While running around like a madman on the last day of IPCPR 2013, I had the pleasure of enjoying some espresso and cigars with the guys from La Jugada. During our conversation, they recommended I stop by and talk to Robert Arango the owner of Arandoza cigars. Honestly, my conversation with Robert was brief in passing for a sample, so I did not have much time to chat with him about the brand. Robert has two blends, the Blue and White, with the Blue being the medium blend and the White being the full blend. Both are produced at the La Zona; hence, the friendship with La Jugada.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Dry Draw: honey, dark nuts, cedar and spice
First Third: I’m no schoolboy but I know what I like, you should have heard me just around midnight. Oh brown sugar, how come you taste so good? Wonderful entry into the blue with brown sugar notes, a woody finish, and a retrohale that was nice and creamy. The nuts I detected on the dry draw were there, but lingering in the background undefined. Hints of vanilla kicked in, while the nutty notes leaned towards cashews as the Arandoza Blue progressed through the first third. The amount of spice was perfect, with enough to kick the tail of the retro, but not overpower the balance.
Second Third: Drums beating cold, English blood runs hot, lady of the house wondrin where it's gonna stop. I swear the aroma smelled liked a dessert drenched in brown sugar at this point. The profile of nuts turned into a creamy liqueur finish. The overall profile mellowed a bit, and the Blue should be smoked slowly to prevent any tarring of the delicate flavors. The woody finish was still alive, and the nutty liqueur finish became rich and bold. My notes finished with, “getting really good at this point.”
Final Third: The nut flavors abound in the Arandoza Blue really shone throughout the cigar, and the finale showcased them. The cashew flavors were strong and tart, swinging between the liqueur type finish, and a creamy finish. Spices were abundant floating underneath the core flavors. My notes suggested, “plenty of subtle depth here,” meaning reviewers will probably be all over the board. The retro, draw, and finish all had the nutty flavors, and the lingering spice kicked in late, like a good spicy meal that excites your palate, and finishes with subtle burn.
Construction: This was the second cigar I reviewed. The initial had a band issue, and it blew up so I could not finish the review. Robert found out, and promptly sent me a sampler in response. Kudos to Arandoza Cigars for the excellent service.
Final Thoughts: If I owned a cigar shop, Arandoza Cigars would be a must carry for me. The Blue will make my top list of 2014; that much I can guarantee. I think these guys created a blend that will hit more palates then usual with the Blue. It has enough spice to excite the full-bodied enthusiast, but not enough to deter a guy like me whom likes mild cigars. The balance was incredible, with subtle flavors coming in and out in each third, with well-defined flavor shifts. Broad appeal comes to mind when I think of a way to describe this. The White Label was too strong for me, but another excellent blend, so I sent the other two I got to Logan and Matt, and both of them enjoyed them as well. To me that speaks volumes of Arandoza’s blending ability. They can excite me with a fuller blend then I am used to in the Blue, and excite full-bodied fans with the White. I bet Surgeon would freak over this line really. For specific recommendations, for the mild-medium fan, this is an after dinner cigar, or second cigar of the day. For the full-bodied fan, first cigar of the day is recommended. I want to thank Robert of Arandoza cigars for the samples, and I look forward to scheduling an interview this summer at IPCPR 2014.