Those of you who think you don’t like infused cigars are going to be in for a big surprise when you try the limited production Tabak Especial Café con Leche. The key to this great stogie is that it utilizes not one but two premium wrappers. Together, they deliver a wealth of aromas and nuanced flavors and create a complex, satisfying medium-bodied smoke. Both the foot and head of the cigar are wrapped with a dark Connecticut Broadleaf maduro, while the center of the cigar utilizes a silky, shade-grown Connecticut leaf. Drew Estate is known for beautiful bands and this stick wears two of them well. The pre-light aromas of strong cocoa and coffee are inviting. Note its incredible construction—no soft spots, no unwrapping. The light body of the Tabak Especial is infused with hints of chocolate, spice and light, creamy coffee. It’s packed fully and loosely with medium-colored filler tobacco. Panelists found the Café con Leche lit up quickly and easily. Not surprisingly, the flavor profile is very sweet. You are immediately jettisoned into a whirlwind of dark chocolate, mixed with rich, espresso-like coffee. The Especial produces volumes of very dark, thick smoke that smells so good one panelist predicted, “Even non-smokers are going to be drawn to it!” Look for the cigar to become increasingly sweet after the first few puffs but with a sweetness that won’t overpower. The burn is perfect—all the way through. The Tabak never had to be touched up. As you get to the lighter shaded body of the stick, the taste evens out—still sweet but increasingly well balanced and smooth. Towards the nub of the smoke, the chocolate-espresso bean taste increases in strength, as does a pure tobacco taste making for a memorable finish. To describe this cigar as complex is an understatement. We think even those who think they don’t like infused cigars are in for a pleasant—and delicious—surprise. Try it with black coffee.
The Nicaraguan cigar industry originated when Cuban cigar makers escaped the revolution and re-established their livelihood in Nicaragua with Cuban-seed tobacco. Blessed with dark, rich soil, their new home was ideal for tobacco cultivation and Nicaragua quickly became known for cigars that rivaled Cuban quality. Unfortunately, revolution and war came to Nicaragua in the 1980s and devastated the industry, but it’s rebounded dramatically and is once again producing tobacco considered by many to be the finest in the world.
The Esteli Valley is in many ways the heart of Nicaraguan production and is known for its very powerful and spicy tobacco. The Jalapa Valley produces arguably the finest tobacco in the country: somewhat sweeter and less intense than Esteli, but extremely complex. The tobacco of the Condega Valley is often described as a blend of the other two regions.
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