Altadis U.S.A. has amassed a large portfolio of brands, with some more active than others. One of the more dormant brands over the past five years has been the Trinidad brand. Like several of Altadis U.S.A.’s brands, it has a counterpart in the Habanos S.A. portfolio (after all, Altadis U.S.A’s parent company Imperial brands owns half of Habanos S.A.). In 2012, Altadis attempted to put a modern spin on Trinidad like it had done with the Romeo by Romeo y Julieta and created Trinidad Paradox. Eventually, the line was discontinued and really the only activity under Trinidad since then was 2015’s limited edition Trinidad Lost Blends. Last year, Rafael Nodal who was now overseeing product development and innovation at Altadis took his spin at reviving Trinidad and would create Trinidad Santiago. This time Trinidad Santiago is planned to be a regular production line by Altadis U.S.A. Today, we take a closer look at the Trinidad Santiago in the Robusto size.
Almost a year ago, Nodal and his company Boutique Blends entered into a strategic partnership that saw Altadis U.S.A. take over Boutique Blends distribution and Nodal become a part of the Altadis U.S.A. team, where he would eventually take over product development and innovation. Nodal had been no stranger to Altadis U.S.A. as back in 2015 (prior to joining Altadis) he collaborated with the company to produce the limited edition Romeo by Romeo y Julieta Aging Room Small Batch F25. Trinidad Santiago would become Nodal’s first project with Altadis U.S.A. since the strategic partnership had been agreed to.
When Nodal worked on the Romeo Aging Room Small Batch F25, that cigar would be produced out of Jochy Blanco’s Tabacalera Palma. For the Trinidad Santiago, he once again turned to Blanco and Tabacalera Palma. Since Tabacalera Palma is located in the city of Santiago in the Dominican Republic, that is how the name Trinidad Santiago was derived. The use of Tabacalera Palma as a production partner continues a strategy Altadis U.S.A. has been executing on – namely producing cigars at other factories such as Plasencia S.A., Tabacalera Fernandez, and most recently Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr’s Tabacalera La Alianza.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the Trinidad Santiago Robusto and see what this cigar brings to the table.
As for the blend, the Trinidad Santiago uses 100% Dominican Habano tobacco. It’s a profile Nodal was familiar with as, when he developed the Romeo Aging Room Small Batch F25, it also was a Dominican puro using Dominican Habano tobacco in all of the components.
Wrapper: Habano Dominicano
Binder: Habano Dominicano
Filler: Habano Dominicano
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (Tabacalera Palma)
One other similarity with the Romeo Aging Room Small Batch F25 is that the Trinidad Santiago has the same three frontmarks. While the F25 used musical-themed vitola names, the Trinidad Santiago uses traditional names. The cigars for the Trinidad Santiago are presented in 20-count boxes.
Robusto: 5 x 48
Toro: 6 x 54
Belicoso: 6 x 52
The Dominican wrapper of the Trinidad Santiago Robusto had a medium brown color to it. Upon closer examination, some darker mottling can be seen on the wrapper. This was definitely a wrapper that was on the thicker side. While there was a light coating of oil on the wrapper, the wrapper also had a sandy texture to it when held in the hand. On the surface of the wrapper, there were some visible veins as well as some visible wrapper seams.
The Trinidad Santiago has two gold-colored bands. The primary band is highlighted by the Trinidad “T’ logo in black font. To the left and right there are several gold Trinidad “T” logos sitting on a black background. On the far right is the text “Est Ranchuelo Cuba 1905” (the location and year the brand was founded in Cuba) in a small black cursive font arranged in landscape mode.
The secondary band surrounds the footer of the cigar. It is gold in color with black trim. On the center of the band is the text “SANTIAGO” in large black font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the Trinidad Santiago Robusto, I used a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered a mix of cedar and natural tobacco. There also was a slight graham cracker sweetness that I picked up. Overall the pre-light draw of this cigar delivered a satisfactory pre-light experience. At this point, I removed the footer band, lit up my Trinidad Santiago Robusto and awaited what the smoking experience would have in store.
The Trinidad Santiago Robusto started out with a healthy dose of natural tobacco flavor. What stood out was that the natural tobacco notes had both sweet and savory components to them. Meanwhile, there were complementary notes of cedar, mixed black and red pepper, and earth in the background. The retro-hale delivered an additional layer of red pepper.
Throughout the first half, the natural tobacco flavor varied in terms of whether the sweet and/or savory qualities were more prominent. As the Trinidad Santiago Robusto moved into the second third, the natural tobacco began to shed some of its savory qualities. Simultaneously, the earth notes started to make their way into the forefront. Meanwhile, the cedar and pepper notes remained secondary.
As the Trinidad Santiago Robusto moved into the second half, there was an increase in both the cedar and pepper notes. The cedar notes increased at a much faster rate than the pepper notes. The earth and natural tobacco notes remained primary, but now the natural tobacco had shed some of the sweetness it had early on.
The last third of the Trinidad Santiago Robusto still saw the earth and natural tobacco in the forefront. This was balanced out by notes of cedar and pepper. This was the way the smoking experience of the Trinidad Santiago Robusto came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The Trinidad Santiago Robusto had no problems maintaining a straight burn path. For the most part, the burn line was on the straight side as well. The resulting ash was firm with a light gray color to it. Meanwhile, the burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw to the Trinidad Santiago Robusto was ideal. It had a touch of resistance to it – which is something I consider the positive. At the same time, this cigar was low maintenance to derive flavor from and delivered a nice volume off smoke production.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength and body, I found the Trinidad Santiago Robusto to be on the upper end of medium. For the most part, I didn’t find much variance in the intensity levels of both attributes. The strength and body balanced each other nicely with neither attaining dominance.
The Trinidad Santiago uses the tagline “A Dominican Cigar with a Cuban Soul”. While some of the packaging had somewhat of a Cuban influence, I found my smoking experience with the Robusto showcased the robustness of what Dominican tobacco has to offer. I particularly loved the first third when this cigar delivered its savory qualities. As the cigar experience progressed, I did find “the wow factor” I experienced early on had diminished, but in the end, it was still a very good cigar.
For a relaunch of the Trinidad brand, it does seem like Trinidad Santiago has fallen under the radar, so it’s a cigar I’d recommend checking out. This is a cigar I would recommend to either the novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, it’s a cigar I would certainly smoke again – and it’s one worthy of buying multiples to keep in the humidor.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Cedar, Pepper, Earth
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy Multiples
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted