Ventura Cigar Company – Project 805
Project 805 is one of several offerings from Ventura Cigar Co.. Founded in 2006, Ventura Cigar Co. has developed a large portfolio of cigars, which includes: Hugo Cassar, Cuban Rejects, Cuban Rounds, Pura Sangre, Pura Sangre Edicion 2012, Plasencia Organica Reserva, Estilo Cubano, PsyKo SEVEN, and Project 805. While they have a good number of cigars under their belt, Project 805 is the first cigar I have smoked from the company.
This past year, I have noticed several cigar companies trying to set their cigars apart from the rest of the market by creating blends that feature tobaccos not commonly used. This is the case with the Leccia Tobacco Black (find the review here), Drew Estate – MUWAT Kentucky Fire Cured, and, now, Ventura Cigar Co Project 805. This is what a post from the company’s site has to say about the unique tobacco used in the 805:
The Andullo in Project805 is native to the south Dominican Republic; however, Andullo has been enjoyed by the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean for at least 500 years. Traditionally users carve a pipe out of petrified Andullo, sprinkle fresh Andullo flakes into the pipe and smoke it.
Though the tobacco is colloquially referred to as Andullo, it is the process not the leaf that makes the Andullo tobacco unique. Typical cigar tobacco leaf processing includes tying together freshly picked tobacco leaves and hanging these bunches in a barn to cure, after which leaf is placed into 1-ton stacks (Pilons) to ferment. The Andullo process is different. Tobacco leaf from the Rabito and Quin Diaz tobacco plants is harvested and piled into a series of palm seed pods called Yagua. When filled, the palm seed pods are wrapped in a thick, natural rope compressing the Andullo into a dense, rigid, 6-foot long bar nearly 5-inches in diameter. Stacked in a barn, and rotated at regular intervals, the Andullo ferments in the yagua for up to 2 years. When fermentation is finally complete, the resulting product is a leathery, dark, aromatic, earthy sweet all-natural tobacco leaf.
The moisture content and natural aromas make it perfect tobacco for cigars, though it has never been used in premium cigars until now. Ventura Cigar Company brings it to you in Project805.
Ventura Cigar Co. was kind enough to provide a leaf of the Andullo tobacco. I haven’t had an opportunity to smoke the leaf, but, just by opening the Ziplock bag the tobacco was in, I was blown away by the aroma. I look forward to sampling the Andullo tobacco as it will be my first experience smoking an individual leaf.
Produced at the La Aurora Factory in the Domincan Republic, Project 805 is available in four vitolas: Robusto (5 by 50), Toro (6 by 52), Figurado (6 ¼ by 52), and Churchill (7 by 50).
Samples Provided by Ventura Cigar Co.
Vitola: 805R – Robusto
Size: 5 by 50
Wrapper: Dominican Corojo
Binder: Dominican Olor
Filler: Dominican and Andullo
Smoke Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
The first thing I notice about Project 805 is its solid feel. This little robusto is packed full of tobacco through and through, with not a single soft spot found on the stick. The wrapper is mostly consistent in its medium brown color and a few medium to large veins run across the Corojo leaf. The wrapper aroma is of cedar, with a slight underlying pungency.
The foot has a great rich aroma with an earthy sweetness, chili powder, dried fruit, and cedar. Also, a spice tingle can be felt in my nose. The not-so-neat cap clips clean revealing a firm draw. I was afraid of this due to the solid feel of the 805. However, the cold draw is still very flavorful with similar notes as the aroma from foot of the cigar.
Due to the firm draw, I am having to puff several times to get any kind of smoke. Taking the cutter to the cap one more time, I don’t find much relief in the draw. Hopefully, it will loosen up as the cigar progresses. The smoke delivers flavors of moist earth, cedar, and spice, while the retrohale highlights woodsy notes and pepper. What started as a beautiful white ash quickly turned flaky as the cigar coned from having to draw hard and often to get smoke. The burn is wavy, but so far no touch-ups. The smoke is light on the palate and the finish has dark earth and coffee notes. The flavors are coming across mild , but I believe they may be toned down from the smoke production being so low.
As the cigar heats up and softens, the draw has become less restrictive, but far from perfect. Along with the cigar opening up, the flavors seem to be opening up as well. The richness that I picked up from the pre-light is now coming forth. A mild cinnamon and sweet bread-like notes accompany the earth and woodsy flavors from the first third. Also, the chili powder I mentioned at the pre-light is peeking through. The wavy burn has become somewhat drastic but, just as I was about to touch it up, I could see the wrapper begin to burn and within a few minutes it was back on track
Both bands have been tightly applied and it is a good thing they came unglued with no hassle. The cigar has really opened up in the final third. The draw is now workable allowing flavorful smoke to roll across my palate. A wonderful sweetness is showcased alongside the cedar and a good amount of spice is warming my palate. At the close of the stick, the burn has become just about perfect. The flavors and strength at the close of the cigar are right at medium.
This is a hard stick to evaluate. The restricted draw on this sample put a damper on the flavors. The flavors I did pull from the smoke were not at all bad but they were light and shallow on the palate. It wasn’t till the final third when the cigar opened up that I got a glimpse at what this Project 805 is all about. The sweetness and spice in the final third peeked my interest for more. But before I knew it, it was time to put the cigar down. The construction held up throughout and only once did the burn raise concern.
A few days after writing the above review, I sat down with another Project 805. The second sample was a completely different experience. The 805 was mild/medium in strength but delivered excellent flavors that were solid medium. The flavors were similar to the ones noted in my first sample but much more pronounced and balanced. The dried fruit and chili powder were much more noticeable, as well. What a difference the draw can make on the experience. Based on my second go around with this cigar, I would recommend that you give Ventura Cigar Co.’s Project 805 a try.