My original intention in trying more cigars from Tabacalera Tropical was to find a less expensive but comparable alternative to the Nicaraguan puros that I smoke on a regular basis. The name Aganorsa kept popping up, and I thought that by following the trail of that grower’s tobacco I might find cigars of a similar style, possibly at a lesser price.
Since cigar makers like Pepin Garcia, Dion Giolito, and Ernesto Padilla have all at one time or another used Aganorsa leaf in their blends, I expected that Tropical’s blends would at least have a passing resemblance to smokes like DPG’s Cuban Classic, Illusione, etc. Their JFR cigar certainly does.
I was a little disappointed to find that Lempira Fuerte and Condega didn’t live up to my expectations, though I still thought Condega was a very good blend. Particulares, on the other hand, is a great cigar, and it is the first in the series so far to really taste like it’s in the same category as the Big Nicaraguans I have been using as a benchmark.
Particulares is an old Cuban brand name (as well as a frontmark for the Cuban Hoyo de Monterrey “A” size) but the name was revived by Tropical as one of their first brands. (Their very first brand was Solo Aromas, followed by Particulares, Cacique, and Maya.) And even though this appears to be the only formulation available it is listed with its royal appellation “Reserva Privada” in some online catalogs.
Not surprisingly, the Particulares (Reserva Privada) is a Nicaraguan puro. The wrapper is a Corojo leaf from 2006. Four sizes are currently in production:
- Robusto – 5 x 50
- Toro – 6 x 52
- Torpedo – 6 1/4 x 52
- Churchill – 7 x 48
I didn’t notice it immediately but it turns out these sticks have pig-tail caps. The tail is curled and pressed down into the head so it just looks like a small swirl. It can be easily prised up with a fingernail, though admittedly there isn’t much point. The rest of the head is wound perfectly into a fine triple cap. The wrapper is somewhat rough but consistent in color, a dark colorado maduro. The band features a lock-and-key motif that “locks” at the point where the band ends meet — a clever design, I think.
The draw is good and the burn is slow and even. The ash flakes slightly, but not enough to matter. Overall excellent construction.
The Particulares robusto starts up with a rich hickory-like aroma that is immediately recognizable. This is what I’ve been looking for. From the first puff this cigar tastes more like an Illusione or Padilla than the Lempira Fuerte or the Condega Corojo. The flavor is a little charred, but not in the way that the Lempira was. The flavor is closer to grilled meat with some maple syrup-like sweetness.
The middle section continues in this vein but softens up a bit — it’s smooth with some fruity notes, almost brandy-like at times. It reminds me of the JFR cigar, but smoother and more refined.
The last third is spicier but still sweet. The finish lengthens, but it doesn’t settle in for the night like some cigars do after the mid-point. It stays clean and crisp and leaves in a reasonable amount of time, like a good guest. The aftertaste gets a little tarry at the band, but by that time this cigar has said its piece.
The Particulares robusto is a tasty smoke that finally delivers on the flavor I was expecting from Tropical – Aganorsa. The only hitch is that it isn’t much less expensive than Illusione or Padilla or others in that class. Prices range from 6 to 7 USD. That’s not too much to ask for a cigar of this caliber, but I was hoping to tap a secret source of Nicaragua’s finest and save myself a bundle. But I really have no legitimate reason to be disappointed — it’s still a great smoke at a reasonable price.
Final Score: 90