Pre-Release Review of Papa Juan Cigars Maduro
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Binder/Filler: Indonesia/Habano 2000, aged Nicaraguan Viso, and Criollo 98
Size: 4.5'' x 54 mm
Strength: Full body/Maduro
Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Shape: Short Robusto
Flavors: chocolate, vanilla, leather, earth, with intense spicy notes
January 29th, 2016, 5:30 P.M., The Carnegie Club, NYC.
After successfully introducing the Papa Juan Cigar Room lounge experience to Harlem and the Bronx in NYC, this team of daring Dominican entrepreneurs, decided to take the next logical step and bring to the market their new line of cigars. Let's see what they got!
Papa Juan Cigars will be available at the Papa Juan Cigar Room locations by mid-February, with a nationwide release due in May, 2016. I was able to get my hands on a pre-release batch.
This Papa Juan Cigars short robusto lights up without hesitation. It seems to have an attitude (perhaps the infamous Napoleon complex?). It gives a full, quite heavy smoke upon the first few draws. This cigar is packed with a fairly good amount of tobacco. It takes no prisoners.
Now, I will admit that at first, it felt a bit harsh on my throat. A combination of rich earth and hot pepper were noticed right away. Pushed out thru the nose, notes of nutmeg, leather and even orange were sensed. Then, it sat on the ashtray for a few minutes. I had to compose myself.
For a while, every time somebody mentioned Mexican tobacco I would cringe. I’ve always found it to be too sweet for my palate . According to Tobacconist University, “The most famous of Mexican cigar tobaccos is San Andres Negro. Like Connecticut Broadleaf, San Andres Negro is stalk-cut and lends itself to binder and maduro wrapper production. This varietal is a tough leaf that can withstand the extra fermentation required to produce a maduro.”
It all started in 1880, when Alberto Turrent I, emigrated from Cuba to Mexico’s San Andrés Valley with a pocket-full of Cuban tobacco seeds. Today, under the direction of Alejandro Turrent, the tobaccos grown on his family’s 2,000 acres are among the most prized by blenders all over Central America, and you’ll find them in such brands as Montecristo, Macanudo, and even Padron, to name a few.
But, let’s get back to the cigar in question. As I gave it a few more draws, this cigar started releasing sweet and spicy notes; such as chocolate, and cinnamon. It reminded me that it was a maduro, I was smoking. Even the old, dark skinned man pictured in the label started looking at me as if I was I out of my element.
Once I got past the first inch, my palate started to get adjusted to its strength. Although I prefer medium-body/full flavor cigars, I like to dabble into full body cigars territory. I can handle, and many times enjoy a well-made, quality maduro. But, it needs to be balanced with its sweetness. This one is already showing that full-body/maduro cigar smokers will be the ones to appreciate it the most. Also, because of the use of the Habano 2000 in the filler, the intensity of the nicotine coming out will let you know that this is not a cigar for the uninitiated.
I took a few sips of the Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout beer that was sitting on my table at The Carnegie Club, which was looking at me as if I was an orphan child who needed rescuing. Up until this point I had devoted all of my attention to Papa Juan. I realized that for me, a beer with character, like a triple or stout, is actually the way to go in pairing with a cigar like this one.
I’m done with the first third of the Papa Juan maduro. The Indonesian Sumatra leafs in this cigar seem to be taking over now. Vanilla came to join us. Vanilla was welcomed.
Half way through it, it mellowed down a notch. The Criollo 98 shows its woodiness. The cedar notes came through.
On the last third of the journey, this cigar decided to turn back on me. It went back to the Habano 2000’s bold, spicy notes and strength. It left me a bit semi-paralyzed in my chair for a few minutes. I was truly in a daze, but certainly not confused.
In the end, it was an enjoyable fight with this maduro, old man Papa Juan. I will advice again that this cigar is for the seasoned, maduro cigar smoker. As such, I will give it a 3.5/5 rating.
Let me know your thoughts, once you get your hands on one of them.