Wrapper: Nicaraguan Colorado Shade (Jalapa)
Binder: Nicaraguan (Esteli)
Filler: Nicaraguan (Esteli and Jalapa)
Size: 5.5 x 54 “Robusto Grande”
Price: $8.95 MSRP
Today we take a look at Vivalo Serie Exclusivo Robusto Grande.
Thanks to Patrick J. Vivalo for the samples.
Debuted at 2015 IPCPR trade show.
Sold in 20 count boxes.
A lot of B & M’s will see this cigar. But check out the Retailer Page and there is a boat load of online retailers.
Patrick spent 12 years working for Rocky Patel Premium Cigars in charge of in-house sales.
From New Havana Cigars web site:
“The Vivalo Serie Exclusivo is available in 5 sizes, all of the same filler leaves but with each size the ratio of fillers is adjusted to how Patrick Vivalo felt each size should smoke. With each size, the bigger the ring gauge, the fuller the flavor. Core flavors of sweet spice, dark chocolate and espresso beans are prominent throughout as well as each size having its own unique profile.”
From the Vivalo Cigars web site:
“I have drawn inspiration for my cigar from the rich history of this art form. Having spent many years creating blends of my own, I believe the “Serie Exclusivo” is a ﬁne example of a cigar that exhibits balance of both ﬂavor and strength.
“The goal of Vivalo Cigars is not to be in every brick and mortar but to focus on a consistent product, as well as giving the attention each individual deserves. I look forward to a long lasting partnership with those who support the growth of Vivalo Cigars.
“I put a great deal of pride, passion, dedication and loyalty in the making of Vivalo Cigars. Be assured that when you pick up my product, you are receiving not just a cigar but the fruits of my labor.
“Vivalo Cigar Co., has been established since 2013 with the inaugural release “Serie Exclusivo,” which is comprised of 100% Nicaraguan tobacco from the two most esteemed growing regions, Esteli and Jalapa.
“Serie Exclusivo offers ﬁve frontmarks, which within each size is blended speciﬁcally to its respected length and ring gauge giving each size its own unique ﬂavor proﬁle while maintaining the core ﬂavors.
“Vivalo Cigars is committed to producing cigars of the highest quality both in ﬂavor and construction. I am a ﬁrm believer in quality over quantity which, is an attribute that I take very seriously.”
And lastly, a post from Patrick Vivalo’s Face Book page:
“I have made the decision to resign from my position from Rocky Patel Premium Cigars in order to pursue my dream of starting my own cigar company. The people I have worked with have been like family to me and as hard as it is for me to leave, I am very excited on the beginning of this next chapter of my life. When I began my career in the cigar industry back in 1997, I knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
“I am truly blessed to be able to say that I love what I do and do what I love. I have made great friends in this great industry and some I even consider to be family. I owe a lot to my mentors who helped groom me to the person I am today, and that is something that I will always appreciate. With this new chapter in my life, I am looking forward to continuing the relationships I have made as well as create new ones.
“My last day with Rocky will be Friday February 27th and on March 1st I will be doing business as Vivalo Cigars. I believe with my passion, dedication and my attention to detail that I will succeed as a cigar maker. Again, I can’t express my gratitude enough towards those who have paved the way for me to be the person I am today.”
Really nice looking stick. An oily, copper/russet brown wrapper that is smooth to the touch. Seams are tight. Lots of veins on one stick and no veins on another. Triple caps are impeccable.
The cigar is solid without soft spots.
I love the double cigar bands. Simple, but classy and elegant. Merely the logo and the word “Vivalo” on the main band. The secondary band merely states the blend: “Serie Exclusivo.” It is so refreshing to see a classy cigar band instead of some Smokin’ Joe billboard.
And the band colors match the wrapper’s colors perfectly. In sync.
SIZES AND PRICING:
Lonsdale 6 x 44 (Mild) $7.95 MSRP
Robusto: 4 7/8 x 50 (Mild/Medium) $8.45 MSRP
Belicoso: 5 x 52 (Medium) $9.45 MSRP
Gordo: 6 x 60 (Medium/Full) $9.95 MSRP
Robusto Grande: 5 1/2 x 54 (Medium/Full) $8.95 MSRP
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell sweet cedar, spice, a hint of citrus, and black licorice.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell lovely dark chocolate, spice, barnyard, black licorice, and cedar.
The cold draw presents flavors of black licorice, cedar, sweetness, dark cocoa, coffee, citrus, and spice.
The draw is clean.
First flavors out of the gate: Dark chocolate, espresso, cream, cedar, and spice, No leather. (LOL) I broke the Reviewer’s Covenant by not immediately describing the flavors or earthiness and leather. My bad.
I can’t see the damn laptop screen with the cigar in my mouth. Smoke fills the area around my head like a nuclear cloud. I turn green. My skin falls off. I die. But then I use the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak to resurrect me.
OK. I’m back.
The char line is dead nuts perfect.
I smoked one the same night I received them and was so blown away, that I readied my review for the next day. I thought about and decided to wait a couple weeks. And as a result, I’ve waited a total of 4 days. Go figure and don’t ask.
It is impossible to write with the Vivalo Serie Exclusivo Robusto Grande in my mouth due to the massive outpouring of smoke. But I don’t want to put it down. A conundrum, for sure.
