2012 has been a huge year for Altadis, and with their success they have gifted the American market with releases that were originally intended for the European and worldwide market. It all began with the core VegaFina line, and it has continued with limited releases and the new line for our market by Altadis, the VegaFina Fortaleza 2. The VegaFina line has been known as a milder line, but with the milder strength comes lovely flavors. There are a couple nations in this world that are known for craving full bodied cigars, United States and Russia, but for the most part the rest of the world looks for smoother cigars that are incredibly flavorful. The VegaFina line was a line that captured that, and in some ways was the Altadis version of the well known Davidoff. Now I am not saying the two are similar, they are not, but the same principles are there. Let us talk about the newest release in the VegaFina line/brand which was focused at this years IPCPR, the Fortaleza 2.
The Fortaleza 2 is the most recent release in the VegaFina line, and is considered to be fuller then other VegaFinas. As I mentioned earlier, this line was initially on the European market, but they decided to move it to the States where it would be a heavier counterpart to the traditional VegaFina. The cigar begins with a San Andres Criollo wrapper, similar to the Trinidad Paradox, and is composed of Dominican binder and filler tobacco. For this review I am sampling the Toro vitola, and the cigar measures 6" with a 54 ring gauge. The wrapper on the cigar is lovely, and has great coloring to it. It has a lovely coloring of redwood and has some veins present throughout. There is some marbled coloring to the wrapper, and it is very toothy. There are few oils on the cigar, and it is slightly rough and dry to touch. The cigar has a nice and unique aroma at the foot of anise, wood, leather coffee and spices, and with that some citrus herbal notes.
Beginning the first third I am not finding the strength to be exactly as described, but the flavors very unique and enjoyable. I am getting some toasty notes to begin with, and there is some lemon peel and nutty characteristics with that. I would say there are bits of leather and wood present as well, and there is a nice finish of spices. The cigar really reminds me of a couple cigars in the past that I have smoked, one of them being the VegaFina Sumum, but at the same time different in many ways. The burn is a little wavy in this third, and I think the cigars are a little wet. Right now I would say dry boxing these cigars for a little while before smoking. I am finding the strength level to be at a solid medium level right now, and it is a very pleasant first third. The cigar captures enough strength to grab my attention, and it would be a cigar that I would have in the later morning.
|San Andres Criollo|
I am in the final third of the cigar now, and it is finishing fairly similar to how it has been smoking since the firs third. I am getting those lovely spicy and dry notes, but at the same time some nice earthy and rich notes as well. I found this to be fairly similar with the Trinidad Paradox, and it is definitely this great wrapper that is making the difference. The coffee and lemon peel notes are present still in this third, and I am getting some floral/herbal notes with those. The cigar has a great finish of spices to it, and it is without a doubt that I can say I love this San Andres Criollo wrapper. The cigar is burning pretty well in this third, and it is not that the cigar is made poorly, I just need to dry out the cigars some. The strength is right above that medium body level, and with that it is producing a lovely amount of smoke. The finish on the cigar is cool, and with the finish you get tons of the flavors of coffee and lemon peel.
I really enjoyed these cigars, and I believe that if they were dry-boxed for a little while before smoking they would perform even better. I can see why these were on the European market before coming to the States, and it is interesting to see European demand versus American demand. I think it is safe to say that I fall into the European side of things more often, and the reason for that is because I don't care about the strength of a cigar as long as it is flavorful. This Fortaleza 2 definitely had a stronger level in terms of strength over any other VegaFina, but at the same time was not overpowering. I will be interested to see how this does on the American market and I hope retailers do their job in notifying customers that it is not like a regular VegaFina, but stronger and more flavorful. I give this cigar a solid 90, and look forward to smoking these in the later mornings down the road.
|Fortaleza 2 Toro|