Brand: Flor de Cesar Red Label
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Dominican / Maduro
Filler: Dominican and Nicaraguan
Origin: Dominican Republic
The Flor de Cesar Cigar Company is based out of Philadelphia, while their cigars are crafted in the Dominican Republic. Due to the lack of information on the company website, I can only assume that these cigars are made by the same people that produce Devils Weed, Don Leonicos, and Pinar del Rio Cigars. This is assumed due to my IPCPR samples being packaged in small cardboard display box featuring each brand mentioned above and.
The line of Flor de Cesar, or Flower of Cesar, is available in three formats; including a Red Label, Black Label, and Green Label, which is soon to be released. Sizes and pricing are unavailable at this time.
After removing my Flor de Cesar from it cellophane sleeve, I began to give it a good looking over. The first thing that strikes me is the wrapper. On the company website, the cigar page notes it as having a “Dominican / Maduro” wrapper, while on the company history page it is called a US Grown Maduro wrapper. The reddish hue and dainty veins sway me to believing that this is a Dominican grown wrapper and not the rustic looking Connecticut Broadleaf that I am accustomed to.
The wrapper color and small veins make this cigar very attractive at first glace. When the focus is shifted to the cap, things are slightly less appealing due to its rough appearance. Even taking into account the rough cap, the visual aspect of this cigar is free of flaws.
When handled, the wrapper had a smooth texture while being firm. A gentle pinch up and down the length of the cigar gave me the impression that it was firmly and evenly packed with plenty of tobacco. The aroma on the wrapper and exposed foot are mildly spicy and appealing.
After opening up the head with my cigar scissors, I found the draw to be stiff with plenty of resistance. It seems as though the cigar may be a little overfilled with tobacco. The flavors on the cold draw immediately made me think of a very light American style macro brew.
After a quick and painless toasting and lighting routine, I had my Flor de Cesar Red Label evenly lit and producing a fair amount of smoke. Even with a stiff draw, the cigar managed to produce an fair amount of smoke with was dense and full of flavor.
In the early stages of the first third, the body settles down into the mild-medium range. After getting about an inch into the smoke, the body ramps up into the medium range. After expelling the smoke, I am left with the feeling of a thick film in the mouth. This thick texture subsides after a couple of minutes and a sip of water, only to return once again after about puff, or two, is taken.
The flavors of this cigar are very interesting right from the get-go. When the cigar was being lit, I detected a slight fruity aroma coming off of the foot of the cigar. This same fruity flavor comes through on the draw. Coupled with it are flavors of leather and spice. Each flavor seems to stand out for a moment, then fade and become replaced by the next in line. The only downside at this point is that it is already becoming a mild irritant on my throat.
As my cigar turned to ash, I was pleased with the way it was burning. The burn line was even while showing very mild signs of blistering. The ash was tightly compacted and light in color, holding on for more than an inch before falling from the foot and into the ashtray. The draw continues to be stiff while providing a fair amount of dense smoke.
After about forty minutes of smoking, I was through the first third and into the second. The body seems to have plateaud since its initial increase early on in the first third. When the smoke is expelled from the mouth, I’m left with the same thick feel as before, only now it is slightly milder and not as heavy as it once was.
Numerous times through the cigar, I inadvertently force the smoke to the back of my mouth and up through my sinus. I have a habit of doing this every so often to help pick up some of the smaller nuances in the cigar. Moving the smoke to the back of my mouth is resulting in a scratchy throat. I generally don’t have this happen unless a cigar is a little young or edgy, which is what I am attributing my sore through to.
While there wasn’t too much change in terms of body and finish, the flavor profile of my Flor de Cesar Red Label was beginning to change up. The interesting fruity flavor began to develop into more of a defined red wine flavor, which was far more complex. The flavors of leather and spice were slowly being replaced by that of black pepper.
The burning characteristics of this cigar are excellent. The ash forming on the foot is light in color and tightly compacted. When tapped into the ashtray, a solid chuck of ash falls from the foot and hold its shape after plopping onto the hard surface of my ashtray. The draw remains a little stiff but manages to produce a pleasing amount of dense smoke. The burn rate seems about average for this sized cigar.
After nearly an hour and a half, it was time to remove the band on my Flor de Cesar and get down to business on the final third. The stiff draw and sheer volume of tobacco contained within the wrapper seems to make this cigar smoke slower than I thought. Throughout the cigar I felt that it was burning at an average pace. Looking back at my smoke time seems to show otherwise.
The body has not changed much since its initial climb in the first third and is planted firmly in the medium range. The finish is becoming creamy while being easy on the palate. The thick texture from both the first and second third remains, but is not nearly as heavy as it once was.
As the cigar burns shorter, my scratchy throat worsens. I definitely think that there is either a touch of tobacco that is a bit rough within this cigar, or it may need a little bit more age prior to shipping. The flavors themselves are excellent. The defined red wine flavor remains the same for the most part, but becomes richer and more complex as I move along. The black pepper flavor fades throughout the final third and is replaced by a mixture of leather, spice, and coffee.
Overall I was very impressed with this little known cigar. Judging by the lack of information and lack of buzz behind the brand, I can honestly say I didn’t have very high expectations for the Flor de Cesar Red Label. I kind of thought it was going to be like several other IPCPR cigars that turned out pretty bad, ala Naughty Goose (although the name on that one should have tipped me off).
The flavors were interesting from start to finish and the stick had enough body to keep everything balanced. The burning characteristics were solid. My only complaint comes in the form of a scratchy throat. After putting out the cigar, the irritation subsided and I’m back to normal. This leads me to believe that it was most definitely the cigar and not the onset of a cold or allergies. I think given a little bit more age, that rough edge should smooth right out.
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