Years ago, I hadn’t even start to work for my later (and now previous) employer who’s one of the major cigar importers & distributers in The Netherlands, Pete Johnson released both the La Casita Criollo and the Fausto and I got a call from my later employer who told me the cigars showed up on the international price list, he didn’t know what they were, he gave me prices and asked weather he should order them or not. I knew about the cigars, I smoked the Tatuaje T110 where the Fausto is based upon, and read about the La Casita Criolla too and thought it was an interesting concept, the prices were fine so I advised him to order both lines. And he did. Today is also Pete’s birthday, so happy birthday my friend.
The La Casita Criolla is made with a 100% American Connecticut broadleaf, the cigar is an American puro. Now Connecticut broadleaf is known as a wrapper or sometimes a binder but it being used as a filler isn’t something known to the general public, it happens as not all Connecticut broadleaf is dark enough or of the quality needed to be a wrapper. And that’s the kind of leaf Pete Johnson uses for filler in this La Casita Criolla, the lighter colored, the esthetically lesser quality leaf but still flavorful. The only thing I don’t like about it is the naming of the vitolas, why not just go with corona, robusto, torpedo, churchill but with a HCB, HCBC, HFBF, HCR which to me, and not just me alone, very confusing and I think it hurts the sales. I am not a 100% sure but I think the La Casita Criolla name comes from an old Cuban brand.
I grabbed the HCB out of my humidor, which is a 5 1/8×42 corona sized cigar. The cigars are naked in the box, no cellophane to protect the wrapper during transport. The wrapper is dark, juicy and oily with here and there a glittering of minerals, the veins make it look rustic and with the dark color combined it looks a bit intimidating. The ring is very simple, just like the packaging, brown with a white square and red letters La Casita Criolla, then a red square with white letters Tatuaje Cigars Esteli and the Pete Hassel Johnson logo and a drawing of a small house, the native cottage that the name refers too. The construction feels great and the cap is beautifully glued onto its place. The aroma isn’t very strong, just tobacco, barnyard and a little chocolate.
I cut the cigar, xikar butterfly style, and that creates a perfect cold draw with a spicy and peppery touch. I taste a full and nice sweetened coffee. After half an inch the cigar turns to chocolate, coffee and pepper. The chocolate is getting stronger after a third with wood and a little bit of pepper. The pepper fades away a little, I taste caramel with oak, a little chocolate and some spices.
The draw is perfect and the white ash is dense and firm. The luscious smoke is white and full. The burn is close to perfect as well. The evolution isn’t spectacular but the flavors are, right up my alley. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? If I had to pick 10 cigars that I could smoke the rest of my life, this cigar would make the cut.