Country of origin: Dominican Republic
Color: Colorado Maduro
I'm not entirely certain when I started following Marie Cabrera, one of the co-founders of Valeroso Cigars, on Twitter and Instagram - it may have started when I noticed the great pictures of cigar-smoking bliss that she had been posting regularly. If you have been following this sister of the leaf, you should have noticed that over the past year she has been posting teaser photos of her new cigar line; starting with unbanded sample tasting at Manuel Quesada's MATASA factory where they are manufactured, a peek at the new logo, and an occasional "coming soon" shot of Marie smoking the newly banded sticks. But in January, the Instagram post that generated a great deal of buzz indicated that "Valeroso Cigars are now in the aging process at the MATASA Factory and will be available February 2013". And since then, the social media blitz has been full-on - we got the first glance at the new packaging, the first shipment to the warehouse ready for retailers, and then some in-store events. Now with the annual International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) trade show just a few weeks away, it is anticipated that Valeroso Cigars will be hitting many more shelves of local B&Ms very shortly.
This is the first time that I am writing a review of an entire cigar line. About a month ago, I graciously received an 8-cigar sampler of the Primavera, the first line of Valeroso cigars, which included a cigar of each vitola available:
Sagrado (Churchill) - 7" x 47
Arrojo (Toro) - 6" x 54
Refinado (Torpedo) - 6.25" x 52
El Estado (Lancero) - 7.5" x 40
Fogoso (Robusto) - 5" x 50
Regalo (Robusto Extra) - 5.5" x 50
Contento (Lonsdale) - 6.5" x 44
Animoso (Corona) - 5.25" x 42
I must say that this is a mighty fine line-up of cigars - they are aesthectically and structurally consistent, and the flavor profiles of each vitola is very similar with very subtle differences. The logo on the band is different and quite catchy; "Valeroso" is spelled out with two tobacco leaves forming a "V" tied by the leaf stems with a string (which will obviously be used to hang the leaves for curing!) spelling out the remainder of the name in cursive.
The Valeroso Primavera are all beautiful cigars with colorado maduro wrappers - which all had small veins and barely visible seams, except at the cap. The wrappers were slightly toothy and had a pretty oily sheen; very smooth to the touch. All of the cigars had a very nice suppleness between the fingers from cap to foot. Of note, the Animoso has a pretty cool pigtailed cap. All of the cigars had a musty leathery aroma from the wrapper and the foot. Each cigar smoked underwent a straight guillotine cut. Cold draws were consistently easy; however, there was not much flavor detected.
With the exception of the Sagrado, the Primavera cigars all lit very easily and burned perfectly even throughout each smoke (only the Sagrado required a few touch-ups and a re-light). Each cigar produced nice, long, tight ashes.
Again, the flavor profile of the Primavera cigars were pretty consistent - the only subtle differences noted were the flavor intensities on the finish. I found the cigars to be medium-bodied with mild-medium strength. They all start on the very mild side, but pick up strength and intensity from mid-smoke to the finish. No matter the size, each puff provided a mouthful of thick smoke - very smooth, very creamy in nature. From start to finish, each cigar left a nice sweetness on the lips and a mild spiciness on the palate that lingered.
The first third of the smoke provided some mild earthy flavor. However, the true flavors will not be unlocked until you retrohale. I routinely retrohale every 3rd or 4th puff, but the flavors were so unique and such a departure from my norm, that I retrohaled with each and every puff - which provided a very interesting and pleasant citrus flavor with some subtle floral and herbal notes that lasted throughout the smoke (the herbal notes reminded me of chamomile tea). The second third introduced some cedar woodiness to the flavors that lasted for the remainder of the smoke, but the final third gave way to sweet nutty flavor, which with the 1) citrus, floral, and herbal flavors on retrohale; 2) lingering subtle spiciness on the palate; and 3) lingering sweetness on the lips, provided a very nice complexity that was totally unexpected from the start.
Of the eight vitolas sampled, the lancero, corona, and lonsdale were my favorite, as they seemed to be the most flavorful. Once again, a departure from my norm as I typically enjoy robustos, toros, and torpedos. The Primavera line is definitely new and different - perfect for the novice smoker (especially one who is just learning to retrohale) and one to be appreciated by the seasoned aficionado. I thoroughly enjoyed these smokes and truly hope that the line fares well at the upcoming 2013 IPCPR and become widely available for us all to enjoy regularly.
★★★★ Very Good