|Lou Rod by Lou Rodriguez|
The Lou Rod is a new cigar by Lou Rodriguez Cigars that will be launching at the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show this month in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Lou Rod becomes the first new cigar release by the company in almost two years. The Lou Rod introduces a more budget friendly cigar with simpler packaging, but it also introduces the company’s first rounded 6 x 60 cigar. We recently have had an opportunity to sample the new Lou Rod. Lou Rodriguez Cigars has produced some nicely rated cigars on Cigar Coop. The Lou Rod appears poised to follow in the path of its predecessors as this is one outstanding cigar.
The Lou Rod gets its name from its founder, Lou Rodriguez. Rodriguez is a surgeon who is based in Greenville, North Carolina. His company is a true “seed to store” cigar company as they grow their own tobacco, have their own factory, and handle their own distribution Since he launched his company, Rodriguez has produced four core lines and the limited run Lou Rodriguez MF (all of which have been reviewed on Cigar Coop). Rodriguez is known for his fondness for maduro box-press cigars that are not big ring gauges. While the Lou Rod does not fit into these categories, the company created this cigar based on consumer feedback and demand.
Without futher ado, let’s break down the Lou Rod and see what this cigar brings to the table. Since this is a cigar we smoked before the actual release, we will default to our “pre-review” to give our thoughts and perspectives. Once the cigar arrives on retailer shleves, we will revisit the Lou Rod and provide an assessment rating and score.
The wrapper uses some of Lou Rodriguez’ proprietary Nicaraguan tobacco wrapped with a sun-grown wrapper
Wrapper: Sun Grown
Binder: Nicaraguan (Proprietary)
Filler: Nicaraguan (Proprietary)
As mentioned, the Lou Rod is being launched in one size – a rounded 6 x 60 vitola. As we noted in our preview, the company is open to adding additional vitolas.
This cigar looks different than any cigar made by Lou Rodriguez Cigars – from its wrapper to its banding.
The sun-grown wrapper of the Lou Rod has a nice caramel medium brown color to it. The wrapper has some oil on it. There are some visible veins and some visible wrapper seams. There is a nice farmyard aroma that comes from the footer.
The band is more simplistic than what we have seen on Lou Rodriguez products. It has a red background with white font. In the center of the band is the caduceus medical logo – tying the cigar to Rodriguez’s roots int he medical field. The text “LOU ROD” is going in a slight upward diagonal and caduceus symbol separates the “LOU” and “ROD”. There are white stripes above and below the text. A white circle surrounds the text and logo. There is also some white dotted trim going around the band.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
While the Lou Rod might be a very different Lou Rodriguez cigar, I still went with my usual ritual of a straight cut to remove the cap. After clipping the cap, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. The dry draw was also different than what I have detected on a Lou Rodriguez cigar. It provided a mix of sweet floral, pepper, and even a hint of butterscotch. Overall this was an impressive pre-light draw. It was not time to light up the Lou Rod and see what the cigar experience would bring to the table.
The start to the Lou Rod yielded some notes of pepper on both the tongue and retro-hale. The pepper initially seemed stronger on the retro-hale. This was soon joined by some notes of natural tobacco sweetness, cream. and coffee. The natural tobacco notes became primary early on. The pepper was close behind. Meanwhile, the cream and coffee flavors were much more distant in the background. The retro-hale also developed as the pepper notes were soon joined by a sweetness I could not put my finger on.
As the Lou Rod progressed through the first third, the cream notes increased and eventually joined the natural tobacco notes in the forefront. The fusion between the natural tobacco sweetness and cream was most interesting as it made for a unique flavor. The pepper notes remained secondary and the coffee notes were pretty much a tertiary flavor.
In the second third, some toast notes joined the cream and natural tobacco sweetness in the forefront. The fusion of these flavors continued to provide a most unique flavor pattern. The pepper remained secondary and the coffee tertiary. In the second third, I did detect (several times) some salty notes, but these seemed isolated and dissipated quickly after emerging.
In the second half, the flavor profile became more toasty and creamy. The natural tobacco sweetness receded slightly. I also detected a slight increase in the pepper. For the most part the flavor profile remained like this until the close of the cigar experience. This cigar never got harsh. The resulting nub was outstanding – firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The Lou Rod definitely is a well-constructed cigar and this was reflected nicely in the attributes of burn and draw. From a burn perspective, the burn line remained relatively straight and required very little maintenance to keep it like that. The resulting ash was tight with a nice salt and pepper color. The burn rate and burn temperature remained ideal.
|Burn of the Lou Rod|
The draw to the Lou Rod was excellent. It wasn’t too tight and it wasn’t loose. This cigar was a very low maintenance cigar to puff on from start to finish.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, the Lou Rod started out as a classic medium strength smoke. It remained like that for the first two thirds. In the last third, the strength did seem to cross into the medium to full range. The depth of the flavors followed a very similar pattern. The Lou Rod started out medium-bodied, but by the last third, the flavors did progress to medium to full. Overall, the Lou Rod was a great example of balancing strength and body as both attributes seemed to complement each other nicely.
As we said many times, we do not factor price into our assessments of cigars. While the Lou Rod carries a more friendly price point than the rest of the Lou Rodriguez line, it is not at a sacrifice for quality. This is an excellent cigar. Recently we published an editorial in which we defended the role of big ring gauge cigars in the industry. This is a textbook case for an excellent big ring gauge cigar. It was clearly a blend that was designed for the big ring gauge in mind. Many times I’ve talked to the team at Lou Rodriguez and it seems when it comes to blends, they work very hard and take their time to make sure its right. This is a cigar I’d recommend to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. It’s a cigar that I’d recommend to someone who might not normally go for a 60 ring gauge cigar. As for myself, I’d reach for this cigar again – and it’s one worth considering a box purchase for.