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Stogie Reviews: La Flor Dominicana Air Bender Matatan

29 Mar 2010

A few weeks ago we spoke with La Flor Dominicana head honcho Litto Gomez about, among other things, his latest line. Air Bender, as it is called, was originally a blend exclusive to La Flor Dominicana in-store events. Once Gomez had stockpiled enough of the Ecuadorian Habano wrapper to ensure a few years of consistent production, he launched it with a series of events over the past couple months. Litto has previously used the wrapper on his Double Press cigar.

LFDAirBenderUnderneath the dry, relatively vein-free Ecuadorian wrapper are Dominican binder and filler tobaccos from La Flor Dominicana’s farm in La Canela. Litto says the blend is not as spicy as his well-regarded Double Ligero. Instead, the intended profile is of “refined power.”

Air Bender is offered in four vitolas that retail for $7-8.25 apiece: Guerrero (6.25 x 54), Maestro (5.25 x 52), Valiente (6.25 x 60), and the Matatan (5 x 50). Each name honors a kung fu warrior. “I’m enamored with Chinese culture,” Gomez told us. In addition, Gomez says a thinner size will be available at the IPCPR Trade Show in August.

But contrary to some reports, the “Air Bender” isn’t just a reference to Kung Fu culture. “When we smoke, we bend the air,” Gomez told us. “You can see smoke split the air as it leaves a cigar. That’s why I thought ‘Air Bender’ would be a perfect name for my newest line.”

The robusto-sized Matatan is well-constructed and very firm to the touch. Pre-light there are notes of dried cranberries and cedar. Once lit, you quickly see what Gomez means by “refined power.” The Air Bender has a bourbon-like flavor with lot’s of pepper and dry oak.

It starts out with burst of full-flavored spice but soon settles into a more medium-bodied, balanced profile with continued wood and pepper joined by subtle undertones of cherry and cassis. Despite an occasionally uneven burn, construction was good with a notably solid ash, aptly described in a comment as “made out of cement.”

Between its solid construction, balanced flavor, and “refined power,” there is much to appreciate about Litto Gomez’s latest creation. That’s why the LFD Air Bender Matatan earns a rating of four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

12 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: La Flor Dominicana Air Bender Matatan”

  1. Chris V Monday, March 29, 2010 at 2:03 am #

    Dang! This sounds like EXACTLY what I need!!!!

    Chris

  2. dmjones Monday, March 29, 2010 at 2:27 am #

    Great stick…one of my top new smokes of recent months. One minor correction: the Air Bender does use an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, same as the Double Press and Habano Perfecto, but the Salomon uses a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper (also used on the Habano Corona and, I believe, the Small Batch that was released last year). It confused the heck out of me as LFD is suddenly using Habano wrappers on nearly everything when they've never advertised their use before–I thought they were all the same for a while.

  3. Dave in Ashburn Monday, March 29, 2010 at 3:22 am #

    "When we smoke, we bend the air…." Come on. I'm sure it's a great cigar and Mr. Gomez certainly knows what he's doing, but let me take off my guayabera for a moment to complain about fabricated romanticism. As much as I'd love to be communicating with the gods or paying homage to rich ancestry, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  4. cj Monday, March 29, 2010 at 5:04 am #

    …and to add to what Dave posted, I am constantly disappointed by LFD smokes. They burn terrible, most of them are plugged, and with Coronado being the exception, taste rather bland to me. I paid $8.50 plus tax for the toro size bender the other week. It was a complete waste of time, with terrible construction and draw, even after the poker was introduced. As a comparison, never had anything but perfection from a My Father. Good luck to those who try this cigar!

  5. mighty Monday, March 29, 2010 at 6:13 am #

    I like many of LFD cigars. When I want a rich, usually complex cigar, I know there are a couple blends that will fit that bill.

    I have smoked quite a few of the Air Benders, and I must say that I really enjoy them. Even though they were really hard feeling, I have gotten a great draw on the ones I have smoked.

  6. Patrick S Monday, March 29, 2010 at 8:57 am #

    dmjones-

    You're likely right about the wrapper on the Salomon.

    While I know that the Salomon uses Habano wrapper, I've seen it listed as both Nicaraguan and Ecuadorian. The Double Press was confirmed to me by LFD as Ecuadorian.

  7. dmjones Monday, March 29, 2010 at 9:59 am #

    Patrick,

    Their lack of information on their website contributes to the problem. I was confused and thought the same wrapper had been used on Salomon, Double Press, Habano Corona, Habano Perfecto, and Air Bender. I DM'd LFD on Twitter and he cleared it up in the reply.

  8. Anthony Ferreira Monday, March 29, 2010 at 5:53 pm #

    The LFD Air Bender is a well constructed cigar loaded with different taste sensations. I have never had a draw problem with any Litto Gomez products, but keep a DeWalt handy to prevent a negative experience. Have never smoked a nunchaku but the Air Bender has gotta be close. I have always tried to center my chi but the air bending between my ears has enabled forces preventing my oneness with the universe. Thank you for your informative analogies!

  9. Chris V Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at 1:02 am #

    I've never had issues with Litto Gomez's stuff either? Maybe you're just unlucky man? But hands down my favorite is the Grand Maduro Premium Line! BOOYA!

  10. Charlton Cerbone Monday, April 12, 2010 at 6:48 pm #

    Tony Gomez told me when we were smoking Airbenders that his younger brother that is nine picked the name based on his favorite cartoon. LFD and Litto Gomez cigars are my favorite. I am not liking the new LG's as much as the past, but the Double Ligero Oscuro Lancero is crazy good.

  11. Christopher Saturday, January 1, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    Just wanted to point out that this cigar also comes in a fifth vitola: villano(6.5×38) which happens to be the highest rated of the line on Cigar Aficianado. Great review, I'm looking forward to smoking one of these.

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