From Estelo Padron, the master cigar maker of brands like El Rey del Mundo and Hoyo de Monterrey, comes this Honduran made Sancho Panza. The original was (and still is) a Havana label that began production in 1852. The Honduran Sancho Panza debuted in 2000 and since then has spawned acouple of extensions — the Double Maduro (in 2002) and the Extra Fuerte (in 2004.)
This is the original variety with a dark Connecticut Shade wrapper. I was surprised to learn that this is a shade wrapper because it isn’t the golden brown color that I would normally expect from this wrapper — it’s more of a colorado claro than a claro. The binder is more Connecticut, but this time broadleaf, and the filler is a blend of piloto cubano from the Dominican Republic and two other leaves from Honduras and Nicaragua.
Sancho Panza is of course Don Quixote’s sidekick in Cervantes’ story — the stout realist who comes to Quixote’s aid when the Don’s fantasies run away with him. Sancho is transformed in Don Quixote’s mind from a humble and obedient servant to a valiant squire. These delusions of grandeur must be the inspiration for the names of the cigars in this line: Glorioso, Primeroso, and this one, the Valiente, which at 5 1/4 x 50 is the line’s robusto model.
This robusto is slightly pressed and the wrapper is somewhat dry, with just a touch of oily sheen. The cap is applied well and cuts cleanly. I found no construction issues at all — nice draw, good even burn, and a solid ash from start to finish. It’s not a beeyooteefull cigar, but it performs well.
It starts up with a nice volume of mild bodied smoke that has a pleasant cocoa element. After a few minutes what is really striking here is the aroma — it’s quite sweet, almost candy-like, but not cloying like a flavored cigar. The finish is very short and there is almost no aftertaste. About half way through a smattering of pepper comes through on the palate and the taste becomes just a bit tannic, a little cardboard-y. And by the end what I’m getting is a mild-to-medium easygoing straightforward tobacco flavor.
The highlight of this smoke is the aroma — the dark shade grown wrapper leaf really shines through the mildness of this cigar. The standard line Sancho Panza would make a good mid-day or morning cigar, or a good change of pace for fans of mild bodied cigars — if you’re into Macanudo or Don Diego or any mild bodied cigar with a Connecticut Shade wrapper, this one is definitely worth a shot. You may find the Panza a little bit fuller in body than those, but certainly not heavy. At around 45 dollars a box, they’re also very affordable companions on your trek across La Mancha.