Flor de Gonzalez 90 Millas Habano
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.
90 Millas is a line from Flor de Gonzalez that was introduced at the 2016 IPCPR trade show, and differs from the popular 90 Miles lines by being geared for the more experienced smoker. It is easily distinguishable from the 90 Miles by the use of dark blue and gold bands. The 90 Millas comes in three different wrappers: US Connecticut, Ecuadorian Habano Maduro, and a barber pole that combines the two. All three are available in the same sizes – Robusto 5 x 52, Toro 6 x 54, and Belicoso 6½ x 54 – with prices being varying by wrapper. The Habano Maduro version that I am reviewing has a price range of $8.50 – $9.25, and comes in boxes of 20.
I got mine from our friends at Cuenca Cigars, and you can get them here.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan and Dominican
Size: Robusto 5 x 52
Smoking time: One hour, thirty minutes
Pairing: Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale (ABV 7.2%)
The 90 Millas Habano Maduro comes clad in a reddish-brown wrapper that is somewhat lighter in color than one might expect of a maduro. It has a nice oily sheen and a few noticeable veins and is for the most part firmly rolled with a few softer spots, leading to a nice deep double cap. The navy blue and gold banding looks quite nice against the color of the wrapper leaf, with the secondary band signifying it as the Habano blend. The shaft of the cigar gives of a tart earthy barnyard aroma, while the foot shows earth, natural tobacco, and a bit of cocoa. After clipping the cap, I’m having difficulty discerning any flavors other than light natural tobacco and a very faint sweet spice.
At first light, the 90 Millas Habano Maduro gives up a very light volume of smoke, but an additional hit with the torch gets it stoked up well and it is now producing a great mouthful of smoke with each puff. Earth, oak, and pepper are all vying for attention on the medium-plus body. There is a sweet leather note on the retrohale, but the amount of pepper bite warns me not to put too much back through my nasal passages. The wood soon gains in sweetness and is joined by light, bitter coffee and a bit of saltiness. The 90 Millas Habano had started out with some waviness in the burn, but has now become sharp and nearly dead even, leaving behind a compact light gray ash that lasts for over an inch. An inch in, the smoke has become much smoother on entry, while the flavors have become brighter. The pepper has backed off, but is definitely still noticeable.
As the 90 Millas Habano moves into its second third, there has been a downshift in the sweetness and flavors have turned darker and a bit earthier, as the coffee has turned to more of an unsweetened cocoa. A vague nuttiness also comes into play and the leather from earlier has almost completely dissipated.
The 90 Millas Habano Maduro, once nearing full-bodied, has now moved back down into the medium-plus range, although most of the flavors are still going strong and the pepper has re-emerged. The earthiness has also toned down along with the cocoa and some sweet spice has finally peeked through. There is some umami savoriness that plays in the mix as well. The burn, which had been so well behaved, has gone awry, forcing me to finally give it quick touch-up. The 90 Millas Habano finishes close to medium-full in body and medium-plus in strength.
The Flor de Gonzalez 90 Millas Habano Maduro is quite a bit different from the 90 Miles lines, carrying a stronger and deeper flavor profile, so the two should not be confused with each other. Solid flavors, reasonable complexity, and good construction at a decent price all add up to a slow smoker that I would certainly like to have a few of at hand, and I actually enjoyed the one I smoked previously a little more, as it had a bit more sweetness and a slightly better burn (maybe today’s chilly gray weather and short burst of rain had something to do with that). Seasoned smokers should pick up a couple at least to try out, and novices looking to move up in body and strength should give it a go.
Dogfish Head’s Indian Brown is described as a cross between a Scotch ale and an IPA, but it seems to me to be more of the former than the latter. With caramel, malt, and raisin in its flavor profile, it turned out to be a friendly companion to the 90 Millas Habano. Where one might think a stout would be called for, the Indian Brown’s characteristics were for me a better match; complementing the flavors of the cigar, while never neither threatened to overpower the other. A Dubbel, a Scotch ale, or a strong ale should also prove to be a great match for this cigar.