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Stogie Reviews: J.L. Salazar y Hermanos Reserva Especial Robusto

11 Feb 2008

By now, regular readers know what huge fans we are of Cuban Crafters. And why shouldn’t we be? With excellent, affordable lines such as La Carolina, Cabinet Selection, Don Kiki (both Brown and White), and Cameroon, we’ve come to love the quality, attention to detail, and value this Nicaraguan boutique cigar operation offers.

J.L. Salazar y Hermanos Reserva Especial RobustoThe J.L. Salazar y Hermanos Reserva Especial series is no exception. I don’t want to spoil the ending or anything, but I really enjoyed the six Robustos I smoked for this review. And I’m not alone: Patrick S and a StogieGuys.com reader have already made public their affinity for this line.

The history of J.L. Salazar y Hermanos dates back to 1810 when the Salazar family began producing highly regarded puros in the Pinar del Rio region of Cuba. Today, J.L. and his brothers carry on that proud tradition in Nicaragua with a special blend of Cuban-seed tobaccos. Reserva Especial consists of an Ecuadorian wrapper, a habano 2000 binder, and fillers from Estelí.

Not unlike their ancestors’ cigars in Cuba, today’s blend has received a fair amount of praise. Smoke Magazine consistently rates these box-pressed beauties above 9 (the Torpedo vitola recently earned a 9.4), and many bloggers have been quick to commend the stick’s rich flavor.

The Robusto measures five and ½ inches with a 52 ring gauge and retails at $87.50 for a carefully presented cedar box of 25 ($3.50 apiece). You’d expect a cigar at that price to have some aesthetic imperfections, but this one doesn’t. The wrapper is dark, silky, and nearly flawless.

The J.L. Salazar y Hermanos experience starts with a dry, woody taste that transitions into notes of nuts, spice, and pepper. The second phase welcomes a chocolate sweetness and an espresso-like flavor, and the final third is bigger and bolder with tastes of cocoa bean, bittersweet chocolate, and burnt clove. Very interesting and complex.

All of the Robustos I smoked were consistent in construction: a smooth, loose draw that yields plenty of smoke; a white, layered ash that holds moderately well; and a clean, sharp burn that starts straight but requires several touch-ups down the stretch.

When you get right down to it, this is a fine, complex cigar with medium to full flavors that can impress even seasoned cigar veterans. Bang for the buck is very high, so I have no qualms about giving the J.L. Salazar y Hermanos Reserva Especial Robusto four out of five stogies.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here. To purchase this cigar from a StogieGuys.com affiliate, click hereicon.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

14 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: J.L. Salazar y Hermanos Reserva Especial Robusto”

  1. Randall Monday, February 11, 2008 at 5:31 am #

    Agreed. This is another outstanding smoke from Cuban Crafters. It's hard to believe how much enjoyment you can get from a sub-$4 cigar.

  2. George E. Monday, February 11, 2008 at 6:34 am #

    Patrick A. – I heartily agree. I've been very impressed with these cigars. The level of complexity is, I think, particularly unusual in such a reasonably priced stick.

  3. Johnstown Monday, February 11, 2008 at 7:20 am #

    I bought a box of the Don Kiki Brown Labels (also by Cuban Crafters) because of one of your earlier reviews, and I really liked them. What a tremendous value! Sounds like I need to give these a try next.

  4. mike b Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 1:19 pm #

    I am smoking one right now, bought a box about 16 onths ago because of price, do like CC purchases time to time, smoked about 1/2 box over the first 6 months, were really good then and maintained and got a little better w/ age. I kinda forgot them and were in the back of my cabinet humidor, glad I moved them up front!

  5. Bruce Pierson Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 4:42 pm #

    I love these things. The churchill simply blows away any Aston VSG.

    I have nine boxes in various vitolas; I have hundreds of other cigars as well, but I seem to always be reaching for one of these – there's something about the complexity, that chalk-white ash, and the clouds of smoke that draws me like a magnet.

  6. Julian N. Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    The CC factory is down the road from my place of work and i went in yesterday for the first time, i feel in love with the cigar and the place. I have a Medina Miami edition and a couple of Salazar in the humi right now. im deciding which one to smoke first.

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