|East India Trading Company Red Witch Double Fuerte|
The East India Trading Company Red Witch Double Fuerte is a modified blend of the East India Trading Company Red Witch. The main difference with the Double Fuerte is that it contains some extra ligero in the blend, and is available in a different frontmark (a 6 x 56) for the line. The Red Witch Double Fuerte is only sold to retailers in the East India Trading Company Cargo Chest. Sometimes a slight tweak or an additional leaf into a blend can really make a difference. The core East India Trading Company Red Witch was a very good cigar. The extra ligero in the Double Fuerte isn’t going to revolutionize the blend, but it is going to take this blend to the next level. This proves to be an outstanding release in the East India Trading Company line.
East India Trading Company is a subsidiary of Gurkha that was launched in 2011. This subsidiary has been focused around providing a premium cigar at a value price point. At the same time, it broadens the marketing range for Gurkha by allowing them to do things that might not fit under the parent Gurkha company name. The name Red Witch comes from a British Empire trading ship.
This Cargo Chest contains 284 cigars. It features the Red Witch and Wicked Indie lines from the East Trading Company. The chest contains not only the Red Witch Double Fuerte, but also the Wicked Indie Double Fuerte (a modified Wicked Indie blend with extra ligero). There are also two unique vitolas to both the Red Witch and Wicked Indie core blends that are only available in the Cargo Chest – a 7 x 60 and a 5 1/2 x 60 perfecto.
Without further adieu, let’s break down the East India Trading Company Red Witch Double Fuerte and see what this cigar delivers. As a disclaimer, this assessment is based on a single smoking experience.
The East India Trading Company Red Witch Double Fuerte features a multinational blend with tobaccos from three countries. As mentioned, the difference with the Red Witch Double Fuerte and the core Red Witch blend is that there is extra ligero in the Double Fuerte.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Rosado
Filler: Nicaraguan (3 year aged from Jalapa)
The Red Witch Double Fuerte is only available in one size – a 5 x 56 box-press toro.
Except for the shape of the cigar, there are parallels with the Red Witch and Red Witch Double Fuerte’s external appearance. The Red Witch Double Fuerte’s wrapper has a rich, red clay color to it. I wouldn’t describe the wrapper as oily or coarse. I also would say there is a bit of ruggedness to the wrapper. The wrapper has visible wrapper seams and visible veins. The box-press itself seems to be more of a slight soft box-press (with a tiny bit of rounding). The box-press is well-packed.
The Red Witch Double Fuerte has two bands. The first band is identical to the core Red Witch band. It features a black and white clipper clip sketch. The sketch is surrounded by gold medallions and adornments. The remainder of the band has red, gold, white, black, navy blue, and sea blue to it. Over the clipper ship sketch is a red ribbon with the text “EAST INDIA TRADING COMPANY” in gold font. There is a red ribbon at the below the sketch with the text “RED WITCH” – also in gold font. Below that ribbon is the text “MMXII” in white font on a black background (referring to the original Red Witch release date). On the lower left of the band is a white ribbon (with red trim) with the text “Fine Tobacco” in thin black font. To the lower right is another white ribbon (with red trim) with the text “Merchants” – also in thin black font. Finally, the left side of the band has a design of swords while the right side of the band has an anchor design.
The secondary band sits below the main Red Witch line. It features a red background with gold striping across the top and bottom. In gold font is the text “DOUBLE”. Just below that text is “FUERTE” – also in gold font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my cigar experience of the Red Witch Double Fuerte, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap. It was then on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw was definitely unique as I was treated to a mix of mint, natural tobacco sweetness, and some exotic pepper spice notes. This was similar to the core Red Witch, but there was a little more bite to the pepper on the cold draw. Overall, I found this to be a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point, I was very excited to light up the East India Trading Company Red Witch and see what this cigar would bring to the table.
As I said up-front, the flavor profile is not going to be radically different on the Red Witch Double Fuerte when compared to the Red Witch. However, there are differences – and these differences do change the overall experience.
The start to the Red Witch picked up where the dry draw left off. I was treated to notes of natural tobacco and exotic spice in the forefront. The mint flavors I got from the pre-light draw were still present as a background note. This was very similar to the Red Witch, but the pepper was definitely bolder – especially through the nasal passages. No surprise here due to the extra ligero.
Similar to the Red Witch, around the five percent mark, I detected a syrup-like sweetness. This sweetness along with the natural tobacco notes were the primary flavors. The pepper spice was secondary, but still had more bite than the original red witch. The mint notes were tertiary.
Toward the end of the first third (also similar to the Red Witch), the syrup sweetness of the Double Fuerte did diminish becoming a complementary note to the natural tobacco flavors. By this point the pepper spice joined the natural tobacco in the forefront. The mint notes had pretty much dissipated here. This would set the stage for the flavor profile for a good chunk of the cigar experience right into the last third.
The sweetness diminished in the last third – much like the original Red Witch. This was replaced by earth notes. The earth notes were accompanied by the pepper spice. This flavor profile held until the end. While the end of the Red Witch Double Fuerte had spice, there was no harshness. The resulting nub was soft, but cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Like the core Red Witch, the construction of the Red Witch Double Fuerte is outstanding. This was reflected in both the burn and draw attributes – which were both low in maintenance. The burn line was sharp from start to finish – requiring minimal touch-ups. The resulting ash was firm and white in color (the Double Fuerte ash seemed whiter than the core Red Witch). The ash had virtually no flaking. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
The draw was outstanding. I found the Red Witch Double Fuerte to be a very enjoyable cigar to puff on.
Strength and Body
With the strength, I expected the Red Witch Double Fuerte to have more kick than the core line Red Witch. I didn’t find a huge difference in the strength, but it was slightly stronger on the Double Fuerte. I assessed the Red Witch Double Fuerte to be medium to start. Like the core line Red Witch, the Red Witch Double Fuerte progressed to medium to full, but this transition happened earlier (toward the end of the second third on the Double Fuerte).
The body of the Red Witch Double Fuerte was definitely stronger. This was a full-bodied smoke from start to finish. On the original Red Witch, I actually felt the cigar diminished to medium to full toward the end of the cigar. With the Double Fuerte, it stays full-bodied right until the end
In terms of balance between the strength and body of the Red Witch Double Fuerte, I gave the body an edge. While this is how I assessed the core Red Witch, the gap between these two attributes is much smaller.
As I said a couple of times, the Red Witch Double Fuerte isn’t going to be radically different, but the extra ligero does some nice things here. I think it does make for a better flavor profile. Most importantly, it does close the gap between strength and body – and that balance really is going to make this blend even better. The extra ligero has no adverse effects on the burn – as it is stellar on the Double Fuerte. Like the core line Red Witch, I do feel the Double Fuerte can be enjoyed by a novice and experienced cigar enthusiast. If you smoke these back to back, you will definitely see some of the differences. Overall, a very good cigar – and one I would go back and smoke again.
Source: This cigars for this assessment were provided by Gurkha Cigar Group. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the sample, but in no way does this influence this review.