Originally scheduled for release at the end of 2020 the Rojas Street Tacos Barbacoa was delayed due to COVID-19 until the spring of 2021. At the time of its announcement it was stated that the Barbacoa which features a Sumatra wrapper would be the first of three wrapper releases. Now after Noel Rojas’ appearance on The Cigar Authority on Saturday, April 9th we know the second release will feature a Connecticut wrapper called Carnitas.
If you haven’t listened to the episode with Noel Rojas it’s worth a listen, especially as he shares the story of how he left in the dead of night on a raft to escape Cuba.
Cigar Review: Rojas Street Tacos Barbacoa
Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra
Ring Gauge: 46
Size: Short Corona
The Look: Packaged in green boxes with the bold logo of the cigar emblazoned on the front, the cigar stands out on the shelf because of how different it looks in terms of packaging and the orange band. Insider sits 16 cigars in two rows of 8. The Ecuador Sumatra band is dark with a nice amount of oils and minimal veins. In the hand the cigar is firm with no voids of tobacco and a closed foot.
The Notes: The cold draw of the Rojas Street Tacos reveals notes of wood with a hint of sweetness and a touch of red pepper. There is a touch of meatiness as well, but I was hesitant to include that here as I wonder if subconsciously the name played into it. Meanwhile, the aroma off the foot has a touch of orange rind and addition red pepper.
Once the cigar is toasted and lit, the initial flavor profile has a subtle orange rind and an abundance of oak and white pepper. As the cigar settles down off the initial light there is a sweetness reminiscent of over-caramelized creme brûlée with the focal point being charred wood. As the first third continued the white pepper sees its intensity increase on the front end the cigar with a creamy coffee finish. The retrohale sees both the white pepper and creme intensify with a fleeting sweetness that is enjoyable and intriguing as well.
Moving into the second third the white pepper notes almost disappear allowing notes of charred oak, vanilla and coffee beans to shine with the coffee bean serving as the dominant flavor profile. Around the half way point of the smoke some adobo spice becomes front and center while the white pepper comes back at the end of the second third with a vengeance. The retrohale is smooth and creamy with an abundance of caramel sweetness.
The last third of the Rojas Street Taco sees wood notes become the focal point with elements of both oak and cedar. In the background is some white pepper which faded at the primary band. The cigar still has a creaminess to it along with hints of coffee and earth. The retrohale on this cigar adds some depth to things with additional notes of vanilla, caramel and toffee.
The Finish: Noel Rojas and I go way back to a friendship formed in Miami just after he arrived from Cuba. We formed a friendship at a local cigar shop that was run by a girl who would become a porn star for Bang Brothers. We bonded over cigars despite me barely knowing Spanish and him barely knowing English. This to me is further proof cigars are the great equalizer that can bridge any gap in the world. When I launched KILO I would turn to him to make the cigar. When I saw him on Friday I was blown away that he is celebrating 10 years as a cigar maker. Everything he produces to me is gold, and the Street Taco is no exception. It’s spicy and sweet with a complex flavor profile and one of my favorite cigars currently.
Price: $8.19 / $114.99 (Box of 16)