Aganorsa Leaf Rare Leaf Reserve | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Café (Jalapa)
Binder: Nicaraguan Criollo ‘98 & Criollo ‘98 ~ Double binders from 2 different farms
Filler: Nicaragua Corojo ‘99 & Criollo ‘98
Size: 5.5 x 52 Robusto
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $10.99 (Up to a buck less online)

I was surprised this morning, while preparing my review, how many online reviews have already been published. I felt like I was late to the party. I smoked my first one a couple weeks ago and it was not ready to review. I got my fiver back in February.

Review ratings are all over the place. From ‘meh’ to excellent. Flavors differ from each reviewer. Yet, this is a Nic puro. Nic puros do not differ that much. Basically, the only thing that causes variation is tobacco aging before the stick is rolled and aging after being rolled. There is no mention of this tobacco being special. I expect an experience I’ve had over and over. I’m curious to see if there is anything about the cigar that makes it stand out from the 12.4 million other Nic puros on the market.

My first stick had a serious burn issue. But then the humidity here makes dry boxing nearly impossible. Humidity is not supposed to enter or leave your nice home humidor…but it does. Not a lot. All of my units have the Sure Seal technology but still…

Released February 2021
Regular production
From Aganorsa:
“Cuban-seed Criollo 98 dominant and bursting with spice, earth and a touch of sweetness, Rare Leaf utilizes tobaccos which are selected from special lots on our best farms. Normally a cigar using such scarce leaf would be available for a limited time only but by granting access exclusively to our Aganorsa Select Retail Partners we are able to supply Rare Leaf all year long.”

From Cigar Aficionado (Rated 86):
“Made with a multi-seam cap, this toro gives off notes of chocolate and coffee bean with touches of oak that become tart before the sour finish. The burn is mostly even but some inconsistency was noted by tasters on the draw.”

Titan 6 x 60 $12.10
Toro 6 x 54 $11.50
Robusto 5.25 x 52 $10.99

The Café wrapper is plain brown wrapper in room light. With more than needed light, the rusty, copperish, slightly bronze oiliness shows up. A slight toothiness permeates the entire stick. The cigar feels evenly, and fully, packed. No soft spots. Although, my first stick had a plug near the cigar band, so I reached for my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool to remedy the issue.

Seams are jam up and jelly tight. Unobtrusive veinage is clearly visible. The triple cap is nicely done. The double cigar bands must be an attempt to make the cigar’s price seem worth it.

Nice pungent aromas of floral, root beer, cinnamon, milk chocolate, malt, touch of red pepper, espresso, cream, barnyard, sweet butter, and cedar. All expected except for the root beer.

The cold draw. D.O.A. This stick is plugged like my first one. I grab my PerfecDraw and go to work. The stick needs the full length of the tool; twice…before I can get a decent draw.

One more time…salted caramel, root beer, cinnamon, chocolate, malt, espresso, licorice, black cherries, nutmeg, black pepper, cedar, and some creaminess.
So. No surprises. Yes, it is a Nic puro.

Nice. Immediate tasty tidings of which I hope becomes a grownup. Cinnamon, creaminess, chocolate, lots of maltiness, espresso, cedar, carrot cake (?), and brown sugar.

This stick is way different than my first one two weeks ago. I guess timing matters. A hint of complexity begins the journey. Even a taste of transitions is in play as the little buggers travel in queue across my palate while doing a James Brown impression. The finish is spicy, creamy, and sweet…and a little something something of savory that refuses to identify itself.

The burn is spot on. Whew. What a relief as my first stick went to hell from the start. Did you know that we Jews don’t believe in hell? But we do believe in Costco and bowling alleys.

A lovely finish is becoming the star of this operetta. It lays there like my first wife on our honeymoon. A flounder. A pool of dust. Where was I?
If you read other reviews, you will see everyone had such different experiences. I only glanced at a few, so I’m not sure if anyone had my experience.

Unless this cigar goes south on me, Cigar Aficionado’s rating of 86 is bogus. Aganorsa probably couldn’t pony up the full pay to play fee. And CA reviewed the cigar with 4 humidor days on it. I make this shit up as I go along.

Strength is a solid medium.

I detect a small amount of BBQ sauce. With a heavy mesquite influence. Now that’s wood I can taste…still have no idea what charred oak tastes like.
Flavors begin to emulate the cigar wheel of flavors. A slow roll for sure at this early point, but it is forward progress. That’s all I want. Keep moving and don’t stop for hitchhikers.

While flavors are very much, for the largest part, typical Nic puro elements…the cigar has found its own identity to set it slightly apart from the other Nic puros.

Savory v. sweet is money my dears.

Yesterday was my last day as the punchline for every stand-up comic. Free at last. Still, there were some really sweet people I will miss. I only gave out a total of two katman business cards in my two months. The first to a nice-looking middle-aged woman. A couple days later, I discovered her whole attitude towards me had changed. She definitely did not approve of me. Oh well, another one bites the dust. The second card went to another nice woman who told me her husband will love my profane style. The good news is I have a couple things in the fire as an engineer that are looking pretty good. Fingers crossed. Foreskin gone.

“Rocky Mountain Way” by Joe Walsh. It was watching them live in the early 70’s that convinced me I would have to get a fretless bass. The bassist was the coolest looking guy in the band…as always is the case.

Flavors keep expanding at just the right pace. They get a little bolder and a little bit stronger with each puff. CA’s 86 makes me want to punch old man Shanken in the throat.

Creaminess begins to front the band with a newly added touch of lemon citrus. The tartness is a wonderful counterbalance to the sweet and savory factors.

