Organic agriculture is always a challenge for the farmer, but you’d almost have to be crazy to try to grow and process tobacco without recourse to fertilizers and pesticides. The tobacco plant is notoriously susceptible to blight and infestation — cigar makers contend with everything from blue mold to the lasioderma t0bacco beetle before those beautiful brown sticks are layered into the dress box. The wrong amount of rain, an influx of hornworms, any number of untold misfortunes, and your cigars never see the light of day.
Nestor Plasencia Jr. produced the first organic cigar, the Plasencia Organica. It’s a decent cigar, though I admire Plasencia’s success more than I appreciate the cigar itself. But in the last year or so another organic cigar has arrived, the Verdadero Organic, so I thought I’d give it a go. This one is made in the Dona Elba cigar factory in the scenic town of Granada, which is situated by the shore of the giant Lake Nicaragua.
Silvio Reyes grows tobacco for the Verdadero on family land at the base of the Mombacho volcano near Granada. (Bottom center on the map.) Before the land was cleared for planting it had never been used for any kind of agriculture, so it can truly be called “virgin soil.” This Nicaraguan grown Cuban-seed filler is the heart of the Verdadero Organic cigar, but it is completed with a binder from Sumatra (Indonesia) and a Connecticut seed wrapper from Ecuador. I have seen no claims that the binder and wrapper are organic, so maybe it should be called the Verdadero (Very Nearly) Organic?
The Verdadero torpedo is an attractive stick with a perfectly pointed tip that snips off easily with a guillotine. Prelight, the scent is bright and grassy, like freshly mown hay. The shade wrapper is slightly glossy with minimal veins, and the roll is mostly solid; the only exception was a bunching error that resulted in a lateral furrow running down one cigar. It was similar to a “soft spot” but rather than a spot it ran down the entire side of the cigar. It didn’t affect the burn, but it was a defect nevertheless.
The draw is trouble free, and while the burn is a little fast the smoke never gets hot. The light gray ash flakes a bit and crumbles in the ashtray. Overall very good construction.
The Verdadero Organic is a mild cigar that offers a minimal amount of drama but is unique enough to remain interesting. It starts up with a dusty, toasty flavor that has a hint of anise about it. The aroma is earthy with some cedary spice, and it has an unusually herbal aftertaste that coats the tongue in a waxy sort of way. I’m not sure if I dislike this, or if it’s just strange to me. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but it seems to supply a subtle note of pumpkin or banana.
The cigar picks up a little more body and grows woodier as the the stick burns down. The aroma is classic Connecticut Shade — creamy and mildly floral with a touch of cedar. The smoke texture is buttery.
The last section continues on in the same vein but gets a little bit sweeter, adding a cotton-candy like element, and it finishes up with a light touch of caramel. The aftertaste remains mild but earthy with a relatively short finish.
The Verdadero Organic is a very well constructed cigar with a distinctive flavor profile. I wasn’t crazy about the waxy aftertaste, but I was able to overlook that and appreciate the stick’s other fine characteristics. The aroma has some really unusual qualities, making this more than just a conventionally mild Connecticut Shade cigar. Folks who gravitate to mild cigars and are looking for something a little different might want to check this one out. Retail prices hover around the 5 USD mark. Grab yourself a 5-pack at CigarsDirect.com, or try your luck on the auction sites.
Final Score: 85