Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Size: 6 x 52 “Toro”
Today we take a look at the new Arandoza Defcon.
I want to thank the beautiful Robert Arango for sending me samples. I used to baby sit Robert when I was in high school.
I’ve reviewed all three previous blends: Red Label (My fave), Blue Label, and White Label.
Debuted at the 2015 IPCPR trade show.
Factory: La Zona Cigar Esteli, Nicaragua.
Arandoza Cigars was founded by Robert Arango in 2011.
The company says the suggested retail price is $9.80-$11.00 and the cigars will come in boxes of 10.
This is a jump from the other three blends whose price was in the $6.50-$7.70 range.
Time, and money, marches on. But then, methinks that this is something special. That this is the pièce de résistance of Robert Arango’s blend line.
I received two samples. One stick is absolutely gorgeous and consistent. The other sample has discolorations and imperfections. On both, seams are tight. Lots of veins. Triple cap is fine.
The gorgeous example is an oily mocha brown color. Fairly smooth to the touch. The example has a large leaf vein running from the foot to the seam in the middle of the cigar. And then picks up again above the cigar band. And the color is different. It’s not as dark with a mottling that has shades of caramel and chocolate.
Both sticks are rock solid with the right amount of give.
I love the cigar band. A big one with DEFCON written in bold red letters. Nice filigree work on the sides of the name of the cigar. With Arandoza just beneath the name.
SIZES AND PRICING:
Toro – 6 x 50 $9.30 The press release says this is a 6 x 50 but with the samples, I got a little card saying it was a 6 x 52.
Super Toro – 6.5 x 54 $10.25
Super Robusto – 5.5 x 60 $9.68
Got these prices from Antillian Cigars. Less than the reported MSRP. But only being sold in 5 packs.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell sweet peaches, spice, cinnamon, toasty, nutty, and toffee.
From the clipped cap, I can smell black licorice, spice, fruity sweetness, cinnamon, and nuts.
The cold draw presents flavors of Asian spice, red pepper, chocolate, Basmati rice, citrus, and licorice.
I choose the more beautiful cigar to review. But it has a major crack at the foot going up about an inch. I’m sure it will burn away.
BTW- I allowed these cigars 24 hours of dry boxing. And I am reviewing them only days after receiving them. But no amount of humidor time will correct a wrapper crack when it is received that way.
Takes a bit to toast this large foot.
The draw is pretty clean.
And then come the flavors: Chocolate, spice, creaminess, very nutty and toasty, espresso, meaty, and charred oak.
I’m impressed with so many flavors in just the first minute.
Strength is medium+ body.
Oh.. and then there are the malts: Chocolate Malt, Coffee malt, Chocolate Rye Malt, and Flaked Rye Malt. (See Malt Chart).
Man oh man. I wanted to review this morning as this is the last cigar I will have for a while. So I took the chance, based on my good instincts that the Arandoza Defcon was going to be a grrreat cigar…right out of the gate. I only had two so I could have screwed this up big time.
But I didn’t. The Arandoza Defcon is a man killer. With ¾” burned, it is already super complex, has a nice balance, and a very long finish. Wow.
More flavors arrive: Caramel, steak sauce, fresh summer fruit, and a cornucopia of other subtle flavors that are so complex, I can’t tell them apart…Yet!
What a huge relief. After yesterday’s bum review of a junky cigar, I find myself once again held to the warm breast of a master cigar blender. Arango made like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds and Roger Maris. And a bunch more. The point? Robert Arango swung and hit this one into the parking lot behind the JumboTron.
Smooth. Very smooth. Strength moves to medium/full. But not for long. There is constant traction happening. Transitions are coming fast and furious. Layer upon layer of flavors are being piled on like containers on a super tanker.
I’m actually stumped for the first time in being able to iterate them all.
This cigar is so packed, that I’ve reached the 1-1/2” burned mark and it’s taken me almost 25 minutes to get there.
The char line is doing just fine and I’m burning right through the cracks like a hot knife through butter. They are gone, baby, gone.
The flavor profile of the Arandoza Defcon is like a Chinese menu.
Strength hits full body.
Chocolate salt water taffy, cherries, pretzel, the malts are having a major influence, cappuccino, charred oak…and on and on.
The Arandoza Defcon is a wild man. Flavors come and go like they were on lithium and thorazine and broke free from the insane asylum. Free, free at last.
Smoke time is 40 minutes.
I knew it. I knew it. I knew it. Not only is this the pièce de résistance of the Arandoza line, it is pure marvel in cigar blending.
