June 24th, 2015
The Sindicato Flagship is, perhaps, the most complete blend that the company has put together to date. Though the brand has only been around a couple years, it has already attracted attention for its leadership structure. The company is run by a board of retailers that are looking to enter the manufacturing segment of the industry. They hope that their close relationship with consumers will make it easier for them to collect timely feedback. It appears that this model is starting to pay dividends, as this blend is garnering excellent reviews from multiple publications.
The Sindicato Flagship is a Nicaraguan puro, featuring tobaccos from Esteli and Jalapa primarily. It is a square pressed, medium brown stick that only has a couple small veins lacing its surface. The band is black, silver and gold, and features the name of the stick in strong vertical type. The cold draw is flavorful and contains cedar, honey, spice and barnyard notes.
The first third features the cedar, nuts and spice most prominently, though some tobacco and graham cracker notes fill out the background. In the middle third, black pepper heats up the smoke while sweet cream and cedar produce an aromatic and tasty mix. The last third keeps the cream and graham cracker going, though some reviewers also noticed peanut butter and almonds in the mix as well.
Construction has been an issue for the company in the past, but this smoke offers a brilliant burn and draw, along with a straight down the middle body. In all, it is everything that a new smoker and a veteran aficionado alike can enjoy.
June 24th, 2015
A brand’s cigars are only as good as the expertise behind them, and the Montecristo Grupo de Maestros may have more expertise behind it than any other cigar in history. Altadis USA has never relied on a singular face or personality to represent its products, instead using a team of master blenders that are known more by their names and ability than anything else. The inner sanctum, so to speak, consists of six masters, and together they bring more than 150 years of blending experience to the table. That experience is on full display with this stick.
The Montecristo Grupo de Maestros is rolled with an Ecuadorian Sumatran wrapper, a Dominican Olor binder, and Criollo and Corojo fillers. It is available in a single 6 x 54 vitola and is medium brown in color, with a number of small veins webbing its surface. The band displays a gold stamped fleur de lis on a brown background, and it offers spice and earth notes on the cold draw.
The cigar’s flavors include white pepper, cocoa, earth and orange peel. The earth and cocoa are the dominant players in the stick, while the pepper and orange peel serve in backup roles. The stick hangs around medium for the most part, though it reaches medium full at times. The burn and draw are on point as well, so it performs as splendidly as one would expect, especially since there’s a century and a half of tobacco knowledge infused into it.
June 24th, 2015
Although it has only been around for a year at this point, MBombay is already showing signs of carving out its spot in the tobacco industry. Created by former IT professional and cigar retailer Mel Shah, it’s focus is on marrying complex blends and beautiful design, creating something that stands out among other cigars. And even though the boutique is still young, it has already produced several releases. Among them are the Classic, the Mora Toro and the Kesara.
The Classic is produced with an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, a binder from the Dominican, and fillers from Honduras, the Dominican, Nicaragua and Peru. It offers a number of flavors, including wood, spice, black pepper, sweet natural tobacco and cream.
The MBombay Mora Toro comes with a Dominican Havana Corojo wrapper, a binder from Peru, and fillers that come from Ecuador and the Dominican. Its flavors include earth, wood, fruit, lemon, peanuts, and even a little charred meat.
The Kesara is rolled with tobaccos from four countries, bringing an Ecuadorian wrapper, a Connecticut binder and Peruvian and Dominican fillers. Its produces a combination of herbs, hay, cedar, spice, coffee, sweet tobacco and white pepper.
All of the company’s cigars are fitted with large, beautiful bands that look like miniature Persian rugs draped over the stick. They’re the kind of bands that are worth holding on to, and these are the kind of sticks worth filling a humidor with.
June 24th, 2015
The Leccia White symbolizes a major sigh of relief for its creator, Sam Leccia. When he left Olivia in 2010, it was a sudden, unexpected move that caused some short term problems for the big time personality. His intention was to begin his own brand immediately, but instead he ran into some legal pitfalls arising from his departure from the company, and it forced him out of the industry for nearly three years. Now, he’s back, and this blend is the first he’s had his hands on in a while. And it’s nothing like Sam has produced before.
