Familia Rodriguez Tobacos LLC – Ohana Pulse Toro
One of the things I look forward to on my quarterly trips to El Paso is escaping to the local cigar lounge. It is great seeing family, catching up friends, and getting work done, but once in awhile it is just nice, and much needed, to unwind with a cigar. Vitola’s, owned by the young Fernando Gandara, is located in beautiful downtown El Paso directly across from El Paso Chihuahua’s minor league baseball stadium. The lounge features a large walk in humidor that has a growing selection of cigars. There is plenty of comfortable seating in the two-story lounge that has a whiskey bar on the second floor. If you ever find yourself in Far West Texas, make sure you stop in and say hi to Fernando and enjoy your favorite stick. Thanks to my boss (not Tony) and Fernando, I got connected with the Ohana Pulse by Familia Rodriguez Tobacos LLC.
Familia Rodriguez Tobacos LLC is a father and son operation launched in 2015. The initial releases under their Ohana brand included the M13, The First Generation, and The Friends and Family. The brand grew in 2016 with the addition of the Ohana Pulse and the Ohana Pulse Maduro. The Ohana Pulse utilizes a Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, while the Pulse Maduro has a Mexican San Andres maduro leaf. Manufactured at Noel Rojas’ NOA factor in Nicaragua, the Ohana Pulse features Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos and produced in two vitolas: Robusto (5 by 50) and Toro (6 by 52).
Size: 6 by 52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Smoke Time: 1 Hour and 30 Minutes
The Ohana Pulse is draped in a medium brown Ecuadorian Habano wrapper that has an orangish tint and is covered in small to medium veins, coated in bumps, and there are several color variations and imperfections on the leaf. The cigar is rolled well with no soft spots to be found.
The Ohana Pulse carries an aroma of earth, a generic woodiness, and barnyard on the wrapper of the cigar. Since the cigar has a completely closed foot, nothing new is found on the foot of the cigar. The head of the cigar comes to an end with a spiral pig-tailed cap. Upon clipping, I can hardly manage a draw due to the interference of the closed foot. However, I am able to pick up some faint woodsy flavors and a mild to medium spice heat is felt on the lips.
After a couple of seconds toasting the closed foot of the cigar, a beautiful draw opens up on the Ohana Pulse filling my mouth with a copious amount of smoke. The introductory flavors are full and rich with a heavy black pepper, bread, and a woodsy flavor. The spice is full in the mouth and quickly overshadows the other flavors. Around the half inch mark, the spice gives way bringing balance to the profile. There is an unidentifiable fruitiness that is pairing well with the other flavors. A light gray ash is being formed as the cigar burns evenly through the first third.
Pulling into the second third of the Ohana Pulse, the cigar has a medium flavor profile that is mostly of heavier, darker flavors of pepper, pencil shavings, and coffee. That earlier fruitiness has more of a citrus quality to it. While the spice has settled in the mouth, as I pass the smoke through my nose, the pepper remains sharp. As I approach the midway point, the flavor evolve to more of an earth and coffee.
The flavors remain consistent with the end of the prior third with an added touch of char, and the strength of the cigar is finally beginning to hit me. The cigar continues to behave well through the final third with a mostly even burn and a solid ash being formed. The smoke production has decreased from the first third, but each draw still satisfies. With only an inch left, the smoke remains cool and the flavors are not at all harsh.
As I near in on 10 years of cigar smoking, one of the things that still gets me excited is trying new cigars, especially from up-and-coming companies like Familia Rodriguez Tobacos LLC. The Ohana Pulse immediately pumped out bold and rich flavors with a hefty amount of spice. As the spice settled, dark and heavier flavor on the palate began to take center stage with those flavors not giving any ground through the middle and last third. But, it was the last two thirds of the cigar that were very monotone and lacked in complexity and balance. The cigar performed well with a decently even burn and solid ash throughout. The second sample smoked for review did require a couple of touch-ups, but the profile was identical. For a stick that runs $9.50, this would be a hard buy in my book. But even with that said, I hope to smoke through the other cigars offered by this company in the future.