Wrapper: Nicaraguan Maduro
Size: 6 x 50 “Toro”
Today we take a look at Leaf by Oscar (Maduro).
Also in the line, are the Connecticut, Sumatra, and the Corojo. All the same price. And all the same size. I reviewed the Connecticut on December 26. It had a few weeks humidor time on it but I felt that that was probably insufficient. So I have waited a total of 7 weeks before reviewing this Maduro.
The godfather of these blends is Jim Robinson whose Leaf & Bean line has been highly successful. He is in Pittsburgh. I mention this as my grandfather spent the last 30 years of his life in that town. I visited twice a year and we would take walks after lunch and my grandpa would point out the bookies and hookers to me. I was amazed that everything seemed to be built from red brick. Never saw a brick building in Long Beach, CA.
Robinson teamed up with Esteban Disla and Noel Rojas for this project. And of course, Oscar Valladares.
All blends are available at Robinson’s cigar shops as well as his online store.
Trying to dig up some info on Robinson, I visited his Face Book page and found this:
“Our label (cigar band) 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 it’s gone, so for you wet smokers. I don’t 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, it’s made of love. This label represents a family being able to put food on table for their kids. I like it.”
I like it too.
I carefully remove the cigar from its cocoon. One must be very careful in doing this. One slip and it’s curtains.
It is a very mottled looking thing. Looks like a cocoon. But it is a good looking cigar. Virtually seamless. A lot of small veins. Looks like a road map. The triple cap is one of the best I’ve seen. There are very oily areas on the wrapper and matte finish in others. Toothy and smooth at the same time.
The stick is hard as a rock over most of the body. When given a noodge, it doesn’t give much and, instead, I hear a crackling noise.
I clip the cap and find aromas of earthy tobacco, leather, chocolate, sweetness, floral notes, spice, wood, and leather.
Time to light up.
The draw is so good that smoke fills the room in just seconds.
The Leaf by Oscar (Maduro) wastes no time in making a big impact. Starting with a massive spice bomb. Feels like I just bit into a habanero pepper.
Buried beneath the spice is mocha java, sweetness and a bit of creaminess.
Waiting almost two months was worth it. Big difference in the character of this cigar.
The strength is a strong medium body.
My sinuses are wide open, my nose is running, my eyes are watering and I’m tinkling into my adult diapers. That’s how strong this sucker is where the pepper hits the road.
This is a real wakeup call as I slip out of bed, go downstairs, set things up, and go at it at 8am. To me, 8am is sleeping in. I spent 35 years getting up at ungodly hours like 3:30 or 4:00am to be at work at 5 or 5:30am. Why? Because project managers had to make sure the field crews knew exactly what they would be doing that day and that they had everything; from drawings to steel. There was always a battle between the field and project managers. Iron workers thought PM’s knew nothing about how to put up steel and PM’s thought ironworkers were mostly dumb bodies cranking a spud wrench. Mostly. I did work with some great ones.
Back to the Leaf by Oscar (Maduro). I’m half an inch in and the spiciness is still very strong for most cigars but is subsiding compared to that nuclear blast at the beginning of this one.
As the spiciness subsides, chances are given to other flavors to be noticed. I love the coffee, creaminess, honey, and floral notes. Each flavor is perfectly balanced and matched with the others.
The flavors are very chewy and my lips can taste the thick honey. How the hell do they do that? I would love for a master blender to explain how he gets certain flavors out of tobacco. Or is it just a crap shoot and luck?
Chocolate shows up for the first time just past 1” burned. A nice counter balance to the other components.
Ahh..the cable classic radio station is playing Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’.” What a great song. Tell me you don’t sing along with it in the car? I went to a Petty concert back in the early 1980s’. I had this radio DJ friend take me because I had coke and we sat about 5 rows back center. And we were surrounded by hundreds of screaming girls. All we could think was, “Girls screaming for Tom Petty?” I guess he was cute back then..I don’t know..but we sure felt gay as hell.
The chocolate has a definitive Hostess cupcake taste to it. That chocolate icing with the white icing squiggle on top and the creamy center. Growing up, if you got one of those in your lunch box, you smiled the rest of the day…regardless of how much you hated school.
The Leaf by Oscar (Maduro) is an interesting cigar blend. I bought a 4 pack sampler from Rodrigo Cigars, online, for $40.00. They are also available at the “Leaf and Bean in the Strip” private club cigar shops.
I notice something odd. I quickly peruse other reviews of the maduro. One review calls the wrapper a dark chocolate brown. Others show photos that look like this one. Robinson should have noted the blend on the band, but didn’t.
I took the cocoon off yesterday and it says Maduro on the outside so this has to be a maduro. Unless someone slipped a Sumatra in their by mistake. But go see for yourself, this is such an organic product that the colorations of the wrapper seem to vary with each cigar. The review site: Cigar Memoir does a nice job with photos and this boy is clearly a pro. Puts me to shame.
When I hold the cigar in normal lighting, it does have that chocolate brown color. My lighting set up acts like an X-Ray machine and washes out that dark color. How odd. I guess I’m still on that learning curve with a new camera (Not a phone) and my lighting rig. Now that I’ve learned to make the photos clear, I need to work on color.
