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This is the cigar that started it all. It is only fitting that my first review on the blog is also my first cigar I featured on the Cigar Jukebox podcast. The Flor de las Antillas was the first cigar that brought me into the world of hand made cigars. The draw, burn and finish of this cigar caused me to say to myself to say “WOW! Maybe there is something to this whole cigar thing.” This cigar was Cigar Aficionado’s Cigar of the Year in 2012 and scored 96/100. This cigar also was my introduction into My Father Cigars and Pepin Garcia. The name Flor de las Antillas harkens back to Pepin’s Cuban home; Antillas references the Antillas Islands, which Cuba is part of. This love and care that comes through in the name also comes through in the cigar. Let’s take a closer look at why this cigar has such a renowned reputation with cigar smokers throughout the world.

The Basics:

  • Wrapper, Binder and Filler are all Nicaraguan tobacco. Mainly from the Esteli region.
  • The Wrapper is Sun Grown
  • Length: 6 inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Box Pressed Toro Size
  • The smoke time for this cigar was and hour and ten minutes, but you could go a bit longer.
  • Bought From Cigar Hut in Australia and I smoked this at night, but could also be an afternoon cigar.

Draw / Burn:

The draw and burn of this cigar is impeccable. The box pressing gives the cigar a nice smooth draw throughout the entire smoke. The burn stayed consistent for most of the smoke, but I did need to do a few corrections in the final third. I have had this cigar close to 10 times and very rarely need to make corrections to the burn, so I consider burn corrections during this smoke more of an anomaly, as opposed to the rule. The burn was quite sharp and you never have to worry about the cigar going out on you. I like the 52 ring gauge and I think this smaller ring gauge made for a pleasant draw. This is unlike larger ring gauges of 56 and above, which for me can be a bit too much. I think sticking to the 52 ring gauge on this toro made for a smooth draw that produced a good amount of smoke.

Final Grade: A

Construction:

Much like the draw and burn, the construction is top notch. The box pressing is not too tight and the cigar itself has a bit of give to it. It is not rock hard and has a spring to it, which I like. Throughout the smoke the cigar keeps its shape well. In the final third the cigar holds together well and does not get too soft. The ash holds on nicely and the first ash came at about 30 – 35 minutes into the smoke. This is about average across all the Flors that I have had and the ash itself holds nicely and does not flake off. Even after the first ash the ash itself holds well.

What sticks out in the construction is the combustion. The cigar does not burn hot in the final third and you are rewarded for a slow smoke. The burn does not race up the cigar and it stays lit enough to allow you to take your time and savor the cigar. This slow burn on the cigar helps the flavors come alive. Everything burns at the correct rate and the burn balances nicely with the smooth draw.

Finally, I really like the wrapper on this cigar. it has a nice dark color and it is leathery / a bit oily to the touch. The cigar itself has a really nice feel and fits well in your hand. The box press is not too tight, but it also keeps its shape for the length of the smoke. This is a well made cigar that delivers.

Final Grade: A

Flavor/ Finish:

This is what the Flor de las Antillas is known for. First off, this is not a strong cigar. It is about a medium in strength and the flavors are smooth and subtle. However, I don’t think someone brand new to cigars can just spark this cigar up and go for it. I think it is good for people new to cigars, but maybe not their first cigar.

The first third gives you that Nicaraguan profile that Pepin’s cigars are known for. There is a nice pepper and spice right on the front end. The pepper tends to hit the back of the palate; however, the flavors themselves are quite nice on the palate in general. After about 15 minutes or so the chocolate and cream flavors start to come out. These are not overpowering, but just enough to balance and round off the pepper and spice.

These more creamy flavors become more pronounced in the second third and compliment the spice nicely. Hints of spice are still there, but are not dominant. It is not an overly complex finish, but the flavors that are there are balanced extremely well. This is a case where less is more and the smoke itself is very refined. The cigar really shines in this third and the finish gains a warms and depth not found in the first third. I cannot overstate the warmth and depth of this finish and these factors contribute to a long and pleasant finish during this portion of the cigar.

The final third is very smooth with hints of spice and a lovely richness. It is this rich aspect of the finish that makes the final third so enjoyable. This is where you need to smoke it slow and let that smooth draw and perfect combustion rate work to your advantage. Keep that final third cool and the cigar will reward you with a rich warm finish that will round off your cigar experience. The finish throughout the cigar is great on the palate and has enough spice and richness to keep your interest without being overpowering.

Final Grade: A+

Overall:

This is a fantastic cigar and a great illustration of how a cigar can balance flavor, draw and strength to make a wonderful smoking experience. Each element highlights each other and combine well to create a wonderful cigar. This is a cigar where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It shows Pepin’s skill that he can create a cigar where everything works together to create a whole experience. I think this is a good step for someone new to cigars to start developing his / her palate and not get overpowered with strength. However, this also gives an experienced smoker a wonderful cigar with a smooth and interesting finish.

I would make this the highest on the scale and say it is a humidor necessity. They are great new and even more impressive with some age on them. This will be the first entry into the Cigar Jukebox Hall of Fame. Be sure to add a few to your humidor as soon as possible.

Overall Grade: A+

 

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