|Te-Amo Revolution by Altadis – Robusto Ovalado|
The Te-Amo Revolution was one of several cigars launched by Altadis at the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show. There has been an underlying theme with Altadis in 2012 and that has been to reconnect with their consumer base by reinvigorating their existing brands. This year. we have seen this with the Montecristo, VegaFina, and Trinidad brands. Perhaps the boldest move has been with Altadis’ Te-Amo brand. Te-Amo is a brand of cigars known for cigars made in Mexico consisting of Mexican tobacco. In the past few years, the stigma of Mexican tobacco being inferior has began to dissipate. In a way, the stars were aligned to see what Altadis could do with it’s Te-Amo brand. With the launch of the Te-Amo Revolution, Altadis’ strategy continues to work. This provided me a very nice smoking experience as well as something different than what I’ve seen out there.
Altadis’ leverages much of its Mexican tobacco from the Turrent family. The company has made several releases with Mexican wrapper cigars over the past few years, including 2012’s: VegaFina Fortaleza 2, VegaFina Jose Seijas 2011, and the Trinidad Paradox. While we have seen a large increase in Mexican wrapper cigars in the marketplace, much of this has been focused in the area of maduro wrappers – most prominently the San Andres Negro wrapper. With the recent Altadis releases, we have seen the use of Mexican tobacco go wider – with San Andres Criollo (VegaFina Jose Seijas 2011, VegaFina Fortaleza 2, Trinidad Paradox), San Andres Corojo (A.Turrent Puro Corojo), and now with the the Te-Amo Revolution a San Andres Habano.
Let’s break down the Te-Amo Revolution and see what this cigar brings to the table:
The Te-Amo Revolution is not a Mexican puro. This is not the first time a Te-Amo has not been comprised of 100 percent Mexican tobacco as the Te-Amo World Selection Series was a multi-national blend. The Revolution still has a lion’s share of Mexican tobacco. In addition to the San Andres Habano wrapper, it utilizes San Andres Negro and San Andres Corojo in the blend. The differentiating factor is there is some Nicaraguan tobacco in the filler.
Wrapper: San Andres Habano
Binder: San Andres Corojo
Filler: Nicaraguan, San Andres Negro, San Andres Corojo
The Te-Amo Revolution brings what I term the “oval-press” shape to each of its cigars. This was a trend recently made popular through A.J. Fernandez’s San Lotano Oval series. With the Revolution’s “oval press”, it is flatter then the San Lotano, producing a wider cigar.
The Te-Amo Revoluton is available in three sizes and are packaged 18 to a box.
Robusto Ovalado: 5 1/4 x 56
Toro Ovalado: 6 1/4 x 54
Churchill Ovalado: 7 1/4 x 52
|Te-Amo Revolution by Altadis – Toro Ovalado|
For this cigar experience, I smoked the Robusto Ovalado. The Robusto Ovalado has the widest ring gauge of the three vitolas. The cigar has a “flatter” appearance than any cigar I’ve ever seen. The San Andres Habano wrapper is rather attractive. It is a medium brown wrapper with a colorado red tint. There is a slight amount of oil on the wrapper. The wrapper has some visible veins, and upon close examination you can see the wrapper seams.
The band is simple, yet edgy for the Te-Amo Revolution. The band has red background. On the red background is a large black square. On the black square it says “REVOLUTION” in an adobe styled yellow font. There is no mention of the Te-Amo name on the band.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the Te-Amo Revolution Robusto Ovalado, I went with a straight cut into the large cap of the cigar. I then proceeded to start the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes provided me a mix of cedar notes that had both sweet and spice qualities to them. I also detected some notes of leather. Overall, it was not a bad start for the Te-Amo Revolution. At this point, it was now on to firing up the Revolution and seeing what this cigar would bring to the table.
The start to the Te-Amo Revolution provided me with a nice blast of black pepper. This was reminiscent of pepper blasts found on many Nicaraguan puros. The pepper settled down and the flavor profile became a combination of natural tobacco, coffee, and pepper. Of the three notes, no flavor stood out over the others. This flavor profile would hold throughout the first half of the cigar experience.
At the beginning of the second half, this was the cigar’s “sweet spot” (not literally, but it was the most flavorful). The coffee flavors took over as a primary flavor as the natural tobacco and pepper notes played more of a secondary role. As the Te-Amo Revolution moved into the final third, the pepper notes resurfaced and eventually took over as the primary flavor. The finish was slightly harsh. The resulting nub was slightly soft, but cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
For the most part, the Te-Amo Revolution had a good burn. I did not have to do a lot of touch-ups to keep the burn line straight. The one issue I had is that the cigar seemed to have a tendency to tunnel. On each of the robustos I smoked, there was 1 or 2 times where this occurred per smoke. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, there were no issues here – both were ideal. The resulting ash was mostly firm with a salt and pepper color.
The draw was very good on the Te-Amo Revolution. Any time a cigar shape is unorthodox, I always wonder how the draw will perform, however there were no issues here. This was a great cigar to puff on from start to finish.
Strength and Body
This cigar had a nice story to tell when it comes to the attributes of strength and body. Any perceptions that Mexican tobacco cannot deliver some strength and body will be erased when the Te-Amo Revolution is smoked. This isn’t going to be a powerhouse cigar, but there is enough of a nicotine kick to qualify this cigar as a medium to full strength smoke. As for the depth of the flavors, the Revolution has that as well. I assessed the cigar to be medium to full-bodied. There is a nice equilibrium between the strength and body as neither attribute overshadows the other.
If you have read my articles on this site, you will know in many cases I have been critical of Mexican wrapper cigars. However, I would say my criticism has been in the area of Mexican maduros. It isn’t that I think Mexican maduros are bad, it is just that the wrapper can sometimes overwhelm the flavor profile. In the case of what Altadis is doing with the non-maduro Mexican wrappers, I like it. The Revolution is another case where Altadis deserves a check mark. While we don’t factor price into our assessments, it is worth noting that the price point for the Te-Amo Revolution starts around $5.25 – so there is good value here. While the Revolution is not the most complex smoke, it will deliver some nice flavors. I’d recommend this to both a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, while it is not an everyday smoke for me, I can see myself keeping a few around.
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.