Where was I?
The second third begins.
Here they are: Chocolate, coffee, creaminess, spice, honey, floral notes, earthiness, wood, leather, and herbal spices.
So far, the Leaf by Oscar (Maduro) has behaved nicely. No touch ups required. No wrapper issues. And the cap is hanging tough.
This is a slow smoke. A little over 2” burned and I’ve invested 30 minutes, at least.
The price point.
$10.00. Can I get a “YIKES?”
I just can’t get over spending this kind of dough on a cigar. A lot of my readers feel the same way. This is a luxury for most folks. We’re in the trenches trying to find deals on cigarbid.com or cigarauctioneer.com….trying to find that $7 stick for $3.
I belong to a cigar forum made up mostly of what seems to be guys with bucks. You should see the purchases they make. I just scroll, drool, scroll, drool, etc. Must be nice.
Although, Charlotte used to embarrass me in front of people about cigars when I was working and had an excellent job. Making great dough. She would tell a group that the previous month I spent $1300 on cigars. My chin dropped to my chest and I just didn’t look up. They must have thought I was such an arrogant ass. Like now. Only without the dough. Damn. She used to get angry with me over this uncontrollable passion of mine.
The first third was pretty exciting. While the flavors haven’t flattened out particularly. But they just aren’t bold and beautiful like before.
It must be the spice that has faded into oblivion. It took the oomph out of the cigar. I’m a spice junky. My name is Phil.
Black licorice. Like Pontefract cakes…shows up. I learned about these little intense licorice coins while I lived in England. I ate a bag a day for a week. Then, that was it. I was shitting like a goose. I even got the cramps on stage one night. The audience thought I was doing a Joe Cocker impersonation. And loved it. The band told me afterwards to try and do that every night. Sonja just gave me the stink eye when they said that. She was the center of attention; not me.
I made a break for the loo while Darryl played his 15 minutes psychedelic violin solo.
The licorice usurps the other flavors.
The last third begins.
Woo Hoo. We are back in business. The halfway point created a lull in the flavor profile. It worried me.
The strength has been a little schizophrenic. It goes between medium and medium/full bodied constantly. But the last third seems to have settled into medium/full.
I can’t seem to find an online store besides Rodrigo Cigars that sells these cigars. And Rodrigo only sells the sampler. If you know about a store that sells the line separately, please comment below. I have no plans to take a trip to Pittsburgh anytime soon and I would like to buy some blends separately instead of another sampler.
The spice returns.
The Leaf by Oscar (Maduro) flavors one last time: Black licorice, chocolate, creaminess, coffee, honey, floral notes, herbal notes, wood, leather, and earthiness.
The last 1-1/2” hits the gas pedal once again. Full bodied now. And whoa baby…the nicotine is raining down. I look for my crash helmet but the dog is wearing it. Drat.
And now for something completely different:
I worked for my father as a project manager at his structural steel fab shop. They also erected the steel.
I was only 23 and fresh out of school. And so young, dumb, and naïve.
The shop was in the City of Orange in California. We did a ton of work in L.A.
I was running some big skyscraper in downtown. If memory serves, it was a 36 story building.
The field crew was having issues with some braces that were in each corner of the building on each floor. It appeared that they were detailed (drawn) wrong and were too short. That’s a big fuck up by the detailer (draftsman).
So I drove out to the site and met with our foreman. Now this guy was a real asshole. And he loved how naïve I was. And jealous that I got my job through my father.
I don’t know why he was jealous because as a union ironworker he made a lot more dough than I did.
The building was all steel and none of the exterior, or curtain wall, had been erected yet.
This foreman told me the only way I could see the problem clearly was to stand on an 8” beam with a 4” flange to stand on.
AND it was running the perimeter of the building outside the protective cable guardrail.
Knots and steel rods formed in my shoulders and neck as I bent over and wiggled through the cable. I stood on the 4” flange which was the last vestige of support before flying off the building.
I walked over to the corner. My legs were shaking and I had a death grip on the top cable. The foreman showed me the problem. I heard nothing.
I looked down 32 floors and it might as well have been from the moon. What if I pass out from fear?
But like I said, this foreman was an asshole. So he put my life in grave danger. It was pretty windy that high up and I could have been swept off that beam in a flash.
I returned to the safety of the inside of the building. I was a nervous wreck. I wrote down my notes and returned back to my car.
I sat there for several minutes; shaking.
The rods in my neck hurt like a sonovabitch.
I got back to the shop and told my father what happened. Yeah, I ratted the guy out.
My old man was furious. My dad’s partner heard the whole thing. He got on the radio and told the foreman to get his ass back to the shop.
He was brought into a closed door meeting. I never heard my dad or his partner scream like that. The asshole was laughing saying he was just playing around.
Clearly, he was fired on the spot.
He appealed to the ironworker business agent. Another meeting was held. When the BA heard what he did, he wouldn’t defend the jerk.
The BA drummed him out of the union.
And then it was my turn. I got yelled at for being so stupid. And then my father grabbed me in a big bear hug and wouldn’t let go.
Obviously, I never did that again and I learned an important lesson in life. Don’t trust guys named Manny.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS