|Fratello H-Town Lancero|
Earlier this year, Fratello Cigars announced their first shop exclusive cigar. The cigar would be a limited production lancero modified off the Fratello Cigars’ core line blend. The recipient of this cigar was Stogies World Class Cigars in Houston, Texas which incorporated the Fratello lancero into its H-Town line. The H-Town line is a series of lancero shop exclusives to Stogies World Class. The Fratello H-Town Lancero would become the third installment of this series joining the Room 101 Namakubi Ecuador H-Town and Alec Bradley Nica Puro H-Town. Recently, I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Fratello H-Town Lancero. Overall I found this to be a different cigar than the core Fratello line, and one that introduced a more dialed-back offering in Fratello’s portfolio.
It was about eighteen months ago when Fratello Cigars announced the launch of its company as well as its eponymous cigar line. The company was founded by Omar de Frias. A month later, the cigar was given to attendees of the FDA seminar at the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show. While this gave the company a nice jump start, it is what happened afterwards that is nothing short of amazing. De Frias began a grassroots journey which he calls his “retailer countdown”. This involved visiting retailers and consumers and spreading the word of his brand. This proved to be successful and help land Fratello on the map. We named Fratello Cigars one of our Cigar Coop Five Boutiques to Watch for 2014.
Last year, De Frias released the Fratello Boxer, which was a box-press torpedo which like the Fratello H-Town Lancero is a variant off the original Fratello.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Fratello H-Town Lancero and see what this cigar brings to the table.
As mentioned, the Fratello H-Town Lancero is a variant off the original Fratello blend. On Episode 124 of Stogie Geeks, De Frias informed us that he pretty much went with a Peruvian Viso filler for the Lancero (The filler of the regular production line also features Nicaraguan tobacco). Part of the reason why the filler was modified was because there is only so much tobacco that can be incorporated into small ring gauge. The ligero was also eliminated because of burn issues.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Mostly Peruvian
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
The H-Town blend has only been made available in a lancero. The lancero is a traditional 7 x 38. It is packaged in boxes of twenty and there has been a total of 500 boxes.
The Fratello H-Town Lancero features the same Nicaraguan Habano wrapper as the rest of the line. The wrapper has a distinct Colorado red color to it. I found the wrapper on the Lancero had somewhat of an oily complexion. At the same time there were some minor bumps on the wrapper. While there were also some visible veins and some visible wrapper seams, I didn’t consider this to be a “rough” or “toothy” wrapper. The cap to the cigar has a small pig-tail on it.
There are two bands on the Fratello H-Town Lancero. The primary band is a smaller version of the unique “marquis” style band found on the other cigars in the Fratello line. It is primarily red with thin black trim and white font. The band is a zig-zag shape with the text “FRAT” and “ELLO” in large white font and black trim. The text “FRATELLO CIGARS” is also on the band in landscape mode – also in white text, but on a black background.
The Fratello H-Town Lancero is the first Fratello Cigar with a secondary band. This band appears on the footer. All of the H-Town series cigars have a footer band and it’s different on each release. It is black in color with silver and red trim. On the background is the text “H-TOWN” appears in a light gray / silver font. The text “STOGIES” appears in a larger light gray / silver font while “WORLD CLASS CIGARS” appears in a very tiny red font barely visible to the eye.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I normally do, I opted not to remove the pig-tail, but instead clip the entire cap off of my lancero. I then proceeded with the pre-light draw ritual. The cold draw provided a mix of both generic wood and cedar sweet-spice. I also detected a slight cherry sweetness. Overall I considered the pre-light draw of the Fratello H-Town Lancero to be satisfactory. At this point I was ready to light up my Fratello Lancero and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The start to the Fratello H-Town Lancero provided notes of sweet cedar and earth. It didn’t take long for the sweet cedar to make its way to the forefront. The earth notes settled into the background. Shortly afterwards, two additional notes surfaced in the background. The first was a unique evergreen note and the second was a smooth cream note. Meanwhile the retro-hale produced some notes of herbal spice.
By the ten percent mark, the evergreen notes joined the sweet cedar in the forefront creating a most unique flavor. Meanwhile in the background, the earth notes morphed into a coffee note. and the cream notes were much more distant. Throughout the first two thirds, the combination of the sweet cedar and evergreen was the story. These notes varied in intensity. At times they fused together and other times they could be picked out separately.
The last third of the Fratello H-Town Lancero saw a more generic wood note surface in the forefront joining the evergreen. The cream as well as most of the sweetness from the cedar had dissipated, but I still got some cedar spice in the background. There also was a slight coffee note still present in the background. This is the way the Fratello H-Town Lancero came to an end. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and slightly soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
I found the Fratello H-Town Lancero to be a well-constructed cigar and this was reflected on both the burn and draw very nicely. The Fratello Lancero maintained a straight burn path and a sharp burn line – requiring only some occasional touch-ups along the way. The resulting ash had a silver gray color. It was mostly a firm ash and came off the cigar in nice clean chunks. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
|Burn of the Fratello H-Town Lancero|
I found the draw on the Fratello H-Town Lancero to be a more on the open side. I found this worked very nicely with the 38 ring gauge of this lancero and it resulted in an low maintenance smoke.
Strength and Body
As mentioned, the Fratello H-Town Lancero is going to deliver a more dialed back smoke than the other cigars made by Fratello. From a strength standpoint, I found the Fratello Lancero to start out in the mild to medium range. By the second third, I found the cigar had progressed to medium strength where it remained for duration of the smoke. As for the flavors, I found them to be medium-bodied throughout the cigar experience. When looking at strength versus body, I found the body had a slight edge early on, but then the two attributes maintained a closer equilibrium for the duration of the cigar experience.
When looking at the Fratello Cigars portfolio, the recent additions have filled in some gaps in the portfolio. The recently released Fratello Boxer offers a stronger, more robust smoke. On the other side of the coin, the Fratello H-Town Lancero is going to offer something more dialed back. In terms of flavors, the Fratello H-Town Lancero is going to deliver some unique flavors – especially that evergreen note which was something that was different. While personally I think the core line smokes delivered a better overall experience, this is still a cigar I”d encourage both novice and lancero fans to try. As for myself, this might not be a regular rotation cigar, but it’s a good change of pace cigar. It’s one worth having a five pack around.
Strength: Mild to Medium (First third), Medium (Remainder)
Assessment: 3.0 – The Fiver
News: Fratello Lancero to be Limited Edition Shop Exclusive to Stogies World Class in Houston, Texas
Source: Cigars Provided by Manufactuer
Stogie Geeks Podcast: Episode 124
Stogie Feed: n/a