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Stogie Reviews: Dona Flor Reserva Especial Robusto

15 Jan 2007

You may remember a September 2006 post where we introduced Brazil Cigars, a stogie manufacturer that produces the Dona Flor, Alonzo Menendez, and Aquarius brands from Brazilian Mata Fina tobacco.

Well, last week I was lucky enough (thanks to our friend Paul Arneson) to try a rare Dona Flor Reserva Especial Robusto. This five inches by 52 ring gauge Brazilian puro comes draped in an exclusively sun-grown, highly cultivated Mata Fina wrapper. True to its South American heritage, the stick is loosely packed and a bit coarse to the touch.

After clipping the head with my double guillotine cutter, I took note of some deep black tea and cedar notes. Once lit, these earthy and woody flavors became balanced by sweet toffee and molasses. And towards the end of the smoke, the tastes intensified and shifted from spicy clove to pepper.

Now Mr. Arneson warned me that the cigar would be full-bodied. In fact, he told me to smoke it on a full stomach and expect a good night’s sleep afterwards. He wasn’t lying.

But I’m pleased to report the Reserva Especial is not merely a powerhouse stick that’s sure to knock you on your ass. It’s a complex cigar with a flavor profile that’s as balanced and complete as the finest Davidoff – a seasoned smoker’s delight.

On construction, the loose packing ensured a true and easy draw throughout the duration of the one hour and 15 minute smoke. While the burn started a bit uneven (which may have been my fault), I was able to quickly and permanently correct that.

My only complaint about this Robusto is that the ash is quite flaky and it does not hold firm.

Other than that, this one’s a keeper (if you can find it). I strongly recommend looking up your local Dona Flor retailer via Brazil Cigars’ website. You can expect to pay around $12 apiece for one of these sticks.

For outstanding, full-bodied flavor, I give the Dona Flor Reserva Especial Robusto four and ½ out of five stogies.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A


14 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Dona Flor Reserva Especial Robusto”

  1. Patrick S Monday, January 15, 2007 at 3:59 am #

    Paul also got one of these to me, and I also thought very highly of the Dona Flor Reserva Especial.

    The big thing I would add is that the wrapper (which by the way was just flawless) had a slightly salty taste to it, but not in an unpleasant way.

    The other thing that really struck me was the aroma, which was just delightful.

  2. Paul Arneson Monday, January 15, 2007 at 6:45 am #

    I'm not with Brazil Cigars any longer so perhaps my "thumbs up" on this review will be seem less biased. I think Patrick hit this cigars worth right on the head (after first being hit on the ass by the cigar). Felix Menendez and Arturo Torano are turning out some excellent cigars down there in the Brazilian Bahia and I hope eventually some retailers will crack open their humidors wide enough to let a few in for folks to try. I didn't seem capable of convincing them to do that — but maybe Brazil Cigars can find someone who can be more persuasive. I didn't think persuasion was all that necessary — but even GREAT cigars from a county unknown to the American smoker need grease, I guess, to penetrate the "smokey glass ceiling". THANKS to everyone who gave my samples a try. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  3. Mac and Nudo Monday, January 15, 2007 at 9:05 am #

    After looking back at your review of the Alonso Menendez, it's obvious you've really taken a liking to Brazil Cigar products. Any chance we'll see an Aquarius review in the near future?

  4. Jota Ene Monday, January 15, 2007 at 2:13 pm #

    I've been smoking Brazilian cigars for 6 years now, since I spent some time studying in Brazil in 2000. In fact, I started smoking cigars after a tour of the Danneman factory in São Felix.

    I LOVE the Alonso Menendez cigars, but they are a bit out of my price range. Even in Brazil (outside of Bahia itself) they can be expensive and difficult to find.

    I have fond memories of picking them up for under $3 a stick in Bahia in 2000!

  5. Jerry @ Stogie Revie Tuesday, January 16, 2007 at 4:56 am #

    Paul – Sorry to hear you are no longer with Brazil Cigars. Their loss in my opinion. Good luck in your future adventures!

    Paul is definitely correct on the "smokey glass ceiling" there are so many great cigars out there from all over the world that don't get a fair shake from retailers.

  6. Hutch Tuesday, June 12, 2007 at 12:34 pm #

    Nice review! These are great cigars. A buddy brought me back a box of the A. Menendez #10's about a year and a half ago. Needless to say they didn't last to long in the humidor.

    As I haven't been able to find these in the U.S., I was wondering if the Dona Flor's are basically the same thing? I've only had a couple Flor's and couldn't really see that much difference.

  7. Dana Sheldon Tuesday, June 12, 2007 at 8:06 pm #


    Check out our website and you'll find many dealers that carry Alonso Menendez blend which as you know is a full bodied smoke and very smooth. Let me know if you can't find them and we will give out samples to your nearest dealer in your name!

    Best regards,


    p.s. to Paul…miss you on our team and hope you are still enjoying our cigars!

  8. Paul Arneson Wednesday, June 13, 2007 at 12:48 pm #

    Hello to the Stogie Guys and to you too Dana down there in Little Brazil (Miami). Every Dona Flor cigar I had is long gone but I'll be filling my humidor again soon. I haven't been looking around the DC area lately, but I HOPE someone has been more successful than I was to get this line on the shelves of at least a few dealers. These stogies deserve their place in the sun (with the proper humidity of course). Best of luck to all! Paul

  9. Alexandre Friday, October 23, 2009 at 4:01 am #

    This is such a great cigar. Absolutely no harshness to speak of. Very matured tobacco, with lots of complexity, but never overpowering. Truly delightful with a good glass of scotch on the rocks.

  10. Wesley Gensel Friday, December 11, 2009 at 1:01 am #

    Our company is a distributor of Dona Flor and other Brazilian brands. you can check them out on our website at and purchase at

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Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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