I was reminded this week by Kevin’s review of the Sabor Cubano that I had an LTC Deluxe quietly aging in the humidor. The Box Press reviewed La Tradicion Cubana Deluxe Anniversary earlier this year, in the corona size, and being familiar with Kevin’s reviews I wasn’t too surprised that we’re pretty much in agreement on this one.
The LTC Anniversary blend was introduced in 2004 to celebrate their tenth year in the business. At the time, La Tradicion Cubana was made exclusively in Miami, and this particular blend used tobacco from 1996. Press releases claimed that seals on the bales proved the age of the tobacco, a guarantee that more of us might reasonably request from cigar makers prone to, um, hyperbole.
This Anni blend features an Ecuadorian wrapper (no mention of seed origin) which encases a Honduran binder and filler leaves from Nicaragua and the DR. The wrapper is a smooth and dry colorado with minimal veins, though one stick suffered a crease toward the foot, probably due to hasty rolling. The head of the cigar is flat, but lopsided, and the sloppy triple cap looks almost inadvertent. It’s not a bad looking cigar if you don’t look too closely, but it’s not what I expect from an “Anniversary.”
In any case, it cuts easily and draws well, revealing sweet hay and hints of barnyard on a cold pull. I was surprised to encounter burn issues from the start here, calling for correction three separate times to keep the wrapper in line with the rest of the blend. I might expect this from a maduro leaf (actually, I do) but not a natural Ecuadorian of an “Anniversary” stature.
While the appearance and the burn might leave a little something to be desired, the flavor and aroma do not. The LTC Deluxe robusto begins its performance with an earthy overture, over which floats a sweet woody aroma. The texture of the smoke is creamy and fairly mild with a short dry finish and a touch of spice at the back of the palate.
The Deluxe Anniversary starts out like a slightly more elegant version of the standard line LTC, but gradually shows more complexity. In the middle section the earthy notes fade and are replaced by nutty flavors. The body builds a little to about a medium and the smoke remains creamy. The aroma is really unusual and interesting at this point, retaining the sweetness but picking up a bready scent in place of the earlier woodiness. The combined effect reminds me of freshly baked cookies.
The last section turns up the spice in a big way and by the end the finish is long and peppery. In addition to its increased sophistication, this cigar accelerates and crosses the finish line a lap before standard line LTC. They’re both fine smokes, but the Anniversary really shows up the regular blend in the last stage of the race. Despite my grumblings about the appearance and burn of this cigar, the flavor really redeems it. The burn is a nuisance, but sometimes a cigar maker has to make sacrifices for great taste. In this case that was a winning move.
Unfortunately it looks like these were a limited run and are no longer available for sale. Just keep in mind that next year marks La Tradicion Cubana’s 15th Anniversary — so maybe there will be a reprise! In the meantime, run out and get yourself some of the regular blend, or a box of Sabor Cubanos. For around 75 bucks a box, I really doubt you’ll regret it.