Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Binder: Ecuadorian Habano
Filler: Pennsylvania Ligero, Honduran Ligero, Nicaraguan (Ometepe)
Size: 5 x 54 “El Hombre-Robusto Gordo”
Price: $8.10 MSRP
Leccia is not a man of his word. He promised samples, in writing, and then reneged. You don’t do that to people. Then to add insult to injury, he inserts this review of the Luchador at the very top of the Review List at Leccia Tobacco on his web site. So I’m not good enough for him to keep his word and blows me off, but I am good enough for my review to be at the top of his list. I contacted him last week and no one showed the courtesy of responding to my query. So that’s why I am posting this. He didn’t even ask permission to use my review for his website.
Here is what he said to me in January before the Luchador came out:
“I can still get you some cigars for reviews…it just can be a hassle at times to get them out all the time, there are many things going on at all times, and shooting out free cigars to bloggers is not always high on the priority list. it’s not something that I usually do, but I enjoy the in-depth reviews you give, and you certainly gave my brands 2 amazing reviews…Don’t worry about Jack, he’s just doing his job…when my next brand hits, I will get some samples in your hand…no worries…all good!”
NOTE: It is July 3 and I checked the Leccia Tobacco web site. I have now been removed and nothing is left but the ghost of lying bastardos!
On with the review:
It was a dark and stormy morning. Rain is falling and not a drop of sunshine. Damn the torpedoes and the hell with worrying about the photos.
“Nacho Libre” 2006 film with Jack Black. Did you have the misfortune to see this flick? I am a Jack Black fan until I saw that movie.
“It was loosely based on the story of Fray Tormenta (“Friar Storm”), aka Rev. Sergio Gutiérrez Benítez, a real-life Mexican Catholic priest who had a 23-year career as a masked luchador. He competed in order to support the orphanage he directed.”
So I cannot look at the cigar band, which is an homage to Mexican wrestling, without chuckling. That movie nearly sunk his career.
I have no idea what Mexican wrestling is to Sam Leccia but, clearly, it is important enough to base an entire blend upon.
I am a fan of the two current Leccia blends: Black and the White. More so, the Black. Because of its fire cured tobacco. A new blend was long overdue. I’m hoping it is every bit as good as his first blends. I just reviewed the White Perfecto yesterday that came out in the new Leccia Tobacco Black & White Sampler.
From the Leccia Tobacco web site:
“The Luchador is an exotic 5 country cigar blend handcrafted in Nicaragua consisting of very unique tobaccos. A San Andreas Wrapper leaf surrounds the Habano binder leaf grown in Ecuador. The filler uses viso from Esteli, Nicaragua with ligero from Pennsylvania-USA and Jamastran, Honduras. Centering the blend is a distinctive tobacco from Ometepe, Nicaragua.
“Ometepe is an island formed by two volcanoes rising from Lake Nicaragua in the Republic of Nicaragua. Its name derives from the “Nahuatl” words: ome (two) and tepetl (mountain), meaning two mountains. It is the largest volcanic island inside a fresh water lake in the world.
“The Luchador blend uses 3 tobaccos grown in volcanic soil: the Ometepe, Habano and San Andres. The soil in these regions is so rich that little to no fertilization is necessary.
“The blend is medium to full, providing a complex array of flavors from sweet to spicy with the strength building throughout the smoking experience.”
The cigar comes in four sizes:
El Hombre – 5×54 El Castigo – 6×60 El Guapo – 6×50 Loco Perfecto – 6×58
I have to chuckle once more when I read El Guapo. Have you seen the movie, “¡Three Amigos!” Who hasn’t. El Guapo was the bad guy. The Amigos are conned into coming to a small Mexican village thinking that El Guapo is a famous actor and they would do a show with him. They learn, to their dismay, that El Guapo leads the gang of Mexican bandits that terrorizes the village. Funny movie. Maybe he should have named the other three sizes: ‘Ned’, ‘Lucky Day’ and ‘Dusty Bottoms.’
All of my cigar samples are rustic as it comes with highly visible seams and lots of veins. Strangely enough, the cigar is the exact color, and texture, as the 150 year old clothing flat iron I often use for photos. It is a very rusty dark brown with a modicum of oiliness. And lots of tooth. The stick is jam packed with tobacco. The triple cap is sloppy on all five samples I have. The nice little nipple, that represents the nipple on top of the wrestler’s cap, is perfect.
The cigar band is very colorful using the Mexican national colors for accentuating the mask.
I clip the cap and find aromas of wood, spice, leather, a tad of cocoa, a floral note, pie crust, and vanilla bean.
