|G.A.R. Red by George Rico 6 x 60|
Last year, Santa Cruz Tobacco, the parent company for Gran Habano Cigars announced a new line of cigars called G.A.R. Red. G.A.R. Red stands for George A Rico – the founder of Gran Habano cigars. With this particular release, Rico has decided to address the growing segment of 60+ ring gauge cigar enthusiasts. One thing Rico has done exceptionally well is create good value priced cigars. The G.A.R. Red is no exception as it comes in around the $5.00 price point. I recently had an opportunity to smoke a few of these cigars. Overall I was impressed with the quality of the smoking experience. Add to the fact there is some value with the price and that was a nice bonus.
The G.A.R. Red becomes the third cigar under the G.A.R. line. This joins the other two releases – the G.A.R. White (the box-pressed Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper blend) and the limited edition Nicaraguan puro – the G.A.R. Opium. Like the Opium, the G.A.R. Red is a Nicaraguan puro.
Without further ado, let’s break down the G.A.R Red and see what this cigar brings to the table.
As mentioned the G.A.R. Red is an all Nicaraguan puro.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano (Jalapa)
Filler: Nicaraguan (Habano and Corojo)
Thee G.A.R. Red is available in three sizes geared toward large ring gauges. The cigars are sold in 100 count trays.
6 x 60
6 x 66
7 x 70
For this cigar experience, I smoked the G.A.R. Red in the 6 x 60 vitola. The Nicaraguan Habano wrapper has a coffee bean color with a strong colorado red tint on it. There is also some darker marbling that can be seen on the surface of the wrapper. There is a light oily sheen on the wrapper. There are some visible wrapper seams and visible veins.
As to be expected, the G.A.R. Red has a red colored band. It features the Gran Habano shield in white font. The text “GAR” is present in a large modern-style cursive white-colored font. In smaller white font is the text “by George Rico”.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up my G.A.R. Red 6 x 60, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut. Once the cap was successful clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw phase. The dry draw provided a mix of earth, a little bit of a baker’s spice, and some light fruit-like sweetness. Overall, I considered the pre-light draw for this cigar to be satisfactory. At this point I was ready to light up the G.A.R. Red and see what the cigar experience would have in store.
The G.A.R. Red started picked up where the pre-light draw left off. It had notes of earth in the forefront with background notes of light fruit and spice. In the early stages, an interesting burnt char taste also surfaced in the background. I found this a little different, but I also found this to be a nice addition to the flavor profile. Meanwhile on the retro-hale, I was picking up some pepper notes that were on the milder side.
Throughout the first half, the earth notes took center stage. Occasionally the fruit notes would push their way into the forefront. The char and pepper notes still remained in the background.
During the second half, the spice notes moved up into the forefront joining the earth notes. The sweetness diminished into the background. The char notes also subsided somewhat. This is the way the flavor profile held until the end. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
For a value-priced cigar, the G.A.R. Red performed extremely well with both its burn and draw. I’d put this up against many cigars at twice the price. The burn line remained straight from start to finish requiring very few touch-ups. The resulting ash was mostly firm with a salt and pepper color. There were a few minor flaking incidents, but nothing major. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the G.A.R Red by George Rico|
I was pretty impressed by the draw was well. Since this is a 60 ring gauge parejo, the cigar is going to feel like you are smoking a 60 ring gauge. However, I found this to be a low maintenance effort to derive flavors. It had just the right amount of openness in the draw.
Strength and Body
From the looks of this cigar, I thought this was going to be on the fuller side. Instead this is a cigar that started out mild to medium strength. By the second half, the strength advanced to the medium range. As for the flavors, these were medium-bodied from start to finish. I found this was a cigar that definitely emphasized strength over flavor. I also think the fact that this cigar was more in the medium range for both strength and body worked in its favor.
George Rico and Gran Habano have produced some very nice smokes and the G.A.R. Red is no exception. When it comes to big ring cigars, there are two camps – those who love a 60 ring gauge and those who won’t bother to give it a look. In the case of the G.A.R. Red, it probably isn’t going to win over the latter, but it really should satisfy those who enjoy large ring gauge smokes. The price point being in the $5.00 range does not hurt. This is a cigar I’d recommend to either a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast, not looking for something full – yet one of those people who enjoy a big ring gauge. As for myself, this is a cigar I’d smoke again and it’s one I would pick up a five pack of.
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st Half), Medium (2nd Half)
Assessment: 3.0 – The Fiver
* Cigars for this assessment was provided by GH Tabacaleras Co.. 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.