|S.T.K. Miami Barracuda Limited Edition Maduro Robusto|
The S.T.K. Miami Barracuda Limited Edition Maduro 2014 is a new cigar being launched by Gran Habano owner George Rico. The cigar is being branded under Rico’s S.T.K. Miami line – which for the most part are produced out of his G.R. Tabacaleras Co. cigar factory in Little Havana. This cigar adds a maduro counterpart along-side to the company”s limited production Barracuda (Habano) line. The S.T.K. Miami Barracuda Limited Edition Maduro 2014 by George A. Rico was announced just prior to the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas. Recently, I’ve had an opportunity to smoke this cigar in the Robusto format. Overall I found this to be a very impressive cigar, and one of the more impressive cigars released by Rico and Gran Habano to date.
The name S.T.K. stands for “Stay True Kid” and has typically been the moniker for several blends coming out of Rico’s Little Havana factory. It joins other blends in the S.T.K. line including the Barracuda (Habano), Zulu Zulu, Mas Paz, George Rico S.T.K. Miami American Puro, and Opium lines.
This original Barracuda Habano was actually originally branded with the Gran Habano name, but in 2013 was changed to the STK Miami George A. Rico branding – which is what the Barracuda Maduro uses. Like the original Barracuda Habano, the Barracuda Maduro is going to be one of the more limited production runs. It was announced the cigar would be limited to 200 10 count boxes per size (with three sizes available).
We will now take a look at the S.T.K. Miami Barracuda Limited Edition Maduro 2014 Robusto by George A. Rico and see what this cigar brings to the table. Given this cigar was a pre-release, we will default to our pre-review format to share our thoughts and perspectives. Once this cigar is released, we will revisit this and provide a formal assessment rating and score. As a disclaimer, this write-up is based on a single cigar smoking experience.
Most of the contents of the S.T.K. Miami Barracuda Limited Edition Maduro 2014 blend have not been disclosed. The cigar does use a Pennsylvania Broadleaf which is said to be a favorite of Rico.
Wrapper: Pennsylvania Broadleaf (Maduro)
Binder: Not disclosed
Filler: Not disclosed
The S.T.K. Miami Barracuda Limited Edition Maduro 2014 will come in three sizes.
Robusto: 5 x 52
Toro: 6 1/2 x 54
Corona Gorda: 5 5/8 x 46
As mentioned this cigar experience is based on the robusto size of the S.T.K. Miami Barracuda Limited Edition Maduro 2014. The cigar has a rugged-looking coffee bean wrapper with some colorado red mixed in. Upon closer examination, there is some darker marbling that can be seen. The wrapper has a light oily sheen on it. There are some visible veins, and some visible wrapper seams. There is a small pig-tail on the cap.
The Barracuda has aqua colored band. In larger black scripted font with silver trim is the text “Barracuda”. In a smaller black font with silver trim it says “by George A. Rico”. To the right is the text “S.T.K. Miami” in thin black font. There are black and silver pinstripes across the top and bottom.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As opposed to pulling the pig-tail off the S.T.K. Miami Barracuda Limited Edition Maduro 2014 Robusto, I opted to place a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap was successfully clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw experience. The dry draw provided a mix of earth, coffee, subtle fruit notes, and light pepper. Overall I considered the pre-light draw of the Barracuda Maduro to be satisfactory. At this point I was ready to to light up this cigar and await what the smoking phase would have in store.
The start to the S.T.K. Miami Barracuda Limited Edition Maduro 2014 Robusto picked up where the pre-light draw left off as I detected notes of coffee, earth, black pepper, and mixed fruit sweetness. As the flavor profile took form, the coffee and fruit notes moved to the forefront. While the fruit sweetness was one of the primary flavors, it was not an overpowering flavor. Meanwhile the earth and pepper notes were secondary. The pepper was more prominent on the retro-hale.
By the second third, the S.T.K. Miami Barracuda Limited Edition Maduro 2014 had a mix of both coffee and earth notes in the forefront. The fruit sweetness pretty much floated between the forefront and background. The pepper remained a secondary note, but slowly started to increase. Meanwhile there was also a slight creamy note that surfaced in the background.
The last third saw the pepper notes close to the forefront with the coffee and earth notes. The combination of these three notes gave this cigar a bit of a “rough profile”. The cream notes did increase and that helped offset some of that roughness. Meanwhile, much of the sweetness had diminished. This is the way the flavor profile remained until the end. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
From a burn perspective, the S.T.K. Miami Barracuda Limited Edition Maduro 2014 Robusto performed very well. The burn line remained relatively straight. There was a slight curvature to the burn line, but the Barracuda Maduro was never in any danger of tunneling or canoeing. The resulting ash was firm with a silver gray color to it. The ash was not prone to any significant flaking. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the S.T.K. Miami Barracuda Limited Edition Maduro Robusto|
The draw was a little more open than I prefer. In the end, this was just more of a personal preference as I didn’t find the open draw to have any adverse effects in terms of the burn of the cigar. It is also worth mentioning that only one cigar was smoked for this assessment, so its possible this was a “one off”.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength and body, I found both of these attributes to balance each other very nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other. I found the S.T.K. Miami Barracuda Limited Edition Maduro 2014 Robusto to have just enough strength to qualify as a medium to full. As for the body, I also assessed this cigar as being medium to full-bodied. Overall the Barracuda Maduro is a cigar that provided the right amount of strength and body.
While I’ve never had anything against Pennsylvania Broadleaf, I’ve always felt that Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper delivers a better flavor profile. With the case of the S.T.K. Miami Barracuda Limited Edition Maduro 2014 Robusto, I was pretty impressed with what the flavors were delivered. While I thought the flavors were good throughout, it was the second half, and in particular the last third when I thought this cigar performed at its best. As mentioned , the cream notes in that latter part of the cigar do a great job at smoothing out what could have been a rough (flavor-wise) conclusion to this cigar. Rico has released some excellent cigars and this one is right up there. This is a cigar I’d recommend to a more experienced cigar enthusiast, but would not discourage a novice from trying this. As for myself, this is a cigar I would definitely reach for again.
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
News: S.T.K. Miami Barracuda Maduro by Gran Habano (Cigar Preview)
Price: n/a (Between $7.40 and $8.60 a box depending on size)
Source: Cigar provided by Manufacturer
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