|Dona Flor Puro Mata Fina|
The Dona Flor Mata Fina is a Brazilian puro cigar. What distinguishes this from other Brazilian puros that are out on the marketplace is that it is comprised of tobacco from one type of seed – Brazilian Mata Fina. While Brazil is not a country that dominates the cigar marketplace, Brazilian tobaccos are an integral part of many blends. It is perhaps the Mata Fina tobacco leaf that is among the most popular as it is known for its richness and sweetness. Dona Flor is a company that has specialized in Brazilian tobacco blends for some time time. This particular blend really intrigued me as while I’ve smoked Brazilian puros before, I had not smoked a Mata Fina puro before. Overall I found this cigar to be a multi-dimensional smoking experience and one that delivers a very enjoyable smoke.
The Dona Flor brand takes its name from a famous Brazilian novel called Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands – which makes for a very interesting story behind the brand. The cigars are manufactured in the Bahia region of Brazil which is located on the northeastern coast of the country. From a cigar tobacco perspective, this can best be described as Brazil’s Pinar del Rio or Esteli Valley. Dona Flor is not a new player in the cigar marketplace, but it is one that is new to American consumers as legal issues prevented this cigar from making it to shelves. We received a press release back in June with the announcement of Dona Flor USA. Here are some excerpts that provide some background on the company:
Manufactured in the state of Bahia located in
northeast Brazil, Dona Flor Cigars are the result of the collaboration between
Cuban cigar maker Felix Menendez
(who had been involved in the making of famous Cuban brands Montecristo and H.
Upmann in the pre-Castro era) and Brazilian tobacco grower Mario Amerino. Now being brought to the United States via Chris Edge owner of Dona Flor U.S.A.,
cigar enthusiasts will now have the opportunity to savor the cigar industries
best kept secret: Dona Flor Cigars.
award-winning blend to the U.S. market in 2005 but legal issues (which have now
been resolved) kept the Dona Flor brand off the shelves in the U.S. until now.
Chris Edge, a cigar enthusiast and successful business man from Denver,
Colorado was handpicked by Menendez and Amerino to carry out the mission of
exposing the Brazil’s finest cigars to North America.
Let’s break down the Dona Flor Puro Mata Fina and see what this cigar brings to the table.
We pretty much said it before – the entire the cigar comprised of Brazilian Mata Fina tobacco.
Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina
Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Brazilian Mata Fina
At the time of this assessment, the Dona Flor Puro Mata Fina is available in a single vitola – a 5 x 52 robusto. The cigars are packaged in boxes of 25.
The Mata Fina wrapper to the Dona Flor Puro Mata Fina has a brown bag color to it. While there is a little bit of oil to the wrapper, the wrapper has a bit of rugged look to it. There are visible wrapper seams and visible veins. I’d describe the wrapper as “toothy”. While the wrapper does have a ruggedness to it, it also has a lot of charm. There is a flat Cuban style cap to the cigar as well.
There are two bands to the wrapper. The first band has a portrait representing Dona Flor herself – and this band is common throughout the Dona Flor Cigars portfolio. There is a secondary band that has a green background along with two gold stripes (one across the top, one across the bottom). On that band is the text “PURO” in white font. Under that text is “MATA FINA” also in white font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the Dona Flor Puro Mata Fina, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap. It was then time to begin the pre-light draw process. The dry draw notes provided a unique profile. These flavors consisted of leather, cocoa, and some mint. I wouldn’t categorize the mint as overwhelming, but it did contribute to the pre-light flavor profile. Overall, I was pleased with this pre-light draw, so it was time to toast the foot of the Puro Mata Fina and see what this particular cigar would deliver.
Overall I was pleased with the flavor profile of the Dona Flor Mata Fina. There was a lot going on flavor-wise for a cigar with a single type of tobacco in it. This didn’t completely surprise me as when I smoked Tatuaje’s La Casita Criolla (a Connecticut Broadleaf puro), I was also surprised by the variety of the flavors.
The start to the Dona Flor Puro Mata Fina produced some notes of cocoa and mild pepper. There was also some of the mint flavor that I detected, but it was also mixed with some floral notes. For the early part of the smoke, no flavor really emerged as the dominant flavor.
By the middle of the first third, the cocoa notes moved out in front as the primary flavor. The floral/mint combination changed to a floral/cherry combination. This floral/cherry flavor combination had more of a presence on the after-draw. The pepper moved to the background and there was still some mint that could be picked up as a tertiary note.
As the Dona Flor Puro Mata Fina moved into the second half, there was an increase in pepper and this became a primary note along with the cocoa. The floral/cherry sweetness and mint flavors remained secondary and tertiary respectively. This flavor profile held until the end. The conclusion to the cigar was quite flavorful with no harshness. The resulting nub was outstanding – firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The construction of the Dona Flor Puro Mata Fina was excellent and this was reflected in the burn and draw. The burn remained relatively straight requiring little in the way of touch-ups. The resulting ash was a salt and pepper color and was on the tight side – with no noticable flaking. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
The draw was also excellent. This made for a very enjoyable cigar to puff on from start to finish.
Strength and Body
I wasn’t expecting the Dona Flor Puro Mata Fina to be overpowering from a nicotine standpoint – and this pretty much was the case. The first third to the Puro Mata Fina was in the mild to medium strength category. As the smoking experience moved into the second third, the strength progressed enough to move it into the medium strength range.
As for the body, the flavors in the first third were medium. As the cigar moved into the second third, the flavor progressed into the medium to full-bodied range. Overall the body seemed to have an edge over the strength throughout the smoking experience. The Dona Flor Puro Mata Fina is a good example of emphasizing flavor over strength in a cigar.
Prior to smoking the Dona Flor Puro Mata Fina, I was looking at this particular blend as a personal experiment. I had never smoked 100% Mata Fina in a cigar blend, so I was really curious how this would perform. I must say the Dona Flor Puro Mata came through very well. I found this to be a very enjoyable smoking experience. This is a very good cigar for a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast both looking for a smoke that emphasizes strength over flavor. This is one of those cigars that I would say is a great first smoke of the day. As for myself, this is a cigar I certainly would reach for again and one that makes for a great cigar in my rotation.