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Cigar Review: Trinidad Robusto

12 Jul 2011

If you do a little research on the Trinidad brand, you’ll find no shortage of inconsistencies. Some claim that Cuban Trinidads were once reserved for foreign diplomats visiting the communist isle. Castro himself refuted this. Others maintain that Trinidad was specifically crafted to appeal to American consumers who illegally purchase Cubans. This assertion remains highly controversial.

Whatever the case, today there are two separate versions of the brand that is named for the city of Trinidad, Cuba: one made by Habanos SA with Cuban tobacco, the other made by Altadis USA in the Dominican Republic. Like so many other cigar brands, the split was a direct result of Fidel Castro’s criminalization of private enterprise and the subsequent embargo.

The standard Trinidad line made by Altadis currently features a dark Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, a Connecticut broadleaf binder, and a three-country filler blend from Peru, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. Eight vitolas are available, all of which can be easily found on the web or at your tobacconist.

I picked up a handful of Robustos from my local shop for about $7.50 apiece. This size, which measures 5 inches long with a ring gauge of 50, is impressively firm from head to foot with minimal veins. Its potent pre-light aroma reminds me of fresh mulch.

Over the years I’ve learned to expect good construction from Altadis-made smokes, and this specimen is no exception. The draw is clear despite the Robusto’s solid packing, the burn is straight and true, and the ash holds well. What’s more, the gold band can be removed easily without tearing the wrapper.

And while the initial taste leaves something to be desired—as a persistent bitterness drowns out the base flavors of spicy pepper, wood, and leather—the Trinidad Robusto undergoes some welcome changes after a half inch. There, the stale, bitter notes are replaced with sweetness and cream. This creates a more harmonious balance that lasts until the end, save for a few bitter hints here and there.

All told, the Trinidad Robusto is no slouch, and I don’t find it hard to understand why many enthusiasts remain loyal to the Dominican-made brand. For me, it’s a good smoke that’s slightly overpriced, earning it three and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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