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La Rosa de Sandiego Connecticut Toro Gordo


La Rosa de Sandiego is a new line of cigars that made its debut at the 2015 IPCPR Trade Show. The line is produced by American Caribbean Cigars. American Caribbean Cigars is best known for producing cigars for brands such as Gurkha, Toraño and Leccia Tobacco. However with La Rosa de Sandiego, this is American Caribbean Cigars very own cigar brand. The initial line consists of three distinct blends – La Rosa de Sandiego Maduro, La Rosa de Sandiego Habano, and La Rosa de Sandiego Connecticut. In this assessment, I take a look at the Connecticut blend in the Toro Gordo size. Overall I have found this to be a classic Connecticut Shade cigar – and one that delivered quite an impressive smoking experience.

La Rosa de Sandiego derives its name from an area in Cuba called San Diego de Los Baños. This area is located on the western border of the well-known province of Pinar del Rio. The region is famous for its sulfur hot springs, but it also contains soil ideal for tobacco. It was in 1883 when cigar factories began to emerge in the region. It is said that American Caribbean Cigars’ President Damian Tapanes’ paternal lineage is “woven deep in the tradition of cigar making in San Diego de Los Baños.” Now in Esteli, Nicaragua, Tapanes set out with the La Rosa de Sandiego line to create a cigar steeped in Cuban Tradition.

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La Rosa de Sandiego – Top to Bottom: Maduro, Habano, and Connecticut

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the La Rosa de Sandiego Connecticut Toro Gordo and see what this cigar brings to the table.

Blend Profile

Each of the three blends of the La Rosa de Sandiego are distinct. With the La Rosa de Sandiego Connecticut, it features tobaccos from three countries highlighted by its Connecticut Shade wrapper from Ecuador.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Binder: Ecuadorian
Filler: Nicaragua and Pennsylvania
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (American Caribbean Cigars)

Vitolas Available

The same three sizes are found across the Connecticut, Habano, and Maduro blends of the La Rosa de Sandiego line.

Robusto: 5 x 52
Toro Gordo: 6 x 54
Immensio XO: 6 x 60

Appearance

The La Rosa de Sandiego Connecticut Toro Gordo is a well-packed cigar. When held in the hand, the cigar does have a little bit more weight than other sizes of comparable size. The Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper of the cigar has a light brown color with a slight weathered look. There is a thin coating of oil on the wrapper. Any visible veins are on the thin side, and most of the wrapper seams are minimally visible.

The band to the La Rosa de Sandiego Connecticut features a portrait of a woman in a rose-colored dress with a tobacco field in the background. Above the portrait is the text “LA ROSA” in gold font. Below the portrait is the text “DE SANDIEGO” – also in gold font. Going around the sides of the band is a white background with gold pinstripes. There are three medallions on each side of the band.  Under the medallions is the text “HECHO A MANO ESTELI, NICARAGUA” in gold font. The remainder of the band has a gold foil-like trim. The footer has a red ribbon around the edge.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

As I typically do, I began my experience of the La Rosa de Sandiego Connecticut Toro Gordo with a straight cut. Once the cap was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw.  The cold draw provided some classic Connecticut Shade cigar notes of wood and cream.  I also detected a touch of citrus and a touch of pepper. Overall I was quite pleased with the La Rosa de Sandiego Connecticut’s pre-light draw. At this point I removed the footer ribbon, lit up my La Rosa de Sandiego Connecticut and awaited what the smoking experience would have in store.

Flavor Profile

The start of the La Rosa de Sandiego Connecticut Toro Gordo continued with the classic Connecticut Shade flavors from the pre-light draw – namely notes of cream, cedar, and citrus. As the cigar experience moved through the first third, the cream notes became primary. The citrus notes were close secondary notes. The cedar tended to be more present on the after-draw. As for the retro-hale, I detected cedar sweet-spice.

During the second third, the cedar notes started to become more present on the full-draw. The cedar notes did increase and by the midway point, the cedar was on-par with the cream notes in the forefront.  The citrus notes remained a close secondary note. After the cigar experience crossed the midway point, I detected a touch of black pepper.

As the cigar experience moved into the last third, the cedar and pepper notes took center stage. I found a decrease in the cream and citrus.  This is the way the cigar experience came to a close. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and slightly soft to the touch.

Burn and Draw

The La Rosa de Sandiego Connecticut Toro Gordo is a very well constructed cigar and this was reflected in the score of the burn and draw. The burn path remained straight from start to finish. There was a tiny bit of jaggedness on the burn line, but in general this was a cigar that didn’t require much in the way of touch-ups. The resulting ash was tight and firm – coming off the cigar in nice clean chunks. The ash itself was light gray in color. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.

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Burn of the La Rosa de Sandiego Connecticut Toro Gordo

If there was a category for 2015 cigar draw of the year, this cigar would get a candidate. This was as perfect a draw as I’ve had all year. It had a touch of resistance -which I like. This was consistent on the two cigars I smoked for this assessment. This cigar was an absolute pleasure to smoke.

Strength and Body

There are many Connecticut Shade cigars that try to push the needle of being stronger and fuller in terms of strength and body respectively. With the La Rosa de Sandiego Connecticut, I did not find such a cigar. I found a cigar that remained more in the classic range of strength and body. The strength of this cigar pretty much stayed in the mild to medium range. There was a slight increase in strength during the second half, but I still felt the strength remained in the mild to medium spectrum.

Meanwhile I found the notes of this cigar started out mild to medium-bodied. However, there was an increase and by the midway point, the La Rosa de Sandiego became a medium-bodied cigar. As for strength versus body, I gave the edge to the body throughout the smoking experience.

Final Thoughts

This was a very impressive cigar to come out of American Caribbean Cigars. While this isn’t going to deliver a radically different Connecticut Shade experience, it is going to deliver a very classic one – namely a creamy and sweet profile slanted on the milder side.  One thing that really stuck out was how well this cigar’s draw was. Often we dwell on a negative draw, but we sometimes fail to recognize when a draw is really on target and this cigar is such a case. The end result was not only a flavorful cigar, but one that very enjoyable to smoke. This is a great cigar for a novice enthusiast. I’d also recommend this to an experienced cigar enthusiast who enjoys something on the milder side. As for myself, this is a cigar I would easily smoke again – and its certainly worthy of a box split.

Summary

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Mild to Medium
Body: Mild to Medium (1st Half), Medium (2nd Half)
Finish: Good
Assessment: 3.5-Box Split
Score: 90

References

News: American Caribbean Cigars Launches La Rosa de Sandiego
Price: n/a
Source: Cigars Provided by Manufacturer
Stogie Geeks Podcast: n/a
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