June 12, 2013

Cigar Review: Dante Canto III Robusto


Just recently I wrote a post about a retailer who created his own brand and here I am today reviewing another cigar that was created by a retailer. Located in Arlington, VA, right outside of Washington D.C. is Cigar Connections. The cigar shop is owned by Mo Fakhro and managed by Michael Huff. Both have been in the industry on the retailer side for over ten years, and like most cigar smokers they wanted to create their own brand. The two formed M. Tabacos, Inc. roughly two years ago and began their journey. They scouted the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua before creating their first line, and at the end of the day the choice was obvious to them. Nicaragua. The company reached out to Tabacalera Tropical/Casa Fernandez and their famed AGANORSA tobacco.

Before the blending though, the name for the company was picked. Micahel studied some religion while at George Mason University, and while there he read Dante's Divine Comedy. The material spoke to him, as it has so many others, and he could not resist creating a brand around the well known Dante. The company worked on the blending for the cigar and when they were pleased with the finished result began production. The cigar is released in five vitola offerings, and all are being made in Miami, Florida at Casa Fernandez Miami. They are made in the traditional fashion, entubar, and finished with a triple cap. The offerings are all very traditional vitola offerings, and range from petit corona to a toro. The packaging is very simple, but classic, and shows a portrait of Dante similar to the artwork of Botticelli.   

For this review I was gifted cigars in the robusto offering, and the cigar measures 5" with a 50 ring gauge. The cigar is composed of Nicaraguan tobacco in the filler and binder, and has a San Andres wrapper. The cigar has a great triple cap and a solid chocolate brown wrapper. It is definitely maduro in coloring and the wrapper itself is very smooth to touch. There are some bumpy qualities to the cigar in parts, but it is from veins and the binder. There are some small veins throughout the cigar and it is a pretty smoke. The band shows those dark colors to it that are the stereotypical villain and evil colors from Medieval times, and it fits with the cigar. There is a dark aroma to the cigar and it shows some black pepper notes, cinnamon, coffee, oak and leather.

The cigar begins by showing a lot of black pepper notes, and it has a nice old school Pepin spice to begin with. I know it is not Pepin, but it is a flavor profile opener that you see with a lot of Pepin smokes. After the pepper blast has faded some I begin to get some oaky and leather qualities to the cigar, and there are some cinnamon and subtle espresso bean notes as well. It is smoking with a medium full body level right now, and I would say the strength of the cigar is easily full. There is a nice burn line with the cigar, and it is producing a solid dark charcoal colored ash. The ash is holding on firmly to the cigar and there is a lot of smoke being produced from the cigar. Overall I love the beginning this cigar is showing, and look forward to the second third.

I am in the second third of the cigar now and the cigar is really balancing out. There is a nice bit of black pepper and espresso bean notes to the cigar, but it is being checked by some cinnamon and dark chocolate notes. It is sweet and spicy, and then shows some lovely leather and oaky notes to the cigar with some earthy qualities that balance the dryness with some richness. The body of the cigar is still at that perfect medium full level, and the strength has come down to being more at a medium full level. It is a dark cigar in terms of body and flavors, but still very balanced. For an experienced smoker it is a cigar that could be enjoyed frequently with ease. The construction in the second third of the cigar is as solid as it was in the first third and it is producing an even burn line with a nice dark charcoal colored ash.

When I get into the final third of the cigar I am ready to light up another. The flavors are exploding more so than ever in this third and I am seeing this finishing flavor profile of cloves and tobacco. There are still some great chocolate, pepper, cinnamon and espresso bean qualities to the cigar, but it has just increased in terms of complexity. The finish is still showing those lovely oak and leather profiles that the cigar possesses, and it is a great finishing cigar. The strength has been smoking at a medium full level in this third, and the body is been holding steady at medium full as well. The burn line remains even till the nub, and the ash that solid charcoal gray color. On my last draw I pick up some solid tobacco notes and it is a slightly cool finish.

This was a wonderful cigar and it reminded me of some old school Pepin smokes that were being made in Miami. At the same time the cigar reminds me of the Casa Fernandez Miami Reserva and some Viaje smokes. It shows a lot of pepper to begin with, but it really begins to balance out and show some sweet and spicy characteristics while remaining rich and dry at the same time. If you are a fan of any Don Pepin Garcia, Viaje and Casa Fernandez cigars then you will like this, and I myself am upset that I have only one left. The construction was terrific from beginning to end and it showed a dark ash that held on to the cigar firmly. I felt the strength level of the cigar was on the fuller side of things, and the body of the cigar was around medium full. As a premium boutique it will do well with the boutique lovers on the market. I am giving this cigar a solid 91 and look forward to them coming to a nearby retailer in the future. Retailers, they will have a booth at the IPCPR, check them out!

Packaging
From Dante Cigars:
Hidden amidst the dangerous shadows of the Underworld, buried deep in its smokiest corner, lay a cigar so tempting it aroused the Wicked One’s envy: Dante. After years of perilous searching, we managed to retrieve this devilishly delicious smoke and now introduce it to you. A reimagination of its turn-of-the-century namesake, Dante balances strength, spice, and sweetness . . . with a diabolical twist. Hand made by master rollers in Miami using the finest Aganorsa leaf, Dante reflects the pinnacle of premium boutique cigars. We made a deal with the devil so you wouldn’t have to. Smoke a Dante and set your senses ablaze!
Bottom of packaging
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