Turns out the stick is extremely dry. I’ve had the cigars for a bit over two weeks and my humidor is at a perfect 69%. I tried reviewing the cigar yesterday and it disintegrated on me. So I switched gears and did the White Perfecto instead. I left the Luchador out all day and smoked it last night and it was fine. But the wrapper was a mess.
Time to light up.
The draw is great. And the first flavors are sweetness, pie crust, cinnamon, and a growing spiciness. There is an earthy element that is building slowly as well. The wrapper makes some crackling noise. Fingers crossed.
The red pepper clears my sinuses. My eyes open wider than usual as it brings my brain to full attention. The spiciness is all I can taste at first and the sweetness elbows its way in. The Leccia cigars are so artistically blended that it takes a mere week or two to be ready to go. Of course, more aging is good too. But there is a fine line between smart humi aging and excessive humi aging. The latter can mellow a cigar way too much. I like a cigar to be smoked within the first month when it is fiery and potent.
For those of you that wonder why you always see the city’s name of San Andres also spelled San Andreas, there is a reason. The people who spell it San Andreas are too lazy to go to Wikipedia or any other geography site to verity the spelling.
It is San Andrés.
The cigar’s spiciness calms down at the half inch point and allows other flavors to flood in: Creaminess, meatiness, cocoa, sweetness, fruit, nuts, wood, and leather.
The construction is perfect. No wayward cap issues. No cracking of wrapper. And the triple cap is outstanding.
This is a great cigar, so far. It is a bolder cigar than the Black. And while containing fire cured tobacco is the signature of the Black, the Luchador has its own style of campfire meatiness.
The flavor profile is not a big departure from what Leccia has blended so far; but improved. The Luchador is a big step in the right direction for Leccia. Clearly, Leccia has the chops. Now he just needs the time and experience.
The second third begins and the cigar waddles on the fence of becoming a full-fledged flavor bomb. Nothing has changed except for the addition of a nice balance between nuance and character. Flavors aren’t as distinct and meld together in a great ball of swirling influences. (Kafka wrote that)
The cap disintegrates on me. Same thing happened yesterday. That’s a Bozo No-No.
The earthiness becomes the most prevalent influence. You can almost taste the volcanic soil of Ometepe. The other flavors remain the same. No surge. Don’t get me wrong, this is an excellent cigar but I expected it to be a flavor bomb by now. Instead, it is subtle and nuanced. Very complex. With a long finish.
The strength started out at classic medium. At the start of the second third, it became medium/full bodied. And at the halfway point, it is moving towards full.
The flavors once more, in order: Earthiness, creaminess, meatiness, sweetness, hazelnut, wood, and leather. These are all very subtle flavors and I had to squinch my face to detect them.
The cap is holding its own although it doesn’t look so hot in my photos.
The last third begins.
The char line has behaved like a real champ. No touch ups required.
I’m not sure if two weeks+ has allowed the Luchador to reach its potential. With the Black and White, it was all that was needed to get the blender’s intent. But this is a more complex blend.
The price point. Fair. It is a boutique brand and everything costs more. If it were more, I would have a problem with it. Clearly, Leccia is a man on the come and must have some terrific connections for obtaining great tobacco…at a reasonable price.
With a little more than 2” to go, the cigar achieves flavor bomb status. The damn cigar was a tease this whole time.
The flavors go from nuance to a nuclear blast. Unbelievable. Flavors are just swimming around my palate. Earthiness, caramel, creaminess, sweetness, cocoa, graham cracker, hazelnut, wood, and leather.
It is a friggin confectionary. Leccia Mousse ala Mode.
This is why I smoke and review at the same time. It gives you the opportunity to see what an idiot I am plus ride the roller coaster with me.
The cigar is now, not only worth the $8, but could exceed that price point and I wouldn’t blink an eye. I’ve smoked a lot of $9-$10 boutique blends lately and they don’t come close to the flavors now exhibited by the Luchador. I take back everything I said about this man being slightly inexperienced. This cigar is now a masterpiece.
My singular criticism is the cap and the wrapper surrounding it. I don’t get it. The wrapper on the rest of the cigar is perfect without a single issue. But the cap? Leccia needs to possibly go back and check quality control on this. I’ve smoked three and all three had the same cap/wrapper issue.
Since removing the cigar band, I’ve been able to turn the cigar around to hide the wrapper issues. But I don’t dare clip the cap to remove the drool drenched end.
The meatiness returns in force.
I renege on my comment earlier that this isn’t a big step for Leccia. It is.
The cigar is now full bodied with nicotine as a partner. Not very strong but clearly making an imprint.
I absolutely recommend this cigar.
And now for something completely different:
In keeping with the Mexican theme, an anecdote from my past.
In my first year of college, I went into business with old friends. We moved the in-fashion wrought iron lamps from Tijuana, Mexico to Bob Moreash’s front yard which just so happened to be near an off ramp of the 405 freeway.
We set up a nice stand and hung around 25 lamps for passersby to see. We were raking it in.
We paid, on average, $8 per lamp. And re-sold them for $25 depending on size and how fancy they were.
Originally, there were four of us: Me, Skip Howlett, Bob, and Travis Hirth. Skip bailed early after we pulled a prank on him in Tijuana.
Bob got lazy and Travis couldn’t handle that and split.
We would take the 2 hour drive down to TJ. Another half hour to get through the border and to one specific store we got our swag from. It took us a few tries to get the right store that didn’t cheat us. And when we found the right one, they were just as happy as us because we made that trip every Saturday for six months. They rubbed their hands when they saw us coming.
The wrought iron lamps were very So Cal chic back then.
Things were lax at the border back then. I drove a station wagon filled to the brim with lamps. Maybe 25-30. Never had to declare anything and even once spoke to an American Border Agent with a joint in my mouth. Really.
We built an elaborate backdrop for the lamps using wood paneling and stands for the lamps. We brought the lamps back Saturday afternoon. Set up Sunday morning. And by 3pm, we were sold out. With orders for more.
It was like stealing when you’re 18.
During our first trip, we went into a strip joint. A real skanky dive. We sat on cheap chairs next to the low stage. One or two girls would half-heartedly dance. And they weren’t lookers but we were 18 and feeling our freedom. We could order beers and we tipped heavily.
Skip went to the head. Travis motioned for one of the strippers to come over. She bent over. She spoke English. He handed her a $20 bill and told her to grab Skip’s cock when he put his feet up on the stage. She smiled and put the bill into her G string. I would never want to touch that bill again.
Skip sat down. Put his feet on the stage and leaned back in the chair. He was having a great time. Skip never had a real way with the ladies. He was shy even though very good looking.
A couple minutes into her dance, the stripper moved closer to Skip and danced for him. He grinned from ear to ear.
And in one swoop, she grabbed his balls.
He fell backwards in his chair right on to the floor. He got up. His face was beet red and he split. He waited for us outside the joint. He refused to come back in. We stayed a few minutes because we were laughing so hard.
Skip was angry! Really angry! Skip was a very funny guy but lost his sense of fun and humor. He backed out of the deal and didn’t talk to us for the ride home.
One Sunday, a police cruiser stopped just past where we were set up. We looked at each other in fear. We didn’t have a permit to do this. It parked around 20 feet away. And then two cops got out.
They came over and we said hello. They said nothing. They just looked at the lamps. Yeah, you guessed it.
They bought two lamps each. And were on their way.
Bob got lazy and didn’t like going down to TJ after a few months. So Travis and I did it alone. Bob always gave us an excuse at the last minute which would infuriate Travis.
So Travis, after 6 months of making really good dough, bailed.
Bob still wanted his cut because we used his house. Travis said no. Bob pushed Travis. Travis is a little guy with a huge Napoleonic syndrome and he lit into Bob.
Bob had a big brother that was a gangster and the meanest fuck I ever knew. He came out and helped Travis beat up on his brother.
I put the rest of the lamps back in the station wagon and drove away while they were still fighting. I held on to those lamps for years.
We were the Michael Jobs of wrought iron lamps and we blew it.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS
Kafka in a Cigar review ? Holy crap Katman you are my hero…Based on your reviews and recommendations I’m in the process of trying more full flavored Cigars…It’s a process and occasionally get my ass kicked by the nicotine train but am starting to develop an appreciation for the bigger guys…Thanks for the interesting reviews my Kafka quoting friend…As always…
Sep 3, 2014. CI has just started running an auction special on this cigar with 135 10 pack units available, Starting bid is 39.50. With the quantity available I don’t think it will go all that much higher and should be a very good buy.
Great smoke…but Sam and I are no longer on speaking terms. Reviewers, especially like me, are considered a lower substrata of humans.
So promises made do not need to be kept.
Fortunately, mooks like Leccia underestimate the power of the blog. I just broke an all time record yesterday with 4477 hits to my blog. Instead of the average of 2500-3000 hits per day. So a lot of people read what I had to say.
And if he wants to be a jerk and lie to me, that is his prerogative. But anyone that does me wrong will get an earful from me.