21 Aug 2013
Aimed at serving “the new generation of cigar smoker out there,” the California-based Ventura Cigar Co. is taking a less-than-traditional angle with two blends that recently launched at the IPCPR Trade Show: Psyko Seven and Project 805.
The latter, presumably named for the area code where Ventura is located, doesn’t merely employ bold fonts, unique bands, and attention-grabbing marketing to create a “disruption” in the industry. Project 805 brings an entirely new tobacco to the table. Called Andullo, the leaf is exclusive to Ventura and, according to the Ventura website, it has never been used in a cigar before.
Described as “naturally flavored, aromatic, and so utterly different,” Andullo is part of the Project 805 filler, which also includes Dominican tobacco. The rest of the blend features a Dominican Olor binder and a Corojo Shade wrapper. Four sizes are available: Robusto (5 x 50), Toro (6 x 50), Figurado (6.25 x 52), and Churchill (7 x 50). Each is crafted at La Aurora’s E. León Jimenes factory and sold in 20-count boxes that are handmade from African Okuome wood.
The Robusto, also known as “805R,” sells for approximately $7. It is a reddish, oily cigar with a rough cap and a surface that’s sparsely populated with thin, winding veins. Two bands partially obstruct the wrapper—one proudly proclaiming the inclusion of Andullo tobacco, the other with Ventura’s trademark red “V” cut out of the back. Ample sweet notes emanate from the foot.
Once the Robusto is burning, a profile of oak, dry red wine, and earth emerges. A mild spice and a slight bitterness characterize aftertaste. The texture is leathery and the palate is most concentrated on the tip of the tongue and the roof of the mouth.
I’ve never tasted Andullo tobacco completely on its own, so I’ll refrain from guessing how this new tobacco is impacting the blend. But the overall effect is quite nice, and I find Project 805 to be enjoyable—particularly the interplay between salty notes and syrupy sweetness. The spice and leather are perhaps a little more muted than what you’d expect from a Corojo-wrapped smoke.
Project 805’s physical properties are solid, a tribute to the fine folks who craft cigars for La Aurora. The burn is straight and low-maintenance, the ash holds well, and the draw is smooth.
Whether Project 805 will be the disruption to the industry Ventura hopes remains to be seen. This is a young cigar with, in my opinion, good potential for improvement in aging. Time may round off the edges a bit and produce a more harmonious balance. For now, though, the Robusto is worthy of a good rating of three and a half stogies out of five.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys