La Tradicion Cubana has been in business for fifteen years, and to celebrate this they have released their 15th Anniversary Deluxe edition. Their last anniversary edition, the tenth, was excellent — they were some of the best cigars in my collection before they mysteriously went up in smoke a couple years ago.
LTC remains one of my favorite boutique cigar companies because they produce a quality premium cigar at a really reasonable price. Anyone who has been reading the cigar press and smoking the latest and greatest knows that an exorbitant price does not always mean high quality — sometimes it just means more hype. Fifteen-dollar limited edition cigars are great for the industry, and fun for those who can afford them, but it’s nice that LTC is looking out for the rest of us.
I was expecting the 15th Anniversary blend to be similar to the 10th, a blend from several countries with an Ecuadorian wrapper, but it’s a different story this time. The 15th Anniversary Deluxe is a Dominican puro. Wrapper, binder, filler — all from the Dominican Republic, where LTC cigars are made in Santiago.
La Tradicion Cubana is known for producing cigars with large ring gauges, including one of the largest commercially available cigars produced anywhere, the 12 x 192 LTC “Big One.” The new Deluxe line is no where close to to that, thank God, but all three sizes are still big in the barrel:
- Robusto: 5 x 56
- Churchill: 6 x 52
- Torpedo: 5 3/4 x 54
They might have come up with a better frontmark for the churchill (which is more like a fat toro) but as Juliet once asked, “what’s in a name?” At least they didn’t call it Montague.
The wrapper on this 15th Anniversary is gorgeous. This looks like a sun grown wrapper — it’s dark and a little bit rough, and the color is not perfectly consistent, but it has clearly been fermented and processed very carefully. It’s oily enough right out of the cello, but as soon as the cigar is lit and the wrapper warms up, the oils just ooze out. Beautiful. The roll is firm with an easy draw. The large ring gauge and skillful blending result in a slow, cool burn. The robusto and the torpedo smoke for a good hour or more, and the toro (em… the churchill, I mean) went into 90 minute territory.
The only construction issue I had with these was a somewhat erratic burn. They didn’t need correction, but the jagged burn line was a touch irksome. More and more it seems that the better the wrapper leaf is, the more eccentric the burn. It must be the prima donna factor.
Overall construction very good.
The sustaining note for this blend is coffee, but it’s a note that goes through some interesting modulations. The first third is marked by coffee (of course) and mildly sweet milk chocolate. Beneath this I detected something like roasted nuts. The smoke is medium bodied in texture and very smooth. There is a slightly acidic touch on the tongue and the finish is mild, but dry.
The base flavor of coffee and roasted nuts takes on a sweeter edge in the second stage, as caramel comes to the fore and some spicier notes drop on the palate. The finish lengthens a little, bit by bit, but the smoke is still smooth and the aftertaste clean.
In the last third the flavors become more concentrated and the coffee-caramel combination starts to taste like a coffee liqueur. There’s also a flavor that mystified me — I couldn’t identify it until I had smoked three or four of these cigars in various shapes, but it finally came to me as I finished off a churchill the other night — I might be crazy, but I think it’s coconut.
Toward the band the flavor turns a little charred, as expected, and the nicotine sneaks up. La Tradicion Cubana isn’t known for powerhouse smokes, but they are certainly capable of producing them. Smoke these past the band and you might get a pretty good buzz, depending on your tolerance. This was surprising because they start out so mild and debonair.
I’m not sure if i like these better than the 10th Anniversary — it’s such a different blend — but without question the Deluxe 15th is worthy of carrying the Anniversary flag for LTC. If I could have my wish there would be an offering with a smaller ring gauge, but the blend has obviously been very well thought out in these larger sizes.
These are slated for release this month, and as I mentioned before, one of the remarkable things about this cigar is its price: boxes of 24 range from 100 USD for the robusto, $110 for the churchill, and $115 for the torpedo. The quality is unbeatable at that price if you like this style of cigar: medium-bodied, smooth, and delicious. Great with coffee. Bring the thermos.
Thanks to LTC for giving me a sneak preview of this fantastic smoke!
La Tradicion Cubana cigars can be difficult to find in neighborhood cigar shops. The 15th Anniversary is now available from these internet retailers: