Today we take a look at the Don Collins Lonsdale.
My good buddy, Rene Cardona, is always smoking these cigars. And the jolly good chap sent me some samples.
Don Collins Cigars has a helluva history. The company that founded Don Collins Cigars goes back to the year 1503. That’s when Rene was only 6 years old.
It was called the Puerto Rico Tobacco Co. It supplied most of the world with its special home grown tobacco called Hoja Prieto.
The wrapper of the Don Collins Lonsdale is cured alongside vanilla beans to give it a light fragrance but not influencing its flavor.
From the DCPR web site:
“Here at DCPR we are producing in a US Territory (Puerto Rico – hence DCPR) and we are not allowed to use any chemicals whatsoever. Not in the fields, not on the tobacco or on the finished cigars. All our products are chemical free. Our flavoring is done by putting cigars in a rum barrel or curing them with a bag of crushed vanilla beans.
“From 1900 until 1927 Puerto Rico produced around 35 million tons of tobacco a year. The Hoja Prieto has always been the most important of the plants grown here. It is primarily the most flavorful wrapper leaf grown in the world. The Hoja Prieto was used exclusively on the best premium cigars made in the world. Record exports were made as late as 1957 to North America, England, Spain, France, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica and other main cigar making areas of the world. Until that time, Puerto Rico was the fifth largest exporter of tobacco in the world after the U.S., Mexico, Venezuela and Africa.
“Porto Rico Leaf Company was organized and chartered by Spain around 1506. This became Porto Rico Tobacco Company and later Porto Rico American Tobacco Corporation in 1898, which in turn became Puerto Rico Tobacco Corporation in the 1920s and has operated until today. PRTC started making Don Collins Cigars in 1991.”
The cigar is on the rustic side with exposed seams, some very large veins, a semi-sloppy triple cap, sort of lopsided.
But it is very oily. The wrapper is the color of dark chocolate. And it is very toothy. The sun is out so my photos only show the bright reflection of the sun and seem several shades lighter than the cigar.
I clip the cap and find aromas of spice, vanilla, ginger, cocoa, coffee, luscious plump golden raisins, some cedar and a touch of leather.
Time to light up.
The draw is perfecto. Red pepper strikes first into the hearts and mind. Yes, I have two hearts. Jews aren’t allowed to tell anyone this but I trust you, my lovely readers. During the early years of the Pogrom, it was not noted that the real reason the Bolsheviks really hated was our dual hearts. So much love to give. (A pain killer just kicked in.)
The strength starts off at classic medium body.
The flavors are: Woody, charcoal, spice, espresso, a light sweetness, a bit of vanilla, and some dried fruit.
The char line is dead nuts. Perfect.
The sweetness morphs into trio of flavors: melon, mousse (Like a Three Musketeers Bar), and nougat. Which might turn redundant with the chocolate mousse pumping away.
You can always find Rene posting photos, in my small cigar group on FB, of just about every cigar he smokes any particular day and often it is the Don Collins.
He clearly sent me a nicely aged one. The Don Collins Lonsdale is a real delight.
The special Puerto Rican tobacco, Hoja Prieta, gives this blend a very unusual flavor profile.
It avoids the usual pitfalls of what has become the standard kitchen sink flavor profile being doled out in droves these days.
I’ve burned 1-3/4” and it makes its move. It has hit flavor bomb status. But in the usual way. The wood component is bold and interesting. The slight vanilla aspect is a nice offset to the spiciness. The chocolate and espresso are light elements. The dried fruit is not raisins as described in the aroma section of this review.
Coconut. I can taste coconut. Very simply but effective. It blossoms significantly now. Along with the chocolate, we have a Mounds bar.
I should note that while I classified this as a flavor bomb, all of the flavors are subtle and gentle. But very specific at the same time.
The coconut element now leads the pack. The red pepper is right behind.
What a great little cigar.
The price point. Spot on. $6.36 in boxes of 25.
The Don Collins Lonsdale is an ultra-smooth cigar. Clearly, Rene had this cooking in his humidor for some time.
I have to be honest here and divulge my jealousy of Rene. He lives in Florida and finds the most wonderful cigar shops where he gets to smoke cigars I’ve never heard of. It drives me nuts because I want to review them but most don’t have web sites and there is no info on them anywhere. To have that kind of sampling at your disposal is a wonderful thing. Here in Milwaukee, the stores here give me choices amongst Patel, Partagas, and Punch.
The store closest to me carries no My Father cigars or anything by Pepin Garcia. I was told that none of their customers knew who Garcia is and therefore, they don’t sell.
The second half begins.
I could smoke this stick all day long. The Don Collins web site calls the Don Collins Lonsdale as a medium/full stick. So far, it has never reached above medium body. Aging.
The Don Collins Lonsdale needs its first touch up of the burn line. Minor but I want it to look pretty for the photos.
The flavor profile appears to be canonized now. No changes to the profile. Except for the new intensity of those great elements.
The best place to get the Don Collins line is on their web site. I’m sure the B & M prices are much higher due to state taxes.
I would love to buy a box but while the price point is right on the money, $160 is a little out of my budget…even though you get 25 sticks per box.
Flavors are going nuts now. Creaminess shows up for the first time along with caramel and a fruity sweetness.
The strength moves to medium/full as I approach the last third.
This is a goddam marvelous cigar blend. Rene really knows how to pick ‘em.
I don’t usually smoke Lonsdales; especially for reviews. It is a real pain in the ass to keep jumping up to take photos.
Even though the strength is fuller, it is cool as a cuke and still very smooth. And the flavors are out of this world.
And now for something completely different:
I’ve told this story a couple times over the last 6-7 years so my apologies to long time readers.
If you know anything about the band’s leader, Ian Anderson, you know he was like Frank Zappa when it came to drugs. Big no no. and he didn’t allow drug use among the band. At least, not in front of him.
Anderson was a not a friendly bloke. He was very aloof. But his band? Real down to earth guys.
Each night before the gig, the band would sneak into our dressing room to smoke some hash.
Curved Air was always high on hash. And we killed on stage. We never did less than 4-5 encores.
We got to know the Jethro Tull band really well. But it came to a screeching halt on the night that Anderson stormed into our dressing room looking for his band. He caught them red handed.
The band ran out of the dressing room and he chased after them. They ditched him that night. So Anderson came back to our dressing room and ranted on us. He told us he wanted us to have nothing to do with his band and to stop being such a bad influence.
I told Anderson to go fuck himself and then my band chimed in with their own fuck yous.
He told us we would never tour with Jethro Tull again to which we replied with laughter.
Curved Air rarely was a support act. We had a big enough following that we could headline in most places throughout Europe.
We didn’t need Jethro Tull.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS