La Flor de Cano Foundry | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Piloto Cubano
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Honduran, Mexican, Nicaraguan
Size: 5 x 50 Robusto
Strength: Medium
Price: $6.75 MSRP ($3.00-$4.00 @ Cigar Page)

Today we take a look at the La Flor de Cano Foundry.
I bought a fiver from Cigar Page.

BACKGROUND:
According to Cigar Page:
“La Flor de Cano is a classic Cuban brand…General Cigar owns it outside of Cuba. Foundry was General’s in-house boutique laboratory and one of its brainstorms was a heritage project that married up the rich history of legacy brand La Flor de Cano with new, inviting packaging and an amped-up, interesting, rich and flavorful small-batch blend. The wrapper is a thick, moist, dark Piloto Cubano leaf with a beautiful oily sheen. The 4-country long-filler blend is composed of Dominican, Honduran, Mexican, and Nicaraguan tobaccos. Balanced complexity from head to toe, this blend delivers a potpourri of rich flavors including wood and baked bread up front which melds into a core of earth, leather and ground pepper with sweet spice through the nose. It’s dense and well made. Burns slow but even throughout with a perfect draw – easy with just a slight bit of resistance. Combustion is solid and ash is tight and white.”

SIZES AND PRICING (MSRP):
Robusto 5 x 50: $6.75
Toro 6 x 52: $7.75
Churchill 7.25 x 54: $9.00

APPEARANCE:
Not exactly a high standard set here…each stick of my fiver looks different. Mostly misshapen and lots in common with cheap liquor store cigars. The caps are slapdash. The bumps and lumps reign the roost as the cigar looks like it got into a fight with a frightened ferret. Veins are huge. This cigar would make a great joke on your mooch friends if you traded out a Cohiba cigar band for this band and let them scratch their heads while telling you it’s a wonderful stick.

SMELL THE GLOVE:
Black pepper smacks me in the schnoz right away. Then followed by licorice root, a touch of root beer, espresso, dark chocolate, cedar, barnyard, and a little smattering of caramel.
The cold draw presents flavors of black pepper, lemon, barnyard, cedar, licorice, and root beer.

FIRST THIRD:
The start of this review does not bode well as I turn on the music and the first song to hammer my aural cavities is “A Horse With No Name” by America. Oy.

The cigar is completely plugged and to the rescue on a white horse comes my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool. I ream the hell out of it and we are good to go.

First up in the batter’s box is a savory mix of smoky meatiness, cedar, black pepper, and peat. Actually, the blend ain’t half bad. There is an immediate pleasantry about the flavors. It’s mellow at medium strength. There is a nice salty pretzel element along with some caramel and a surprising array of nuts and berries.

The burn is bordering on being fakakta. This is not a well-rolled cigar…still, a good flavorful start.

I was unable to find anyone else selling this blend other than Cigar Page. Cigar.com has a page for it but says it is unavailable. That’s it. And no other reviews…never a good sign. But plenty of reviews for its Cuban brother.
Maybe if this was La Flor de Cano by AJ, it would be better built and more successful. But if this turns out to be a decent cigar, the price is right for it becoming a go-to stick.

An inch in, caramel and other sweet goodies appear with some conviction: brown sugar, cinnamon graham cracker, and coffee nougat. Nice.

Strength is holding back and keeping the cigar very much a morning cigar.

A sip of water and all the flavors extolled above burst on to my palate like an emptying clown car. I’m beginning to wonder if the PR is right on…

This is only my second stick. It’s been marinating for a couple months. I tried a stick one month in and it was bland and blah. So, I came prepared this morning to rip the cigar a new one. I may have misjudged.

Nuances of complexity arrive on a Moped. Something is going on. Transitions are minimal at best. The finish is pleasant but not earth shattering. There is a nice dispersal of various flavors at work that keeps my interest. Fingers crossed that this little $4 baby is a keeper. Wouldn’t that be nice to find a decent catalog stick that can satisfy a newbie or an experienced smoker?

It’s the balance. It’s on the money. That is the attraction. Nothing overwhelms or is missing in action. It is consistent.

Normally, I don’t care for salty pretzel in my cigar’s flavor profile; but in this instance, it tastes pretty good. Add the contrary licorice root and root beer and we have a party.

Caramel keeps shooting little bolts of lightning with no prior approval. I like it.
The spiciness is on the down low but it maintains an even keel that allows me no manner in which to criticize.
I’m tasting those old-fashioned candy root beer barrels we ate as a kid that the cheap neighbors dropped into your Halloween bag.

SECOND THIRD:
Despite this cigar looking like hell, its construction has maintained its structural integrity. I only needed one early touch up of the burn line and it’s been fine ever since.

I’m enjoying this cigar, dudes and dudettes.
I’m thinking it to be a good stick to take to parties full of cigar smokers to hand out. They’re cheap and presentable, if not aesthetically. It does have a nice cigar band though.

