One of my favorite interviews at last year’s IPCPR trade show was talking about Florida Sun Grown tobacco with Jeff Borysiewicz. This is a passion project, and I could tell. Especially when he showed us the tobacco he brought with him. If you want the full scoop on the FSG, the process, see the actual tobacco leaves, and hear about the history of tobacco growing in Florida, you really should check out interview. There’s just too much to cover here, and Jeff is the right person to tell you about it. But briefly, FSG is Cuban-seed corojo-99 tobacco, and it makes up a portion of the filler of this cigar.
In picking the FSG to review this week, I was unaware of a few things. First off, my local tobacconist asked me why there was a sudden uptick in sales of the FSG. I assumed it had something to do with interest created by the upcoming Florida Barn Smoker. The second thing is that there was a recent mishap at the FSG farm, and an entire field of tobacco was accidentally killed off. (See Jeff explain the situation here.) Now I wonder if it might all be related. Fear of scarcity due to a lost crop and an upcoming high profile event could help sales. But have no fear, FSG fans, the cigar isn’t going away. Jeff tells us in the video that he has plenty of tobacco to handle the situation. And the Barn Smoker will go on, only with a few adjustments to events- reportedly, attendees may get to try their hand at planting tobacco.
And now we’ve covered the news, let’s light the FSG up and see how it burns.
Size: 5 x 54
Binder: Honduran Habano
Filler: Florida Sun Grown, Nicaragua
Price: MSRP $11.50
The Pre Light
The FSG is a good looking smoke, a tad rustic up close, with some darker mottling, but generally finer veins. One of the cigars I lit up had a interesting soft texture to the wrapper, more so than the rest, but they all seemed well packed with tobacco. One cigar had a little lumpiness in a few places. Testing the cold draw, I tasted grass, and sweet dried fruit.
The First Third
To start, notes of grass, herbs, wood, and candy sweetness presented themselves. As the cigar warmed up I picked additional flavors like citrus peel, white pepper, nougat and something along the lines of coriander. The FSG burned like a champ, producing even burn lines, solid white ashes, and a great volume of smoke. As I ashed it the first time, I thought, with a delicate touch, this could be a good cigar for a long ash competition. But I decided to play it safe.
The Second Third
Around the beginning of the second third I started picking up things like sweet fruit (think apple or pear), leather, cinnamon, and caramel. Grass, white pepper, citrus peel and wood notes carried over as well. In terms of combustion properties, no change, and no complaints.
The Final Third
Bigger savory cedar and pepper moved to the forefront in this stage, but the grassy, citrusy, herbal and spice notes were not going to be left behind. As I was burning through the final part of the cigar, I wondered if it might get a little too intense at the end, but that was not my experience. It actually seemed to back off a little after an initial peppery spike. Here again, the cigar burned well, though the stick with the interesting soft wrapper texture did give me some minor issues with the burn line.
The FSG is a pretty unique cigar in the flavor department, and it burns like a champ. And that’s a big part of what I like about it. It’s a well-made cigar that’s really different. (It also doesn’t hurt that these had the benefit of some good aging in my local shop.) But in being different, that means it’s a cigar I’m going to have to be in the mood for. And I will definitely have to spend some time investigating the right beer pairing for this one. As we leave the cold days and heavier beers behind (at least symbolically), I think there will be a lot of interesting opportunities there. (Saisons, wits, berliner weisses and goses are on my to-do list.) Anyway, this is a cigar you’re going have to try and see if the profile works for you, or if the blend is just too different for your preferences.