|Azan Maduro Natural Robusto Extra|
The Azan Maduro Natural is one of three cigar blends in Roberto P. Duran Cigars’ Azan line. Azan is actually the name of an old Cuban line that was resurrected by the company in 2013. It also became the first line of blends released by Roberto P. Duran cigars. What makes the Azan Maduro Natual different is its wrapper. The wrapper is grown on the farms ownsd by Duran and then goes through a 22 month processing cycle. Today we take a look at the Azan Maduro Natural in the Robusto Extra format. Overall I’ve been impressed with the product this company has been producing. The Azan Maduro Natural follows suit delivering a cigar that is bold, spicy, and very enjoyable.
Roberto P. Duran Cigars is founded by Roberto Pelayo Duran. Duran was originally from Cuba. Duran originally started out supervising cigar production in Cuba. He then went on to assemble and manage all Cuban cigar brands for The Pacific Cigar Company, Ltd. Duran also served as a consultant to Dunhill Cigars working on their global brand strategy. His company owns a factory in Esteli (Fabrica Nicatabaco), Nicaragua and also has a plantation in Ecuador (Fincas Azan) where all of the company’s wrapper is produced.
When the Azan line was announced, we provided some detail on the Azan bran::
Duran describes the brand (Azan) as “one of the biggest kept secrets in the history of Cuban cigar brands”. The roots behind the Azan are most interesting. The company was actually founded by a group of Chinese immigrants back in 1928. Kwan Ben Sen (known as Domingo Azan) with his brothers started making handmade cigars in Manicaragua, Cuba (located in the province of Villa Clara). Azan utilized what Duran calls “traditional Oriental dedication and focus, and a strike of good fortune” to build the Cuban Azan brand. In terms of the relaunch of the Azan brand, Duran has Domingo Azan’s great granddaughter Maria Isabel Alvarez Azan as a part of the team.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Azan Maduro Natural Robusto Extra and see what this cigar brings to the able.
When the Azan Maduro Natural was launched, the company explained some more detail about the processing of this cigar’s unique wrapper.
“The Maduro Naturals are our special editions made out of a rare wrapper. Each harvest brings Azan a small amount naturally intense dark brown wrappers of the highest quality, which we turn into a limited edition of 100% natural Maduro Cigars. The filler blend is slightly modified to boost the strength of this particular cigar to bring out a strong flavour, yet a sweetness and aroma which is comparable to the White Premium Line.”
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Corojo Maduro Natural
Filler: Esteli, Jalapa and selected tobaccos from other Latin American regions
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Fabrica Nicatabaco)
The Azan Maduro Natural is currently available in two sizes.
Robusto Extra: 5 1/2 x 52
Campana: 5 1/2 x 52
The Azan Maduro Natural Robusto Extra has a coffee bean color to it with a dark cinnamon tint to it. The wrapper has some oil on the surface to it. There are some visible veins as well as some visible wrapper seams. There is a slightly bumpy feel to the wrapper that gives it some charm.
The band to the Azan Natural Maduro is a light tan in color. It features the Azan logo that has the “Azan” name in a elegant gold script with a blue trim. There is a star and a leaf that sits above the script – also in gold and blue font. There is gold trim around the band edges. On the lower right it says EST. CUBA 1938 in brown font (representing the origins of the brand name). On the far right is the text “Made in Nicaragua” in landscape mode in brown font. Futther to the right is the text “MADURO NATURAL” in landscape mode in white font on a gold background with a small burgundy star. to the left of the text.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up my Azan Maduro Natural Robusto Extra, I oped to use a straight cut. Once the cap was successfully clipped, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered plenty of notes of cedar and wood. I also detected some chocolate notes. Overall I considered this a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point I was ready to light up the Azan Maduro Robusto Extra and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The start to the Azan Maduro Natural Robusto Extra continued with the cedar, wood, and chocolate notes I detected on the pre-light draw. I also found some black pepper notes present with the cedar spices. The cedar and pepper notes were prominent early on while the wood and chocolate notes were more complementary. The pepper notes were also quite prominent on the retro-hale.
As the Azan Maduro Natural moved through the first third, I found the chocolate notes develop a creamy profile. By the second third, with the cedar notes still primary, the chocolate and wood notes had now moved into the forefront. There were times during the second third that I thought the chocolate notes had the edge over the others. Meanwhile, the pepper notes had receded into the background.
During the last third, I found pepper spice re-emerged and joined the cedar in the forefront. The combination of the cedar and pepper was quite prominent here. I found the chocolate notes to significantly diminish and I also detected some earth notes. Toward the end of the cigar, the spice took on some harshness, but at this time it was time to put down the Azan Maduro Natural. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Overall I found the Azan Maduro Natural Robusto Extra to have a low maintenance burn from start to finish. The burn path remained straight from start to finish. The burn line also was relatively straight and the cigar did not require a large amount of touch-ups. There was a slight amount of jaggedness on the burn line itself. The resulting ash was a salt and pepper color. The ash was firm and came off the cigar in clean chunks. There was some occasional flaking along the way, but nothing that proved to be problemsome. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
|Burn of the Azan Maduro Natural Robusto Extra|
The draw was ideal. There was a slight amount of resistance to the draw – which is something I like.
Strength and Body
Roberto P. Duran Cigars uses a philosophy when making its cigars called EPF (Evolution and Progressive Flavor). This is an old Cuban cigar making method where the flavor and the strength intensifies from beginning to end. With the Azan Maduro Natural Robusto Extra, I did find to some extent this occurred. The strength and body of this cigar were bold right out of the gate – delivering a medium to full strength, full-bodied smoke. While I felt at the end of the cigar, there was more in the way of strength and body, it was more of a subtle increase. I would still put the strength at medium to full and body at full, but just a little higher on the scale.
In terms of strength versus body, I definitely gave the edge to the body.
Overall I found this to be a very nice part of the Roberto P. Duran Cigars portfolio. I admit, when I first heard the name “Maduro Natural” somehow I had it in my head that this would be a dialed back maduro. Instead I got just the opposite, I got a bolder and spicier cigar and one that was quite enjoyable. While boldness and spice are not for everyone, this cigar does bring a blend to the table to address those cigar enthusiasts looking for that profile. I’d still steer this cigar to more of a seasoned cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I’d smoke again. It’s definitely worthy of a box split in my book.
Strength: Medium to Full
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
News: Roberto Duran Cigars Planning to Release Azan Special Edition Maduro Natural; Launching National Campaign
Source: Cigars Provided by Manufacturer
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