Cigar Reviews

Rodrigo Cigars La Fortaleza Cinco 5

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So I need to apologize for my absence lately, been getting overwhelmed at work and on top of that I managed to catch the flu. Even better, the temps here were absolutely insane last week with one day clocking in at -18 FARENHEIT! Yes, -18F! Pretty insane if you ask me! But I’m back this week to bring you a review. Today is a day with some record high temperatures(After a week of record lows!), especially for the end of January which is usually the coldest time of year here. We’re tipping the mercury at 55F right now, unfortunately it’s damp, rainy and very windy so it doesn’t actually feel that warm but I’ll take what I can!

LaFortaleza-2

Rodrigo cigars is probably a brand you haven’t heard too much about but it is a brand that has been making some appearances over the last year or so. George Rodriguez started his venture into the cigar world very recently in 2010. The story on the Rodrigo Cigars website is actually a pretty interesting one, take a read through it here.

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At the moment, Rodrigo cigars has 3 different blends in it’s inventory. The Habano Classico, the Boutique Blend and today’s featured cigar, the La Fortaleza. All of the blends have filler from the Dominican Republic, where George first began his cigar making adventure, and each blend comes with a different wrapper.

The La Fortaleza line is claimed to be the full bodied and full flavored. It comes in 4 different vitolas and all have interesting names such as the Absoluto, Forte, Elegante and the Cinco 5. All of the cigars are also made at the Tabacalera Ventura factory down in Dominican Republic. 3 of the vitolas come in boxes of 24 but the Cinco 5 comes in an odd numbered box containing 55 sticks. There is an obvious link to the name here 😉

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Let’s dive in to the Rodrigo La Fortaleza Cinco 5 and see how it turns out!

Cigar: Rodrigo La Fortaleza Cinco 5
Drink: Pocas Special Reserve Tawny Porto
Vitola: Cinco 5 (6 x 56)
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Price: About $6.75
Burn Time: 1.5 hours

LaFortaleza-5

Construction:
• A very nice, velvety smooth wrapper surrounds this cigar
• It does have a very appealing reddish-brown wrapper on it
• The squeeze shows an even firmness from cap to foot with just a bit of springiness
• There are only very small veins to be seen on this wrapper, they don’t look to have any potential problems with the veins
• The cap is cleanly finished and looks to blend into the rest of the wrapper nicely
• The foot looks nicely and cleanly packed with lots of filler leaves and all are a nice consistent color

LaFortaleza-6

Burn:
• Toasting was nice and easy and even, had a nice amber foot with very little effort
• Shortly after, the La Fortaleza started canoeing on me thanks for a giant tunnel/gap in the filler
• I touched it up but it started to happen again right after, hoping with one more touch up and we’ll be at the end of the tunnel
• Weird burn continues with more touch ups and canoeing
• This cigar needed touch-up after touch up to keep it burning properly
• Finally in the last bit, I got some decent burn without touch ups but it was a constant battle throughout the whole cigar

LaFortaleza-7

Smoke & Ash:
• The smoke is medium in body, not quite full and billowing
• It’s also taking me a couple draws to get a decent amount of smoke out
• The ash is coming along as very light grey, almost white
• Problem is the ash isn’t lasting very long with the tunneling and touch ups
• I keep tapping the ash off just short of an inch, it looks pretty weak and flaky, especially with all the touch ups
• Smoke continues to be pretty light throughout the cigar, would have been nicer to have a little more density to it

LaFortaleza-8

Tasting Notes:
• The notes on the wrapper seem to be mostly of mild cedar, not much else here
• I still get the mild cedar on the foot but now I’m picking up some tiny hints of spices, more baking spices rather than pepper
• The pre-light draw was very woodsy with just a touch of mild spices
• Initial few draws are telling a similar story of woodsy flavors backed by some cinnamon and also some leathery notes in there
• The cedar flavors are really shining through with a nice medium body to back it all up, also picking up some light coffee flavors
• The retrohale has a tiny little bite and is full of flavorful spices with a nice woodsy finish
• The body has been pretty mild, almost medium so far
• The constant touch ups from burn issues are continually making the flavors charred and harsh, it’s hiding the potential of the cigar
• I’m still picking up hints of good flavors such as coffee and cedar, maybe even some nuts or almonds but the charred flavors introduced from constant touch ups is ruining this cigar
• Throughout the whole cigar, the body never really passed medium making for a good early day smoke
• The last inch or so probably had the most flavors since I didn’t need any touch ups so the potential of this cigar really showed, no harshness here either
• I have to note that even though the cigar claimed to be really full bodied, I barely felt much past medium so I was pretty surprised.

