|Dona Flor Seleção|
Today we take a look at a cigar called the Dona Flor Seleção. Dona Flor is a cigar company that specializes in Brazilian-based tobacco blends. Several of the tobacco blends they have released are Brazilian puros – meaning all of the tobacco comes from Brazil. In the case of the Seleção, this blend consists of a combination of Brazilian Mata Fina and Mata Norte tobacco. I’ve always found smoking Brazilian puros to be an interesting experience and the Seleção is no exception. This delivers a very solid cigar experience.
Back when we assessed the Dona Flor Puro Mata Fina, we provided some background on the Dona Flor company:
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.
The Dona Flor Web-Site provides some additional context 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.
Dona Flor made an attempt to distribute its 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.
A few weeks ago, we assessed the Dona Flor Puro Mata Fina. This was a blend consisting entirely of Mata Fina tobacco. I was now curious to smoke the Seleção and see a blend of Mata Fina and Mata Norte tobacco would do. Let’s break down the Dona Flor Seleção and see what this cigar brings to the table.
We pretty much said it already – the entire the cigar comprised of Brazilian tobacco.
Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina
Binder: Brazilian Mata Norte
Filler: Brazilian Mata Fina and Mata Norte
At the time of this assessment, the Dona Flor Seleção 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 Seleção has a rustic look to it. The wrapper has a reddish brown color to it. While the wrapper has a little bit of oil to it, I would describe it as more on the silky side. There are some visible veins and wrapper seams. Overall, I would also say the wrapper is on the toothy side. The cigar also has a Cuban-style flat cap.
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 red background along with gold striping On that band is the text “SELEÇÃO” in white font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the Dona Flor Seleção, I went with my usual straight cut to remove the Cuban style cap. After the cap was successfully clipped, it was time to move on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw gave me a combination of cocoa, leather, and some background mint notes. Overall, I considered this to be a positive pre-light draw experience. It was now time light the Dona Flor Seleção and see what the overall cigar experience would bring to the table.
The start to the Dona Flor Seleção provided me a mix of floral and natural tobacco notes. I also detected some background pepper and coffee in the background. The pepper was more prominent on the after-draw.
Around the five percent mark, the coffee notes joined the floral and natural tobacco as primary flavors. There was a nice fusion with these notes creating an interesting flavor profile.
In the second third, a couple of interesting things happened. First there almost was a mesquite quality that emerged from the fusion of the floral, natural tobacco, and coffee notes. Secondly there was a unique sweetness that was a part of this fusion. The pepper notes were still in the background and there were some mint notes that were tertiary.
The second half of the Dona Flor Seleção saw the flavor profile move to more of a classic coffee and chicory flavor. The “fusion” of floral, natural tobacco, and mesquite had receded into the background. There also was some background pepper, and the mint notes remained tertiary. This was the way the flavor profile held until the end. There were no harsh notes as the cigar experience ended. The resulting nub was firm, but on the lukewarm side.
Burn and Draw
Overall, I was very impressed with the construction of the Dona Flor Seleção. In general, combining this with my previous smoking experience of the Dona Flor Puro Mata Fina and this is a cigar company that is making some well constructed cigars. This reflected nicely in the burn and draw.
The burn was excellent for the Seleção. The cigar had a straight burn line with minimal touch-ups required. The resulting ash was a tight one. It has a nice white color with some black speckles in it. The burn rate was ideal. The burn temperature was ideal until the very end where it did get a little on the lukewarm side. This had no impact on the cigar experience or flavor profile.
The draw was excellent as well. This made the Seleção an enjoyable cigar to puff on from start to finish.
Strength and Body
Brazilian Mata Fina tobacco is not going to be a nicotine bomb. I’ve heard that Brazilian Mata Norte can “amp” up a blend somewhat. Overall, with the Dona Flor Seleção, this was not going to be an overpowering smoke. The cigar starts out with mild to medium strength to start. It remained like that until the very end where it did move up to medium strength. From this point of view, I didn’t see this blend to be stronger than the Dona Flor Puro Mata Fina cigar.
From a body standpoint, I definitely felt the Mata Norte tobacco amp’d things up a bit. For most of the cigar experience, I assessed this as a medium to full-bodied smoke. Toward the end, the cigar experience did move into the full-bodied range. Overall, this is a cigar that will definitely emphasize flavor over strength.
When I assessed the Dona Flor Puro Mata Fina, I had looked at smoking that as somewhat of a personal experiment. Now smoking Seleção, I was looking very closely at what a blend with Mata Norte would do. One disclaimer I will make is that I’m not saying the Seleção is the same Puro Mata Fina blend with just Mata Norte incorporated into it. I have no knowledge of that. What I was looking for was nuances with the tobaccos to see what the differences were.
My assessment is the Mata Norte definitely made the flavors deeper. It didn’t kick up much more in the way of nicotine. It also added a layer of complexity to the smoking experience that I enjoyed. 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 can be smoked any time 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.
Strength: Mild to Medium (Medium at the End)
Body: Medium to Full (Full at the end)
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were provided by Dona Flor USA. This request was initiated by Dona Flor USA. Cigar Coop is appreciative for this samples, but this plays no role in the final assessment and score.