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Cigar Review: Bellaterra Riserva di Famiglia Robusto

6 Dec 2011

Twenty miles south of Nashville lies the town of Franklin, home to the Bellaterra Ranch. For the Murphy family, the Tennessee ranch is an idyllic setting for horses, wine, and cigars.

Mike Murphy learned about wine from his grandfather-in-law, an Italian winemaker who taught him the craft 30 years ago. Mike and his wife later took more than 40 trips to Napa and Sonoma to help them develop their own wine, called Bellaterra. These days, they sell their California-made wine from their 30-acre ranch.

They also sell cigars, made by the Toraño family in Nicaragua. The Murphys have five blends that are specifically constructed to pair well with (and not overpower) red wine: La Dolce Vita Reserve, La Dolce Vita, Riserva di Famiglia, Euforia, and Double Deuce.

Riserva di Famiglia carries the title of “our family favorite,” so I decided to sample this Connecticut-wrapped line first. It is comprised of five vitolas that range in price from $11.86 to $13.46: Corona (5.5 x 42), Robusto (5 x 50), Torpedo (6.25 x 52), Churchill (7 x 48), and Double Corona (7 x 50). Only 6,000 of these cigars were made.

The Robusto has a dark, reddish exterior leaf with minimal veins and a nice cap. The foot gives off a rich aroma of earth and cocoa powder. Fairly light and soft in the hand, the pre-light draw is smooth, even with just a punch cut.

After establishing an even light, the Robusto opens with a rounded profile of leather, oak, raisin, marshmallow sweetness, and a bit of black pepper spice on the finish. I would classify the strength towards the mild side of the medium-bodied spectrum.

I have to admit to being thrown off by this cigar. On one hand, it doesn’t look or taste anything like your typical Connecticut-wrapped smoke, which usually has hay, almond, cream and a mild body. On the other, it has both spice and some of the zing that you’d expect from Nicaraguan tobacco, but it’s more subdued than the familiar cigars that come out of that country. I’m further vexed by the fact that the Robusto doesn’t taste like anything else produced by the Toraños.

These perplexities aside, I do like the flavor, and I must give this smoke points for its uniqueness. Construction is good, too, with a burn line that meanders but never requires a touch-up. My only complaint is that the white ash tends to fall off the foot a bit prematurely.

After sampling three Robustos for this review, I’m impressed by the balance and individuality of the taste. Don’t think of the price as too high for a cigar you’ve never heard of; think of it as the cost of smoking a rare Toraño most enthusiasts will never get their hands on, one that’s worthy of four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

2 Responses to “Cigar Review: Bellaterra Riserva di Famiglia Robusto”

  1. Gerrard Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    Sounds pretty damn interesting and tasty. May have to give this a try, especially since I'm a Torano fan.

    FYI: Bellaterra sells cigars directly from their website, which is linked to above.

  2. SoxManDan Sunday, July 1, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    Great breakfast cigar!