Boutique Wednesday Cigar Review: Le Cigar

LeCigar

Size: 4.9×38, Petit Corona (Premium No. 4)

Wrapper: Sumatran (Bahia shade grown)

Binder: Brazilian (Bahia)

Filler: Brazilian (Bahia)

Strength: Mild

Price: Unknown

Grade: 8.8

Eduardo Leoni of Le Cigar got in touch with us early in the year requesting that we review his cigar. A few weeks later we received a couple samples each of the Robusto and Petit Corona. They smoked great and I really enjoyed the Petit Corona size. I inquired about ordering some and he sent me another five, saying they were not currently available for export to the States.

The cigars are presented in boxes of 10, 12, 24, and 25, all determined by the size, for which there are five of: Churchill (Premium Senior, 6.5×50), Corona (Premium Junior, 5.5×48), Robusto (4.7×52), Corona Especial (Medium filler, 5.1×50), and Petit Corona (4.9×38, Premium No. 4). Le Cigar operates under the formal name of Manufatura Tabaqueira LeCigar Ltda and is out of Brazil, in the Bahia tobacco district.

I am unsure of the level of competition in the Brazilian tobacco industry, but Le Cigar was recently voted top Brazilian cigar. There are quite a few cigar manufacturers utilizing Brazilian wrappers, such as CAO , Carlos Torano, Alec Bradley, but to my knowledge there are not many puros, other than Dona Flor. Brazil consistently ranks at the bottom of tobacco exporting to the States.

Eduardo and I have had several email exchanges about the possibility of distributing Le Cigar in the States, which he is eager to do, mostly because of the strict regulations on the cigar industry in Brazil. They have been exporting to the European market for the last 10 years but have yet to leap into the States. According to Eduardo, the Brazilian cigar industry is under the same rules and regulations as the major cigarette companies are, including testing and taxes. This was obvious when I took a look at the horrid picture and disclaimer on the box, which graphically demonstrated the potential dangers of smoking.

So, let’s take a look at Le Cigar…and make a toast!

Pre-light, 1.4:
The overall exterior is very dry though there are no splits in the wrapper. The head is double capped and the body has minimal veins and is a bit spongy overall. The aroma is rather enticing, with notes of hazelnut and cashews and a general chocolatey sweetness. Overall, the appearance most reminds me of a Padron, though a couple notches below their quality. The pre-light draw is effortless and reveals the slightest bit of mint on the tongue. As mentioned before, these cigars are not currently distributed in the US, but if they decide to make the move, the appearance will be the greatest area requiring improvement. The band is very washed out with sloppy coloring and the glue on the band affected the wrapper on the majority of my samples.

Burn, 1.9:
The Le Cigar had a great draw with a slight resistance which produced a slow and steady burn and adequate clouds of smoke. The ash layered tightly and was consistently colored and, despite the thin ring gauge, the cigar maintained a cool temperature throughout.

Flavor, 2.7:
Dry, dry, dry, but that is not always a bad thing. Though this cigar did not have any creamy bursts, the flavor was quite enjoyable and extremely smooth and gentle. Working itself more into halves than thirds, the first portion of the smoke consisted of a very earthy, almost smokey, profile with notes of chocolate and caramel. The second half continued the earthiness but the finish became shorter, the sweet chocolate and caramel faded, and a leathery profile dominated. There was never any harshness present in my samples and if you are looking for a mild morning cigar with a little more flavor than a Connecticut shade wrapper, I think you will enjoy this Brazilian puro.

Overall, 2.8:
This has become one of my favorite quick smokes. At 20-30 minutes, you get some enjoyable flavor that is not overbearing or harsh. Not having any real comparisons for other Brazilian smokes, I’d say it most closely resembles the flavor profile of a Nica Libre. What is missing in drastic transitions is replaced by a gentle and smooth consistency that is evident in both flavor and burn. In the five or so I’ve had there has not been one burn issue to speak of. It will likely be a while before you find these in the States, but if you get a chance to try one I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Also, with no real knowledge of price, it is hard to account for that in the rating, but I will say I’d be willing to pay $5-8 for this cigar, based on the five size ranges. Update: Found out via Twitter that these go for around $4-5 for a Robusto, based on the conversion rate for European prices.

(Total: 8.8)

Question of the Day: What has your experience been with Brazilian tobacco?