La Riqueza No. 1 Wednesday, Oct 7 2009 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Sun Grown USA Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Lonsdale 6.5″ x 42 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

La Riqueza; The Riches, or The Wealth. Interesting choice of names for what might be one of the ugliest cigars I’ve seen since a Padron. I kid a little, but it really isn’t a pretty cigar and that has solely to do with the wrapper. It is a sun grown USA Connecticut broadleaf wrapper that is rough, bumpy, toothy and rumpled looking. Not what you’d think would be a first choice for a cigar wrapper leaf. Another interesting thing about this cigar is that it represents the first time Pete Johnson stepped away from making a Nicaraguan Puro with a Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper. The Tatuaje Brown Label, Havana VI, and P series all used Nicaraguan tobacco and all use Corojo wrappers. Of course since Pete released the La Riqueza he has gone on to use this naturally dark sun grown wrapper on a number of cigars like some additions to the Reserva line (Regio and Noella), The Frank from the Monster Series, and the Cabiaguan Maduro (which is a misnomer since the wrapper isn’t really a maduro in the traditional sense).

So the wrapper was a new thing, but the binder and filler are still composed of robust Nicaraguan tobacco. The cigar has a rather rough box press adding to its ugly duckling appearance and they come in traditional Cuban style dress boxes. At least originally they were in dress boxes. They still are, but now you can also get a slightly prettier version that isn’t box pressed referred to as the Cabinet Series which comes in, you guessed it, a slide top cabinet. They come 50 to a box and the band is slightly different.  It has some white space to the left and right of the main center logo.  The band on the box pressed version is red with white stripes as it wraps around the back.  Pete uses the Flor de Lis on the band tying it in to his now famous Tatuaje brand.  They come in five sizes and they are:

  • No. 1 — 6 1/2 x 42 (Lonsdale)
  • No. 2  — 5 1/2 x 52 (Torpedo)
  • No. 3  — 5 5/8 x 46 (Corona)
  • No. 4 — 5 x 48 (Robusto)
  • No. 5 — 4 3/8 x 42 (Petite Corona)

The Vitola names in parentheses are not official, but just what I have chosen to identify the sizes as.  Some times those names give people a better idea of what the cigar is than just a number or measurement so that is why I added them.  The La Riqueza is made in Pepin’s Nicaragua factory.  I am smoking the no.1 this time, so onto the review…

I say it all the time, but I love Lonsdales.  For me it is the perfect size.  I really like how the wrapper comes into play with the flavors of the blend.  The sun grown wrapper on this cigar imparts a nice robust sun grown twang with a slightly sweet undertone.  This compliments the chocolate and earthy notes that are rich and smooth.  these flavors alternate with blasts of leather and wood and an occasional spiciness That makes for an interesting and complex smoke.  I have smoked a few Torpedos in this line that I wasn’t impressed with.  I found them to be more full bodied than the no.1 but not as complex.  The no.1 is a smooth, flavorful, and complex medium bodied smoke.  In the last third some black pepper joins the party giving the cigar a bit more bite and it develops a slightly nutty finish.

I have smoked three different sizes of this cigar, and guess it is not much of a surprise that the Lonsdale is by far my favorite in the line.  The construction is perfect with a nice draw and a sharp even burn.  The ash is a little loose and flaky but I can live with that given how good this cigar is.

Rating – A

You can get your La Riquezas @ CigarsDirect.com

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Tatuaje Havana Cazadores Sunday, Apr 27 2008 

Country: USA
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan Long Filler
Size: Lonsdale 63/8 x 43 ring

The Tatuaje Havana Cazadores come in cedar cabinets of 25 and are packaged in the old Cuban style. They are packed wet and wrapped in foil with a yellow ribbon around the bundle. Here’s some pictures I took back when I bought them. You can click the pictures for an enlarged view.

This vitola is reported to be Pete Johnson’s vitola of choice and it also happens to be one of my favorites as well. I love Lonsdales. I think it is just possibly the best size for a cigar. When used with a good blend of tobaccos, the ring gauge and length lends itself to a wonderfully complex smoke with a near perfect duration, about an hour to 75 minutes. I have a hard time picking between this cigar and the Reserva SW as my favorite of the Brown Label line. When pressed I usually end up giving a slight edge to the Reserva SW only because I find it a little more complex.

Like almost all of the Tatuajes, it starts off with a full blast of pepper. Once you work your way into the smoke a bit, the pepper calms down a little. I find this stick to be the most “cubanesqe” of all the Tatuajes. It is a heavy, full bodied smoke with some serious strength. They are hard to take on an empty stomach. The smoke progresses nicely, first with black coffee flavors transitioning into a rich nutty/earthiness with brief flashes of cocoa. It picks up a lot near the end getting spicy and peppery again with notes of wood. It has black pepper on the finish throughout the smoke.

The burn goes crooked every once and while but if you’re paying attention, you can get it to correct itself. The draw is perfect and the ash is well formed. The thick white clouds of smoke produce a room bouquet is very reminiscent of that of a Cuban Montecristo. Tatuajes produce amazing aromas and this one may have the best aroma of all of them.

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Tatuajes and the Havana Cazadores are no exception. This is an exceptional cigar that I could be happy smoking everyday. I plan to make sure I never run out of these gems.

Rating – A
Matt’s Top 5

Fonseca No. 1 Tuesday, Oct 16 2007 

Country: Cuba
Box Date: September 2003
Size: Cazadores 63/8x44 ring

Fonseca is an under appreciated brand in my opinion. You don’t find too many people talking about it and there are plenty who haven’t even heard of it. I have found it to be a sort of hidden gem. Milder than most Cuban cigars it is still full of refined, complex flavors and they are a joy to smoke. The hallmark of the Fonseca is the white tissue paper wrapper that graces every stick in the marca, and the bold portrait of Francisco E. Fonseca that adorns each box.

The Cazadores is one of my most favorite vitolas. The No.1 sports a beautiful creamy brown wrapper covered in very fine veins and a handsome triple cap. The cap clipped off nicely and revealed the tell tale Cuban dimple underneath. This cigar starts off like a champ. Right off the bat it delivers smooth flavors of nuts and cream with a subtle saltiness. It is absolutely sublime. It produces thick clouds of creamy white smoke and rich almost nutty aroma. The finish lingers pleasantly with a salty spiciness that is unlike any other cigar I’ve smoked. As the smoke progresses the flavors begin to change. The predominate flavor is coffee and cream with a faint sweetness and occasional floral undertones. The construction on these cigars is flawless. With more than half the box smoked, I have never had a single issue of any kind with these cigars. The burn is razor sharp and the ash is perfectly formed and holds firm. I smoke these to the nub and almost burned my fingers as I finished this one up. It pained me more than the heat to put this cigar down.

Rating – A+

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