Cigar Reviews

G.A.R. By George A. Rico – Robusto Grande

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I went digging through the humidor today and had one of those moments where I couldn’t make a decision. Them I saw the G.A.R. label staring back at me. I haven’t had a cigar from Gran Habano in awhile and they always seem to be top-notch when I do so I decided it was going to meet the flame tonight. I honestly have no idea where this cigar came from, it’s been in my humi for at least a year and was either part of a trade or a sampler pack I purchased.

The G.A.R. line of cigars is currently only offered in the Original or White Label. There were two other blends in the G.A.R. lineup called the Lux and the Vanguard but both have been recently discontinued. I heard a little “rumour” that there may be a new addition to the G.A.R. lineup very soon so be sure to keep your eyes peeled on the Gran Habano website! G.A.R. stands for it’s creator’s initials, George A. Rico, who is the mastermind behind Gran Habano Cigars. Be sure to check out some of our other Gran Habano reviews, including the new Azteca, Gran Reserva #3, Corojo #5 or the Connecticut #1 which was part of this Blind Review post. There is also a ton more information about the company in each of those reviews if you were curious to learn more about Gran Habano and it’s history.

The G.A.R. line was blending by Mr. Rico to be a full-bodied and full-flavored cigar that promises to be complex throughout. It is currently offered in 4 vitolas and today I will be lighting up the Robusto Grande size. One interesting thing about this blend is the use of a mild Connecticut leaf as the binder underneath the more powerful Corojo wrapper. Sounds like it could be a nice creamy compliment to the spicy and full offering, we’ll see how it plays out as I burn through the cigar.

Cigar: G.A.R. by George A. Rico. White Label / Original
Drink: Quinta do Tedo Fine Tawny Port
Vitola: Robusto Grande (5.5 x 52)
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Corojo
Binder: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: About $6
Burn Time: 1.5 hours

Construction:
• A very even and round looking cigar wrapped with a wonderfully oily and dark cinnamon brown wrapper
• A triple cap tops off this cigar with a mostly clean finish
• The wrapper is mostly vein-less and smooth except for two large veins running the length of the cigar
• The cigar has a perfect soft spring when squeezed that is consistent from cap to foot
• The band holds it together at the foot which appears to be well packed
• The cut cut off as clean as could be and with minimal effort

Burn:
• Took quite a bit of time to get the foot glowing and even then it wasn’t even, but after a quick draw everything was back in order
• The burn started off promising but then needed a correction within the first inch
• The cigar kept burning a little uneven and eventually it needs a slight re-light every so often
• It is burning quite slow and letting me enjoy it without extra attention
• Cigar began to tunnel and burn a bit hot near the end

Smoke & Ash:
• Each draw is offering up a full mouth of smoke
• Resting smoke is very minimal and gives off a woodsy aroma
• Ash is a very light grey color, almost white, and appears to be holding strong
• Tapped off the first ash just past an inch, it could have held on longer but my re-lighting seemed to affect it’s structural integrity
• All the other ashes were still around the one inch mark or less

Tasting Notes:
• The wrapper has a light sweet tobacco aroma
• The foot has a similar sweet tobacco aroma but paired with a faint fruity-coffee mixture
• The pre-light draw offers up a kick of spice and cedar that you could never guess from the aromas
• Initial draws smack you in the face with a ton of tasty woody flavors
• The retrohale at this point is also full of woodsy flavors and lacks any bite
• A nice mellow bready flavor kicked in, nice
• After about an inch I’m getting some nice mild coffee flavors
• As I approach the middle I’m getting some clove flavors and a slight tartness to the mix
• The retrohale still has no bite and the same woodsy finish
• The body has held steady around the mild/medium and is continually giving me a nice creamy finish
• The coffee, bready and clove flavors are all still present as I reach the last third, they are each developing slowly on their own and taking turns as the dominant flavor
• I find that the clove flavor is developing the most and also mixing in a white pepper like flavor, I believe this is the Corojo wrapper starting to shine near the end
• The body started to pick up a bit more as I passed the past third
• The G.A.R. ended with more coffee and clove notes and subtle hints of pepper, very little harshness

Final Thoughts:
This was a tasty smoke with a good variety of flavors to keep you on your toes as you smoke through it. None of the flavors were overpowering or off-putting. My only complaint on this cigar would be the number of touch-ups it required. The touch-ups usually tend to change the flavor for at least a few draws and I try to avoid it as much as possible. Some of these burn issues could also be attributed to the cold temperature out here today, I find that below freezing temps can easily affect a delicate wrapper. But aside from that issue this is a cigar worthy of trying. It promised to be more full bodied then I found it to be, but that might have been because of the Port that I paired it with. It also promised to be complex and full-flavored and I fully believe it lived up to that. It’s offered at a fair price which can make it a good option to be included in your regular rotation.

