Vallejuelo Robusto Gordo
Today’s cigar comes to me via a nice little package that was sent by one of our awesome readers over on the West Coast. A big thanks goes out to Jeff(a.k.a. jjo) for sending this one my way! And what is this cigar? It is the Vallejuelo!
Now I have to apologize for a HUGE fail on my part… I had taken a bunch of pictures and absent mindedly deleted them from the camera before I moved them to my computer! What a super fail! So not too many pictures today, sorry!
“What the heck is the Vallejuelo?” some of you might ask. It seems that a lot of people simply haven’t come across this cigar before but it’s actually got quite a big following for two reasons. It’s commonly held as a well manufactured medium body cigar, and secondly, it comes in at a very fair price of just around $4 if you buy by the box.
The Vallejuelo brand comes from a factory called Intercigar in Santiago, Dominican Republic. The owner, Maurice Antonius Koks, comes from Holland where his roots there were also in the Tobacco industry. He is also the blender of the Vallejuelo. This cigar has got quite a lot of hype as one of the best budget cigars so I’m excited to see what it offers me. So let’s dive right in and see if the Vallejuelo stacks up to the hype people have created for it.
Drink: Innis & Gunn Highland Cask
Vitola: Robusto Gordo (5 x 54)
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Nicaragua and Dominican Republic
Price: $4.00 – $4.50
Burn Time: Just over an hour
• The milky brown wrapper on this cigar has a wonderful oily sheen to it
• There are some veins here and there with one major one down the back but it doesn’t look to be a problem
• The single cap has a very clean finish to it, very well constructed
• The Vallejuelo is fairly firm and consistent from end to end, there is only a touch of spring to it
• Glancing at the foot you can easily see why it’s firm, this thing is packed to gills with tons of leaves
• The cut was easy and even but I’m left with a pretty tight draw, let’s hope it opens up a bit here
• The toasting was a good at first but the burn quickly climbed the edge of the wrapper and charred it a bit before the foot was glowing. I find this happens often with delicate wrappers, sometimes affecting the first few puffs a bit but nothing major
• The burn got off to a nice even start and is going well through the first third
• The burn is staying nice and straight through to the halfway mark, no corrections needed and it’s smoking nice and slowly too
• Spot on burn straight through to the finish, no corrections needed at all!
Smoke & Ash:
• Since the draw is a bit tight it is taking a few attempts to get a good amount of smoke flowing here
• There’s a bit of resting smoke when I put the cigar down, slow but consistent
• The ash on this cigar looks super strong and firm, probably due to the serious packed in filler
• The color is mostly darker tones of grey with some lighter ones but no clean or neat zebra striping here today
• The ash held strong until I tapped it off at around the 1 inch mark, no flaking at all
• Ash stayed strong and lean with easy 1 inch pieces every time right to the end
• The wrapper has an almost nutty aroma to it, a first for me I think
• I got a bit of a tingling sensation from smelling the foot, definitely some spices in there, perhaps a bit of white pepper and still some nutty notes
• The pre-light draw brings more white pepper spice but now it’s backed with some woodsy and licorice type notes
• The initial draws have a bit of a charred flavor, probably due to the awkward toasting but I still am picking up some cedar and licorice notes
• The charred flavors quickly disappeared and I’m left with a sort of roasted woody and almond type of flavor with some licorice to back it up
• The licorice flavor is really shining through around the halfway mark and adding a bit of sweetness to the mix as well, very nice
• The pepper has died down and the flavors are balancing nicely
• The Vallejuelo has been in the mild category so far with only a soft sweet finish on the retrohale thats quite enjoyable
• The body is picking up a bit into the medium range as I pass the halfway mark and some of the white pepper spice is making a comeback
• The cigar picked up surprisingly strong in the last third. Body jumped into the fuller range and the pepper and woodsy flavors made a strong comeback
• The sweet licorice notes are mostly gone now which is disappointing because they were really good
• A nice medium finish to this cigar with just a touch of harshness, I still nubbed it!
All in all this was an interesting cigar. It had a lot of change ups and some distinct flavors. I would have liked the sweet licorice to stick around more but I really enjoyed it when it was there. The burn was top notch and was also nice and slow which are big bonuses for me. I think I’ll want to seek out some other vitolas to see how the blend changes, maybe a corona size or so? I think this could really shine in a smaller ring gauge. Definitely worth picking some up and giving them a try if you haven’t had one before. A big thanks to Jeff for hooking me up with this and letting me try a brand a might not otherwise have picked up!
Yet another brew from one of my favorite breweries, Innis & Gunn. It’s another limited batch called the Highland Cask and I stumbled on it in the beer store earlier this year. This interesting batch is aged for 69 days in barrels that once contained 16 year old Scotch. Now that’s pretty cool if you ask me! It comes in another fancy box with a cool story and has a Best Before date of December 2012 so I’m guessing there won’t be too many more left on store shelves now. It’s got more of the awesome oaky, malty and toffee notes I’ve come to love from Innis & Gunn but also adds a layer of Scotch type of flavoring. It’s quite subtle and not in your face so don’t be afraid to try this even if you aren’t a Scotch lover. It definitely paired well with the Vallejuelo and another choice pairing would have been coffee here, I think that would have made a very interesting.