|La Flor Dominicana Double Claro
2011 saw the releases of two cigars with the candela wrapper by Illusione and Viaje. This sparked some debate as to what was the better blend (this website had the Viaje WLP Candela the #28 cigar for 2011). While I don’t think the use of candela wrapper was enough to make it one of the top cigar stories for 2011, it might have put the wheels in motion for candela to become a top story in the future. The La Flor Dominicana Double Claro marks the first major candela release for 2012. Overall, while I would say candela wrapper cigars are not for everyone, the LFD Double Claro does deliver a solid smoking experience.
First up, the name “Double Claro” is the official name for what a candela wrapper cigar is. Candela wrappers are distinguished by their green color and tend to be both milder in terms of strength and body. The plan is for the LFD Double Claro to be a core-line cigar for La Flor Dominicana. This is encouraging because many candela cigars (like the Viaje White Label Project 2011) are limited edition ones. This is because candela wrappers are not readily available and are harder to work with.
While I have always said the Illusione and Viaje candela releases were completely different cigars, one thing that is common to both of them is that they both were primarily Nicaraguan blends with a candela wrapper. Once difference to those blends is that the LFD Double Claro utilizes Dominican filler tobaccos from Litto Gomez’s La Canela farm. The result is that the LFD Double Claro provides yet another completely different profile for a candela wrapper cigar.
Let’s break down the La Flor Dominicana Double Claro in more detail:
Three countries make up the tobacco of the La Flor Dominicana Double Claro.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Double Claro (Candela)
The initial offering will be three vitolas:
No. 42 : 5 1/2 x 42
No. 48: 6 7/8 x 48
No. 50: 5 x 50
For this cigar experience, I opted to go with the Churchill-sized No. 48 of the LFD Double Claro. The Ecuadorian Double Claro wrapper is a silky wrapper. For the most part it is a smooth wrapper with only a couple of bumps on it. There are also very few visible veins. As with all double claro (candela) wrapper cigars, it has a green color to it. At the same time, I would say that the green color to the wrapper was not as rich as what was on the promotional photos (and this is par for the course with most promo photos of candela wrapper cigars).
The band is the classic red, black, gold, and white LFD band to it. It is highlighted by “LFD” in gold-colored cursive font on a red background. The rest of the band is adorned by gold designs on a black background. Toward the lower part of the band it says “La Flor Dominicana” in white font, and below that it says” DOUBLE CLARO” (all in capital letters).
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my LFD Double Claro No. 48, I placed a straight cut into the cap of the cigar and commenced with a pre-light draw. The dry draw notes yielded primarily notes of cream, but I could also detect some orange citrus in the background. Overall, I considered it to be a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to fire up my LFD Double Claro and see what the cigar would bring to the table.
Upon the initial draws of the LFD Double Claro No. 48, I detected notes of cream with a hint of pepper spice. On the after-draw, I also detected some mint notes. I did wonder whether the mint notes were due to the power of suggestion (after all the cigar is green), however after a few smokes of the LFD Double Claro I’m confident saying that this was not the case. Meanwhile, it was the cream notes that moved to the forefront early on.
Around the ten percent point, the pepper notes had increased somewhat, but still did not overtake the cream notes. It was also around this point of the smoking experience where I detected some of the orange citrus notes that were present on the pre-light draw. The citrus notes soon increased and eventually moved into the forefront with the cream notes. The cream and citrus notes formed a very nice flavor profile.
Toward the end of the first third, the citrus and mint notes diminished and moved into the background. The LFD Double Claro definitely got more creamy in the second third of this cigar. There was an increase in the pepper spice, but it did not overtake the cream notes. Going into the last third of this cigar, the citrus notes picked up again and moved to the forefront. The pepper spice continued to slowly pick up as well. The pepper spice seemed to become more of an exotic spice toward the end. The finish to the cigar was not the smoothest – although I wouldn’t categorize it as harsh. The finish was spicy while the resulting nub was warm in temperature and soft to the touch. This pattern to the finish occurred on each of the LFD Double Claro No. 48s I smoked.
Burn and Draw
On each of my smoking experiences with the LFD Double Claro, the attributes of burn and draw seemed consistent from smoke to smoke. The LFD Double Claro did require a few touch-ups to burn straight, but I wouldn’t categorize the amount of touch-ups as excessive. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal – although toward the end of the smoke, the cigar did burn a little warm. The draw was excellent – making for a very pleasant smoking experience.
Strength and Body
For the most part, this is going to be your classic candela smoke in terms of strength. In other words, this is not going to be a nicotine bomb. For the majority of the smoking experience, I assessed the LFD Double Claro as mild strength. Toward the end of the smoke, the strength crept up slightly into mild to medium. As for the depth of the flavor notes, there is more than one might think. I actually thought there was just enough depth for this cigar to be classified as medium-bodied. The medium bodied depth to the LFD Double Claro was similar to what I got on the Illusione 88 Candela The mild strength allows the flavors of the cigar to really stand out – creating a very good balance.
I thought the La Flor Dominicana Double Claro was a good smoke – and one that I would smoke again. In the end, I still prefer the Viaje White Label Project 2011 as my candela cigar of choice – but that is a hard cigar to come by. Given that the LFD Double Claro is going to be around for a while, it is still nice that there is a solid candela on the marketplace. This cigar will definitely appeal to novice cigar enthusiasts looking for a flavorful, yet milder cigar. Experienced cigar enthusiasts who don’t mind a candela smoke should be satisfied – although I think many would still reach for the Viaje WLP Candela 2011 or Illusione Candela offerings first. I’m in the same boat – good cigar, but a #3 behind Viaje and Illusione in this area.
Strength: Mild (Mild to Medium at end)
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from W. Curtis Draper in Bethesda, Maryland.