Pairings:
Sorry for the lack in uniqueness in my pairings lately, I haven’t gone shopping for beer in awhile and I picked up two bottles of this port because they were on sale. If you’re one our wonderful faithful readers you’ll recognize this Quinta do Tedo Tawny Port from a couple of my recent reviews including the Monte Pascoal and the Miraculous Templar Maduro. Please check out those reviews for more details on this Port. The fruity flavors here are pairing well with the cloves and coffee. The higher sugar content of the Port is also helping to any nicotine effects that this cigar may have offered. I think a nice Scotch would have been a great choice here or a tasty bold coffee.

Daniel T. (a.k.a. Dalamscius) is an IT Professional from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He enjoys cigars, scuba diving, hockey, fishing, nature and anything that challenges his mind. If he’s not sitting on his big comfy couch or at work you can usually find him in a boat on top of the water or 100ft under the water enjoying a dive. He is engaged to a wonderful Fiance and looking forward to his wedding. Feel free to contact Daniel anytime via email (dalamscius[at]gmail[dot]com). And make sure to follow him on twitter http://twitter.com/Dalamscius

7 Comments

  1. Tadd

    March 5, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Good stuff. Honest reviews keep me coming back. I always walk by these… Now I am sort of glad I do. He seems like a gracious guy in video interviews, but I would rather spend my money on others. Thanks D!

  2. Dalamscius

    March 5, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Always count on you for a comment Tadd! Thanks bud, really appreciate that.

    I think these deserve a try Tadd, at least pick one up to try. I think the temperature ruined the burn a bit but the flavors were very interesting and tasty. I’ve had a few of these before but not for a while, most of my notes on them don’t talk about many bur issues so this one could have been a dud. Let me know if you try it out!

  3. jjo

    December 27, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    I’ve had three of these and found them to be really enjoyable. Your tasting notes are pretty close to what I can remember, except I also picked up a bit of earth and leather, a very nice mix of flavors. I didn’t experience the burn issues you had. No touch-ups, and maybe one or two relights due to my own negligence, and they really pumped out the stationary smoke. I have some left, but if I want to keep a constant supply, I’ll have to get them online, since the local that carries them has them at inflated prices. :p

    • Dalamscius

      December 28, 2011 at 9:11 am

      Thanks for the update jjo! I love hearing about other’s experiences with some of the cigars we’ve reviewed. I actually haven’t been able to track down many more since this review but I will have to keep my eyes open cause I remember these were all pretty tasty sticks

      • jjo

        December 28, 2011 at 3:43 pm

        Guess I should have sent you one. 😉

  4. David

    February 1, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    This cigar is what I call a “sleeper”. I never tried it for the longest time simply because I thought GAR was short for cigar, an unfortunate unintended marketing ploy which made me lump the brand into the category of “flavored cigars” or the kind of cigar a real cigar smoker would stay away from at all costs. My local cigar store gave me one free just to try, and my word, it was really really good. At first, I chalked it up to my incredibly low expectations. But after several of these, I am convinced it’s one of the most underrated cigars (around $7-$8 a stick) that you can buy. I love these. They are strong, smooth, and have a wonderful finish. It won’t leave you wanting. I have turned many of my cigar friends on to this great cigar. It is my preferred daily smoke, but the largest ring gauge is my favorite. So if you have a good 45 minutes to an hour to kill, it’s definitely worth the investment. But don’t tell anybody if you like. I don’t want it to turn into a $10 cigar.

    • Daniel T.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:39 pm

      Thanks for the comment David! Like I mentioned to Jeff, I haven’t come across these since my review nearly a whole year ago but I do remember them being enjoyable. I definitely will need to seek out more, you and Jeff both inspired me now! haha

      Thanks for visiting the site and we hope to see you around here more often, I love hearing the thoughts of others on all our reviews!

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