Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Size: 6 x 52 Toro
Today we take a look at the La Familia Robaiña Ilegal Maduro.
From Cigar Dojo (December 10, 2019):
“La Familia Robaina Cigars (formerly White Hat Cigars) has announced that they have now begun shipping their Ilegal cigars to retailers across the country. Ilegal made its debut at this year’s IPCPR trade show in Las Vegas, featured as a trio of cigar blends in identical sizes and similar price range.
“This is a line of cigars that we are truly proud of. We leaned on a couple of friends to help out with some of the blends. Adrian Acosta helped blend our Ecuadorian Habano and Esteban Disla of Nica Sueño helped us out with the Mexican San Andres. All the cigars have over 6 months of age before hitting the shelves. Spence Drake, founder of La Familia Robaina Cigars.’
“Ilegal is the Spanish spelling for Illegal, sporting the tagline, “It’s so good, it should be Ilegal.” Ilegal takes a unique approach, with all three cigars being blended by various members of the LFR team and close acquaintances. This includes an Ecuadorian Habano-wrapped blend, crafted by Sales Manager, Adrian Acosta (who’s father was once the head agronomist for Davidoff’s TabaDom facilities in the DR); a Connecticut Shade-wrapped cigar, blended by LFR owner, Spence Drake, and Omar Gonzales; and a Mexican San Andrés-wrapped blend that was spearheaded by Esteban Disla, co-owner of Fabrica de Tobacos Nica Sueño (of RoMa Craft fame).
“Each of the three blends have been rolled at Omar González-Alemán’s La Corona factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.”
From Cigar Federation:
“All of the cigars have over 6 months of age before hitting the shelves.
“The blend recipe for La Familia Robaiña Ilegal is a secret…BUT I have it on good authority that they feature some combination of filler tobaccos from four countries—Peru, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and U.S. tobacco from Pennsylvania.”
SIZES AND PRICING:
Robusto 5.5 x 54 $10.95
Toro 6 x 50 $10.95
Gordo 6 x 60 $11.95
An oily, toothy, espresso hued bugger with hidden seams, a beautifully applied triple cap, and a motorway of veins that add to the unique look of the cigar. The stick is very firm without hard or soft spots. I dry boxed the cigar for 3 days and lucked out with the intermittent high humidity. Seems ready to smoke.
I like the cigar band…simple but classy. No skulls.
It has a closed foot.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
Sweet chile, dark chocolate, caramel, dried apricot, malt, cedar, barnyard, white pepper, rich espresso, and sloppy pecan pie.
The cold draw presents flavors of black pepper, dark chocolate, malt, espresso, dried fruit, nuts, creamy, and cedar.
The draw is excellent; just the way I like my cigars. I carefully wrap my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool in swaddling and put it away for a lesser cigar that probably is in the $17 price range.
The flavors pour in immediately: Spicy black pepper, sweet chile, molasses, espresso, malt, pecans, cedar, dark cocoa, raisins, black cherries, and peel your skin off strong espresso. Nice.
Strength is a scoche above medium. But well-balanced so early on that I’m nearly shocked. This is my second stick. But the first one I smoked at the start of my day. Complexity wants to get a jump on things. It ain’t fucking around, Jethro. This blend appears to have the burning desire to get down to business toot suite.
Transitions find an early start with simple basics flowing past my palate. The finish is a bit dry and reeks of earth, wind, and leather.
This tobacco sausage is packed to the gills. This will be a long smoke. And for what is now the going price of $12 a cigar for a decent boutique blend, it should offer up something special…duration of smoke being one of those perks.
How was your 4th of July?
Charlotte and I spent it at the kids’ home along with their friends…Millennials. I brought the smokes of course. When the chicks asked what cigars cost, they almost gave birth even though none are pregnant except my daughter. “Fucking $15 for a cigar???” And then all their boyfriends and husbands got the stink eye. Methinks their budgets will, for now and forever, be watched over closely by the wives of the smokers. Double sigh.
The 4th was my grandson Scott’s 3rd birthday. Daughter Katie is ready to burst with second grandchild, Jacob. There was a pool going around with the odds of her giving her birth on Scott’s birthday. They lost. But by Tuesday, I will be grandpa 2.0.
The cigar develops a delicious creaminess that augments the aforementioned flavors.
The trick will be to survive the cigar. It is already moving towards full tilt at 1” in. I remember I couldn’t finish the last third of the first cigar because I was felt like I was peaking on Peyote. Now, I have an empty stomach and have not ruled out projectile vomiting as a side effect.
With each successive puff, the cigar flavor profile lurches forward. A nice balance of savory v. sweet. The complexity grows like an Alien being in your chest…(Dumbfuck. Why did you stick your face right into an alien egg? Me? The moment I saw the fucker squiggling around in the thing, it would have been feets don’t fail me now).
Based upon the assumed trajectory of this blend, kudos to the family Robaina.
I dig HR blends, but this is the best I’ve tasted. Even if I need to give up the ghost by the end of this experience because I’m King Wuss when it comes to nicotine strength.
I watched a cigar video from one of the top guys in the reviewing biz. He reviewed a cigar I refused to review due to just how horrible it was.
