J. Grotto Silk Lancero

At the 2014 IPCPR, Ocean State Cigars introduced their second lancero in their portfolio.  The J. Grotto Silk Lancero became the fifth size in company owner Paul Joyal’s Ecuadorian Connecticut line.  Two years prior, Joyal introduced a lancero to his J. Grotto Reserva line. That lancero was originally meant to be a limited release. As a result of a positive response the company had with the J. Grotto Reserva Lancero, Joyal opted to make that Lancero regular production vitola. Joyal has now decided to take the lancero into the J. Grotto Silk line – which is one of his more popular lines. Recently, I’ve had an opportunity to smoke this new line extension. I found this to be a great addition to the J. Grotto Silk line and really helps distinguish this Ecuadorian Connecticut line as one of the better ones in the marketplace.

The J. Grotto gets its name from “the grotto” that is located in Joyal’s backyard.  When the Silk was announced two years ago, Joyal explained why he chose that name:

“I was test-smoking samples for our new J. Grotto Connecticut boutique cigar, the latest addition to our two previous cigars in the line. “Suddenly, the word ‘Silk’ came to mind.  I realized it was the perfect name to describe this cigar … the wrapper’s silky smooth feel and appearance, along with its flavor … fragrant and delicate, but with a surprising fullness of lush flavor nuances.”

Blend Profile

Like the rest of the J. Grotto Silk line (as well as the J. Grotto and J. Grotto Reserva lines), this cigar is made at the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras.

Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut
Binder (Double): Criollo 98, Indonesian
Filler: Honduran Trojes, Nicaraguan Jalapa

Vitolas Available

The J. Grotto Silk comes now has five frontmarks. While the other sizes of the Silk line come in 20 count boxes, the Silk Lancero comes in boxes of 10.


Ten count box of the J. Grotto Silk Lancero
(From IPCPR 2014)

Lancero: 7 1/2 x 40
Gran Robusto: 5 x 52
Gordo: 6 x 60
Gran Toro: 6 x 52
Churchill: 7 x 50


The J. Grotto Silk line lives up to Joyal’s statement about having a “silky” wrapper and the J. Grotto Silk Lancero is no exception. The Silk Lancero has a classic light brown color that is common to many Ecuadorian wrapper cigars. The complexion of the wrapper did not have much in the way of oil. There are some visible veins on the wrapper, but the wrapper seams are quite well hidden – thus helping this wrapper remain smooth. The cap is finished with a pigtail.

The band of the J. Grotto Silk Lancero is the same one found across the rest of the line. It is highlighted by a large red “J” in the center over a gold background. Over the “J”, it says “Grotto Series” in white font. Adorning each side of the center of the band are white/gray pillars. There are also gold medallions to the far left and right. The text “Handmade” is in a landscape circular fashion on each side of the medallions in thick white font. There is gold trim around rest of the band.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

As I normally do with lanceros with a pig-tail cap, I opted to place a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap was clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw ritual. The dry draw of the Silk Lancero provided a mix of cedar and cream notes. Overall I considered this a very good pre-light draw. At this point, I was ready to light up this cigar and see what the smoking phase would have in store.

Flavor Profile

There is a short blast of black pepper, but this quickly subsided and was joined by notes of cream and berry. A cedar note also emerged in the background. This cedar note was neither overly spicy nor overly sweet. As the Silk Lancero moved through the first third, the berry and cream notes became the primary notes. The cedar notes are a close secondary flavor. Meanwhile the pepper had subsided on the tongue, but remained a major part of the retro-hale.

In the later part of the first third, the creaminess of this cigar really shined. I found that the berry sweetness had subsided.

By the second half, the cedar notes became more prominent and overtook the cream notes.. The cream notes were now more distant and the berry sweetness was also a more subtle note. This is the way the flavor profile remained until the end. Except for the retro-hale, I didn’t find this to be peppery at the end. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch, and cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

I have always found the J. Grotto Silk line to have excellent construction and the lancero line extension keeps true to the line. The burn line was razor sharp from start to finish – requiring little in the way of touch-ups. The resulting ash was tight and firm with a nice white color. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.

Burn of the J. Grotto Silk Lancero

The draw was excellent.  It had a touch of resistance – which is something I like on a cigar.  Even though the draw was not overly loose, I found this cigar produced a nice ample amount of smoke.

Strength and Body

On the average, I found the Silk Lancero to have a little more in the way of strength and body than the other vitolas in the J. Grotto Silk line.  However, this is not going to be a cigar that is going to push the traditional boundaries on what is found on an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper cigar for strength and body.  I found the Silk Lancero to be a mild to medium strength cigar from start to finish.  I found the Silk Lancero to also be a cigar of medium body.  Overall, when it came to strength versus body, I found the body to have the advantage on the Silk Lancero.

Final Thoughts

For the past two years, I have been very high on the lines of Ocean State Cigars.  The J. Grotto Silk quickly became a favorite of mine.  This is cigar that delvers great flavor and has outstanding construction.  The Silk Lancero is an Ecuadorian Connecticut cigar I would put up against many of the big name Ecuadorian Connecticut Cigars. While there are a lot of Ecuadorian Connecticut cigars and plenty of lanceros, you don’t see a whole lot of Ecuadorian Connecticut lanceros.  This cigar blend definitely delivers in the lancero format.  It’s the type of cigar I’d easily recommend to a novice cigar enthusiast.  Experienced cigar enthusiasts looking for something a little milder, but flavorful will enjoy this cigar. As for myself, this is easily a “belle of the ball” of the J. Grotto Silk line – meaning it is the vitola that stands apart from the others. This is a lancero I would seek out – and is a box worthy cigar in my book.


Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Mild to Medium
Body: Medium
Finish: Good
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy
Score: 92


News: J. Grotto Silk Lancero Launched at 2014 IPCPR Trade Show
Price: $7.99
Source: Sample Provided by Manufacturer (*)
Stogie Geeks Podcast: Episode 92, Episode 106, Episode 108
Stogie Feed: J. Grotto Silk Lancero by Ocean State Cigars

* The cigar for this assessment was given to Cigar Coop by Ocean State Cigars.  Ocean State Cigars is a sponsor of Cigar Coop and Stogie Geeks.  Cigar Coop is appreciative for the sample, but this does not influence the review.