In 2018, Fratello Cigars would release its fifth regular production cigar, the Fratello Navetta Inverso. A year earlier, Fratello released its fourth regular production cigar, the Fratello Navetta. The Navetta would incorporate a blend featuring a Ecuadorian wrapper, Dominican binder, and Nicaraguan fillers. For the Navetta Inverso, it would basically incorporate the same tobaccos, but would be assembled differently – this time with a Nicaraguan wrapper, Ecuadorian binder, and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. Today we take a closer look at the Fratello Navetta Inverso in the Toro Grande size.
The name Navetta means Shuttle. In this case the Shuttle is the Space Shuttle and it pays homage to Fratello Cigars owner and founder Omar de Frias’ time spent working for NASA. De Frias would found Fratello Cigars back in 2013. In 2016, he announced he was leaving NASA to put his primary focus on Fratello Cigars. As for the Navetta and Navetta Inverso releases both are in a line in the Fratello portfolio known as as the “Spazio” (Space) line.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Fratello Navetta Inverso Toro Grande and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
Like the Navetta, the Navetta Inverso incorporates tobaccos from Nicaragua, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic. Production is handled out of the Joya de Nicaragua factory – a factory that handles production for several other regular production Fratello lines.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua SA
There are four regular production sizes of th Fratello Navetta Inverso. Each is presented in 20-count boxes. The Boxer size is a box-pressed torpedo, but the other three sizes in the line are rounded parejos.
Corona Gorda: 5 7/8 x 46
Robusto: 5 1/2 x 54
Toro Grande: 6 1/4 x 54
Boxer: 6 1/4 x 52 (Box Pressed Torpedo)
The Nicaraguan Habano wrapper of the Fratello Navetta Inverso Toro Grande had a dark Colorado tint to it. There was some oil on the surface of the wrapper. The surface of the wrapper had some visible veins as well as some visible wrapper seams.
The band of the Fratello Navetta Inverso is actually an inverse color scheme of the Fratello Navetta band. It features a charcoal-colored variant of the company’s signature Fratello band with the unique “zig-zag/marquis design”. The zig-zag shape features the text “FRAT” and “ELLO” in a large white and gray font on both the left and right side. There is a small black space shuttle-like design dividing each side of the zig-zag. On the far right of the band is a chrome nameplate-style design element in landscape mode. On that element is the text “NAVETTA INVERSO” embossed in chrome.
The Fratello Navetta also has a sleeve that covers a little less than half of the Robusto size from the footer. The sleeve has a triangular tip. Most of the sleeve has the same charcoal color found on the band. At the center of the sleeve is the text “FRATELLO” in white and gray font arranged in landscape mode. To the left and right of that text is the text “NAVETTA INVERSO” in white font with the same small space shuttle-like design found on the primary of the band. The far right of the sleeve has a chrome strip with chrome leaf designs embossed on it. on it. Finally, the triangular top of the sleeve is chrome with embossed pinstripes.
After removing the sleeve on the Fratello Navetta Inverso Toro Grande, a straight cut was used to remove the cap off the head of the cigar. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw ritual. The cold draw delivered a mix of earth, wood, and natural tobacco. This wasn’t the most exciting of pre-light draws, but since there pre-light draw is not factored into the numerical score or value rating, there was no loss of points here. At this point it was time to toast up the foot of the Fratello Navetta Inverso Toro Grande and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The start of the Fratello Navetta Inverso Toro Grande continued where the the pre-light draw left off. There also was some black pepper that entered into the equation. The black pepper was also present on the retro-hale. As the Navetta Inverso Toro Grande moved through the first third, the natural tobacco took over as the primary note. There was a nougat sweetness that was a component of the natural tobacco. The pepper, wood, and earth notes remained in the background.
During the second third of the Fratello Navetta Inverso Toro Grande, the natural tobacco remained primary, but slowly began to shed the nougat sweetness that was present during the first third. Meanwhile the pepper, wood, and earth notes rounded out the flavor profile.
By the final third, the natural tobacco was still the primary note, but most of the sweetness was now gone. There was an increase in the pepper notes. These notes became the most prominent of the secondary notes. There still were some residual earth and wood notes remaining. This is the way the Fratello Navetta Inverso Toro Grande came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
While the Fratello Navetta Inverso Toro Grande maintained a straight burn line and straight burn path, there were multiple touch-ups that were needed along the way to keep the burn straight and on-track. Overall there were more touch-ups than I prefer. The resulting ash had multiple shades of gray. The cigar didn’t have the firmest of ashes, but it wasn’t a loose or flaky ash either. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw to the Fratello Navetta Inverso Toro Grande was slightly more open than I prefer. Normally I prefer a touch of resistance on the draw. At the same time, this was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from and the openness had no adverse effects on the smoking experience.
Strength and Body
Overall the Fratello Navetta Inverso Toro Grande delivered a medium to full experience for both strength and body. During the smoking experience, there wasn’t much variance in the intensity levels of the strength and body. At the same time, the strength and body balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
The first third of the Fratello Navetta Inverso Toro Grande kept me interested. The last two-thirds – not so much. Even so, while the flavors of the Navetta Inverso Toro Grande were not bad, they were not exciting. They lacked depth, and the cigar fell a little short in terms of complexity. In the end, this is a $13.50 cigar. It’s one that I would definitely recommend one try a sample if possible. I’m curious enough to smoke this in one of the other sizes and see how this performs.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Nougat, Wood, Earth, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Complexity: Medium Minus
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Very Good
Value: Try a Sample
News: Fratello Navetta Inverso to Debut at the 2018 IPCPR Trade Show
Source: Fratello Cigars
Brand Reference: Fratello Cigars
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop