|Project 7 by Noel Rojas|
Last week we reported on a cigar called Project 7 by Noel Rojas. This is a cigar that is an exclusive cigar to the Cigar Federation store made by blender Noel Rojas. Rojas is a rising star in the cigar industry. He owns a factory in Esteli, Nicaragua and is currently getting ready to translate to a larger facility called Aromas de Jalapa. Rojas is most famous for his own line of cigars called Guayacan – which is a brand under the House of Emilio. Rojas is also the blender of other cigars such as the Nomad LE Esteli Lot 1386, the Emilio Draig Cayuquero, Jim Robinson’s Leaf by Noel Rojas, and has recently taken over production for some of Tarazona Cigars’ lines. The Project 7 recently arrived at the Cigar Federation store and I’ve recently had an opportunity to sample this cigar. Overall, I found this to be an excellent offering and might be one of those “hidden gems” to take a look at.
Project 7 is the first cigar as a part of Cigar Federation’s “Factory Direct Boutiques” series. This is meant to be a series of small batch production cigars that have no frills packaging and and banding. They are made by some lesser known / emerging blenders (such as Rojas). The story around this cigar is that when the Cigar Federation team visited Rojas, they came across this cigar in Rojas’ personal humidor.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Project 7 by Noel Rojas and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Project 7 is a Nicaraguan puro. The wrapper is uses an experimental hybrid wrapper leaf. The binder and filler are from vintage Corojo and Criollo sourced by Rojas.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Hybrid
Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo
Filler: Nicaraguan Criollo
As mentioned the Project 7 comes in one size – a 6 x 52 toro. The cigar does not come in boxes but is packaged in a 15 count mazo. It is also available in five packs.
The Project 7’s Nicaraguan Hybrid wrapper has a medium brown almost oak-like look. Upon closer examination some darker marbling can be seen on the surface. The complexion of the wrapper has a light amount of oil on it. There are some visible wrapper seams and some visible thin tobacco leaf veins.
The Project 7 comes as an unbanded cigar.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the Project 7, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut. Once the cap was removed I moved on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw provided a mix of woody, light natural tobacco sweetness, and what I term a “tingling” pepper spice. Overall I was pleased with the pre-light draw of the Project 7. At this point, I was ready to light up this cigar and see what the overall smoking phase would have in store.
The start to the Project 7 provided a mix of coffee, black pepper, and wood notes. The early stages of the cigar saw the coffee notes become primary with the pepper and wood notes secondary. In the middle of the first third, some earth notes entered the equation in the background. Meanwhile the retro-hale was producing a black pepper spice.
Later in the first third, the earth and wood notes displaced the coffee notes as primary flavors. A pattern of the wood and earth notes alternating as to which was primary started – and this continued into the second third.
Around the mid-way point, the wood notes morphed into a cedar flavor. The cedar flavor took on both sweet and spicy qualities. Toward the last third, the cedar became the primary flavor. The earth and pepper notes were still somewhat present. This is the way the flavor profile of the Project 7 held until the end. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
Construction-wise, this cigar was excellent – and this was reflected in the burn and draw. The burn was pretty much low maintenance. The burn line remained relatively straight from start to finish – requiring only a few touch-ups along the way. The resulting ash, while not overly tight was still firm. There was some minor flaking that occurred along the way. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the Project 7 by Noel Rojas|
The draw was equally as good as the burn. This was a very easy cigar to derive flavors from. I describe this draw as “open”, but not loose. There was a decent amount of smoke production from this cigar as well.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, the Project 7 starts out in the medium range. There is a gradual increase in strength and by the second half, the Project 7 was in the medium to full strength range – and stayed there for the remainder of the smoke. The body followed a similar pattern as the flavors started out medium in the first half before progressing to medium to full-bodied in the second half. Overall, the Project 7 had an excellent balance between strength and body throughout the smoke with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
While this might be a non-flashy, no-frills cigar, I found the Project 7 to deliver an excellent experience. It has terrific flavors and is well-constructsd. I smoked through three samples for this assessment and each time I picked up a little more in the way of complexity. This cigar has a few transitions in terms of its flavor profile, but it was very smooth the way the transitions happened. The fact that this cigar can be obtained for as little a $4.00 per cigar is a real bonus. This is a cigar I’d recommend to the novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this was a very enjoyable cigar. It’s one I’d smoke again and it’s worth a box (a.k.a mazo split).
Strength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
News: Project 7 by Noel Rojas Kicks Off Cigar Federation Factory Direct Boutique Series
Price: $24.99 (5 pack), $59.99 (15 cigar mazo)
Source: Cigars Provided by Retailer (*)
Stogie Geeks Episode: n/a
Stogie Feed: n/a
* The cigars for this assessment were given to Cigar Coop by Cigar Federation. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the sample, but this does not influence this assessment.