So, you guys should all be familiar with Jeff by now. He’s our honorary Casas Fumando writer, and he kicked out tons of great reviews. If he keeps this up we are going to force him to join us full time. Until then, enjoy his newest “Guest” review.
In 2014, Jose Seijas released his new brand Matilde to the public in the form of the Matilde Renacer, which garnered high praise from reviewers (you can read Tony’s review of it here). The next year brought a follow-up, the Matilde Oscura, wrapped in a San Andrés leaf. The Oscura follows the same size and price structure of the Renacer, coming in Corona 5½ x 44, Robusto 5¼ x 50, Toro Bravo 6½ x 54, and Grande 6 x 60, in boxes of 20. Prices run from $7.50 to $9.00. The cigars are produced at Tabacalera la Matilde in the Dominican Republic.
I acquired a couple of these cigars from the good folks at Cuenca Cigars.
Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, US Pennsylvania
Size: Robusto 5¼ X 50
Smoking time: One hour, thirty minutes
Pairing: Black Raven Coco Jones Coconut Porter (ABV 5.6%)
The Matilde Oscuro gives a nice impression with its dark brown wrapper pocked with darker splotches and nice oil sheen. A couple of fine to medium veins are apparent, it is moderately toothy to the touch, and the pack is extremely firm, even hard, with no soft spots. Tight seams lead to a nicely rounded cap. Although the green bands seem a little drab by themselves, they match well with the wrapper. The wrapper gives up a light earthiness, while the foot shows stronger earth, natural tobacco, and light cocoa and wood notes. The cold draw is a little snug and shows light notes of sweet peppery spice and cedar on top of natural tobacco.
Earth, oak, and leather are the primary notes as the Matilde Oscura starts off, with pepper lingering on the palate and prominent on the retrohale. Sweet spice and light bread joins in as the earthiness steps back. Leather moves forward as the pepper becomes more of the hot red variety. On the retrohale, the bite leaves my sinuses and top of my head tingling like a hot mustard or wasabi. The cigar has been burning razor sharp and evenly, producing a solid ash that taps off at an inch. Coffee has become notable and the flavors have merged and rounded out, even as the peppery sharpness has remained. The first third of the Matilde Oscura winds up full flavored, medium-full bodied, and is already at a solid medium-plus strength.
A little ways into the second third, the pepper has finally calmed down enough to reveal more sweetness and greater cohesiveness in the mix of flavors. Although some of the sharp tingle remains, the pepper has turned from red to pungent black, and the coffee has become a dark roast. Breadiness has re-emerged, bringing with it a bit of minerality in the finish. Thankfully, the strength has not intensified, but instead has stepped back a bit to give the experience a gentler feel.
As the Matilde Oscura rolls into its final third, the mineral note has become more of a citrus-like tang and the leather has come back into play. The wood and pepper also ramp up a bit as the cigar comes to a close with an added charred note, finishing full-bodied and at medium-full strength. The nub is cool and little soft, and I have not once had to think of reaching for my lighter for a correction or re-light.
If you’re a full-bodied smoker, the Matilde Oscura will be right up your alley with full flavors, good complexity, excellent construction and burn properties, and not insubstantial strength. Novices and smokers of lighter bodied and lighter strength cigars will want to approach it a little more carefully, although it will not necessarily be overpowering. The more than reasonable price makes it something that I would definitely like to have around. As one who prefers more of a medium to medium-full smoke, it would not be an everyday cigar for me, but I would certainly want to have it as part of a broader rotation.
Coco Jones Coconut Porter from Redmond, WA’s Black Raven Brewing Company is just what it says: a porter aged on toasted coconut. It is not as dark and as sweet as some, and the coconut is rather subtle, which is what I like about it, making it easier to pair up with cigars. Boasting a lighter than expected reddish color, Coco Jones shows deep maltiness, plum, vanilla, and chocolate (not to mention the light coconut) on a clean, tart finish, all of which matched up well with what the Matilde Oscuro had to offer. The full body of the cigar, of course, would pair terrifically with an even stronger beer such as a deeply flavored sweet stout or Imperial porter, or with a rich port.