Sunday, August 10, 2008

Black Pearl Rojo (torpedo)


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I was really hoping for some peace and quiet while conducting this review but unfortunately for me I live right next to the local high school and today they were having a varsity baseball game. It was very hard to concentrate when music like "Who Let The Dogs Out" is pumping out through their loudspeakers. I did my best to focus on the Black Pearl Rojo torpedo that I held in my hand.


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This cigar is a made in Esteli, Nicaragua with a Habana Criollo wrapper and binder and Nicaraguan tobacco filler. It was introduced in 2003 and comes in five sizes: robusto, toro, churchill, torpedo and supertoro. I will smoke the torpedo which is a 6 inch by 54 ring gauge. The cigar retails for about $4 a cigar or $68 a box of 20.


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The cigar is not that bad looking. The oily brown wrapper has a slight reddish tint to it as well as some mottling. If you run your fingers along it you will find it to feel slightly bumpy. I noticed no tears or lifting any where on the cigar and the cap was well formed to a sharp point. The cigar felt firm but not hard and seemed nicely packed. Clipping the cap was easy and the pre-light draw was surprisingly very easy. I say surprisingly because I did have some issues with draw on another La Perla Habana cigar, the Black Pearl Morado.


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The cigar has a nice aroma. I would describe it as a "fruity" tobacco. The pre-light draw taste was more specific to sun-dried prunes. One thing I noticed when I lit the cigar was the lack of smoke generated even though the draw was easy. This may be due to over humidification but it certainly wasn't obvious when I first examined the cigar. Despite the wimpy amount of smoke I could still taste that the body was in the medium range. It had a nice charred woody flavor with notes of dark chocolate and a trace of sweetness. A few puffs later and the cigar took on flavors of straw which I would describe as creamy, as well as a fruity "tang" on my tongue. The smoke also leaves a nice dark caramel sweetness on your lips.


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The flavors pretty much stayed consistent in the first half of the cigar. I did get some mild spice but nothing overwhelming. I would say that it was very smooth. The dominate flavors in the first half were hints of cedar, sweetness, warm spice and cafe au lait. In the second half of the cigar, I definitely noticed the Nicaraguan tobacco character a lot more. It seemed to taste spicier and unfortunately a little harsher. I definitely would recommend having a bottle of water handy when smoking this cigar. The cigar also took on a more leathery character towards the end while still remaining sweet which was really nice.


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The burn of this cigar was not that impressive. The ash was a nasty dark color and nothing like the bright white ash I found with the Black Pearl Morado. However, it was compact and took a good tap to break it off. The burn line was not even and required frequent touch ups to keep it in line. The burn zone also seemed a little broad.


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I would not call this a complex smoke but the flavors are very nice if you enjoy sweet tasting cigars. I was not impressed with the quality of the tobacco used in this cigar. I want the complete package when it comes to choosing a cigar to smoke. Although flavor is important to me, I also want the cigar to burn cleanly. This just adds to my overall enjoyment. I think La Perla Habana makes some really tasty cigars as evident by my enjoyment of the Black Pearl line, but I also think they should still try to improve upon the quality and construction of their cigars. Unless improvements are made in this area I just don't see myself buying a whole lot of these cigars.

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