Sweet cedar and chocolate creaminess become very strong.
Malts move in. To be identified later.
With half an inch smoked, complexity digs its heels in. The balance is spot on. The finish is long and chewy.
This is a very slow smoke. I shall try to keep my review down to 10,000 words.
The Vivalo Serie Exclusivo Robusto Grande is seen as a high premium blend very quickly.
New flavors: Cumin, allspice, almost a curry element, a little smokiness, buttermilk biscuits, the spice surges for the first time, and the malts are exalted: Flaked Maize Malt, Flaked Wheat Malt, Smoked Malt, and Chocolate Rye Malt. (See Malt Chart).
The spice is 70% black pepper and 20% red pepper. And a touch of jalapeno.
I try to think what this cigar reminds me of and I draw a blank. It belongs in the grouping of Ezra Zion, Paul Stulac, Arandoza, and Matilde. Manna from the gods.
There are small dots of inexplicable flavor elements I can’t put my finger on. They dance around the hippo ballerina while “Dance of the Hours” plays in the background.
Charlotte has gone to work. I grab my CD of “Blind Faith.” Love this album. And the walls are rockin’.
I forgot to mention the strength. It is medium/full. And has been from the start. I get confused easily. LOL. And a great cigar makes it more of an in the moment experience. Nothing else matters but that wonderful taste, complexity, finish, subtleties, and the little nuances.
The Vivalo Serie Exclusivo Robusto Grande is a killer blend.
I look for a couple online stores. Atlantic sells the Vivalo line. New Havana Cigars sells them. Both stores sell the Robusto Grande for a buck less than MSRP. But Atlantic has several sizes backordered. New Havana has them all in stock.
Smoke time is 35 minutes.
Construction is on point. Only a bit of wavy burn lines that need minor touch ups. Otherwise, just perfect.
Here they are: Spice, chocolate, creaminess, coffee, malts, vanilla, biscuits, dried fruit, smoky, butterscotch, and sweet cedar.
The complexity is strong. Flavors morph and revolve at a mind spinning RPM.
The Vivalo Serie Exclusivo Robusto Grande is going to be outrageous with a couple months of humidor time. I’m barely touching the surface and if it is this good, so soon, it will knock my toupee into the trash bin later.
I know you do this. You see some stranger with the worst toupee ever invented and you want to go up to him and say, “Hey. Nice hair.” And then walk away laughing. Or sit at a ball game right behind the toupee guy and it takes every mortal strength you possess not to tip his toupee forward. Don’t the people around him tell the guy he looks ridiculous? I guess not. But then what can you expect from a $99 toupee?
I reach the halfway point.
Smoke time is 45 minutes.
Patrick Vivalo, by looking at his photos, can’t be older than his late 30’s at most. This young man has a terrific future if this is his first shot out of the cannon. Patrick is sending me other sizes. I do believe this is the first time I’ve seen a manufacturer actually advertise each size with a different strength. Now that takes some talent and chutzpah. But Patrick is right on the money with the Robusto Grande. It is certainly dead center of medium/full body.
Now this is the perfect example of the New Breed talent of blending.
Bam! Flavors explosion. Wow. Giant, behemoth flavors. Everything soars like an eagle.
Incredible. I’m giddy with excitement. I am so proud of Patrick and I don’t even know him. He has created a masterpiece. I’m so happy we hooked up.
The sweetness is now made up of butterscotch, molasses, berry fruit, and Crème brûlée (Custard base topped with a contrasting layer of hard caramel).
A nutty flavor joins the group. A cross of peanuts and hazelnut. Sort of like a Tin Roof Sundae.
A review of a great cigar, first thing in my morning, makes my whole day.
Smoke time is one hour 5 minutes.
The Vivalo Serie Exclusivo Robusto Grande just ekes into full body now. But it’s so smooth, one can miss this.
Oh man…I wish that all you dear readers could taste what I taste. My palate is doing the happy dance. No shit.
This is not your usual mediocre cigar that finds itself in the last third. This is a blend that starts of great but only gets better. And it will definitely get better with more humidor time.
And the price range….just ridiculous for a blend this good. $8.00-$10.00 depending on size. Once again, if this was a high falutin’ manufacturer, it would be a $15 cigar.
I can count on one hand the number of $15 cigars that are worth that price.
Plus, you can find the cigars for a buck less than MSRP on the two online stores I mentioned earlier. If I were you, I’d give New Havana Cigars your business. Tell them “What’s his name?” sent you.
It must have taken a lot of work to be able to change the strength of each size. Would have made me a crazy man. Constant tweaking.
With 1-1/2” to go, the Vivalo Serie Exclusivo Robusto Grande is cool and not a hint of harshness or nicotine. The perfect blend for newbies and experienced smokers alike.
The Vivalo Serie Exclusivo Robusto Grande also hits the apex of its flavor profile. Spiciness returns with a wallop. The other flavors are screaming for my attention.
I definitely recommend this blend. I didn’t say “brand” because I don’t know what the other blends are like yet. But if they can touch the hem of the Vivalo Serie Exclusivo Robusto Grande’s skirt, I shall be screaming laughter.
Don’t forget to check the Retailer Page on the Vivalo Cigars web site.
Thank you Patrick. You are an up and comer.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS