17 Nov 2009
In September, fresh off my trip to New Orleans for the IPCPR Trade Show, I reviewed the 777 Corojo, a wonderful new release from master blender Jesus Fuego. I was impressed and made a commitment to better acquaint myself with the other lines of the relatively young J. Fuego brand.
The “Natural” blend is as good a place to start as any. It was, in late 2006, the first blend to debut after Fuego launched his eponymous brand by the Miami-based Tabacos S.A. company. Before this venture, Fuego had completed a master’s degree in agronomy at Havana University, worked at Camacho, and gained industry prominence through his instrumental role in developing Rocky Patel’s Vintage lines.
Now, in partnership with the Plasencia family, J. Fuego features the Gran Reserva, Delirium, and 777 Maduro lines—in addition to the aforementioned 777 Corojo and Natural. The latter is handmade in Honduras with Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos and a shade-grown criollo wrapper.
With a six inch by 54 ring gauge frame, the Natural Belicoso is a heavy, sizeable smoke. It sports two white bands, faint pre-light notes of grass, and a firm feel. The clean, oily wrapper is attractive despite some lumps and discoloration.
After toasting the foot, the initial flavor is of oak, damp earth, and butter with a balanced texture that’s both creamy and spicy. Black pepper keeps the taste interesting, as does a faint sweetness. But the overall effect is pretty mild.
That remains true at the midway point. Here, about 40 minutes into the cigar, the sweetness becomes more pronounced as the spice slowly dissipates. And a few new flavors—namely sage and walnut—also join in.
With a burn that requires little maintenance, a decent gray ash, and a draw as smooth as its taste, the Natural Belicoso won’t disappoint in the construction department. It smokes true to the finish, just as a $6-9 cigar should.
I think I most enjoyed this J. Fuego creation for what it isn’t. It isn’t flashy. It isn’t ground-breaking. And it doesn’t start off with a pleasant mellowness only to turn boring or harsh.
While it may not carry the character or value of the 777 Corojo, the J. Fuego Natural Belicoso is a traditional midday smoke with an agreeable taste that won’t leave you weak in the knees. It earns three and a half stogies out of five.
[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]
photo credit: Stogie Guys