|Lou Rodriguez Edicion Premier
One of the indie/boutique cigars that impressed me from the 2011 IPCPR was a Connecticut Shade cigar called the Lou Rodriguez Edicion Reserva Connecticut. In a year that has seen the cigar market flooded with Connecticut Shade cigars, the Lou Rodriguez entry did a nice job standing out on its own. A couple of days later I got a text message from a friend who was up in Greenville NC where a rep from Lou Rodriguez was. He had just tried a Lou Rodriguez and was very pleased with it. My friend happens to be someone who is very knowledgeable when it comes to Nicaraguan tobaccos – and that is the Lou Rodriguez specialty. I figured at this point it was time to sample some more of these and see whether or not Lou Rodriguez can become a brand builder for a retailer. Typically, if an Indie company can have three solid blends, then I feel they are a brand builder. For my second sampling of the Lou Rodriguez line, I opted to go with the Lou Rodriguez Edicion Premier – a maduro cigar (turns out I received this at the Lite Up Charlotte event) After sampling this, the Lou Rodriguez line is well on its way to being one of those brand builders.
First some background that I know about Lou Rodriguez Cigars. The founder, Lou Rodriguez is a doctor by profession who is passionate about cigars and got into the industry. In fact, his cigar bands have the medical symbol denoted on them. There are four cigars currently in the line – the Connecticut, a Rosado, and two maduros. The maduros are the Edicion Premier (which I will focus on today) and the Edicion Reserva (described to me as a fuller strength/body version of the maduro).
Production is limited to 5000 boxes per year. The brand is committed to supporting the Brick and Mortar retailers. The brand is also available on the online retailer Charmed Leaf as this provides access to those who do not have access to a brick and mortar carrying the brand. The brand is committed to not selling out to the online retailers.
Let’s break down the Lou Rodriguez Edicion Premier:
First up, some props to Lou Rodriguez for disclosing the use of the San Andres wrapper from Mexico. In a time where manufacturers are still hesitant to do this, I like that Lou Rodriguez has done this. The San Andres Negro wrapper is one of the best wrappers in the world when it comes to making maduros. Mexican tobacco still gets a bad rap these days – but the San Andres Negro should not be lumped into this category. The binder and filler are from Nicaragua – keeping my buddy happy.
Wrapper: San Andres Negro
Filler: Nicaraguan (Proprietary)
Note: The Edicion Reserva Maduro also uses a similar blend profile
The Lou Rodriguez Edicion Premier is available in five sizes. The cigars are box-pressed.
Bom Bom: 4 3/4 x 42
Robusto: 5 x 50
Toro: 6 x 50
Churchill: 7 x 50
Gordito: 6 x 60
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For this cigar assessment, I smoked the Bom Bom – which is essentially a petit corona. I immediately placed a straight cut into the cap and started the pre-light draw. The dry draw provided me flavor notes of leather and wood with a hint of black pepper. While I would have liked some deeper flavors on the pre-light draw, it was still satisfactory. It was on to fire up the Edicion Premier and see what this cigar would bring to the table.
The initial flavors of the Lou Rodriguez Edicion Premier gave me a nice dose of black pepper to start. I also detected notes of coffee and leather. Shortly afterwords, notes of black cherry emerged providing the cigar an underlying sweetness. As the cigar progressed through the early stages, the pepper became more present on the after-draw and through the nostrils.
As the cigar progressed through the first half, the coffee notes took on more of an espresso flavor. The black cherry notes were secondary, and the nice thing about this was that it was not overly sweet. The pepper spice remained present on the after-draw. As the Edicion Premier crossed the midway point, the black cherry notes morphed into something that I can only describe is natural maduro sweetness. If you like a natural sweetness from a maduro – this is for you.
Toward the end of the cigar, the spice becomes more present throughout the draw. The espresso notes remain and the maduro sweetness becomes more secondary. While there was spice toward the end, the finish to the Edicion Premier was extremely smooth with no harsh notes. The nub was perfect – firm and cool.
Burn and Draw
My experience with the Lou Rodriguez Edicion Reserva Connecticut was extremely positive when it came to the attributes of burn and draw. The great news is that the experience with the Edicion Premier was equally high in quality. The burn produced a nice tight ash. It burned extremely straight with minimal touch-ups. The burn rate and burn temperature was as good as they get too. The draw was outstanding – making the Edicion Premier a joy to smoke.
Strength and Body
As I mentioned Lou Rodriguez Cigars offers two maduros. The Edicion Premier was considered the one to be “less full” – but don’t view that as a negative. This cigar does a very good job at balancing strength and body – making for a wonderful cigar experience. I didn’t find the Edicion Premier to be overwhelming in terms of strength – and I assess it at the high end of “medium” from a nicotine standpoint. The flavors have some nice robustness to them – making for what I consider a medium to full bodied smoke.
2011 has been a very good year for cigars. I’m pleased to report the Lou Rodriguez Edicion Premier was an outstanding smoke. I will state that I am not a petit corona vitola fan, yet I would go back and smoke this cigar in the petit corona vitola again. I’d easily recommend this to a novice cigar enthusiast looking to graduate to some maduro smokes. I also think experienced cigar enthusiasts will enjoy what this cigar brings to the table. This is one to pick up if your retailer has it.
Body: Medium to Full
Source: This sample was received as the Lite Up Charlotte event – held October 1st in Charlotte, North Carolina.