A rodrigocigars.com house blend, but George does seem to have a talent for blending. Not that everything is great (see my review of a set of experimental blends he sent me). But I’ve had two of his production house blends now and they’re both very good. This review is of the first of those two blends, the Fortaleza (the blend) Absoluto (the vitola).
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Dominican, Peruvian
Vitola: Classic Corona, 5.5″x43
Cold smell: Manure, barnyard, and something sweet like clove or allspice
Construction very nice. Pack and roll is all even, few visible seams, no veins, draw just right.
The cigar begins with noticeable pepper along with a sweet woodiness, barnyard, and salt. Reminds me a lot of the Asylum Nyctophylia. After a while there is a little leather, cedar, and some sweet sort of mintyness. After a while the draw gets a little tight as the tobacco expands behind the coal. My draw tool takes care of the problem, but I have to re use it a few times along the smoke as this kind of plugging up happens every half inch or so. Smoke is rich, and strongly flavored, Smoke output stays dense throughout, there is a lot of pepper on the retrohale.
In the second third more mint, leather, warm spice, salt and pepper and behind it all a strong sort of rough tobacco flavor, lots of roast vegetal and burning hay notes. Burn is very even and slow. No corrections needed well into the last third.
As the cigar crosses into the last third all the flavor notes are still there, but the pepper comes up more to the front along with hay, especially on the retrohale. I get a brown sugar sort of sweetness but that might be coming up from the Elijah Craig bourbon I’m pairing with this smoke and working very well with it. It does seem that a sweet rich bourbon like this one goes better with this strongly flavored cigar than most of my rums, though of those, the tobacco notes of the Dos Maderas rums work well too.
I have to make my first and only burn correction at about 2″. The cigar stays a solid medium throughout maybe pushing into the full side of medium in the last third. I have smoked 3 of these so far, they have all been good. For $7 regular price this isn’t a bad cigar, but take off 10% or 15% for one of George’s monthly discounts and it becomes a really good and flavorful cigar for the price. I very much recommend getting on George’s mailing list at rodrigocigars.com. His discounts come along once a month or so and he carries a few premium blends (like Leaf, Padilla, and more) at reasonable prices.
I reviewed some of George’s creations over here in the Rodrigo Box, but none of those are available, very limited editions. These Fontalezas are production cigars and so usually available.