|Leaf by Oscar Connecticut|
Today we take another look a cigar in Jim Robinson’s Leaf & Bean series, the Leaf by Oscar Connecticut. For those who don’t know Robisnon is the owner of the Leaf and Bean retail shops based in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. For his Leaf & Bean series, Robinson partnered with three boutique cigar makers: Esteban Disla (known from being a partner at the Nica Sueno factory), Noel Rojas (known from being the owner of Guayacan Cigars), and Oscar Valladares. The Leaf by Oscar series represents cigars in Honduras made by Valladares. There are four blends in the Oscar series – each called Leaf and denoted by the wrapper (Maduro, Connecticut, Sumatra, and Corojo). These cigars are not only sold at Robinson’s Leaf and Bean shops, but are also available for online purchase and have started to surface at other retailers. Today we take a closer look at the Connecticut offering – the Leaf by Oscar Connecticut. This is a solid Connecticut Shade cigar that offers a lot of classic flavors from a cigar wrapped with this kind of leaf.
The Leaf by Oscar series is the one line which is made in Honduras (Danli). In terms of the Leaf & Bean series, Robinson recently explained the concept on his Facebook page:
“Oscar, Noel, Esteban. Three of the most talented, passionate, energetic people that I know. They all own their own cigar factories. All three have one thing in common, they make a cigar for Leaf and Bean. My label has two lines, first line is LEAF & BEAN, second is “BY” this 2nd line is important it tells us what factory the cigar is coming from. This is a project that I undertook to bring great cigars on a personal level to my consumers with a local twist. I know these guys, have spent many hours in their homes, factories and watering holes. Anybody that knows me, knows that I spend as much time in Honduras and Nicaragua as I do at home. I am trying something new, trying to share their talent of blending and bringing home a unique cigar. I want to give each of these blenders an outlet to share with us a cigar that compliments their brands. I love these guys, they are the future leaders of our industry. When I asked them to make a blend for Leaf and Bean I left all decisions to them, I want their best, they are artist at work. I am so honored that all these guys have agreed to help me with this, I am just a little cigar shop in the middle of no where. We have in common, a passion for great cigars. These guys were picked because I know they already make great cigars and I want to give them an outlet to expand, to do something outside the box. Also I am maybe a little selfish, I recognize the talent and skills that they have and I know I am on the ground floor, OSCAR, ESTEBAN, NOEL.. all names of the future cigar world.
“NOEL, ESTEBAN, OSCAR! Three guys who have done it the hard way, now own their own cigar factories, three guys making cigars for them selves and others, three guys that are going places. I am proud to be associated with them.
“NOEL and ESTEBAN each own factories in Esteli. OSCAR has a factory in Danli.”
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Leaf by Oscar Connecticut and see what it brings to the table:
The Leaf by Oscar Connecticut uses a Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper over tobaccos from Honduras.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
The Leaf by Oscar Connecticut (as all cigars in the Leaf by Oscar line) are offered in one size – a 6 x 50 toro.
The Leaf by Oscar series is known for its unique packaging. All of the cigars in the Leaf by Oscar series are wrapped in a tobacco leaf as opposed to cellophane. The tobacco leaf gives a very rustic look to the cigar. Once the leaf covering is removed, the actual cigar is revealed. In the case of the Leaf by Oscar Connecticut, it is a golden shade Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapped cigar.
|The leaf covered Leaf by Oscar Connecticut|
|Starting to unwrap the Leaf by Oscar Connecticut|
The wrapper for the Leaf by Oscar Connecticut has a light brown color with only a slight amount of oil. The wrapper has a rustic look with some visible wrapper seams and visible veins. There are a couple of “frog eyes” (small green blotches typically visible on light Connecticut Shade cigars, and really only have a cosmetic impact). There is a triple cap.
The wrapper band is a rustic styled one. It is off-white with the text “LEAF By OSCAR” in black font. There is a black design on the band trim as well as some darker colored adornments. Banding appears on both the cigar and the leaf covering. Both are similar except the band on the leaf covering is a little longer as it has the text “CONNECTICUT” on it. There is a story behind this band which Robinson also recently explained on his Facebook page.
