6 Jun 2011
If you look online, you’ll find virtually zero information about Mataza, a new line from the Alec Bradley Cigar Company, maker of such cigars as Maxx, Prensado, and Tempus.
I say “virtually” because, for now, there’s only one website that talks about Mataza. It belongs to Hiland’s Cigars, a tobacconist in Scottsdale, Arizona, that carries a nice selection of smokes and takes orders over the web and phone. Scott Hiland tells me that Mataza was sent to his store first. The line is expected to soon become more widely available.
Mataza is made with a Brazilian mata fina wrapper, a Honduran binder, and a two-country filler blend from Nicaragua and Colombia. It comes in five sizes: Robusto (4.75 x 50, $48 per box of 10), Super Toro (6 x 54, $93 per box of 25), Robusto Gordo (5 x 54, $85 per box of 25), Magnum (6 x 60, $100 per box of 25), and Torpedo (6 x 56, $93 per box of 25).
Hiland provided me with three Robusto Gordos for this review. These dark, mottled cigars are toothy and somewhat oily with pre-light aromas of powdered cocoa. The cap clips easily to reveal a smooth draw.
As expected given the mata fina wrapper, a wonderful sweetness comes through from the very beginning. This sugary component is offset by a full-bodied, spicy core of black pepper, leather, and dry wood. The mixture of bitterness, sweetness, and spice does a good job of piquing my interest, albeit with a few hiccups of stale notes along the way.
At the midway point and thereafter, a taste of roasted coffee beans comes to the fore and the leathery flavor backpedals. I prefer this slightly toned-down combination, finding the overall experience more complex and a little less powerful.
All the while, the physical properties of the Robusto Gordo never really cause any trouble. But if you’re the kind of cigar enthusiast who loves to admire a perfectly straight burn line, you’ll likely be a little disappointed. Even though touch-ups are rarely required, the sandy gray ash has a way of meandering from light to nub that’s less than precise.
That doesn’t really bother me. I’m more interested in the flavor this cigar brings to the table for around $3.40 when bought by the box. That’s a great value, especially if, like me, you really enjoy the sweetness of Brazilian tobacco. So keep your eyes open for the budget-friendly Mataza line by Alec Bradley; the Robusto Gordo earns three and a half stogies out of five.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys