Monday, September 22, 2008

Chateau Real Maduro

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The Chateau Real line of cigars is being touted as Drew Estates answer to Macanundo. As most of you know, Macanundo is known for making good mild cigars. The Drew Estate website calls this cigar "ultra smooth, naturally sweet, and deliciously creamy. Refined and elegant, it is the epitome of a relaxing cigar."

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After smoking the Chateau Real Maduro Gran Templar (52 ring gauge by 6 inches, corona gorda), I can't help but agree with most of their descriptions. The cigar is quite handsome right out of the cellophane. It has a rich, oily, grainy, chocolate color that just looks scrumptous. The aroma is also pretty tasty with notes of rich earth on the wrapper and sweet red wine (think Beaujolais Nouveau) at the foot. The maduro wrapper is from San Andres*. I had difficulty getting accurate names for all the tobacco. Some sites call the wrapper San Andres Negro Oscuro, which may just be variations of the color shade. The filler consists of Nicaraguan Criollo and Dominican Piloto long fillers.

*As an aside, I think it's funny and a little sad that manufacturers will not mention San Andres and Mexico in the same breath. I guess Mexican tobacco still has some bad stigmas it needs to work out.

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This cigar actually feels like it has some heft to it. The rolling construction of the wrapper looks sharp and I saw no obvious flaws along it's length. However, I did feel a few soft spots which caused me some concern. But overall, this cigar looked well constructed for a maduro costing less than $6 a stick.

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The cigar took a little bit of fuel to get lit evenly. The draw was free with very slight resistance. The amount of smoke I was getting with each draw was disappointing. I attribute this to the soft spots I felt earlier in different places along the cigar, especially the foot. This is a good example of how underfilling a cigar can affect the draw negatively. So to make up for this, I had to puff like a locomotive train to get the cigar stoked for adequate amounts of smoke. It's hard to feel "refined and elegant" when your getting a workout during your smoke. I wouldn't exactly call my experience "relaxing".

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Luckily the flavors were nice and smooth. The cigar started off with a nice sweet mocha taste along with some "twangy" wood flavors. There was a slight scratch of pepper to the back of the throat, more cola-like than "Pepinesque". The finish was clean with some slight pencil lead residue left in the mouth. Eventually I also tasted roasted peanuts, some cedar and highlights of black cherry. The finish was "whiskey"-like but not at all harsh. As the cigar progresses, the mouth residue goes from pencil lead to more wine-like.

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The body of the cigar is medium throughout and the strength level is mild to medium in my opinion. I'm sure strength for others is subjective. I also noticed when I ashed the cigar that there was no cone of ligero. Usually, ligero is more resinous than the other tobaccos in the blend and burns at a slower rate. Ligero is also responsible for the strength of the cigar.


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I also noticed a gaping hole in the middle of the ash which shows the affects of underfilling a cigar.

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I don't claim to be an expert, so if anyone knows other reasons for this, please comment below.

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Overall, the cigar showed consistent enjoyable flavors despite the weak draw. It never got too hot or too harsh. The strength was mild to medium and easy to tolerate, so it could be smoked in the morning. I have to smoke more of these cigars to really come to an adequate conclusion about the burn issues. This cigar did have a soft cakey ash which fell in my lap before the one inch point. The burn line was fairly even. The underfilling of tobacco was annoying because you had to really work at getting a full mouth of smoke. Chomping down on the cigar helped a little at the end, and thankfully the cigar was sturdy enough to withstand that.

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With the price point being fair and the taste being enjoyable, I would recommend this cigar to others. The under filling may not be a consistent problem so I really can't draw my opinions to an absolute conclusion just yet. But if you are looking for a great tasting cigar and you typically like mild to medium smokes. You should definitely give the Chateau Real Maduro a try.

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2 comments:

cigarfan said...

Mexican tobacco is an acquired taste, so to speak, but San Andres maduro is in another category altogether. It's great on the Sabor Cubano, and it blends perfectly with the broadleaf wrapper on the St. Luis Rey Serie G. But then there's Te Amo and Matacan and other unspeakables... As for the tunnel on your cigar there, I think you're right. That's a production error. Thanks for taking one for the team.

Lisa B. said...

Cigarfan- That explains why San Andres growers want to distinguish themselves from other Mexican tobacco.

No one can ever say, I didn't do my part. heh.