So, Vlad the Impaler of Bespoke Cigars sent me an Estonian classified photo of owner Jeremy Casdagli running a turret machine gun on top of a tank while fighting the Germans in WWI. I had no idea Jeremy was that old. I’d publish the photo but Casdagli is nude in the photo. Vlad said that that tanks were so hot that everyone was naked. This may have been an Estonian version of a schvitz bath. To commemorate Jeremy single handedly scaring off thousands of Germans, you can get 10% off Bespoke cigars from Small Batch Cigar using the promo code: Katman.
How’s that Jeremy? Pretty sneaky, huh?

Milk chocolate arrives with a more potent coffee nougat arrangement. This is all candy bar now. Not kidding here…this is a decent little stick. We’re all snobs. And we all have wives that watch us like hawks on our cigar spending. I don’t normally review inexpensive cigars as they are usually crap. But this baby sure beats a Torano any day.

Complexity is mild but effective in keeping this cigar blend attractive to the palate. Not much going on in the transition arena but this is one of those sticks where the sum is greater than its parts. It’s a nice cigar.

Cigar Page has a deal for 15 sticks (5 of each size) and it’s only $50…or just over $3 a pop. That’s nuts for this little baby. Just remember, that if you choose to buy some, be patient and allow the sticks a few months of humi time.

Strength remains a constant medium. And I don’t believe it will reach above that.

So, Charlotte tells me to kill a spider on the ceiling over the bed. Instead of getting a step ladder, I just stand on the wobbly bed and lunge at the little bugger. Naturally, I propel myself into the wall and fall; smashing into our TV standing on my 1980’s Fisher four-foot-tall speaker boxes. I remove all the skin from stem to stern on my upper thigh and it looks like raw veal. That was over a week ago. I had no idea the level of stupidity I possess. Makes one question the voracity of the Cosmic Muffin and the meaning of life.

The Flor de Cano Foundry isn’t a mover and a shaker. There is some minor complexity and the balance is what keeps me smiling, but it remains consistent throughout the smoke. It’s pleasant and enjoyable. It’s not a Bespoke or an Isabela but, once again, for the price, I can sneak the 15 pack without Charlotte finding out. Besides, whenever she checks our bank balance online, I usually stand behind her using chloroform so that when she recovers consciousness, she buys into my story that she perused the spending and found no discrepancies. I do have to hide the bottle. Although, once I caught the cat slumped in the corner huffing the stuff and passing out and waking up and doing it again. I had no idea that felines could be junkies…or that a cat could raise his middle claw in the up yours configuration.

My remaining 3 sticks are all packed solid. Hope you have a PerfecDraw tool. A small price to pay as once the airway is clear, you’re good to go with no further ramifications.
Flavors are all there. No hiding or disappearing elements. Easy on the palate and perfectly balanced. It’s an inexpensive cigar you can smoke half of and then toss when the wife screams, “Do I smell smoke????”

LAST THIRD:
Things intensify. Wasn’t expecting that. The strength moves towards medium/full. The flavors all get a big boost and the complexity finds its own reality. Transitions, for the first time, are accented by a constant flow of interesting flavors. The finish is now long and satisfying.

The last third is where the gold is.

The spiciness increases but instead of just a blast of black pepper, there is white pepper and some spots of red pepper. A nice mélange. Cinnamon arrives with some fanfare.
The lemon twist thing is rearing its head in defiance. Nice complement to the sweet factors. A touch of green tea appears.
I still like the root beer component.

I betcha with another month or two on my 8-week naked humi rested sticks, these cigars will improve. Old School.

Nicotine arrives…drat. I inject liquid meth into my optic nerve using a dirty needle. I’m OK now.

The cigar continues to be fun. It’s not the greatest cigar in the world but it is more than decent and the price makes it a no brainer for those on a budget that prefer not to smoke Gurkhas…and for the experienced smoker to have some decent inexpensive blends on hand for whatever the occasion.
Not bad, not bad.

RATING: 88

And now for something completely different:
L-R: ME, ZELMO MUTZ, TIM KRENZIEN, & SKIP HOWLETT (CIRCA 1973)

My best friend, Skip, and I met up in Florence, Italy with our squeezes. Skip was supposed to stop in Amsterdam and pick up our musical gear. But upon meeting him in Florence, he told me the gear was missing!
When we both landed in Amsterdam, separately, we left our gear in the left luggage area til we met up in Italy. Skip was to grab our gear and bring it with him to Florence.

Holy shit! I had my speaker cab custom made for the trip. 18″ speaker encased in 24 ply Swedish wood on wheels. And an amp of whose manufacture I can’t remember.

We grabbed our Eurail Passes, left the women, and jumped the train to Amsterdam. Skip wanted to bring some hashish along in his ruck sack but I told him no. We’d be going through several countries and there are lots of police jumping on and off the train looking for drugs…especially from Hippie-looking guys like us.

