Earlier this year, General Cigar tweaked its Partagas 1845 brand, launched in 2012, by introducing two offerings – Partagas 1845 Extra Oscuro and Partagas 1845 Extra Fuerte. The Oscuro is dedicated to online and catalog retailers, while the Fuerte is for brick-and-mortar shops. The new blends are intended to bring the 1845 brand into the full-bodied end of the taste and strength spectrum. This review focuses on the Extra Fuerte.

Cigar Stats: The tobaccos making up the Extra Fuerte draw from four countries. It features an Ecuadorian Habano ligero wrapper around a Connecticut Habano binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan filler. It’s available in four sizes: Robusto Gordo (5½ x 52), Gigante (6 x 60), Double Corona 7½ x 54) and Supremo (7 x 58). I sampled the Robusto, which should retail for $7.50.

Appearance: The dark brown wrapper is quite oily with some noticeable veins. The stick is well-wrapped, with near-invisible seams, and fairly tight, but it is a bit lumpy, giving it a rustic feel. Bottom line, it projects a no-nonsense, straightforward appearance.

The Smoke: The first thing one notices after lighting up is the rich aroma of the smoke. To this smoker, the nose is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the entire experience, and the Extra Fuerte delivers in spades. After the light and that initial burst of pepper, wood (oak) and earth flavors predominate, with a hint of cocoa in the background. The wrapper imparts a bit of a spicy aftertaste that is quite pleasant. The surprise is that while the taste combination is rich, the punch is not as strong as I had anticipated. And that’s a good thing from this perspective. By the midpoint of the smoke, the taste is smooth and easy to take. It doesn’t vary much from start to finish, but why mess with a good thing? The draw is smooth throughout, and the burn line is close to impeccable. Those are two more notches in the stick’s belt.

Verdict: The Extra Fuerte delivers on all fronts. It offers plenty of flavor, provides a pleasant 90-minute or so smoking experience, and comes with a reasonable price tag. It is well worth your time searching it and giving it a try. To learn more about the Extra Fuerte visit– Brian Coyne

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