but spend over 2 hours talking tobacco with Sandy and much to my surprise she immediately recognized me when I came back 18 months later, 90 pounds lighter.
The Gran Reserve Cameroon is a Cameroon version of their El Titan de Bronze Gran Reserve line and it’s made with filler from the Dominican and Nicaragua, a binder from Ecuador and my favorite wrapper: Cameroon. The line exist out of 4 sizes (Churchill, Toro, Robusto, Corona) but sometimes, when possible more vitolas are adde like torpedo, robusto gordo, short robusto, belicoso, corona gorda and two different perfectos. In this three vitola review I will share my thoughts on the toro, torpedo and the belicoso.
The 6×52 Toro has a toothy, almost sanding paper like, medium dark wrapper with only one thin vein but with a waterspot on the back. The ring is nice, very simple, just black with a copper outline, a curly font saying El Titan de Bronze and in normal letters gran reserve. On top and bottom it repeats Cameroon. Simple yet well printed. The construction is awesome, as always, I have not had an El Titan made cigar with less than an impeccable construction. And the aroma is strong, a rich and deep manure but also with some floral notes. In the final third I taste a mild salty peanut flavor, with mild spices and some floral flavors.
I cut the cigar with a flat cut. The draw is great yet quite tasteless, just a hint of floral sweetness. After lighting I taste the same floral sweetness with a little bit of cinnamon. Mellow but nice. After a third the cigar become less sweet, more herbal with something nutty too, very subtle and mellow. The strength is picking up.
The draw is great. The cigar is very mellow, mild to medium in body, medium in flavor. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume. The firm, light gray, ash looks like a stack of coins with the nice thin lines. The burn is straight. Smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? Mellow, mild but very tasty.
Another vitola that isn’t always available is this 6 1/2×54 torpedo. You can see that this wrapper must come from another batch as it doesn’t have the same tooth and the shade is a little lighter too with even some changing colors from the head of the cigar towards the foot. The wrapper also has more veins. The ring is identical as the others and so is the flawless construction. The aroma is just as strong but not as deep and less manure, not floral but more herbal with even some ground pepper aroma.
I cut the cigar with a double guillotine cutter and the cold draw is just perfect. I taste spicy tobacco with a little pepper. I decided to light the cigar with a long matchstick. Straight from the start the herbal spices of the Cameroon wrapper shine. After an inch I taste herbs and spices, of which pepper is dominant and I also taste some lime. Halfway I taste a strong cinnamon flavor and I love it! Slowly the flavor changes to cedar but still with a cinnamon and spicy peppery undertone.
The draw is fantastic and the ash is white and firm. The smoke is quite thick, quite voluminous but a little gray instead of white. The burn needed a little touch up. This cigar is medium bodied and full flavored. The evolution is subtle yet clearly noticeable. The smoke time is an hour and a half.
Would I buy this cigar again? When I get back to Miami I’ll buy a box.
This 4 1/2×54 vitola is one of the ‘when available’ vitolas of the series and I guess I was lucky to be able to get one. I like the size, the cigar looks so cute, short and chubby. The ring is exactly the same as the toro, and the wrapper has the same color and tooth, but it feels a little oilier, a little sticky even. There are not waterspots on this cigar. The construction is flawless again, it feels evenly packed, the shape is gorgeous, it’s quality work. The aroma is almost the same as the toro, but a little more manure and a little less floral.
I cut the cigar, the draw is phenomenal. I taste a little bit of a floral flavor with some spice.
After lighting I taste earthy yet spicy flavors. Soon I taste a salty, spicy flavor with wood and licorice. Halfway I also taste a bit of floral sweetness with the other flavors, and a slightly growing pepper. The final third is very peppery and spicy.
The draw is perfect. The light gray ash is dense and firm. The burn is a bit off, but just a little bit. The smoke is white, reasonably thick and medium in volume. The cigar is medium full bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour.
Would I buy this cigar again? Next time I’m in Miami.