|Arandoza Blue Label|
The Arandoza Blue Label is a cigar made by boutique cigar company Arandoza. The company was founded by Robert Arango back in 2011. The company prides itself on being family owned and operated. For the Arandoza Blue Label, Arango has teamed up with Erik Espinosa and his La Zona factory to produce the cigar. Espinosa is well-known for his work with EO Brands and last year launched Espinosa Cigars. At the same time Espinosa acquired La Zona and in addition to making his own cigars, he has teamed up with several boutique cigar companies to handle their production. Recently, I had an opportunity to sample the Arandoza Blue Label. Overall, this may be a company to watch as I was very pleased with the total experience that the Arandoza Blue Label delivered.
From a retailer standpoint, as per their web-site Arandoza is focused mostly in the Florida market. It is also possible to find Arandoza for sale by those retailers that also sell online or via phone.
Without further adieu, let’s break down the Arandoza Blue Label and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The Arandoza Blue Label is a Nicaraguan puro featuring a Habano wrapper.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
The Arandoza Blue Label is currently offered in four sizes:
Robusto: 5 x 52
Toro: 6 x 52
Torpedo: 6 x 52
Trabuco: 6 x 60
For this cigar experience, I went with the Robusto vitola. The Habano wrapper to the Arandoza Blue Label Robusto has a nice caramel color to it. The wrapper also has an oily complexion. There isn’t much in the way of visible wrapper seams and veins as these items are only visible upon close examination. The surface to the wrapper is slightly bumpy.
As per the name of the cigar, the band is highlighted by a blue background, but there is also gold and black in the color scheme. On the center of the blue field that adorns the front of the band is a gold and black ring design. On that ring design it says “ARANDOZA” (at the top) and “CIGARS” on the bottom – both in white font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the Arandoza Blue Label, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap. After the cap was clipped, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes provided a mix of natural tobacco, mint, and floral notes. I also found the dry draw to be on the bolder side. Overall, I considered this pre-light draw to be satisfactory. At this point, I was ready to light up the Arandoza Blue Label and see what the cigar experience would deliver.
The Arandoza Blue Label started out with a classic pepper blast. Once the pepper subsided, it was joined by notes of nut and natural tobacco. In the early stages, the nut flavors moved primary. The natural tobacco notes played more of a secondary role. The pepper was also secondary, but definitely lingered on the tongue on the after-draw. The retro-hale had a sweet spice to it. The retro-hale also played a nice role in the overall smoking experience of the Arandoza.
Later in the first third, floral and citrus notes also joined the natural tobacco in the background. It was around this point the pepper notes began to move back and forth between a primary and secondary note.
In the second half, the above flavor pattern continued, but the citrus notes did somewhat diminish greatly. Toward the end of the Arandoza Blue Label, the pepper notes took a slight edge over the nut flavors. The spice never got overwhelming or harsh. The resulting nub was ideal – cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
The Arandoza Blue Label scores very nicely when it comes to the construction attributes of burn and draw. The burn line remained relatively straight. There were a few times I needed to touch the burn up with my butane lighter, but it was nothing that became a major problem. The ash was firm with a salt and pepper color. There was some occasional flaking, but again nothing that was a major problem. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
|Burn of the Arandoza Blue Label|
The draw to the Arandoza Blue Label was ideal. This was a low maintenance cigar to puff on and enjoy.
Strength and Body
Overall, I found that the Arandoza had a little more pop than I expected in terms of strength and body. From a strength perspective, while the Blue Label is not a nicotine bomb, it still has just enough strength to qualify as medium to full in my book.
The communications I got from Arandoza indicated this was a medium-bodied cigar. I actually found the flavors to be more robust and assessed this to be a full-bodied smoke. This could just be the way it hit my pallet, but I still considered this a positive.
As for the balance between strength and body, I found the Arandoza Blue Label to have an edge of body over strength.
The products coming out of Espinosa’s La Zona factory have been very consistent and of excellent quality. The Arandoza Blue Label definitely is one of those products. This is a nice addition to a retail humidor – and especially one that focuses on boutique products. The nutty flavors are definitely the differentiator with this cigar. I’d recommend this cigar to experienced cigar enthusiasts because there are good flavors overall. I’d also recommend this to a novice cigar enthusiast looking to graduate to something in the medium to full strength range. As for myself, this is definitely a cigar I’d smoke again – and would put into a regular cigar rotation.
Strength: Medium to Full
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were provided by Arandoza Cigars. The samples were initiated by Arandoza Cigars in order to provide feedback. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the samples, but in no way does this influence this review.