Last summer I had the chance to smoke and review what would become my 2014 Cigar of the Year — the Sindicato Corona Gorda. A combined performance in both construction and flavor earned that cigar 94 points and a trip up the aisle to collect the trophy. Instead of a speech, however, the folks at Sindicato and blender Arsenio Ramos are giving us a lagniappe: another Sindicato, this time in maduro.
The original Sindicato with its Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper certainly made an impression on me, so I was eager to try the same blend with a maduro wrapper. This time around it’s a San Andres Morron. (Morron refers to a chestnut shade of dark brown.) The internal components appear to be the same as the natural Sindicato: a double binder from Esteli and filler from Esteli and Jalapa, all Aganorsa tobacco from Eduardo Fernandez’s farms in Nicaragua. The sizes are also the same.
- Corona Gorda: 5 1/2 x 48
- Toro: 6 x 54
- Churchill: 7 x 52
- Magnum: 6 x 60
- Belicoso: 6 1/8 x 54
- Robusto: 5 x 54
The wrapper is typical of high quality maduro — thick and rough, with signs of a rugged and thorough maturation process. The shade is darker than the word “morron” suggests: there isn’t much chestnut in this maduro, just rich earthy maduro browny-blackness. The foot of the cigar is unfinished, but not ragged, and the head is capped with a pig tail. The cigar is square pressed, just like the natural version, which is sometimes a concern because it tends to promote an uneven burn. Not in this case, however. The Sindicato Maduro burns just as evenly and easily as its natural counterpart, though maybe a bit slower. A long light gray ash builds and taps off in the ashtray with some hesitance after a couple inches. Clearly a well made cigar.
Overall construction: Excellent
The Sindicato Maduro opens with the hallmark flavor of San Andres maduro: chocolate. There is a hint of pepper here as well, but the first few puffs are predominately bittersweet baker’s chocolate. The smoke is medium to full in texture and has a slightly tannic aftertaste. After a few minutes woody flavors become noticeable below the sweetness of the aroma.
Midway through the cigar the sweetness of the chocolate gives way to dark roasted coffee flavors. There is an increasing spiciness, but in addition to the pepper that you’d expect from a Nicaraguan cigar there is also a hint of mint or eucalyptus. Not much, just a fleeting hint to add unexpected complexity, which is somewhat rare for a maduro blend.
The finale of the cigar turns dark; the woodiness becomes earthy, and the cigar starts to wind down. The subtleties are overtaken by black pepper and at the very end the smoke becomes a little burnt tasting. The lights come up, the audience applauds.
There is hardly any difference in quality between the Sindicato natural and the Maduro blend. I would liken it to the difference between the natural and maduro versions of the Padron Anniversary 1964 — both are excellent, well-made cigars, and both have a reputation beyond question. I am one of the few who favor the natural 1964 over the maduro, and I do the same with the Sindicato.
The Sindicato Maduro is smooth, rich, and it exhibits a great deal more complexity than I had expected. The base flavors are typical of Nicaraguan cigars, but better behaved, and the aroma is full of chocolate and coffee — just what we crave in a maduro. It isn’t as complex as the natural Sindicato, which is why I lean towards the natural, but this is one of the better maduros I’ve smoked this year.
Both blends run in the $11-13 range. Try them both and enjoy an embarrassment of riches.
Final Score: 91