Tabacalera El Artista

Puro Ambar Legacy Robusto

Puro Ambar Legacy Robusto. Or should it be a Grand Robusto as it’s larger and thicker than the standard 5×50 Robusto Vitola? Anyway, the Puro Ambar brand is part of the portfolio Tabacalera El Artista. Recently the brand got an overhaul. New packaging and a new blend. But this is the old blend, with the old artwork. The line is around since 2011.

Tabacalera El Artista is not only a cigar manufacturer but also a cigar tobacco grower. And they are known for creating new varieties or bringing back old tobacco such as Dominican Negrito. The wrapper for the Puro Ambar is one of these exclusive tobaccos with the name 1900. It’s also part of the filler together with Criollo 98. The binder is Dominican Criollo 98 which is fermented in wine barrels.

The wrapper is dark. But a little rough with a few veins. It isn’t the best looking Maduro wrapper, but the rougher ones are often more flavorful. It’s oily and evenly colored. The white and brass rings match the wrapper, they compliment each other. Simple and clean in design. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is deep and dark. Manure and herbs. The herbs are very concentrated like vegetable stock cubes.

The cold draw is great, maybe even a bit on the loose side. There is a very mild cinnamon flavor in the cold draw. Once lit, the cigar releases wood with a dry sweetness. Soon these flavors are accompanied by leather and spice. The cinnamon and nutmeg are pretty pronounced in the retrohale. Halfway the cigar gets notes from dark roast coffee with sweetness, almost honey-like mixed with vanilla. The wood and leather are still in the flavor profile as well. Earthiness shows up with the bitterness and complexity of extra dark chocolate. Much like 80% dark chocolate. There is still spice and a little splash of pepper.

The draw is a bit on the loose side, but still acceptable. The burn isn’t razor-sharp but corrects itself so no touch-ups are necessary. The ash is salt and pepper in color, dense and firm. The smoke is thick and lush. This is a medium cigar, in body and flavor. And for its price, it is a very pleasant smoke. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Most likely yes

Categories: 89, Dominican cigars, Puro Ambar, Tabacalera El Artista | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Buffalo Ten Maduro Toro

Buffalo Ten Maduro Toro. When the first rumors about this release surfaced, the name was a mystery. At first, the suggestion was made that it is a cigar for the Buffalo Cigar Festival. But in a conversation with Ram Rodriguez from Tabacalera El Artista, the truth was revealed. The name is chosen because it’s a cool sounding name. Of course, the people behind Buffalo Cigar Festival love the name, but they are not the inspiration. Rodriguez wanted to make a value cigar, one size, simple packaging, and simple artwork. The 10 in the name comes from the first proposed packaging. Bundles of 10 cigars. But eventually, the cigars were released in bundles of five cigars.

The cigar measures 6×52 and is box-pressed. Almost rectangle, much like the Factory Press from La Flor Dominicana. Very sharp edges. This is a five-country cigar blend, with a Mexican wrapper. A Maduro from San Andres. The filler comes from the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and the USA. The Colombian tobacco is used for the slightly acidic flavor, that helps to bind all flavors together. But the tobacco that is most rare is the binder. It’s a Dominican Negrito. Very dark tobacco that was popular 50 to 60 years ago. But it disappeared. Tabacalera El Artista and the Dominican Agricultural Society brought it back to life. It’s hard tobacco to grow, with relatively low yields. So it’s not used often.

The cigar looks amazing. Not just to smoke, but also to eat. The sharp box-pressed shape and the dark chocolate color make this cigar look like a candy bar. Add a simple, clean, and slick white ring and you have an amazing looking cigar. The wrapper is Colorado Maduro colored, with one flattened vein. It’s toothy and feels like fine sandpaper. The ring is white, simple, clean with print in the same color as the wrapper. The two components on itself look fine, yet the combination is extremely pleasing on the eyes. The box press is so sharp, it is almost as sharp as the La Flor Dominicana Factory Press cigars. The construction feels good. The aroma is earth and leather.

The cold draw is flawless. The flavor is earthy. Once lit, the cigar has coffee, soil, sweetness, and herbal spices. The flavors then change to soil, leather, chocolate, pepper, and spice. Leather gets stronger with cedar and pepper. The mouthfeel is dry. The second third starts with cocoa powder. Dry. Add some leather and a hint of acidity to bind everything together. The flavors slowly change to more leather, spices, soil, and wood. With still a hint of chocolate, pepper, and acidity. The final third starts with that dry chocolate or cocoa flavor again. Pepper, leather, and wood are there too. With a hint of sweetness. The mouthfeel is still dry now, but also sticky. There is a spice flavor that is hard to describe, with wood, pepper, and chocolate.

The draw is fantastic, the right amount of airflow and resistance. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar produces plenty of thick white smoke. The ash is almost white as well. Firm also. The cigar doesn’t have a lot of evolution. But it is balanced and flavorful. The Buffalo Ten Maduro Toro is a medium-bodied, medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is three hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? A 92 rated cigar for a value price? Damn right!

Categories: 92, Buffalo Ten, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera El Artista | Tags: , , , , ,

Cimarron Connecticut Robusto

Cimarron Connecticut Robusto. In 2018, Tabacalera El Artista released the Cimarron. And not just in one blend, but in three. Once with a Connecticut Shade wrapper, one with a Maduro wrapper. And a third one, with a Habano wrapper exclusively for Germany. Recently, a soft box-pressed toro was launched as a Dominican exclusive. Ram Rodriguez, the third generation to work at Tabacalera El Artista, was heavily involved in the blending process. And as he is not a fan of Connecticut Shade tobacco, blending the Connecticut version was hard to do. In a Zoom conversation, Rodriguez said he feels like he succeeded. And that the Cimarron is a Connecticut Shade blend that is suitable for the smokers that don’t like Connecticut Shade wrappers. That includes me, I dislike Connecticut Shade with a passion.

Tabacalera El Artista is around since 1965, but most of the time, they have been on the background. Going and trading tobacco, making private labels, and no-name bundle cigars. But the last few years, Tabacalera El Artista is coming in strong with great blends under their own brands. And as tobacco growers, they are innovators. The filler of the Cimarron uses T13 tobacco, a hybrid. Created by Tabacalera El Artista. The company is also responsible for bringing back Negrito, an old tobacco variety. It was very popular in the mid-1900s but lost popularity. Ram Rodriguez brought it back as a tribute to his grandfather. Tabacalera El Artista uses Dominican Negrito in many of its blends. The wrapper on this 5×54 Robusto comes from Honduras, which is different from Ecuadorian or American Connecticut Shade.

The wrapper is quite dark for a Connecticut Shade. It has a thin, long, vein on the side. The classic looking ring is clean and clear. White, green, and gold are a color combination that works well. The cigar has a beautiful triple cap and feels well constructed. The aroma is medium strong, the aroma is that of a freshly cut down apple tree mixed with straw.

The cold draw is fine with a mild wooden flavor. Once lit, the cigar has a spice, oak, sweetness, but also a little bit of that old book Connecticut flavor. The cigar does have some bitterness that is classic Connecticut Shade as well, but all the while it’s creamy too. There are pepper, cedar, and leather. The sweetness is almost marzipan like. Halfway the first third, there is a slightly nutty flavor as well. After a third, the cigar is woody with nuts, some sweetness, soil, and leather. Halfway, the nuttiness of the flavors is enough to fool the smoker into thinking it’s a Corojo wrapper. There is no sign of the classic Connecticut profile, just a nice and spicy nuttiness that fits more into a Corojo profile. The final third is a beautiful mix of different woods, soil, leather, and nuts. The pepper is still there but balanced and on the background. The finale is peppery and strong.

The draw is fine while the smoke is thick and nice. The burn is straight. The grayish ash is firm. The cigar is medium in both body and flavor. There is a nice evolution in the cigar. All along with the cigar, there is a little roughness that gives the mildness some edge. Without that roughness, the cigar would be boring. The smoke time is three hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s one of the few Connecticut’s I enjoyed.

Categories: 90, Cimarron, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera El Artista | Tags: , , , ,

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