19 Aug 2013
Certain cigar personalities are downright magnetic. When I met Omar de Frias in Las Vegas at this summer’s IPCPR Trade Show, he was certainly giving off an attention-grabing vibe: energetic, optimistic, eager, and incredibly excited about his new brand, Fratello Cigars.
If you were at the Trade Show, you probably encountered Fratello’s booth—or at least heard about the new brand, which has an inventive diagonal band of red, white, and black. If you weren’t, I imagine you’ll soon be encountering Fratello, either via the online cigar community, or finding the brand in your local shop. Omar’s personality and stature (he’s tall) almost guarantees Fratello will at least get a fair shake.
Over two years in the making, the Fratello recipe includes a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper, Ecuadorian Sumatra binder, and filler tobaccos from Peru and Nicaragua. “While smoking only filler and binder we found a great balance between our sweet and salty notes,” reads the Fratello website. The wrapper “gives our cigar the creaminess and finish that will take our customer’s taste buds on a ride.”
The name “Fratello” is a whole other story. Why would a man from the Dominican Republic make a cigar in Nicaragua and call it “brother” in Italian? Because “fratello” was a younger Omar de Frias’ nickname. I guess that’s what happens when you take Italian classes in college.
In any event, the Corona (5.5 x 46), one of four sizes, is dark, moderately oily, clean, and soft to the touch. Only a V-cut is needed to yield a smooth draw. Once lit, a flavor of black pepper, bitter espresso, and earth emerges. Notes of cream and dry cedar come to the fore after a half inch of smoking.
Then, about an inch in, the taste undergoes a complete transformation from hot and spicy to smooth and creamy. This creaminess is soon augmented by cinnamon spice and a slight reprise of heat. Throughout, the burn line remains true and the white ash holds firm.
I think a lot of people are going to gravitate to this cigar simply because Omar de Frias is an incredibly likable personality. But that does Fratello a certain injustice. Judging the blend on its own merits, it’s balanced, well-rounded, and interesting. And it doesn’t taste like everything else on the market. That earns the approachable Fratello Corona a solid rating of four stogies out of five.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys