Cigar Review: R & D Cigars

I first met Jorge Armenteros from Tobacconist University before I started blogging, I was the occasional customer in his store, A Little Taste of Cuba  when my travels took me to Princeton, New Jersey. In talking to Jorge you realize how passionate he is about tobacco, and how he wants to educate those around him for the betterment of the industry.

The R & D allows him to bring the teaching to you.  This tasting seminar with the help of the very well designed website helps explain how different tobaccos effect the taste of a cigar. In stores you can buy the cigar solo, or with its accompanying puro tasting kit. The kit, is what takes this experience to the next level. 5 puro cigarillos representing the wrapper, binder and 3 filler tobaccos help you understand the different components of tobacco and that they bring to the blend.

The website describes today’s cigar as.

A classic Central American filler blend bound and wrapped with a rare and historic Brazilian leaf. Only 36,000 cigars produced in 4 vitolas.

Cigar: R & D Brazilian Corojo Capa Especial Serie 1
Size: Toro (6 x 50)
Wrapper: Brazilian Corojo
Binder: Brazilian Habano
Filler: Nicaragua (Ometepe & Jalapa), Honduras (Azacualpa)
Strength: Medium

The Tasting Pack: I won’t tell you what each tobacco tasted like, because I think part of the fun is doing this on your own. This is the same process novice cigar makers use when blending a cigar. You smoke puros, find what you might like, and then blend playing with percentages. When you become more experienced you mix and match with tobaccos hoping to create the next 100 point blend.

The one really cool thing is all 3 filler tobaccos come from Habano seed, so you can see how the different regions play into the overall taste and aroma. For me, I smoked the puro cigarillos from filler to binder to wrapper. I will say that you most likely won’t smoke the entire cigarillo, but will smoke enough of it to get a taste. For me that was about an inch. Between each puro, I cleansed my palate with club soda.

Perhaps the greatest thing to come out of the Tasting Pack is the true understanding of how cigar making is an art form. Much like great chefs are celebrated, so too should a master blender.

The Finished Product:

The Look: The R & D which is made by Jesus Fuego for Tobacconist University features a pigtail cap and the Brazilian Corojo wrapper has a nice amount of oils to it. The infrastructure of the leaf has a few small veins but nothing that stands out. There is a dual band, the first with the R & D logo with the words Tobacconist University along the side, while the secondary band is full of information. It features the signature of the cigar maker (Jesus Fuego), the type of wrapper, when the cigar was rolled, and how many were produced. It would be amazing if cigar manufacturers embraced this. In the hand the Brazilian Corojo Capa Especial Serie 1 feels firm with no soft spots and  well packed foot.

The Notes: On the cold draw I could taste the element brought forth by the Jalapa tobacco as for the nose, that would be up to you to determine should you do this tasting. The foot of the cigar was earthy, and I was able to identify which tobacco was causing the dominant aroma.

As the cigar as we moved through each third of the smoke, the notes were easily defined as were the tobaccos in use. The experience of tobacco, taken from the puros were easily applied throughout the cigar. But what really stood out was how the tobaccos played off of each other and created an experience.

You can liken it to an artist, with each layer of tobacco being a type of paint. Taken off the board and put on a canvas is only when the image will take form. Same theory with the tobacco, only once taken from its puro form and applied with the other tobaccos does the cigar take on a life of its own.

Without giving anything away, the cigar was very complex, with a lot of flavor and exquisite construction. I am choosing not to gives specifics as I do not wish to sway the reader who wants to experience this for themselves. It would be like giving the answers to a test, instead of a cigar review, which is an opinion.

The Finish: What Jorge Armentros has accomplished here is bringing the factory tour to the brick & mortar. As stated earlier it helps relay the message that cigar making is an art form, and it expands your knowledge to better understand the art of blending. While I am not going to score this as a typical cigar, I am going to state that if you want to learn more about tobacco you should start with this product, and if you want to learn even more his Tobacconist University is the place to go.

You can find these certified cigars at Tobacconist University Certified Shops, rumor has it that there will be a Serie 2 featuring Pennsylvania Broadleaf.

R & D Component Pack

R & D Component Pack

R & D Cigar

R & D Cigar

R & D Foot

R & D Foot

R & D Foot

R & D Foot