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Final Thoughts:
This is a tough one to judge and I have to say I will need a few more to make up my mind. The burn really ruined the experience since the constant touch ups negatively affected the flavors I was getting. I got very nice hints of flavorful cedar, coffee, cinnamon and almonds but they were always being overpowered by the charred notes. The Rodrigo La Fortaleza Cinco 5 is something that will leave me wondering “what could have been?”. I really wanted to like this cigar and I’m definitely going to seek out a few more, perhaps a different vitola and for sure a different box to see if the burn issues are persistent or if I just had a bad batch. Has anyone else had similar issues? I’d love to get some feedback on that!

*Sorry no ash pic here, the wind actually kept blowing the ash out of my ashtray so there was nothing left to take a picture of. The wind stole my band too… Some dog is probably chewing on it right now…

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Pairings:
I had just a little bit of this port left so I decided to pair with it one more time, it’s gone now so you won’t see it again! lol. The Pocas Special Reserve Tawny Porto pours very very light and has some very fruity notes on your nose. The flavors follow those same lines with a very light flavor, fairly fruity, lots of oak flavors and not bold at all. It did offer a bit of saving grace to the charred flavors of the cigar today. The sweetness really helped to cleanse my palate after those touch ups. It would have been an excellent pairing without that set back though so I’d definitely pair this cigar with port the next time I decide to light one up.

LaFortaleza-1

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

10 Comments

  1. jjo

    February 1, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Daniel, glad you’re back and, hopefully, fully recovered. I haven’t had a chance to try the La Fortaleza, but the few Classicos and Boutique Blends I’ve had were all very enjoyable with no construction problems. Sounds like the inevitable bad batch, but it always sucks when that happens. I’ll have to remember to stay away from that port, lol, since I prefer mine with deeper, concentrated flavors.

    • Dalamscius

      February 4, 2013 at 6:36 am

      Good to know, it may just be back to a bad batch so I’ll have to try some more. I’m with you on the port, a nice deep rich port is way more in my range but I like to try different ones. Just won’t see me buying it again! 😛

      • jjo

        February 4, 2013 at 6:39 pm

        Daniel, have you had the Taylor Fladgate First Estate Reserve port? A recent favorite of mine at a very decent price.

        • Dalamscius

          February 5, 2013 at 10:13 am

          I think i’ve only had their LBV’s and a 10yr, but I’ll keep my eyes out for the First Estate Reserve!

  2. George Rodriguez

    February 2, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Thanks Daniel for taking the time to smoke and write about the Cinco 5… The Cinco 5 is the large RG version of La Fortaleza. It has 6 different tobaccos – Sumatra Ecuador, Olor binder, Criollo 98, Corojo, Habano 2000, and a sixth that we don’t disclose. A lot of people love the Cinco 5 for the size and it’s complexity which make it a great value, but I think the smaller RG’s give a different experience. One thing is for sure – I find it almost impossible to enjoy ANY cigar on a windy day! There’s nothing I would enjoy more than to enjoy a premium cigar on the beach, but the wind and salt in the air have other plans in mind for my cigar!!!

    We have more blends coming out by the time our weather gets better so please keep in touch…

    Thanks again buddy… smoke well, live rich… -George

    • Dalamscius

      February 4, 2013 at 6:44 am

      Thanks for the comment George, really appreciate you taking the time to check out the site and thanks for the extra info on the cigar. I totally agree with you about the windy day problem but my weather selection is limited in the Great White North! 😀
      I did find tons of potential in this cigar and I am definitely going to seek out some more, especially in the smaller RG’s now that you mention.

      Will keep an eye out for the new blends, all the best of luck in the future!

      Daniel

  3. Cigar Inspector

    February 2, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Sorry to hear you were under the weather but glad you’re back here. I haven’t tried one of those cigars, but it sounds like a mixed bag. Maybe you just got a bad batch? If you try again, let us know how it turns out.

    • Dalamscius

      February 4, 2013 at 6:45 am

      I’m thinking a bad batch as well, will have to try another few and report back. Would be a good Quick Draw for a future post I think!

  4. czerbe

    February 4, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    I have had the La Fortaleza in a smaller format and loved it, I have been smoking all of Georges blends for about a year now and really enjoy it, I have found some small construction problems with this Line in keeping it a flame but otherwise thought it turned out to be a great stick for your money and one I will keep in my humi. Great pictures… and Move south a bit and bring some cubans with ya!!!

  5. Kevin Michaels

    February 12, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    There are quality issues in the factory where these cigars are made definitely and I hope George finds a better supplier. Good luck.

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