The cigar is made with tobaccos from four different countries, including an African Sun Grown wrapper, an Ecuadorian binder, Nicaraguan Ligero filler and Pennsylvanian seco filler. The Leccia White is light brown with streaks of red, and the small veins are hidden well, as are the seams. It is produced in four vitolas, including a 4 x 46, a 5 x 52, a 6 x 60 and a 6 x 60.
The stick isn’t overly complex but it generates several strong flavors that are developed well. They include some pepper, natural tobacco, coffee and chocolate notes. The natural tobacco and coffee flavors are dominant, for the most part, though the pepper also takes control for stretches. It’s a medium-full smoke, and Sam puts a lot of emphasis on construction, so it’s no surprise that the cigar performs extremely well. In all, it’s as triumphant a return as fans could hope for, and it’s Sam’s way of saying he’s back.
June 24th, 2015
The Leccia Luchador is a celebration of the masked Mexican wrestlers that are loved the world over for their ability to entertain. And like the legendary wrestlers, this blend is rather punchy. Sam described it best when he said that the spice goes from zero to 60 without warning. It’s the kind of move that hits harder than a flying elbow from the top rope, and one that even a masked marvel of the ring will respect.
Sam likes to blend his smokes with tobaccos from all over world, and the Leccia Luchador is no exception. It sports plants from five countries. They are a San Andreas wrapper, an Ecuadorian Habano binder, and Ometepe, Esteli, Jamastran and Pennsylvanian fillers. It’s an intricate blend to be sure, and it comes in a dark chocolate color, with near pitch marbling.
The cigar’s flavors are deep, rich and varied. They consist of mocha, white pepper, earth, cocoa, spice and mineral notes. It takes a while for the stick to find a dominant flavor, but the earth and mocha flavors assert themselves eventually. The pepper also surges the heat to heights at times, backing up Sam’s claim of particularly peppery punches.
Like all of Sam’s sticks, this one is fitted with a perfect burn and draw, so it handles well. However, it can be a handful for novice smokers, as it is full enough to knock a wrestler on their backside if they aren’t careful.
June 24th, 2015
The Leccia Black takes a big risk, which is interesting because it’s only the second release by Sam’s young brand. The former face of Olivia could have taken the safe route and done something standard. Instead, he’s introduced a fire-cured tobacco into this blend, and it’s a success. While fire-cured tobaccos aren’t completely new, they are still rare and have to be blended carefully, or the powerful smokiness can take over the flavor profile. Fortunately, Sam is a natural and manages to impart the unique fiery flavors into the smoke without it overwhelming the stick.
The Leccia Black is made with tobaccos from five countries. Among them are an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, a Nicaraguan Rosado binder and three fillers, including a Dominican Ligero, a Brazilian Mata Fina, and an American “Dark Fire.” The smoke is a light brown and has a slight veneer of oil, but is sharply built. It comes in several formats, including a 4 x 46, a 4 x 48, a 5 x 52, a 6 x 50, a 6 x 52 and a 6 x 60.
The cigar’s flavors include a good amount of smoky mesquite, along with some natural tobacco, pepper, spice, leather, sweetness, oak and coffee. It’s a medium-full stick that looks to challenge a smoker’s palate head on. However, with its excellent burn and draw, an experienced aficionado will be able to enjoy its unique blend of flavors without getting knocked on their backside.
June 5th, 2015
When Sam Leccia walked away from cigars for nearly three years, aficionados everywhere wondered if he would ever make his return. Sam earned a lot of respect during his stint at Olivia, and it was enough for him to create his own brand. Unfortunately, he ran into legal issues during the formation of the company and had to delay its start by 2 1/2 years. Now, he is back and has already released three blends under his new line of stogies. They include the White, Black, and Luchador.
Although all three of the Leccia cigars are above average in strength, the White is the softest among them. It is made with an African Sun Grown wrapper and features coffee, pepper, natural tobacco and spice flavors. The coffee and natural tobacco flavors are the stars of this blend.
The Black is rolled with a fire-cured tobacco that gives it a smoky note not seen in most other sticks. It has a Habano wrapper, and its flavors include natural tobacco, pepper, sweetness and the aforementioned smoky note.
The Luchador is a feat of craftsmanship as it is made with plants from five countries. There is a Mexican San Andreas wrapper, an Ecuadorian Habano binder and fillers produced in Honduras, Nicaragua, and Pennsylvania. Its flavors include mocha, chocolate, earth, mineral and white chocolate.
