31 Jan 2013
Haven’t heard of J. Grotto? Don’t feel bad. Until recently, I knew nothing about the line made by the Rhode Island-based Ocean State Cigars.
Fortunately, the company doesn’t make its cigars in the Ocean State, but at the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras, one of the hottest and most prolific factories around. Raices also rolls cigars for Illusione, Alec Bradley, Viaje, and a number of other brands.
The J. Grotto Reserve has Honduran ligero and Nicaraguan Jalapa filler surrounded by a Honduran Criollo ’98 binder and a Criollo ’99 wrapper. The Lancero (7.5 x 41) is a new addition to a line that also includes a Gran Corona (5.6 X 46), Gran Robusto (5 X 52), Gran Toro (6 x 52), and Gordo (6 x 60).
According to a press release from the company, production of the limited release Lancero was delayed three months due to demand-driven production delays at Raices Cubanas. Even when the delay was overcome, only 1,000 total cigars were made with 100 boxes of 10 being reserved for stores hosting J. Grotto events. (I received three cigars to sample directly from Ocean State.)
It’s a good-looking Lancero with a reddish wrapper that features a bit of oil. It’s a bit spongy but, when it comes to the lancero size, this doesn’t bother me; an overly tight draw is a far more common problem on long, thin vitolas.
Once lit, I find a flavor profile dominated by clove and nutmeg. There’s also earth and roast cashew, with just a hint of cedary spice on the finish, the only spice the cigar demonstrates. Construction is excellent, with no ill effects from the seemingly loose draw.
The cigar is medium-bodied and mostly balanced, though it adds some grittiness towards the final third. It’s smooth, flavorful, and highly enjoyable. The smoothness comes, I suspect, from the fact that the cigar is made of tobacco that has been aged three full years.
At $7.95 per cigar, this is an impressive smoke worth seeking out, even if finding it may be difficult (retailers that do get it will only be getting four boxes each). With smooth, medium-bodied flavors and excellent construction, the J. Grotto Reserve Lancero Limitado earns an impressive four and a half stogies out of five.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys