This week's review is a rather special one, because of the cigar I am smoking and because this is my 100th review! I have been trying to figure out what cigar to do for the occasion, and this one sort of fell into my lap and made the decision easy! My friend Craig brought Colin Ganley (Chief editor of European Cigar Journal) to Burning Leaf for a visit and a Prosecco tasting. Colin had just returned from Cuba, where he was attending the 165th anniversary of the Partagas Factory. For the gala dinner, renowned cigar roller Leopoldina Gutierrez (who is known in the industry as "La China") made a special Partagas just for the dinner guests in a few different vitolas. This is the cigar I am reviewing today. I was gifted a torpedo that measures in roughly at 6.5 X 52 with a slightly covered foot. This cigar came to me unbanded, but I was told that they had bands when they were passed out at the dinner. La China is one of the more famous cigar rollers in Cuba and can be found in the shop at the Partagas factory working on her custom cigars.
The wrapper on this cigar is an oily golden brown and amazingly silky to the touch. Cuban wrappers aren't always the prettiest, probably because they are on the lighter side as far as coloring goes, so you see more of the veining. The wrapper is seamless though, definitely rolled with great care. The slightly covered foot is also not something you see on a lot of cigars coming out of Cuba, but then again this isn't a regular production cigar.
The aroma at the foot shows some of that great barnyard funk I like to smell with Cuban Tobacco. Once clipped, the draw is fairly open with a light zesty flavor. After lighting, the first few draws show some great spice on the tongue, but with an amazing smoothness to it. The spice backs down pretty quickly, revealing a complex array of flavors. Roasted nuts, a light leather, exotic spice and a faint floral undertone. Even though most of the spice has backed off, it is still there in spades on the retrohale. After the first inch or so, the cigar has mellowed out andis showcasing plenty of that Cuban twang, some light hay and roasty flavors. I am loving the complexity of this cigar. I am pretty stunned how smooth it is considering these are fairly freshly rolled. The tobacco has some age on it though, which is probably why this doesn't have that green flavor that some fresh cigars have. This is not a bold, in your face style cigar, but not a lot of Cuban cigars are. This is a finesse smoke.
At the halfway point the flavors have continued to evolve, and some honey sweetness and more toasty flavors have taken over with some cedar behind them. The construction of this cigar is flawless. The burn is razor sharp and it holds an ash for about an inch. This ended up being a solid medium/full bodied cigar at the end with an amazing array of flavors.
What a great cigar. This is going to be one of those cigars that not a lot of people hear about because it was only given to those at the gala dinner and I can't believe I had the opportunity to smoke something like this. I've heard a lot about the cigars La China makes and I didn't expect to ever come across one. This showcased what a great Cuban cigar can be. This is definitely one of those cigars that is going to age extremely well, and with more time on it I believe the flavors would become even more complex. Thanks again to Colin Ganley for this cigar! Talking with Colin over many glasses of Prosecco about his work, travels to Cuba and around the world in the cigar industry was a real treat. I hope everyone has enjoyed reading my last 100 reviews, and I look forward to doing many more!