In this assessment, we take a look at the Debonaire Belicoso. This is one of five currently available vitolas by Debonaire Cigars‘ core line. In 2012, Debonaire Cigars made their debut in three sizes, and introduced two line extensions in 2013. The Debonaire Belicoso is one of those three original vitolas. As we have mentioned, while each vitola of the Debonaire shares common blend components, one thing that has become clear is that each of the vitolas has their own unique story to tell. When it comes to cigars in a line, usually the belicoso is the one I will not reach for first. In the case of the Debonaire Belicoso, I couldn’t be more wrong. This one has all of the makings of being the best frontmark in the line – and as we will discuss later, it might be a true “belle of the ball”.
If you are not familiar with Debonaire Cigars, the company was founded by Philip Zanghi and Daniel Sinclair. Many people may remember Zanghi from his days with Indian Tabac – the company that eventually became Rocky Patel Premium Cigars. After a hiatus away from premium cigars, Zanghi returned to the handmade premium cigar business and launched Debonaire Cigars. Zanghi resides in the Dominican Republic allowing him to be close to the tobacco process from seed through shipping. Zanghi and his team take a very hands-on approach to the production process.Zanghi and his team take a very hands-on approach to the production process.
At this point, let’s take a closer look at the Debonaire Belicoso and see what this cigar brings to the table:
The Debonaire core line consists of tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. For the line, Zanghi and his team have tapped into the resources of Emilio El Reyes – one of the leading growers based in the Dominican Republic. The cigars are also made in the Dominican Republic.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
In terms of how the vitolas are constructed, the Debonaire line is bunched using accordion fold as opposed to entubado (tube) style. Zanghi emphasizes leaf placement in terms of being able to achieve the right flavor profile.
|A look at the Debonaire Cigar line|
The Nicaraguan Habano wrapper of the Debonaire Belicoso shares the light to medium brown color to it that common across the line. The Belicoso had a light amount of oil on it The wrapper also has some visible veins and visible wrapper seams. The tapering of the belicoso is soft and it gives the tip the appearance of almost a writing instrument.
The Debonaire Belicoso features the brand’s gold, brown, black, and white colored band that is common to the line. There is a gold stagecoach that sits on a brown background. Above the stagecoach is a black oval with the text “HAND ROLLED” in white font. Below the stagecoach is the text “DEBONAIRE” in large white font. In small black font below the Debonaire name is the text “DOMINICAN REPUBLIC” in small black font. Toward the lower part of the banding is the text “ULTRA PREMIUM” in black font on a gold background. The remainder of the band has black and gold adornments.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I do with all belicoso vitolas, I went with a straight cut to remove the tip. As I have gotten in the habit lately, I removed about half of the belicoso tip to get a nice effect of the tapering. From that point, I moved on to the pre-light draw phase. The dry draw note provided a floral sweetness that almost had a candy-like taste to it. I also picked up some light spice. Overall, I was quite pleased with the pre-light draw of the Debonaire Belicoso. At this point I was ready to light up the Debonaire Belicoso and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The start of the Debonaire Belicoso had a notes of sweet natural tobacco that were prominent. There was almost a bit of the “candy-like” sweetness to it, but the natural tobacco kept this tasting very much like a cigar. I also detected some black pepper in the background – as well as black pepper on the retro-hale.
Later in the first third, what I consider the signature flavor of the Debonaire line – the charred smoky meat flavor emerged. The belicoso showcased this flavor perfectly. The nice thing is how this taste also made its way into the retro-hale – mixing in with the black pepper. Meanwhile the natural tobacco and black pepper notes were still in the background.
The second third continued much like the first. There was a slight increase in the natural tobacco, but now it had more of a smoother caramel feel as opposed to a sweeter candy feel. By the second half, this sweetness became the primary flavor replacing the smoky meat taste.
The last third saw an increase in the pepper as it joined the natural tobacco in the forefront. The charred meat notes were secondary while the sweetness diminished. This is the way the Debonaire Belicoso smoked right until the end. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and slightly soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
The burn and draw scored outstanding for the Debonaire Belicoso. Sometimes I’m critical of this size because in most cases I think a parejo will perform better. With the case of the Debonaire Belicoso, this scored very well. The burn line remained relatively straight from start to finish. Not much in the way of touch-ups was needed along the way – making the Belicoso a very low maintenance burn. It is worth noting around the 2/5 point of one of the smokes, a tiny piece of wrapper came off, yet the burn did not loose a beat when it reached that point. Meanwhile the resulting ash was a silvery gray with some darker streaks. The ash remained on the firm side. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the Debonaire Belicoso|
The draw performed very well. I liked the way this belicoso’s tip felt as I smoked it as it did not get soft. The draw was not too loose and not too tight. This made the Debonaire Belicoso a very enjoyable smoke.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I found the Debonaire Belicoso was a little stronger than the Debonaire Toro. At the same time, I thought it started out a little more dialed back than the Debonaire Sagita. Overall I assessed the Belicoso as starting out medium strength before progressing to medium to full in the second half. As for the depth of the flavors, I pretty much found them medium to full throughout the smoking experience. For the most part the strength and body of the Debonaire Belicoso balance each other nicely – particularly in the second half.
It was Mark Jr on Stogie Geeks who applied the expression “belle of the ball” to a vitola in the line that stands above the others. With the Debonaire line, the Debonaire Belicoso has all of the makings of being this particular cigar. While all of the Debonaire Cigars have delivered outstanding flavor, the Belicoso shined at delivering those Debonaire signature notes. I also found the tapering of the belicoso tip really seemed to help with the flavors. Overall, the Debonaire Belicoso is something I can recommend to either a seasoned or novice cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I’d easily smoke again. It’s not only box worthy in my book, but a cigar I’d fight Chuck Norris for.
Strength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: 4.5 – Fight Chuck Norris for Them
Source: Purchased (*)
Stogie Geeks Podcast: Episode 84
Stogie Feed: n/a
(*) Disclaimer: Debonaire Cigars is a sponsor of Cigar Coop / Stogie Geeks. The cigars for this review were still purchased. For a list of retailers to purchase Debonaire, click here.