While most reviewers agree on the typical platform of flavors a Nic puro brings to the table, all had different ancillary flavor impressions. I like that. Just goes to show you that a numerical rating is basically worthless. Again, every palate is different and picks up a bounty of flavors that the guy next to you can’t find.

“Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton. Gorgeous rendition.

I paid a buck less than the going price of $11 for this stick. Considering that every time I look at newly released cigars, the prices are now a minimum of $15-$17 a pop. I remember when I’d buy a fiver of new cigars for $40-$45. Now, I must go to a B&M so I can purchase just two or three sticks. The cigar industry is losing its friggin mind. They certainly weren’t kind to consumers during the high point of the pandemic. Greedy Bastardos. Note: I am not referring to the small and medium size manufacturers. They got hurt in the last year. The big guys, that can take a downtime and survive easily, were the ones cranking out $17 sticks. A couple boutique brands did the same…but everyone that loves cigars had a negative experience with their hobby and passion.

The flavors have leveled off. No surges. Not sure if this is momentary or that’s all folks.

The strength maintains an even strain of medium.

Standing next to me at the urinal was the Japanese guy who makes the sushi for the deli. He finished first as he doesn’t have an old prostate. Never washed his hands. That did it for me…no more store bought sushi from anyone for this katman who doesn’t like the taste of penis in his eel roll. Not that I know what penis tastes like…I’m assuming it is somewhere between store brand wieners and raw snail.

Again, this cigar is one of those very relaxing blends. No punch to the ‘nads. A constant stream of complexity with a lovely finish.

Maybe the last third will up the ante, but I’m guessing that everything I’ve described is probably the mandate of the cigar blend. I don’t expect to get a flash of some oddball component. Then again, a surprise would be welcomed.

The halfway point is the cherry. Intensity gets into the fight. Strength moves to medium/full. Flavors go from nuanced and subtle to a baby boy pissing in your face while changing his diapers. Don’t ask.

The Aganorsa Leaf Rare Leaf Reserve is now stepping out and showing off with some tap dance moves that impress.

In the late 1950’s, my parents made me take tap lessons. My teacher was Percy Venable. He was Louis Armstrong’s arranger and all around go to guy from the 1930’s forward. Several times, I saw small kids at the store with tap shoes and when I tried to mention my experience, the parents had no idea who Louis Armstrong was. Sigh.

The second half has produced an even better, more sophisticated, blend. The flavors fold in on themselves and once again morph into one big ball of nicely balanced elements. Nothing stands out above the other.

The other asset this cigar possesses is that it’s a well packed stick. Rolls nice and slow. Like me when I try to climb on top of Charlotte. All those groans. We are like praying mantises. Except I don’t get eaten by the wife afterwards.

Some nicotine rears its head. Not too bad. I can think clearly as ever. (I heard that).

First sips of water and the multitude of flavors bathe my palate like a warm blankey.

The music reminds me, out of nowhere, that as a late teen I worked at Wallach’s Music City. It was the largest music store in the Long Beach area. I worked in the sheet music department. Sheet music. A bygone era.
The burn gets a little wonky at times and needs minor touch ups.

I believe this cigar will get better with age. I’m convinced I’m just getting a tease of the blender’s intent.

The medium/full strength is gentle and wafting. Nothing about this blend is overwhelming or out of balance. It rises, like cream, to the top tier of Nic puro flavor profiles.

As a licensed reviewer, I should be adding the different flavors exhibited. I was declined that license, so I won’t repeat myself…especially, as the cigar figured out early what it wanted to present and hangs on with class and sophistication. This is OK. (I was told I need to grow up to claim a license).

I like that the spiciness has been plaintive and hovers just enough to give the blend the right amount of punch.

The blend changes gears once again. Freaky deaky delicious. The immaculate balance is the star of this show.

The first thing that entered my mind yesterday after leaving my job for the last time was that I now will have the time to knuckle down and spew reviews. You’ve been warned.

There is one customer I will miss dearly, and I hope he keeps in touch. He is my age and a true retired Mafioso. He still runs the alcohol distribution to big box stores. The stories he told and the photos he showed me blew me away. The man was a bona fide storyteller. Only a few years ago, he was charged with 40 federal indictments. He beat all of them and hired the federal prosecutor to be his lawyer. He told me the real deal on well known events…such as the “Goodfellas” backstory. He would stand there and tell me, “Just one more story.” Doesn’t get better than that. Thankfully, he likes me. I hate being disappeared.

With an inch to go, the cigar is screaming laughter. No sign of harshness. Smooth as my tush. This is a stick where I will use my PerfecDraw as a roach clip.

I plan on allowing the rest of my sticks to marinate for a few months before I light up again.
I put my feet up and glisten in the glow of contentedness.

Now this cigar’s PR says it’s a regular production stick. But several online stores urge their customers to get in on this cigar before they’re gone. Huh? I guess that’s one way to get customers to pony up.

I wouldn’t mind owning a box. But you gotta try a fiver at least. Let them rest. Don’t be a moon calf.
I will finish this cigar off camera.
Carry on…



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5 replies

  1. CA gave the robusto 90 points, not 86. That 86 was for a different size.

  2. Haven’t read everything here. Read that you were a security guard, then working in a cig lounge/store. Are upu no longer there?

  3. Nope Chuck…
    I found a headhunter that is negotiating a structural engineering job for this old man.

  4. I wasn’t expecting much about the Rare Leaf, but once I smoked it, it became one of my favorite new releases of 2021. Looks like I’m not the only one enjoying it a lot 🙌

  5. Hey Luis,
    Yeah, good cigar. Looking forward to snagging some more.

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