One of my favorite parts of a recent trip to Miami was spending time sipping Cuban coffee and wandering through the cigar factories on Calle Ocho (8th Street) in little Havana. One shop I had a particularly good time visiting was El Titan De Bronze. If that name sounds familiar, you probably remember that Walt reviewed their Redemption earlier this year. I walked in unannounced into the small, cozy factory and right there behind the counter was Willy Herrera, the man running the show. As we had met a few months earlier at IPCPR, he recognized me immediately (which was a little flattering), and wasted no time in giving me the grand tour of the tightly run ship that is El Titan De Bronze. Afterward, we spoke at length about his operation and cigar industry in general while I enjoyed a Redemption lancero. I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon.
If you haven’t heard of El Titan De Bronze yet (and a lot of people haven’t) that might be because they were focused on their local Florida market until recently. El Titan De Bronze is no Johnny-come-lately to the cigar scene, though. They’ve been in business for 15 years and employ expert rollers that honed their skills working at such famous factories as Romeo y Julieta and Partagas. According to their website, “each cigar is made in the traditional Cuban style of tubing the filler (entubado) and then finished off with a beautiful triple cap.”
Of course, this all sounds great, but it all comes down to the cigar. Is it any good? Let’s find out.
Size: 5 3/4 x 48
Wrapper: Brazilian Maduro
Filler: Santo Domingo Cuban Seed, Nicaragua
Smoking Time: 1 3/4 hours
Price: MSRP $5.52
The Grand Reserve Maduro comes decorated with two strikingly red, gold and white bands, one with company crest and name, the other informing you that this dark brown stick is, in fact, a maduro. Under those bands, I found the wrapper to be be a little on the veiny side. I did also notice some wrapper imperfections on both cigars I smoked for this review. One had a pretty significant hole near the head, and a smaller one midway down the cigar. I found the second cigar to be slightly lighter in color, but with only one small scratch in the wrapper near the foot.
Both cigars were consistently firm, and had a great wrapper aroma that reminded me of a savory, smoky jerky. I was a little surprised by the sent at the foot, though. Often, I get a dry hay smell off the foot of a cigar, but this time it smelled like a dusty ginger snap.
The burn was a mixture of good and bad. To begin with, the “tubed” filler I mentioned earlier resulted in an easy draw that rewarded me with a huge volume of smoke. With each draw my mouth was absolutely coated with flavor. These aspects of the burn were very enjoyable.
On the down side, the first cigar (the slightly darker one with the wrapper hole) had a very erratic burn, a slightly flaky ash, and went out on me several times. Fortunately, the second cigar burned like a champ, generally even, and produced herculean lengths of solid gray ash. (It only ashed twice.)
I also noticed some differences in the flavor profiles of the two cigars. I found that the second cigar was generally sweeter throughout, an possibly a little less full in body. However, both cigars are pretty full-bodied right off the bat. Again, this cigar is a veritable paint roller of smoky flavor.
Both smokes started off with some great creamy, semi-sweet chocolate and coffee notes. The first cigar had a smokier, darker chocolate flavor than the second. There was also a little bit of pepper in the first third and just a hint or two of some cedar as the cigar progressed.
Just before the next third began, the second cigar started to develop a bit of a sweet tanginess that mixed nicely with the chocolate flavor. The chocolate got a bit darker and the coffee gave way to espresso in this third. Both cigars were sweeter now, and there was a bit of cedar flavor again it neared the final third.
The first cigar went back to dark chocolate and espresso, while the second saw the sweetness develop into an intriguing coppery cherry flavor that overshadowed the chocolate.
It’s nice to find a new boutique cigar that doesn’t command a super premium price. At five and a half bucks a stick MSRP this is a smoke almost everyone can afford to light up.
After smoking the first cigar, my opinion was that the Grand Reserva Maduro was a good, solid stick. But after the second, virtually perfect cigar, I had to upgrade my opinion. That was a stick I would smoke all day, every day and twice on Sundays, even if it had burn issues. (Not that the burn issues were all that bad.) In short, I loved it. The flavor, the great draw and the huge volume of smoke made it an experience I look forward to repeating. I would absolutely recommend giving it a shot. The Redemption has been getting a lot of good press recently, but in my opinion, the Grand Reserva Maduro is every bit as worthy of praise.
Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Yes, just as soon as my local shops get them in stock!
Recommend It: Yes
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.