19 Nov 2009
I’m always a bit leery of cigars bearing the name or likeness of a movie character, celebrity, or TV series. Are big-name endorsements necessary if you’ve got a solid product made from quality tobacco?
But El Tiante Cigars, crafted by Cuban-born pitching legend Luis Tiant, have proven time and again to be excellent smokes. Since it was launched in 2007, my colleagues and I have written favorably about each of the company’s three main blends: Natural, Corojo, and Maduro.
It seems as though Mr. Tiante, know by many simply as “El Tiante,” is determined to follow his successful baseball career—229 career wins—by crafting exemplary boutique cigars. And now he’s adding a fourth series to the lineup.
“La Leyenda” celebrates Tiant’s 1968 season with the Cleveland Indians, a year in which he won 21 games and posted an earned run average of 1.60. No major league pitcher has since come close to that head-scratching ERA.
The blend is, according to El Tiante Vice President Kevin Anderson, intended to “demonstrate in a cigar what Luis accomplished on the mound in 1968.” It features a Sumatra-seed Ecuadorian wrapper and a Nicaraguan habano binder. The filler sports three different ligeros from Nicaragua and seco tobaccos from both Nicaragua and Honduras.
With white bands silhouetted by Tiant’s unique windup, La Leyenda comes in four traditional sizes that cost in the $6-9 range. The Pyramid (6.1 x 52) is coarse with plenty of tooth and pre-light notes of cocoa.
The first puff of this textured, oily cigar is extremely spicy. Then, after a few more smooth draws, the edges round nicely to include flavors of black coffee, dark chocolate, dry cedar, and herbs. Another pleasant taste is also present—one that I’ve found in other El Tiante creations but, frustratingly, can’t quite put my finger on.
At times, especially in the middle and end of the Pyramid, a meaty flavor fades in and out. So does an airy sweetness that’s akin to powdered sugar. While the former tends to build on the medium- to full-bodied profile, the latter counters it nicely with a softer balance.
I enjoyed the La Leyenda Pyramid for this complexity and nuance. The burn may require a few touch-ups, but the unique flavor is enough to make up for any construction flaws, earning this El Tiante four stogies out of five.
[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]
photo credit: Stogie Guys