Rodrigo Cigars – Boutique Blend
First things first. If you have not done so yet, make sure to enter our Felix Assouline Cigar Sampler Giveaway here. Two winners will be chosen Monday, February 3rd.
Now back to work. A few months back, House of Emilio provided samples of several of the cigars they distribute. In the sample pack, I received a stick from Rodrigo Cigars. Rodrigo Cigars is one of nine companies distributed by House of Emilio. Currently, their portfolio includes three brands: Habano Clasico, Boutique Blend, and La Fortaleza. Today, I will be reviewing the Boutique Blend for your reading pleasure.
According to Rodrigo Cigars’ website:
Boutique Blend is our answer the large ring gauge cigar. Contemporary but never trendy. Unlike other large ring gauge cigars that are often one dimensional power houses, the Boutique Blend offers large ring gauge smokers an amazingly complex profile.
The Boutique Blend is produced in three vitolas: G4 (6 ¼ by 54), G5 (5 ½ by 56), and G6 (6 by 60)
Samples Provided by House of Emilio
Size: 5 ½ by 56
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Dark
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Smoke Time: 1 hour and 25 minutes
The Rodrigo Boutique Blend wears a medium brown Ecuadorian Habano wrapper that has a nice amount of oils that can be easily seen in the light. The wrapper leaf has a couple medium veins and it is pretty bumpy. There are no soft spots and, to the touch, the wrapper feels a bit dry.
The wrapper has notes of sweet barnyard, rich cedar, and chocolate, while the foot gives off more of the rich cedar with some dried fruit. With a quick, shallow cut through the triple-cap, I find a perfect draw with the right amount of resistance. More richness is brought out on the cold draw with notes of clove and cedar.
The Rodrigo Boutique Blend is opening with some pepper, earth and cedar. As I burn down the first third, the profile is reminiscent of a dry, earthy red wine with some blackberry notes. The pepper stands out more in the retrohale but is not overpowering and I can feel only a slight spice tingle in the back of my throat. The finish is a bit dry but my palate recovers fairly quick. The cigar is burning great, forming a medium gray, layered ash that is holding past an inch
The pepper spice has become a bit sharper and is carrying some heat. I would have to say it is more similar to crushed red pepper at this point. The cedar flavor is transitioning to something else that I cannot quite pin down. Midway through the middle-third, the spice is decreasing in intensity and there is a sour quality to the smoke, along with some sweetness. The finish has a burnt, charred taste. The Boutique Blend is producing a decent amount of smoke but the smoke feels thinner than I would prefer. The flavors are at a solid medium and I am not feeling really any nicotine.
As I make my way into the final third, the cigar seems to have founds its rhythm. The flavors are balanced with a mixture of cedar and oak at the front, an underlying sweetness, and the burnt finish has mostly subsided. A small crack has formed down the wrapper but I do not see it impacting the experience at this point. The sourness is still hanging around and it is not a bad thing. It is adding a uniqueness to the smoke. As I put a close to the cigar, the flavors are medium/full and the strength is medium.
The construction and performance on the Boutique Blend by Rodrigo Cigars were just about flawless. The only issue I encountered was the small crack in the wrapper that ended up being a non-issue. The burn was even and the ash held firm. I am mixed on the flavors that the Boutique Blend brought to the table. The first third got me engaged but did not wow me, the second third was overshadowed by the burnt finish, and the final third hit on all cylinders with a balanced complex ending to the smoke. I will definitely be trying out the other offerings from Rodrigo Cigars and I think the company has a lot to offer from what I can tell. I will even be picking up a few more of these sticks to see if my opinion changes. I recommend you grab one for yourself to see what you think.