|Felipe Gregorio Pelo de Oro Robusto Gordo (2014 Edition)|
At the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show, Felipe Gregorio Cigars launched a new and revamped version of its Pelo de Oro line. While there was some packaging changes, the big change was in the blend as the line was reintroduced as a Costa Rican puro. The new Pelo de Oro would be one of two Costa Rican puros launched at the trade show by Felipe Gregorio (the other being the Felipe Gregorio Power 2014). While Costa Rica has slowly been on the rise in the cigar marketplace, Felipe Gregorio takes things to a different level. Not only is the company moved toward producing all Costa Rican tobacco blends, but has undergone a transformation where it is becoming a vertically integrated company out of Costa Rica. Recently, I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the revamped Felipe Gregorio Pelo de Oro cigar in the Robusto Gordo format. Overall I found this to be an excellent cigar that showcases some great work coming out of Costa Rica.
Felipe Gregorio is a boutique cigar company that has been around since 1990. The company was founded by Philip Wynne. Wynne has produced his cigars in countries such as Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Over the past year, Wynne moved production of the Power and the Pelo de Oro lines to Costa Rica. He is now leveraging tobaccos grown on farms he owns in Costa Rica and incorporating the leaf into his lines.
“Pelo de Oro” translates to Golden Hair, but it actually refers to a crop of tobacco grown in Cuba that is considered to be quite flavorful and on the stronger side. While it is a tobacco leaf that has been seen with Nicaraguan tobacco, in terms of Costa Rican tobacco it is more of an unknown to cigar enthusiasts.
This iteration of the Pelo De Oro is an all new blend from the previous blend (which was a multinational blend also incorporating Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos). It is being made with a Costa Rican Natural wrapper, but one size (the 4 x 55) will also be made available with a Costa Rican Maduro. We will be focusing on the Natural blend for this assessment.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the new Felipe Gregorio Pelo de Oro Robusto Gordo and see what this cigar brings to the table.
As mentioned, the Felipe Gregorio Pelo de Oro is a Costa Rican puro. In terms of the amount of Pelo de Oro and what components of the blend use it, that has not been disclosed. The only information made available is there are tobaccos are grown in the Cordillera Central (a volcanic mountain) region of Costa Rica.
Wrapper: Costa Rican (Natural, Maduro)
Binder: Costa Rican
Filler: Costa Rican
The new Felipe Gregorio Pelo de Oro is being launched in some new sizes. All sizes are available in with a Costa Rican Natural wrapper. The 4 x 55 Stubby is also available with a Costa Rican Maduro. The cigars are packaged in 25 count cabinet boxes.
Churchill Pesado: 7 x 55
Piramide: 6 1/2 x 52
Corona: 6 x 44
Robusto Gordo: 5 x 52
Stubby: 4 x 55
Stubby Maduro: 4 x 55 (Maduro only)
|Packaging of the Felipe Gregorio Pelo de Oro|
The Pelo de Oro’s Costa Rican wrapper has a medium brown colored wrapper. Upon closer examination of the wrapper there is some subtle darker marbling on it. The wrapper has a light coating of oil on it. There are some visible veins and visible wrapper seams, but overall I found this to be a smooth wrapper.
The band to the Felipe Gregorio Pelo de Oro is redesigned from the previous version. The band still has a metallic gold color to it, but now has a more classic, traditional look to it. On the center of the band is the text “FELIPE GREGORIO” in small black font. Just below that text is the text “PELO DE ORO” in a larger black font. There is a black pinstripe above and below the text. There is also a row of rivets above the top pinstripe and below the bottom pinstripe.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to smoking the Felipe Gregorio Pelo de Oro Robusto Gordo, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap of the cigar. Once the cap was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The cigar itself was positioned as having a licorice flavor and I knew this in advance. I can’t say whether the power of suggestion played a role in this or not, but I definitely detected black licorice sweetness on the pre-light and during the smoke. I also detected notes of natural tobacco and a slight floral spice. Overall I considered this to be an excellent pre-light draw. At this point I was ready to light up the Felipe Gregorio Pelo de Oro and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
Throughout the smoke of the Felipe Gregorio Pelo de Oro Robusto Gordo, I picked up four main flavors: Earth, natural tobacco, red pepper, and of course the black licorice. The flavors did surface in different permutations from smoke to smoke, but I still was able to put some general patterns together.
During the first third, I definitely picked up more of the licorice and red pepper notes. The earth and natural tobacco notes were more secondary. The red pepper was the prominent note on the retro-hale and from time to time I picked up a little licorice sweetness through the nasal passages.
I found the earth and natural tobacco notes became primary flavors in the second third. The red pepper had receded into a background note. The licorice seemed more prominent on the after-draw and definitely lingered on the tongue on the finish.
During the last third, I saw the red pepper join the earth and natural tobacco in the forefront. The licorice sweetness was still present – especially on the after-draw. This is the way the Pelo de Oro finished up. I found that this was a cigar that finished consistently with a firm, cool nub with no harshness.
Burn and Draw
Overall I found the Felipe Gregorio Pelo de Oro Robusto Gordo to perform very well in terms of its burn. The burn remained on a straight path from start to finish – requiring only occasional touch-ups. There was a slight jaggedness to the burn line and it was minor enough where most of the time it didn’t warrant a touch-up. The ash was a charcoal gray in color. It was not an overly firm ash, but not an overly loose ash. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the Felipe Gregorio Pelo de Oro|
The draw was a little looser than I prefer. However it didn’t seem to have an adverse effect on anything else. I didn’t find I had to smoke this any slower than I normally do. The looser draw definitely led to some increased some production.
Strength and Body
This cigar definitely had more kick than any other Costa Rican dominated blend I have had before. Overall I found the Felipe Gregorio Pelo de Oro to have enough strength to qualify as a medium to full strength cigar. As for the flavors, I found them to pretty much stay in the medium to full-bodied range – falling a little under full-bodied. In terms of strength versus body, I found the body had the edge throughout the smoking experience.
Back in October, I assessed the another Costa Rican puro, the Felipe Gregorio Power 2014. At that time, it was my first Costa Rican puro and I found it to be an impressive cigar. In terms of the Pelo de Oro, this is a very different cigar than the Power 2014, but it was still a good cigar. I wasn’t completely surprised that t his cigar was in the “medium to full” range in terms of the strength and body because after all, it does have Pelo de Oro tobacco in the blend. Wynne’s move toward Costa Rica seems to have worked because he has produced two solid blends. This is a cigar I’d recommend to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast. It is also the kind of cigar that is perfect for a novice looking to graduate to something “medium plus”. As for myself, this is a cigar that is definitely one I’d smoke again – and it’s certainly worth a box split.
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
News: Felipe Gregorio Pelo De Oro
Source: Cigar Provided by Manufacturer
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