Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
Filler: Dominican and Nicaraguan
Factory: La Aurora
Cigars smoked for review: 1
Note: For this review I used Cigar Federation's rating system
The Fratello Oro marks a couple of firsts for Omar de Frias. It's his first cigar using a Connecticut Shade wrapper, and the first time one of his cigars has been produced in his home country of the Dominican Republic.
At first glance, the wrapper on this cigar may look like a typical Connecticut, but a closer look reveals that it isn’t your typical Connecticut wrapper. Where most are razor thin, with minimal veins, this one is a bit more substantial, and has slightly rougher texture, with some significant veins.
The wrapper smells of paper, with just a touch of sweetness, and the foot smells of very sweet hay, with a faint scent of fermenting tobacco and graham cracker.
You don’t usually see this much gold foil on a band, and somewhat surprisingly, it actually makes it a bit difficult to photograph. Most bands have a bit of gold foil around the edges, but this one puts the gold front and center.
The draw is perfect, and has flavors of black pepper and sweet hay.
First third: The first few draws taste like very dry hay, quite a bit of white pepper, and baking spice. The baking spices that jump out at me are ginger and cinnamon. The retrohale is pure white pepper. Not overpowering, but certainly more than I expected.
While I wouldn’t call it a sweet cigar, half an inch in, it starts developing a honey flavor, with just a touch of sweetness. At this point, it’s a full flavored smoke with both strength and body lying just above a solid medium.
Second Third: The spice from the white pepper has mellowed, mixed a little more with the baking spice and gotten more layered and complex, though I can’t quite identify why. Meanwhile, the honey sweetness has grown a bit sweeter, but is still not the primary flavor. The strength has picked up a bit, and is now on the medium side of medium-plus
Around the halfway point, a bitter, grassy note pops up suddenly, which reminds me a bit of a grassy IPA, but after another quarter inch, the bitter note fades as quickly as it appeared.
Final Third: Beginning the final third, the the flavors seem to have married together even further. I can still taste white pepper, cinnamon, honey, and graham cracker, but while each was very defined at the beginning, they’ve married so much that they’ve almost become one multi-leveled flavor. Unlike most cigars, the strength has actually tapered off a bit in the final third, falling just shy of a solid medium
I went into this cigar without much in the way of expectations. I knew it was a Fratello, and had an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, but hadn’t read any reviews, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I have to say, it really exceeded my initial expectations.
It might seem a like I’m reaching for a lofty description, but try to stick with me. This cigar really reminded me of a ‘deconstructed’ dish at a high-end restaurant. At the beginning, all of the flavors were very discernible. As it went on, the flavors melded further and further, to the point where they were almost unidentifiable as individual flavors.
This stick gets off to a great start, and while it doesn’t develop much in the way of new flavors, the steady progression of complexity really demands your attention. While I don’t think it’ll become my daily smoke, it’s got a little something for everyone, and it’s definitely something that will be making it’s way into my regular rotation.
Tripp's Rating: 92 AKA "Box Split"