Country of origin: Dominican Republic
Ring gauge: 61
Wrapper: Corojo '99
Rating: ★★★★ (very good)
I had never heard of this cigar until the night of Thursday, November 29, 2012 - the night when I became "Dominican" again! Interesting quick story before I begin this review...
It was the night of the annual Cigar Aficionado Big Smoke NYC. Although I did not attend the event, I had decided to attend the after party at Cigar Inn - an upscale tobacconist with the one and only Cigar Aficionado smoking lounge and Cigar Aficionado walk-in humidor. During the festivities, someone introduced me to Hugo Melo, Chairman and CEO of Hispaniola Cigars - a very cool and very approachable guy, great personality. After chatting for a few minutes in the very noisy lounge, we proceeded to the solace of the humidor to introduce me to his portfolio. Hugo proceeded to ask me about my preferences - Honduran or Nicaraguan, preferably puros, maduro/oscuro wrappers, larger ring-sized, full-bodied cigars with very bold flavors - to which he confidently grabs the Los Conquistadores. I purchased two on the spot, clipped and lit one immediately.
During the remainder of my time at the event, the cigar kept me guessing - I found the flavors to be extraordinarily bold, but continuously changing throughout the smoke. I absolutely loved it, and decided halfway through the smoke that it deserved a formal review, but I needed to smoke it again so that I could give it the attention it called for. After 6 weeks of rest in my humidor, here we go...
Los Conquistadores has a regal appearance - large cigar with a simple, yet elegant white bands with gold embossing. The rich brown maduro wrapper was slightly oily with small but prominent veins. The cigar had a spongy consistency from head to foot. The aroma from the foot was of leather, but had a rather sweet pungency as well. After applying a guillotine cut, I took a number of cold draws (notably easy draws) which revealed some bittersweetness with mild spices on the tip of the tongue.
The cigar lit very easily with a wooden match - but we need to talk about the burn, which is the only characteristic that kept this from being a 5-star smoke. The burn was uneven for the first half of the smoke and required numerous touch-ups and relights. I did not get an even burn until well into the smoke, which was at least 45 minutes. The cigar lasted about 1 hour and 25 minutes, which was consistent with my first experience six weeks ago - at which time I did not experience any burn issues at all, so I was quite surprised that I had to futz around with this stick. But now to the good stuff...the flavors.
Honestly, not certain what to say here. Much like my first experience with this stick, the flavor was all over the place - but is was absolutely awesome! You will find some mild peppery flavor at first, but it will completely mellow out during the first third of the smoke. Again, the flavors are all over the place - the heavy tobacco flavor had some earthiness to it, at times it was somewhat mossy, almost peaty, at times it was slightly bitter like orange peels, and at times I wasn't sure what I was tasting, I just know it was pleasurable. Each retrohale provided something different for me. I found the inconsistency to be fantastic, and with a long smoke like this, it's that unpredictability that keeps you interested, keeps your palate on edge...all the way to the nub. About the aforementioned notably easy draw, a soft pull provided a mouthful of heavy smoke, which was very nice.
Many years ago, I only smoked Dominican cigars, but started to gravitate towards Nicaraguan and Honduran cigars as my palate sought fuller bodied smokes with bolder strength and flavors. Los Conquistadores got me thinking Dominican again - a great smoke that needs to be accessible in my humidor...
In addition to Los Conquistadores, the other three cigars in the Hispaniola portfolio include Tres Carabelas (Robusto, 5" x 55); El Trabuco 1844 (Belicoso, 5.5" x 55); and Cristobal Colon 1492 (Toro, 6" x 55). Check out the company website at www.hispaniolacigars.com to learn more about the history of the brand and the names behind each cigar in the portfolio. Also follow Hispaniola Cigars on Twitter (@hispaniolacigar) and check them out on Facebook (Hispaniola Cigars).