We found a compartment full of people and they made room for us. That evening, as we passed through Germany, the Gestapo crashed into our compartment with automatic weapons and sneers…and a desire to send me to Buchenwald. The leader immediately pointed at Skip and yelled, “HASHISH! HASHISH!!”

We all stood up and Skip shook his head no. The leader used his FMC to point at the rack above our heads used for storage, and specifically at Skip’s ruck sack. Skip grabbed it and brought it down. The leader screamed in German for him to open it. (I took 2 years of high school German and my parents spoke Yiddish when I was young).

Skip carried a high school 3 ring binder with one of those zippered pouches for carrying pencils and erasers. It was milky opaque but you could see everything in it….and within it, was a nice big, hash pipe… with hash in it….not even wrapped in foil or anything to conceal it. I fumed.

We are all standing in the compartment like the Marx Bros’ “A Night at the Opera.” Couldn’t move. But then I began flapping my arms thinking we were going to German prison.

The SS leader points at Skip’s binder gesturing to open things. My arms are flapping hard enough that if there was an air current, I could attain lift off. Right in front of my eyes, with the Gestapo leader watching intently, Skip grabs the hash pipe out of the floppy container and puts it in his back pocket. With the cop staring right at what he was doing!

I’m ready to pass out. All I could think of was the movie, “Midnight Express.” And how I would be some Turk’s bitch.
And then with a “whoosh”, the German Polizei left the compartment. No one was rushed to jail.
We all stood there staring at Skip in horror. What just happened? He removed hidden hashish, not 12″ from the SS leader, and he didn’t see it.
HE DIDN’T SEE IT!!

Skip reached around to his back pocket and brought out the pipe with a shit eatin’ grin on his face.
I snatched the pipe away, opened the moving train’s window, and tossed it. Skip screeched in horror. “Are you fucking insane?” I asked him.

Everyone sat down with a huge sigh.
I could only glare at Skip the rest of the trip.

LOWER LEVEL AT THE PARADISO CLUB IN AMSTERDAM:

We changed trains and it was packed to the gills. Not a single place to sit. We stood in the corridor for hours before Skip ventured towards the area between the trains and plopped himself down on the moving platform where there is thunderous noise. Conductors walked past him and said nothing; even though they knew it was illegal to sit between train cars.

The train stopped again and we had to transfer. We found a car with no one in it and grabbed a seat. Just before the train left, a conductor asked us if we knew we were on a train heading for East Berlin? (The wall was still up back then in those days).

We ran to the right train and, again, had to stand in the corridor. The train brought us into Amsterdam about 18 hours after we departed. No sleep. No food. Hardly any money.

We headed to the train storage area and, there, in the middle of the room, was our fucking equipment. Just as pristine as we left it. I looked at Skip thinking it would only take an ounce of encouragement from his mouth that would make my next move to strangle him.

He then began flapping his wings and puffing out un-intelligible sounds. I was really pissed off. We snagged some food before we headed back to Florence an hour later. We figure that someone who worked in the storage facility “borrowed” our shit and had some fun. But managed to get it back in time for us to show up and claim it.

Skip said he wanted to go to the Paradiso Club to buy more hash. I all but karate chopped him in the neck.

The trip back to Florence was uneventful other than the fact that Skip developed a bad cold and sat the entire journey between cars with snot hanging from his sagging head to the floor. I, on the other hand, stood for about 16 hours.
Thank goodness we were young.
It’s funny now….sort of.



Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

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6 replies

  1. Nice story, Phil. Love those. The Foundry cigars I’ve bought a couple boxes of; I have one friend in particular who ‘left his cigars at the shop’ on a regular basis. They’re all he gets. The price is sure right.

  2. I should note CP raised its price quite a bit since they first appeared. Still very reasonable though. Point is, keeping an eye on that vendor for new items and taking a flyer on unknowns can occasionally end well.

  3. If you’re gonna go for a Cigar Page deal, though, it’s hard to beat the A.Flores Serie Privada
    Habanos for $2/stick. Happens about every 3 months. Same with the La Palina Red Labels.
    Both of which I believe you kvelled about here.
    Not affiliated, just know good deals when I see ’em.

  4. Lighting one up now and find your review right on. Nice value smoke. Thanks for the Amsterdam memories. Steak dinner on me sometime.

    • Hey Dave…thank you. I hope some fine libations are included with the steak. My rabbi had a “Mensch” night at his home and maybe 25 men were there eating steak and drinking scotch. 90% of the guys had no serious interaction with cigars so I brought the group some of my stash. It was pretty funny needing to teach them how to light the cigar without charring the entire wrapper. It was a great night and I had a helluva’ hangover on Friday.
      Phil

      • Indeed, copious libations of your choice to be enjoyed over dinner and discussions of cigars and bands of the 70’s. To be sponsored by the Dave’s of US Postal Service infamy.

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