Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan Criollo (Jalapa) Nicaraguan Corojo Hybrid
Filler: Nicaraguan Condega, Esteli, Jalapa)
Size: 6 x 52 “Toro”
(Above photo courtesy of Hava Cigar)
Today we take a look at the Leaf & Bean by Esteban. Based on what I could glean from the Hava Cigar web site, the cigar made its debut in, or around, 2013. The cigars are made exclusively for the Hava Cigar Shop. And produced at the Nica Sueno factory in Esteli.
From the Hava Cigar Shop web site:
“RoMa Craft Tobac was formed in 2012 by Michael Rosales and Skip Martin combining the operations of their two companies, Costa Rican Imports, LLC and Galveston Bay Tobacco, LLC. The combined company holds the CroMagnon, CroMagnon Aquitaine, Intemperance, Adrians Costa Rica, and Hava Cigar brands and manages manufacturing operations in Esteli, Nicaragua and San Jose, Costa Rica.
“Hava Cigar Shop and Lounge was established in Galveston, Texas in 2006. Owned and operated by Galveston Bay Tobacco, LLC, Hava Cigar grew and thrived until it was destroyed by the flood waters of Hurricane Ike in September, 2008. Hava Cigar Online launched in 2011 as a direct retail channel for the Adrians Costa Rican and CroMagnon brands. Since our launch, we’ve expanded our portfolio of cigar brands to include CroMagnon Aquitaine, Intemperance and Thirty.
“Since we began making the Leaf & Bean by Esteban for Jim Robinson, Jim insisted that he pay a premium to Nica Sueno for the production of the cigars and that this premium portion be used to benefit the people of Esteli, Nicaragua.
“Due to the popularity of this cigar, the first to bear the name of my partner in Esteli, we have been able to assist individuals and groups in need. The most recent request, comes from the church home of Esteban Disla, La Parroquia Católica San Juan Bosco.
“Produced by Fabrica de Tabacos Nica Sueño, the factory in Esteli, Nicaragua owned by Roma Craft Tobac co-founder Skip Martin and Esteban Disla, the Leaf and Bean by Esteban is a retailer private label commissioned by Pittsburgh-based retailer Jim Robinson’s Leaf and Bean shops.
“The Leaf and Bean by Esteban gets its name from both Robinson’s shop and from Esteban Disla. This marks the first cigar to bear Disla’s name on it.
“This is the latest project in Robinson’s Leaf and Bean series. This follows-up the Leaf and Bean by Oscar – named for Oscar Valladares which was blended in Honduras featuring Connecticut-shade, Maduro, Corojo, and Sumatra wrapper options.”
This is probably the most back story I have used in any review because I found it fascinating and wanted to pass it on to my readers.
From Jim Robinson’s Face Book page:
“Leaf and Bean Label. Our label is made from the same plant that makes the Tequila that some of us like to drink, NOT ME! I like Rum. The label is a handmade paper product. Get it wet and pretty much its gone, so for you wet smokers. I dont see us using any other kind of label for the Leaf and Bean line of cigars. Paper is locally made in Honduras. The colors you see in label are the actual flowers in the plant (Agave). Paper is made in little shop, this little shop is the livelihood for many families in Danli, without it they would not be able to support their families. No, it’s not shiny, it’s not embossed, and it’s made of love. This label represents a family being able to put food on table for their kids. I like it.”
The first time I smoked a Leaf & Bean by Esteban, I was flummoxed by the cigar band. It was delicate and very fragile. I didn’t know then what I know now of the composition of the paper. I was thinking about how hard it was removing the band in one piece for the photos. Naturally, I was able to concoct an easy scheme in order to do this.
There are slight color variations in the wrappers. I like that a lot. I love when organic products don’t look machine made with precision and become an assembly line cigar.
The stick is very rustic. Seams are easily visible. There are a lot of veins; both big and small. It looks more like a double cap than a triple. The wrapper is an oily, light coffee bean color. The wrapper feels very toothy. And there is a reddish tinge. The cigar is packed tightly but is light in the hand. My first time around the block with the Leaf & Bean by Esteban, I felt it would be a fast smoke. Just to the contrary.
I love the cigar band. It is simple and takes me back to my Hippie days.
I clip the caps and find aromas of spice, sweetness, floral notes, chocolate, a dark, rich earthiness, leather, and a vegetal aroma.
Time to light up.
After the first eighth of an inch, the spiciness really kicks in with red pepper. Smoke is filling my little office space nearly blinding me.
Dark cocoa rises to the surface next. And so does that sweetness. Then creaminess enters the fray. Lovely.
My kind of cigar: Spicy, creamy, earthy, and full of chocolate fudge.
I didn’t find real specifics about the blend on the Hava Cigar Shop web site. But, clearly, the tobacco is well aged as the cigar is rarin’ to go early after receipt. I was actually shocked when I smoked the first one a mere few days after receiving them. The Leaf & Bean by Esteban immediately became my favorite cigar at that given point in time.
As I discussed earlier, I feared this would be a quick smoke due to the lightness of the cigar in the hand. But to the contrary, it is slow smoking and took me a good 90 minutes to complete.
If you go the Hava Cigar Shop web site, you can read more about the good folks who started this company and the different brands/blends. It is truly a remarkable story.
I’ve been staring at these cigars for a long, long time. Unfortunately, budgetary issues have kept me from pulling the trigger. The cigars are only available in 10 count bundles for $100. Old people on fixed incomes who happen to review and want to stay current, end up spending their dough on singles to keep current. So the purchase of the Leaf & Bean by Esteban was a luxury for me and boy am I glad I did this. Yeah, they ain’t cheap. But they are boutique blends and with that territory comes a more expensive price compared to the big monster manufacturers. But worth every dime.
I want to thank VIP Sponsor Mike Simmons for donating the money to buy these cigars. Mike is a good chap.
12 minutes in and I’ve only burned ¾”.
The dark chocolate is amazing. As well as the creaminess, earthiness, floral notes, raisins, and leather. This blend knows exactly what to do with those flavors.
It is so obvious the pride, that the cigar team that took the blend from the conference room to production is first rate. The presentation of the bundle wrapper with a big leaf of tobacco beneath it and the gorgeous cigar band obliterates other cigar bundles exponentially.
The Leaf & Bean by Esteban is a must try. I’ve smoked three counting this one for review. And gentlemen, I am duly impressed.
The Leaf & Bean by Esteban is now very complex. Nice balance and with a long chewy finish.
I’m in lust with this cigar.
A new element of subtle coffee nuances appears. Mixes perfectly with the cocoa and creaminess.
And then a very toasty component arrives along with some nuttiness. The raisin flavor takes over the sweetness department.
The second third begins.
The Leaf & Bean by Esteban will definitely go into “The Katman’s Top 25 Cigars for 2013-2014.”
The beauty of this cigar is its smoothness. Nothing is forced or manipulated. It is the true wonder of an organic product turned into bliss.
The ash is really holding its stead. I just know it is going to fall into my lap so I cover my naughty bits with my robe. Ash has a tendency of finding the hole in my boxers and I need everything I have without it going out in a flame of glory. And it hurts. Poor baby.
The char line is spot on. No touch ups required.
Sure as shit, the ash falls on to my lap. But like a cliff diver, misses the vital stuff; like a jutting rock.
I have no idea how I am going to discipline myself. I have 7 Leaf & Bean by Esteban cigars left. I should let them rest for a month or so. But the stick is so damn good right now that my poor urge control trait will win over common sense.
When I first started writing reviews, I smoked the cigar and took notes. I would smoke another one just for the photos. The cap was clean.
But I found that wasn’t my style. I prefer to write and review in real time. And since I’m a chomper, I decimate the cap. I am constantly getting comments from certain regulars who spank me for an ugly cap in my photos.