The Toraño family is overseeing the distribution of Sam’s blends, so they come with a powerful stamp of approval. It’s deserved, though, as Sam’s smokes combine excellent performance with deeply developed flavors.
June 5th, 2015
For a young boutique, the smart move is to always identify gaps in a portfolio and fill them when possible, and the Ortega HeavyDuty was created with this approach in mind. Large ring gauge sticks are becoming more and more popular, and with this smoke, the young company has one of its own. It’s not just a tank shell of a cigar, though, as it is crafted with tobaccos from several countries and produced out of the PDR Factory. This isn’t the first time the company has partnered with Abe Flores, and the results have been superb thus far.
The Ortega HeavyDuty is rolled with an Ecuadorian Habano and a trio of binders and fillers from Nicaragua, the Dominican and Pennsylvania. It is available in six sizes, three in a 60 ring gauge (5 x 60, 6 x 60, 7 x 60) and three in a 70 ring gauge (5 x 70, 6 x 70, 7 x 70). It’s a smooth looking stick, with a medium brown color and small veins present.
Flavors in the profile include sweet natural tobacco, cashew, black pepper and herbs. The flavors are executed well and the construction is on point, owning to the assist from PDR. And with its medium body, it sets the stage perfectly for the large ring gauge to shine.
June 5th, 2015
The Sindicato Flagship Maduro may be the company’s eponymous release, but it is still the fourth line from the young brand, following the Affinity, Hex and Casa Bella. The company has only been around since March 2013, but has already received a lot of attention for its nontraditional approach to business organization. While most companies are family owned and operated, Sindicato is a product of several dozen retailers working together to produce a manufacturing presence. Though it was a bit slow out of the gate, the company is now hitting on all cylinders and producing some nice blends.
The Sindicato Flagship Maduro is among them and is made with a Mexican San Andreas wrapper, a Nicaraguan double binder, and fillers from Esteli and Jalapa. The cigar is dark chocolate brown and is a little rough in texture. The band is a nice contrast to the rustic wrapper, with a clean black, gold and silver design.
Flavors in the stick include butter, spice, sweet tobacco, popcorn, pepper, earth, cedar, cocoa and jam. The standout notes are the butter, popcorn and pepper, giving it a nice mix of sweet and savory tastes. It is a rich smoke, though, and gets close to full bodied at times, though it is medium full for the most part. The burn and draw are both superb as well, and it’s fair to say that the company has definitely reached its comfort zone with this blend.
June 4th, 2015
Sindicato Cigars represents an incredible industry milestone. The company was created directly from the need for a group whose sole objectives are fulfilling their customer’s desires and preventing blends from being discontinued. Founded in February 2013 as the Sindicato Cigar Group LLC, it was announced that famed former Altadis USA executive James Colucci would be President and CEO over a powerhouse coalition of retailing giants.
Sindicato Cigars’ success can be attributed to the group’s construction and their principle, “Sabor Evolucionado”, which translates to, “Evolving taste.” The idea is that with each line debuted; the feedback of aficionados will be used to ensure the next release encompasses every desire of the consumers. These goals were achieved when forty-five of the nation’s largest retailers formed a conglomerate of magnificent proportions under the brilliant guidance of James Colucci and a board of directors.
Combined, the decades of masterful experience of this cooperation is unmatched. The company also has immediate access to the latest market research. Each individual retailer of the company can pool their research and create a complete breakdown by region of the consumer’s strength and body preferences, what wrapper leaf is most popular, what binder and filler blends are most demanded, and even what specific vitolas are most purchased.
This extensive research allowed the group to create relationships with some of the industry’s finest tobacco farms, such as the Casa Fernandez farms in Nicaragua and the Turrent’s farms in Mexico. They are even able to partner with some of the industry’s most revered blenders such as Omar Ortez, Arsenio Ramos, and Rosario Perez. As retailers themselves, they maintain relationships with outside retailers, allowing their products to be sold through hundreds of businesses across the country. These unique aspects give the group the ability to create cigars directly based on customer demands.
This also prevents any lines or blends from being discontinued. The company’s eponymous line, also known as the Flagship line was voted the top stogie of 2014. With four mind-blowing lines encompassing six blends, Sindicato Cigars is becoming one of the top companies in all of the industry, with a variety of smokes perfect for any occasion or strength desired.