“Leaf and Bean Label. Our label is made from the same plant that makes the Tequila that some of us like to drink, NOT ME! I like Rum. The label is a handmade paper product. Get it wet and pretty much its gone, so for you wet smokers. I dont see us using any other kind of label for the Leaf and Bean line of cigars. Paper is locally made in Honduras. The colors you see in label are the actual flowers in the plant (Agave). Paper is made in little shop, this little shop is the livelihood for many families in Danli, without it they would not be able to support their families. No, its not shiny, its not embossed, its made of love. This label represents a family being able to put food on table for their kids. I like it.”
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
The first step was to remove the leaf covering around the Leaf by Oscar Connecticut. After the covering was removed, I proceeded to remove the Leaf by Oscar Connecticut and begin with the pre-light draw. The dry draw was pretty much what I would expect from a Connecticut Shade Connecticut as it provided a mix of cream, citrus sweetness, and a little bit of pepper spice. Overall, I considered this to be a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point I was ready to light up my Leaf by Oscar Connecticut and see what the overall smoking phase would deliver.
Consistent with the pre-light draw, I found the Leaf by Oscar Connecticut to deliver a classic Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper cigar.
The start to the Leaf by Oscar Connecticut provided notes of pepper, citrus, and wood. This was shortly joined by some cream notes. The cream and wood notes became primary flavors early on. The pepper and citrus were secondary notes. The pepper could also be detected on the retro-hale, and at times was also sharp on the retro-hale.
As the Leaf by Oscar Connecticut moved through the first third, the flavors switched up. The cream notes receded into the background joining the citrus. From this point, the wood seemed to be a constant in the forefront while the citrus seemed to be a constant in the background. The pepper and cream notes varied between being primary and secondary flavors.
The flavor pattern above remained for the majority of the cigar experience. I found the last third to be more woody and peppery. The Leaf by Oscar Connecticut remained flavorful until the end. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
Overall the burn of the Leaf by Oscar Connecticut performed well. The burn line had a little bit of jaggedness to it, but was relatively straight. I didn’t find that this cigar needed a lot in the way of touch-ups. The resulting ash was a salt and pepper color. The ash was on the loose side. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
|Burn of the Leaf by Oscar Connecticut|
The draw of the Leaf by Oscar Connecticut was ideal. It wasn’t too loose and wasn’t too tight. This made the Connecticut a low maintenance smoking experience from start to finish.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I found the Leaf by Oscar Connecticut was pretty much in line what I would expect from an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapped cigar. The cigar started out in the mild to medium strength range. By the second half the strength had increased to medium by the second half. As for the body, the flavors start out mild to medium-bodied. By the second third, the cigar had moved into the medium-bodied range. The flavors do increase in depth in the second half and by the very end, the cigar was just about into the medium to full-bodied range.
The strength and body counter each other very well. The body might have a slight edge, but overall I’d consider it negligible.
Overall the Leaf by Oscar Connecticut is going to deliver a solid experience. This cigar is not going to redefine what an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade cigar is. What it will do is deliver a very good smoking experience. I’ve now smoked two blends in the Leaf by Oscar line, and I find the Connecticut and the Maduro to delver a great “morning” and “afternoon” smoking combination respectively. The Leaf by Oscar Connecticut is a great cigar for the novice cigar enthusiast. Experienced cigar enthusiasts looking for an excellent classic “morning smoke” will definitely like this cigar. As for myself, I also look at this as a great “morning smoke”. It’s definitely a cigar I’d smoke again and one worth getting a five pack of.
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st Half), Medium (2nd Half)
Body: Mild to Medium (1st Half), Medium (2nd Half), Medium to Full (at end)
Assessment: 3.0 – The Fiver
Source: Samples provided by retailer (*)
Stogie Geeks Podcast: n/a
Stogie Feed: n/a
* Cigars for this assessment was provided by Leaf and Bean. The samples were received in order to provide feedback. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the samples, but in no way does this influence this write-up.