Wrapper: Honduras (Sun Grown “Havana Seed”)
Made in the HATSA factory in Cofradia, Honduras and introduced in 2004, the Sancho Panza Extra Fuerte is a Honduran puro, according to the manufacturer’s website. Other sites mention some Nicaraguan leaf in the filler. (If anyone has Estelo Padron’s cell number, give him a ring and ask him what’s up with the conflicting info. He’s the wizard of Villazon and the blender of this line.)
The Pamplona is a stubby square-pressed robusto at 4 1/2 inches long and a 50 ring gauge. It exhibits excellent construction throughout. A nice burn, an easy draw that elicits lots of smoke, and no worries at all.
It starts out with a nice woody bang and a pungent aroma, like being next to a camp fire. The flavor is slightly sweet and quite woody with very little aftertaste.
Gradually this little robusto descends into a smooth, mild mannered but somewhat boring cigar. The strength intensifies somewhat in the last third of the cigar, but the flavors stay strictly in the middle of the road.
“Extra Fuerte” must be a marketing tool — the flavors here are different than the standard line Sancho Panza, and it may be a touch stronger in the nicotine department, but fuerte is not a term I would associate with this cigar. I know others will differ — in fact, a glance at the ratings on Top25Cigars.com show that they do. But after the first third I just couldn’t find much flavor here, and my first impression of this cigar was similar about a year ago:
Spicy and strong at first light, but quickly mellows into a billowing smoke that is not particularly fuerte. (Extra Fuerte Madrid, Jan 6, 2006)
Starts out spicy and then mellows into a strong, but not overpowering smoke with woody elements. This could be the unruly younger brother of a Padron 1964 — not as sophisticated, not as smooth, but similar (and a helluva lot cheaper.) (Extra Fuerte Cordoba, Nov 18, 2005)
Obviously I thought more of the Cordoba size at that time; and as for the Padron 1964 comparison…my notes don’t include what I was drinking. But the woodsy flavor is probably what inspired that comment — the Padron is woody like the SP Extra, but it also has greater complexity and depth of flavor. Needless to say, it also digs deeper into your wallet.
At around 3 bucks a pop at the local stogie emporium, the Sancho Panza Extra Fuerte is definitely worth a look. A reliable everyday kind of smoke.