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Cigar Review: Dona Flor Puro Mata Fina Robusto

11 Jul 2012

When I reviewed the new Seleção Robusto last month, I mentioned that Dona Flor, a top brand in Brazil for years, was once a darling of StogieGuys.com.

The company’s blends earned high praise from my colleagues and I back in 2006 and 2007. The Alonso Menendez Robusto was no exception. That smoke might have been my favorite Dona Flor at the time. I remember it as a rough-looking specimen made of mata fina tobacco with a quick burn, good construction, and an aromatic profile of coffee and milk chocolate—a flavor that I’d sometimes describe as “moist chocolate cake.” But my access to the Alonso Menendez Robusto was cut off for years as legal issues halted Dona Flor’s brief distribution to the U.S.

Then, on June 5 of this year, I received a press release proclaiming Dona Flor’s re-introduction to the American market. I quickly scoured the text in hopes of seeing the Alonso Menendez name. No such luck. But there was a new blend that looked and sounded a lot like my old friend. Called the Dona Flor Puro Mata Fina Robusto, it too is made from 100% mata fina tobacco. Save for the updated band, it also looks like the Alonso Menendez Robusto, with a coarse, textured wrapper, a loose packing of tobacco, and a similar cap. And the Puro Mata Fina Robusto is even sold in the same size (5 x 52). The retail price will run around $8.

Before setting fire to the foot, the pre-light aroma of the Puro Mata Fina Robusto does remind me of Alonso Menendez. It’s a potent fragrance of sweet chocolate. The cap clips easily to reveal a predictably airy draw with some sweetness on the lips.

Now the Puro Mata Fina Robusto is a fast-burning cigar, so that means a few things. First, the cigar takes less time to smoke than your average robusto. Second, the burn is perfectly even and requires no touch-ups along the way. Third, each puff gives off tons of smoke. And fourth, I’d typically expect a cigar with such rapid combustion to taste hot and harsh.

Thankfully, though, the flavor is anything but. At the outset the profile is cool, dry, and cedary with notes of allspice, leather, and pine nut. There’s also a fair amount of dark chocolate bitterness present—a contrast to the sweet chocolate that’s so pervasive in the Alonso Menendez. As it progresses, the bitterness and the woodiness ramp up significantly, and charred notes dominate the final third.

Since I started working on this review, I’ve learned that the Puro Mata Fina Robusto is not simply the reincarnation of the Alonso Menendez. Dona Flor aims to eventually reintroduce Alonso Menendez to the U.S. market, but that probably won’t happen for at least another year. In the meantime, the Puro Mata Fina Robusto is a decidedly different cigar, one that’s worthy of three and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

4 Responses to “Cigar Review: Dona Flor Puro Mata Fina Robusto”

  1. Patrick A Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    CORRECTION NOTIFICATION

    When this review was published this morning, it listed the per-cigar price of the Dona Flor Puro Mata Fina Robusto at $4, which is consistent with the information I was provided by Dona Flor. I have since come to learn that the per-cigar price is in fact $8, and I have changed the review to reflect that. StogieGuys.com apologizes for this temporary error.

  2. Archie Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    Sounds pretty good since I'm a fan of mata fina. And also good to hear the Alonso Menendez is forthcoming to the American market. I never tried it before, but if you were a fan I'm up for trying it!

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