Por Larrañaga “Cuban Grade” Robusto

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A couple months ago I reviewed one of the many cigars proud to call themselves Por Larrañaga, the “Honduran Blend” made in the Flor de Copan Altadis factory, as advertised, distributed and sold by JR Cigars. Well, here we have another Por Larrañaga cigar, made in the same Flor de Copan factory (unless Altadis operates more than one there) but this time blended and distributed by Cuban Imports (who also make the new H. Upmann Signature.)

Is it just me, or would it have made sense to market this cigar under a different name? How many PLs do we need?

Furthermore, if it is absolutely necessary to recycle an old Havana trademark, I would like to suggest one of these from my list of favorites:

  • Caruncho (also Flor de Caruncho)
  • Flor de Pedro Rogers
  • Frank Halls
  • His Majesty
  • La Indiferencia
  • La Flor de Santa Gertruda

(Courtesy Perleman’s Pocket Cyclopedia of Havana Cigars)

The Cuban Grade PL, like the Honduran Blend, has an Ecuadorian grown Connecticut Shade wrapper (though there is also a San Andres maduro available) but instead of Honduran filler the Cuban Grade employs a Mexican binder and a Honduran/Dominican filler blend. The robusto is a standard 5 x 50 in size and sells for around 5 USD retail.

The wrapper on this robusto is a very smooth golden brown with some ripple in the veins. The roll is solid, and after clipping the cap I found the draw to be free and easy. The prelight scent is grassy with a little earth, which in this case was an accurate predictor of what was in store for my palate.

It starts up with a mild earthy flavor and a somewhat floral aroma. This cigar is billed in some places as mild to medium, but it really never gets close to medium in my opinion. The flavor builds a bit and grows a little sweeter toward the mid-point, while the aroma maintains its floral focal point. This cigar has good flavor intensity for a mild-bodied cigar, but it will not satisfy a full-bodied appetite. It leaves a slightly earthy aftertaste that gains a substantial but short finish by the end of the cigar. The burn is very good, even and trouble-free, leaving a solid dirty-gray ash with black streaks. Despite its light flavor and mild body this cigar has a lot of character and a fair amount of complexity.

This lightweight contender has a lot of heart. I’m not so sure about “cuban grade,” but with the rippled veins, streaky ash, earthy flavor profile, and floral aroma I might be persuaded that it was modeled on a very very light version of the Cuban Romeo y Julieta.

But as an old gardener I used to work with would say when I suggested something audacious, like taking a break or something, “Maybe on a Tuesday, sonny.”

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