|Lou Rodriguez Edicion Reserva Maduro
In the past two years at the IPCPR trade show, there has been one booth by an Indie cigar company to get a great deal of buzz by the retailers. In 2010, it was Kurt Kendall and his 7-20-4 cigar. In 2011, it was Elogio Cigars. If I had a favorite for 2012, I am guessing Lou Rodriguez cigars will be that booth. Lou Rodriguez was at the 2011 IPCPR, but since then word has been getting around on the great blends being done. The Lou Rodriguez Edicion Reserva is the third cigar I have sampled from this company. I always say, if you have three solid blends, you can build a brand in a retail humidor. While the Lou Rodriguez Edicion Reserva wasn’t my favorite blend of the line, it still has enough to put Lou Rodriguez cigars in that category.
If you haven’t read my previous reviews from this line, here is some background on 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 and the Edicion Reserva – the cigar I will assess today.
The fact that Lou Rodriguez has two maduro offerings shows me a lot that this company has a good pulse on the cigar industry. This shows what most cigar enthusiasts know – maduros are not pigeon-holed to a particular profile. The Edicion Premier showcases was a good medium strength maduro should be – providing good balance between the strength and body. The Edicion Reserva is going to take things higher in terms of strength. The interesting thing is how the Edicion Reserva had a very different flavor profile to go along with it.
Let’s break down the Edicion Reserva and see what it brings to the table.
When I reviewed the Edicion Premier, I gave Lou Rodriguez praise 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. It should be noted that the Edicion Reserva Premier also uses a similar blend profile.
Wrapper: San Andres Negro
Filler: Nicaraguan (Proprietary)
Note: The Edicion Reserva Premier also uses a similar blend profile
The Lou Rodriguez Edicion Reserva is currently 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 (a petit corona) of the Edicion Reserva. This size is consistent with the other blends in the line I have assessed. I went with my usual straight cut into the cap and started the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes were different than what I experienced with the Edicion Premier as I got flavors of espresso, leather, and a hint of pepper spice. At this point, I was ready to fire up my Edicion Reserva and see what else would be in-store.
The espresso notes continued at the start of the Edicion Reserva. It eventually settled into more of a classic old-school cigar flavor profile of oak and leather with the espresso in the background. There was a hint of black pepper as well as a hint of black cherry in the background. This was the flavor profile to hold for the first half of the cigar.
At the midway point, the pepper increased slightly, but still never overtook the oak and leather notes. By the 60 percent mark, the espresso notes seemed to make a slight comeback and were on the same level as the oak and leather. Eventually, the pepper would creep to the forefront by the last third of the cigar. At no point did this cigar get overly spicy. The close to the cigar was pretty smooth. I got a soft nub at the finish that was cool in temperature.
On the positive side, I liked how the spice never overtook the other flavors and how the Edicion Reserva had an “old school” flavor profile. On the downside, I found the complexity of this cigar to lower than the Edicion Premier.
Burn and Draw
The burn of my Lou Rodriguez Edicion Reserva was very good. It did require a few touch-ups with the lighter, but for the most part it burned straight. The cigar burned at an ideal rate and ideal temperature. Overall, the burn has been consistent with the Connecticut and Edicion Premier blends I have smoked. As for the draw, it was a little tighter than I would prefer. It didn’t have any adverse affects on the burn. Part of me wants to chalk this up to being an IPCPR sample, but the other part of me says this has been in my humidor a while and its most likely the product of being a hand-rolled product. Either way, I’m probably making more of this than I should.
Strength and Body
Prior to smoking the Lou Rodriguez Edicion Reserva, I was told this was the “fuller” maduro. Fuller can mean more strength or more body. From a strength profile, the Edicion Reserva is definitely stronger than the Edicion Premier – I would definitely assess the Edicion Reserva as medium to full from that standpoint. As for the body, I felt the flavors here were different than the Edicion Premier, but just as robust. I still felt it was short of being full-bodied, therefore I assess it at medium to full.
Overall the Lou Rodriguez Edicion Reserva is a good cigar that I would smoke again. I would have liked to see it have more complexity like the Edicion Premier (I usually like a more complex maduro). Given a choice of the two Lou Rodriguez maduros, my first choice would still be the Edicion Premier. I did find the naming and banding of the two maduros (Edicion Premier and Edicion Reserva) confusing. From talking to folks who have smoked both maduros, we often would get caught up with the semantics in discussing both of these cigars and it was hard to identify which maduro we were talking about. Ultimately if the naming and banding were more distinguishable between the two it would be easier. Still I don’t hold that against this cigar, but it is a point of feedback. Finally as for who I would recommend this to – I’d go to the more seasoned enthusiast.
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: This sample was received at the 2011 IPCPR Trade Show. The sample was initiated by Lou Rodriguez Cigars. I am appreciative for the sample, but in no way does this influence this review.
Note: All samples received from the 2011 IPCPR Trade Show will be included in my “2011 IPCPR Series”