So today, I turn a corner. I gently smoke and then put the cigar down; and then write. It means my review takes longer to write but this is an experiment. For those of you that are regular readers know that I write small novellas. I can’t keep it down to 1000 words or less. I prefer to just be me. What? Am I Sammy Davis Jr.?
Remember that movie, “Tap?” Starred Sammy Davis and the marvelous Gregory Hines. It was all about tap dancing. Sammy was old by then. But man, he could cut it up. Also in the movie, were Sammy’s old friends who were vaudevillian tap dancers. I took tap lessons as a kid and loved it. To this day, I love watching great tap dancers.
Back to the subject at hand: Leaf & Bean by Esteban.
I would love to try the follow up to this blend: Leaf and Bean by Oscar. I’m sure it is a superb cigar. But I don’t see it on the Hava Cigar web site.
I am at the halfway point.
A new flavor exhibits itself: Toffee. Mixed with the chocolate, it is now a Heath Bar.
The strength throughout the cigar has been medium body.
But now, it seems to be moving towards medium/full. I can feel its strength in my gut.
The cigar continues to be uber smooth.
I’ve invested a good 45 minutes of burn time.
The Leaf & Bean by Esteban is a great cigar for newbies and experienced palates alike.
The price point. You know my position on double digit pricing. But there are a lot of exceptions. All of them boutique brands/blends. I have no issue with the Leaf & Bean by Esteban having a $10 price point. It is a fabulous blend. You get a full 90 minutes from it. And you can sense, and taste, how special this blend is. Once again, I am in debt to Mike Simmons for allowing his donation to the cause of broken down old poor man to have the opportunity to pull the trigger on this bundle.
I am nowhere near the end and I can say, without hesitation, that this is a must try. If I could, this would be a regular rotation cigar. It is dependable and consistent. No worries about the usual stuff of burn issues, wrapper issues, or cap issues.
Now the hard part. Where on my list of Top 25 cigars do I place the Leaf & Bean by Esteban?
The last third begins.
It is now Flavor Bomb 3.0.
I read a few other reviews while resting from typing. It amazes me how different palates are. Some reviews make the Leaf & Bean by Esteban to be just a regular cigar. Good but nothing special. WTF? This is a great cigar. Clearly, those that thought of it as just good have a missing gene in their palates.
Right now, this is the best cigar I have in my humidor. And I have some mighty fine sticks in their waiting for review.
This is the kind of blend that ruins the rest of the day for the cigars to follow.
I believe I should end my little novella right here. I’m sure you fell asleep somewhere in the middle.
My regular reviews are about 1500 words. I am approaching 2200 today.
I never understood how other reviewers can maintain brevity in their reviews. These reviews seem to be the most popular. You have to enjoy reading, and reading me, to stop by and take a look.
I highly, highly recommend the Leaf & Bean by Esteban.
Thanks to readers, they put me in touch with the web site for Leaf & Bean by Oscar. This is on the Rodrigo Cigars web site.
Thanks to Trevor D for the following: Use the code freeshipleaf. it will get you 10% off and free shipping
BTW- Hava Cigar is where I bought all of my CroMagnon and Intemperance cigars.
You can read the reviews (9) here: CroMagnon Mandible by RoMa Craft Tobac, CroMagnon Fomorian EMH by RoMa Craft Tobac, CroMagnon Aquitaine EMH (Early Modern Human) by RoMa Craft Tobac, CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger, Intemperance BA XXI, Intemperance BA XXI Breach of the Peace by RoMa Craft Tobac, Intemperance EC XVIII Brotherly Kindness by RoMa Craft Tobac, Intemperance BA XXI IV A.W.S. by RoMa Craft Tobac, Intemperance BA XXI, and CroMagnon Mandible by RoMa Craft Tobac. Just copy and paste the cigar name in the search box window to read.
Go to the Hava Cigar web site and snag a bundle. Make sure you tell them the Katman sent you.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS