San Lotano – Oval Maduro Cigar Review
Spring is in the air and so is all the pollen jacking up my allergies. With the allergies though usually comes warmer weather, and I am all for that. While we were experiencing another wonderful weekend I decided to head out back with a San Lotano Oval Maduro paired with a bottle of Boulevard Brewing Company’s Sixth Glass Belgian style quad. The Good Stuff: San Lotano is a line produced by the famous blender A.J. Fernandez. The entire San Lotano line is only available in Brick and Mortar stores across the united states. If you remember some time ago I reviewed, and fell in love with the Oval. Well A.J. is at it again producing a maduro version with was release about a year and a half ago. I know, I’m late to the party, but I smoked plenty of them and wanted to bring my thoughts to your guys. The Oval is aptly named due to the peculiar shape of the cigar. It’s somewhere in between a standard round cigar and a soft box press producing an actual oval shaped cigar. In addition to the shape the Oval differs from the standard San Lotano lines by including some well-aged, ultra premium tobacco. The Maduro features an Ecuadorian Habano Maduro wrapper bound by a Nicaraguan binder and filled with a mixture of Honduran, Nicaraguan, and a secret blend of fillers from A.J. Fernandez. The Oval Maduro comes in five sizes: the corona (5 x 44), robusto (5 x 52), toro (6 x 52), churchill (7 x 52) and the Belicoso (6.5 x 52), packed in boxes of 20 and ranging from $7.80 – $9.40 a stick. Size: 5 x 52 Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Maduro Binder: Nicaraguan Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan, along with a “secret” filler from A.J. Fernandez Strength: Medium/Full Body: Full Price: $8.80 Pairing: Boulevard Brewing Company’s Sixth Glass (Belgian style Quad 10.5% ABV) Prelight: Fist of all, how can you not love the size of the Oval. Yeah, it’s a little strange, but the second the cigar meets your hand, then follows through to your lips, you fall in love with the shape at first puff. It’s so comfortable it makes you question why it’s never really been used before. Outside of the shape the Oval Maduro is a beautiful cigar. The wrapper is a dark, chocolaty brown. It’s so incredibly consistent it almost looks like a Hershey’s bar. The wrapper is so toothy it feels like sandpaper. There isn’t a lot of oil but the tooth makes up for it. There are a few larger veins, the largest running half the length of the body. The Oval Maduro is polished off with a round, oval shaped cap and your standard San Lotano Oval band with the standard crest accompanied by a secondary band with the word “Maduro” on it. The cigar is very heavy, and very firm. The wrapper is incredibly thick and I couldn’t find a single soft spot. The wrapper on the San Lotano Oval Maduro gives off only a very slight bittersweet chocolate aroma while the foot of the cigar boasts of spice, pepper, and tobacco. The cap cut clean and easily using my double bladed Palio cutter. The Oval Maduro produces a really chocolatey-oatey cold draw flavor with a bit of tobacco thrown in there. First Smoke: Wow. The Oval Maduro doesn’t mess around. Right off the bat I was thrown into an incredibly bold experience starting off with a nice black pepper blast then backed by a whole ton of sweetness, chocolate, spice, coffee, and even a bit of sweet fruit mixed in there. Much like the standard Oval the Oval Maduro is a flavor bomb from the very start. The draw on this bad boy is impeccable. Even the slightest little puff fills my mouth with a huge cloud of crazy thick, white, smoke. The burnline is dead even and razor sharp producing a very thick, compacted, zebra striped ash which held on for an inch and a half before falling into my ashtray. Halfway There: The San Lotano Oval Maduro is sticking rocking in the flavor department. While the black pepper has completely faded a way the sweetness, dark chocolate, and a black cherry flavor have taken over with some great spice, and natural tobacco in the background. It’s easy to call this a flavor bomb, yet it’s pretty complex so picking up each flavor independently is a challenge. The retrohale was surprisingly very sharp with a ton of pepper and spice. I won’t be doing that many times with the Oval. The burnline has been flawless the entire time and I am feeling nothing in the nicotine department as I close out the second third. Finish: As I ventured into the final third of San Lotano’s Oval Maduro a whole mess of strong oak started to creep it’s way into the mixture. I didn’t pick up a lot of woodsy flavors through the first two thirds so it caught me a bit off guard but it just goes to show just how complex this cigar is. The sweetness, chocolate, and cherry are still there, just not as dominant while the spice and natural tobacco have toned down quite a bit. I find it very hard to put this cigar down. It’s strong, bold, creamy, flavorful, and the flavors profile matches exactly what I look for in a cigar. I really can’t ask for more. I took this baby down to the nub while experience absolutely no harshness, only a slight nicotine kick, and never once had to reach for my lighter to correct the burn. Overview: If I had to complain about something, it’s that I can’t find this cigar locally. Really, that’s it. This cigar is solid in every single way possible. The burn/construction and draw are perfect. The price point is more that reasonable. Don’t get me started on the flavor profile. It’s very complex and exactly what I look for in terms of flavor in a cigar while not being too overpowering, nor too strong. Both the Oval and the Oval maduro have made their way into my regular rotation and are both box worthy cigars. I wouldn’t be able to choose between the two either as they both rock. The Maduro is naturally a bit sweeter with more fruit flavors while the Oval natural leads with more floral and natural flavors. Pairing: My thought process with this pairing: The cigar is bold, incredibly flavorful, spicy, sweet, and fruity. Well, Sixth glass is bold, incredibly flavorful, spicy, sweet, and fruity. SOLD! This 10.5% Belgian style quad from Boulevard Brewing Company hits high marks in every category. I was floored the first time I had a glass. The beer leads in with some strong fruit and caramel with a very spicy, and semi-bitter finish. This matched the cigar perfectly. While the flavors from the pairing match up you need to always make sure that the body of both the cigar and beer do as well or one will easily overpower the other. Lucky for me, both in this case were flavor bombs creating an absolutely amazing pairing.