Anyway, the gentleman made the comment that he doesn’t do the cold draw upon first smelling the stick and then getting that pre-taste before lighting the beast. He mentioned that his readers asked why he didn’t do this? He responded by saying that the cold draw has nothing to do with the taste; so why bother?
I was a little put off. It doesn’t matter if the cold draw leads to flavors or not.
Smoking an expensive cigar can be an out of body experience with the right choice of sticks. Why deny yourself the pleasure of the cold draw? It’s just part of the process of foreplay that takes you to the eventual finish line. I love smelling a cigar for aromas. I may take minutes doing this. Same goes for the cold draw. Just another piece of the puzzle that adds to my enjoyment of the cigar. Of course, it is not necessary. But if you truly love cigars and get to smoke one you’re looking forward to…why deny yourself?
I sat around with the kids and their friends yesterday and I took a cigar out and asked Charlotte if she would like to sniff my cigar? Naturally, all the chicks felt that was a double entendre. I told them no it wasn’t. They challenged me and I came through. I sat there sniffing away; and took my time. With each comment they used to interrupt me, I sat quietly and announced about 6 aromas. By the time I was done, the chicks were quiet. I just smiled and not another word was said about sniffing my cigar. In fact, the chicks that accused me of the pseudo sexual comment were just staring at me as I called out the flavors like a rich cad. Their eyes were wide open; unblinking…just staring at me. I’m pretty sure they wanted to jump this old man twice their age. At least that’s what I told myself.
Back to business…the cigar’s strength is a hearty medium/full.
But it is wonderfully smooth. A touch of nicotine is squirming waiting to strike. But, once again, the balance is spot on. Flavors that were very distinct at the start are now morphing into one giant ball. Transitions pass quickly. The finish is creamy and buttery with that touch of black pepper.
The second half is going to be a killer.
The La Familia Robaiña Ilegal Maduro begins to really kick into gear. A few sips of water and my face sees the erasing of all my wrinkles. If we can bottle this and get Charlize Theron to do a TV ad…
The construction is immaculate. Smoke pours from the cigar nonstop. Perfect resistance on the draw.
Now if this cigar came from any number of boutique brands, it might have been in a much higher price category. I tell customers at Prime Cigar that you gotta’ spend $10 to get a decent cigar. And that’s the fact, Jack.
I’m going to be pushing this cigar for the smokers that like some load in their Depends.
The cigar blend is becoming a miracle of nature. Nothing linear at play…just straight ahead aggressive momentum.
Unfortunately, most smokers don’t like the potent stuff. I spend my days at Prime trying to find a mild/medium blend for most buyers. Because I’m full of myself, I urge them to try something a bit stronger. Most trust me…I mean, look at me. I can be stopped by the cops on the road, talk my way out of a ticket, have sex with the cop in their back seat, and ride away sore. Yeah, that was bullshit. But I do think that my cop son-in-law has a thing for me…he has never refused a cigar from me.
We are at full tilt. Listening to Led Zep and tripping.
Know what’s amazing? This stick only got 3 weeks of naked humidor time. I need to buy more so I can let them rest and so I can lay myself at the feet of the golden calf.
I’m telling you now that there is an excellent chance that this cigar will be one of my top 25 cigars of 2020.
Flavors are so intense that my mind is spinning. The complexity is through the roof. And I haven’t even reached the halfway point.
I will send my review to the folks at Robaina. But once cigar manufacturers see the ‘Katman’ name, they are turned off…and pass on reading the review. Unless they scroll down to the cigar rating…maybe then they might read me. Then the perfunctory email arrives saying two words: “Thank you.” I can’t begin to describe the gratification I get from this.
Halfway point arrives. It’s been a solid hour of true enjoyment.
I’m nearing the juncture of the first Ilegal I smoked a week ago…and had to put it down during the last third. Do I wuss out again? Or do I man up? Thankfully, Charlotte is at work so she won’t see me in the fetal position moaning quietly for my mommy if this goes south on me.
I’ve listed all the flavors. No need to repeat. The only addition is that these flavor points spread their wings and become bold, some more subtle, some so intense that my toupee keeps falling off, and some flavors that are so perfectly intermingled with the others that this blend really shows off its wares. We are way past blender’s intent. Of course, if you read any of the background info I provided, you would have noticed that the tobacco has received 6 months of aging prior to receiving their body condoms. Most manufacturers allow for only 6 weeks. Makes a big difference. This is why so many people dig the Isabela line. Most Isabela blends get years of aging before they are put into cellos.
The spiciness is just as balanced as the flavors. It hangs in the background giving the blend the oomph I like; but doesn’t overwhelm the palate…covering up the little tidbits that are dying to be noticed.
I just realized that the rock n roll anecdote I chose for the end of this review is about drugs. No point in sending a link to the review to the Robaina folks. Mainstream cigar folks hate that. Thankfully, you don’t. I write for you, not the manufacturers.
This is a cigar, that if it is your first of the day, ruins you for the rest of the day.