This my dear readers is a cigar that will be a major hit. People will be climbing over themselves to snag some just like they do at Walmart on Black Friday. People will be hurt. Elbows will be sharpened. You won’t find any discounts on the Arandoza Defcon…anytime soon.
Everyone will be talking about this cigar.
If the Arandoza Defcon can taste this good after just a few day’s rest, imagine if you will what will happen with a month’s worth of humidor time.
I generally don’t like big cigars. But as of late, I’ve been surprised by a few wooly mammoths. And this elephant sized flavor profile is just outstanding.
If the Arandoza Defcon continues on this journey, I guarantee that it will make The Katman’s List of the Best 25 Cigars of 2015.
I’m going to try this again: Spice, creaminess, Asian spice, charred oak, chocolate, coffee, MALTS, cherries, pretzel, chocolate salt water taffy, cinnamon, sweet cedar, meaty, toasty, nutty, and caramel. And I know I’m leaving some flavors out. This blend is a mind bender.
Not only is this Arandoza Defcon a quantum leap for the line, it is a quantum leap in cigar blending.
The $17.50 Padrón Dámaso should be bowing at the foot of the Arandoza Defcon.
Arango is a smart cookie. He could have easily taken this gem and charged twice its MSRP. Instead, he kept it at a price that is affordable. Sure, it isn’t a $6 La Aroma, but the La Aroma doesn’t come close to this blend.
I’ve railed and railed against double digit pricing. The Arandoza Defcon is worth it plus some.
You can go to all the good cigar news sources for the history of this cigar but I find it more interesting to “know’ the cigar.
Construction is impeccable. All my earlier worries about errant wrapper, seams and char line were for naught.
This mamma jamma is like the Abrams tank. It has heft and big fire power.
I know I am writing too much. I can’t help it. I am in love with the Arandoza Defcon. And I might just adopt Robert Arango. He can be the son I never wanted.
As far as I can tell, the only online store carrying the Arandoza Defcon is Antillian Cigars. They are selling 5 packs only. With about a 50 cent discount below MSRP. And they have all three sizes. I’m telling you that if you don’t stop reading my review, head over to Antillian, and snag some 5 packs, you will regret it.
And the cherry on top is that this morning, the cable TV classic radio station is playing all of my favorites so I’m bopping while I write. Never underestimate bopping.
Smoke time is one hour 5 minutes.
This is a very strong cigar. Yet it is as smooth as glass.
There is a crusty French bread sense to this blend. It’s yeasty and a bit sour…in a good way. Something like Tuscan Panne bread.
The sweet factors are leading the pack with the wonderful malt influences right behind.
The revolving complexity brings the meaty and charred oak elements to the surface about every third puff.
A sip of water and all those wonderful flavors rush to my palate causing an explosion that rolls my eyes back in their sockets.
I’m not going to repeat the flavor list. Nothing has changed.
The radio is playing John Mellencamp’s “The Authority Song.” I’ve always wondered why he didn’t get sued for ripping off the song, “I Fought the Law.”
Now they are playing “The Boys are Back in Town” by Thin Lizzy. Back in the day, Thin Lizzy supported my band, Curved Air, a lot. Phil Lynott died too young. He was only 36.
Experienced smokers are going to go nuts for this cigar. The full body blend is so smooth that I believe newbies can enjoy it as well.
My advice is to not do what I did. Let it rest for a month. And then have at it.
Smoke time is one hour 40 minutes. And I’m enjoying every minute.
Transitions. The magic word for a great cigar. It feels like the flavor profile is spinning like a dreidel. I’m supposed to supply cigars to the wedding party for my daughter’s wedding in May. I hope this is a regular production cigar. If so, I’ve made my choice on what to bring. The Arandoza Defcon will knock their socks off. Of course, some idiot will ask why I didn’t bring Cubans. Ptooey on them.
Like a light switch, flavors shift. Much more intense now. I didn’t think the flavor profile could improve; but it just did.
Caramel, malts, sweetness, and steak sauce move to the front of the line.
This is making my head spin.
Which reminds me. So far, no nicotine. Nice.
I’ve decided to lay back and just enjoy. I do believe I’ve gotten my point across about the Arandoza Defcon.
So I finish the cigar. Not a hint of harshness, heat or bitterness.
Once again, I urge you to amble over to Antillian Cigars and grab some before they are sold out.
Kudos Robert Arango!
Final smoke time is 2 hours 10 minutes.
You get what you pay for.
In this case, the Arandoza Defcon gives you thrice what you paid for.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS