|Inca Secret Blend – Tambo|
Last month we reported on a cigar arriving in the United States called the Inca Secret Blend. What sets the Inca Secret Blend apart from the rest of the pack is that it is a Peruvian puro (100% Peruvian tobacco) that is made in the country of Peru. Inca Secret Blend is a project spearheaded by a well-known United Kingdom Cigar Retailer who is best known to be the Managing Director of C.Gars Ltd. In 2012, Orchant launched his first Peruvian puro in the U.K. under the name “Inka”. Now Orchant and his company have set their sights on the U.S. market delivering an entirely new blend called Inca Secret Blend. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Inca Secret Blend in the Tambo (Toro) vitola. Overall not only did I find this a unique cigar, but quite an enjoyable one too.
When the Inca Secret Blend was announced, Orchant explained a bit on why he felt something different like this cigar can work in the American market:
“I’m not trying to make a zillion cigars and a load of baseball caps to sell them with! I’m not trying to compete with anyone. I’m just trying to give the consumer a different choice that during extensive market research sampling across the USA makes me confident that this boutique brand will be well received and very popular.”
As mentioned in addition to using 100% Peruvian tobacco, the cigars are also made in Peru. For his blend, Orchant is working with a factory called Tabacalera del Oriente. The factory is located in Tarapato (about 600 northeast of Peru’s capital of Lima) and run by a man named Gennaro Lettieri. To handle distribution in the U.S., the company is working through Alec Bradley.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Inca Secret Blend Tambo and see what this cigar brings to the table.
All tobaccos in the Inca – Secret Blend have been aged a minimum of three years.
Country of Origin: Peru (Tabacalera del Oriente)
The Inca Secret Blend will be launched in two sizes. Each size will be packaged in 20 count numbered boxes that are designated as “Limited Edition”. A total of 250 boxes are being produced.
Tambo: 6 x 50
Imperio: 6 x 60
Inca Cigars has plans for additional frontmarks listed on their web-site.
Premio: 5 5/8 x 42
Roca: 5 x 50
Tambo 50: 6 x 50
The cigar is named for after the native American Inca Empire that encompassed what is modern day Peru. Tobacco growing in the region can be traced back some 5,000 years. The vitola names reflect names from Incan culture.
Tambo – An Incan structure built for administrative and military purposes.
Imperio – Refers to the Incan Empire
Premio – Spanish word for prize (Spain was the country that toppled the Inca Empire)
Roca – Named for a ruler of the Incan Empire
The Inca Secret Blend Tambo has a brown-bag colored wrapper. Depending on how the light shines on it, it might have a slight colorado red hue. There was some oil on the surface of the wrapper. Any visible veins and visible wrapper seams were on the thin side.
The band to the Inca Secret Band seemed to have less thickness than most bands, but it was not short on design. The front of the band features a “rainforest”-style background that is green with a gradient effect to black to the left and right. On that background is the text “INCA” in large white font. The text “Secret Blend” is in gold cursive just below the “INCA” text” – and below that is the text “100% PURO” in a dull white font. Above the “rainforest” design is a sepia-style Indian portrait. To the far left and far right (on the black portion) of the rainforest design is the text “PERU” in a dull gold font. The lower part of the band features Inca styled adornments and medallions. A Peruvian / Incan style mosaic goes to the left and right of the band. There is gold trim across the top and lower part of the band containing Incan styled design pattern embossed on it. Below the lower gold trim is a green stripe on each side of the band containing the text “RICH, SMOOTH, SATISFYING” in small gold font. Finally, the upper gold trim has a compass-like design over the sepia Indian portrait.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the Inca Secret Blend Tambo, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap. I then moved on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw was mostly woody, but I picked up a subtle spice as well as a natural tobacco sweetness that had a slight fruity taste to it. Overall I considered the pre-light draw of the Inca Secret Blend Tambo to be satisfactory. At this point I was ready to light up this cigar and await what the smoking phase would have in store.
The start to the Inca Secret Blend Tambo delivered a mix of wood, natural tobacco sweetness and herbal notes. While there was a subtle red pepper note in the background, I also picked it up more prominently on the retro-hale.
By the middle of the first third, the combination of natural tobacco sweetness and herbal notes were primary notes. At times there was a fusion between natural tobacco and herbal notes and at other times each stood out on its own. Meanwhile, the red pepper notes were further back. I also found the wood notes started a transition to bready notes.
By the second half, the combination of natural tobacco and herbal notes continued in the forefront. The bready notes were now established in the background. At this point, I started to notice an increase in the red pepper notes. I also detected some herbal notes mixed with the red pepper on the retro-hale.
By the last third, the natural tobacco / herbal combination remained in the forefront. The red pepper notes were now a close secondary note. Meanwhile the bready notes still remained in the background. This is the way the cigar experience came to a close. The resulting nub was slightly lukewarm, but firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
From a burn perspective, I found the Inca Secret Blend Tambo performed well. The burn path remained relatively straight. At times there was some curvature to the burn line, but the cigar was never in danger of tunneling or canoeing. The resulting ash was firm with a charcoal gray color. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the Inca Secret Blend Tambo|
I found the draw to the Inca Secret Blend Tambo to have a touch of resistance. This gave this cigar a near perfect draw in my book.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength I didn’t find the Inca Secret Blend Tambo to be a powerhouse. I found this cigar to be on the low end of medium. There was a slight increase in strength along the way, but I never found the strength to leave the medium range. In terms of the body, I found it to also be medium. I also found this to slightly increase along the way, falling just below medium to full by the end of the cigar. In terms of strength versus body, while this was “medium strength, medium-bodied”, I still gave a slight edge to the body here.
I admit, when I first heard of this cigar, I was curious to smoke it, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. My experience with Peruvian tobacco in many multi-national blends had been mixed and I wasn’t sure how a puro would smoke. With the Inca Secret Blend, I loved the way this blend came together. I felt it had a nice mix of sweetness, spice, and herbal notes. I wouldn’t categorize this as overly complex, but at the same time this is a cigar that did not lack complexity. As Orchant said, this is going to be a different cigar. In my opinion, this was different simply because of the way the flavors came together. I found this is a cigar that either the novice or experienced cigar enthusiast can enjoy. As for myself, it’s one I’d love to smoke again – and it’s worthy of a box split.
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
News: Inca – Secret Blend to be Introduced to U.S. Market
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