While I think that this blend will kill most newbies, I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending it as a perfect learning tool to discover what high premiums should taste like. You can always put it down while you’re hallucinating and come back to it later.
But I remain out of the fetal position.
The complexity is the selling point for the La Familia Robaiña Ilegal Maduro. I’ve smoked few cigars with the balance this blend provides. Intense but full of nuance and subtlety.
This is the perfect example for experienced smokers who cannot dissect a million flavors from a cigar but know what they like and don’t like.
Tonight, at work, I plan on erecting a neon arrow pointing at these cigars in the walk-in humidor.
As the result of a wonderful friend’s generosity, I’ve had the opportunity to smoke some really expensive cigars that you are familiar with. All but a small number come close to this $10 stick.
I’m using part of our S&M equipment at home to keep me upright during these final minutes of the cigar. I don’t understand why it’s always me that has to wear the red ball in my mouth. I feel like the Hanukkah roasted pig.
A note to my extra-fatty-boy friends…my ‘Lakers Diet’ is going swimmingly. Lost 21lbs in 5 weeks. You should check it out here. This is the first diet I’ve ever done that shows massive results quickly and fairly painlessly. The real pain comes in another month or so after I’ve lost another 15lbs and I have to buy a completely new wardrobe that fits.
This is a great cigar that I hope you try. Be patient. Try one after 3 weeks.
For $10, you get a delicious two hour smoke.
I did, apparently, man up sufficiently.
With 1-1/4” to go, the strength goes for the gold. No big deal. I got the most out of this blend and feel energized and happy. I have to go throw up now.
And now for something completely different:
Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, I was an everyday pot smoker.
I was a surprised Hippie musician after moving to Europe and then England in the mid 70’s. In L.A., hashish was a treat and a luxury. And usually stale. But it was a big deal when a friend came over with the shit.
We got to Europe and that’s all there was. Hash. Weed was harder to smuggle due to its size. It was even worse in England. It’s an island. And of course, the quality of hash was a 1000% better.
The only time we got to buy weed was at the Paradiso Club in Amsterdam. And at a premium price for an ounce. It came from Africa.
Europe was a shorter route for the smugglers. It was fresh and there were varieties. Lots of them. In the States, there were maybe 2 or 3 types.
What I never got used to was the way they smoked hash. Breaking up a cigarette and rolling into a long joint (Using two rolling papers overlapping each other end to end) while sprinkling bits of hash into it. Made me sick as a dog. To this day, I haven’t smoked a single cigarette, so the nicotine was a killer for me. There was no way I was going to survive getting high socially.
It didn’t take long before I found a pipe shop and bought the perfect sized pipe to smoke my hash. I made sure that when I socialized, I had my own pipe and stash. I always declined the joint full of cigarette tobacco. When I offered the Brits some hash from a pipe, they always declined. “We get too high, mate.” Pussy wankers.
Our tours of Europe, we always ended back in Amsterdam as our last gig of the tour.
My 1967 Fender Precision bass had a face plate and a hollowed-out area underneath for the electronics. I bought as much hash as could fit in that hollowed out section.
When we traveled, I had no choice. My bass had to go with the roadies in the big trucks.
So, in essence, the roadies smuggled my hash over to England for me. The trucks were always inspected by Custom Inspectors, but I was never caught.
I never told the roadies I was doing this.
But one day, as we landed at Dover, I asked for my bass from the truck. The roadies sighed as they tried to find my bass in a couple trucks full of gear.
Right there in front of them, I took out my jeweler’s screwdriver and removed the cover plate of my bass and removed the hash. Why? We had run out and this was our only source for the ride home to London which was a couple hours away.
We had to have something to smoke on the ride home; especially after that miserable boat ride across the English Channel.
Well, the roadies exploded when they saw I was using them as my mules.
I was the roadies’ favorite member of the band because I was the only one who wasn’t a prima donna. But on this day, they ripped me a new asshole.
I promised to never do it again. And they promised that they would check my bass before they drove it on to the ferry.
Well, I kept on doing it and lying to them that I no longer was smuggling an ounce of hash in my bass. Thankfully, they just didn’t have the time to take my bass out and disassemble it.
So, for the next two years this is how I smuggled hash into England. I never sold any. It was my personal stash.
When I got home, my girlfriend gave me a big hug and a kiss and then asked, “Where is the hash?”
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS
Katman, you’re costing me serious $$$ now. I’ve been following your reviews for years, and almost always buy anything you rate 90+…my wife doesn’t know what these cigars cost so it’s cool. Anyway, found these babies as singles on cigar federation for a Hamilton (ea), ordered 5 to suck on. Keep doin what your doin, best fuckin cigar blogger on the web hands down…and the side stories are just icing on the cake! I hope you live to be 100, that way I can continue to get the straight skinny on my sticks.
Thank you so much. You’ve made this already bloviated head swell even more.
We all suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune as our wives try to watch closely our cigar spending.
I have to lie all the time. Feels good…
All the best,
Smoking my first Ilegal Maduro Toro, what a smoke! Thanks Phil, I can always count on your palate—this thing is amazing! Stay well friend!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
You stay well as I’m staying well or be well until I’m well…? I have a drinking problem.