Arandoza seems to be all over the board for me. The Blue Label was NOT for me, the Red Label was very good and I recall the White Label was fantastic. Although, I can't find the review that I was sure I did.... Anyhow, today I am going to try the Defcon and see how it fits into the puzzle. This is the fourth release from Robert Arango's Arandoza Cigars, and was debuted at the 2015 IPCPR in New Orleans.
Size: 6.5 x 54
Vitola: Super Toro
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Factory: La Zona Cigar Factory in Estelí, Nicaragua
Cigars smoked for review: 1
Cigar for review provided by a fellow BOTL
Note: For this review I used CigarFederation's rating system.
Prelight: The aroma on this cigar is at Defcon 2, just tons of strong aromas. The wrapper is a pungent leather and dark tobacco, and the foot has a strong cocoa note. The cold draw is a strong cedar, dry and spicy on the finish. And light notes of cocoa.
Beginning: The flavors are right up front here too, though not as in your face as the prelight. There are notes of cedar, leather and cocoa that blend into woody, fudge flavor. There are also these awesome notes of mixed berries and lots of leather on the retro. I did run into a pretty bad tunneling issue in the beginning, but other than a loose ash a couple touchups, it didn’t affect the flavors much. And I usually have to put down tunnelers due to the bitterness.
Middle: The sweetness from the fudge and berry notes is gone and the profile is much bolder. It starts out with a spicy cedar note and then it turns into a leather and gritty earth note. A very defined transition here. The ash remains loose and flaky and the burn is wavy, but it keeps burning well.
End: The final third transitions again, to end at a point kind of in-between the first two. It’s not as gritty as the second, not as sweet as the first but it is a smoother profile than the second. Flavors of a dirty cocoa and some spicy cedar cycle throughout. In the final bit, there is a smoky meat flavor that makes a somewhat vague appearance, and the burn and ash clean up nicely.
Final Thoughts: I was loving the body and profile of this cigar from the prelight, and was quite worried when I encountered the tunneling. This normally ruins the flavors, causing me to toss the cigar, and I struggled with reviewing this cigar because of that. But, the Defcon stayed pleasant and smokable even through this, so I decided that, other than a bad burn and ash, it was still worth posting a review. And, the review says it all. The first third had a lovely profile. The second was nice, even though the description might sound otherwise. And the end cleaned up, to what I imagine the entire experience would be like on another Defcon. I would expect this to be a 5-pack 88-89, minus the tunnel.
Rating: 86 AKA “A Couple”