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Cigar Review: Hoyo La Amistad Robusto

10 Oct 2016

hoyo-la-armistad

Justified or not, hardcore cigar enthusiasts will often ignore brands from huge companies like General Cigar and Altadis in favor of offerings from small, boutique operations. Perhaps in an effort to combat this treatment, the two industry giants have both recently partnered with cigar makers who—while certainly not small—manage to maintain a solid rapport among the most dedicated segment of the cigar smoking community.

la-armistadLast year, Altadis tapped Pete Johnson of Tatuaje to help craft Henry Clay Tattoo, a limited run of 2,500 boxes that quickly sold out. This year, General chose to partner with A.J. Fernandez well-known for his operations in Nicaragua, to develop a four-vitola line called La Amistad.

“I grew up very near to the Hoyo de Monterrey farm and I have always had a love for the brand,” said Fernandez in an Altadis press release. “When it came time to develop this blend, I put my heart and soul into it… This cigar represents the best of me and my factory and I am proud to be a part of this collaboration.”

Marketed as “brawny and robust” with “notes of leather and spice,” the recipe for La Amistad includes an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder from Fernandez’s farms in Estelí, and Nicaraguan filler tobacco from Estelí, Ometepe, Condega, and Jalapa. The available sizes are Rothschild (4.5 x 50, $6.49), Toro (6 x 50, $7.79), Gigante (6 x 60, $7.99), and Robusto (5 x 54, $7.59).

I sampled five Robustos for this review. Each had a dark, slightly reddish wrapper with minimal veins and tight seams beneath dual bands of white, gold, and red. As you would expect from both General and A.J. Fernandez, the cigar appears to be expertly built with a firm feel, a cross-section of tightly packed tobaccos at the foot, and a well-executed cap. The pre-light notes remind me of sweet hay and molasses. The cold draw is clear.

The Robusto begins with a hearty dose of Nicaraguan zing. I’d describe the preliminary flavor as black pepper spice, cinnamon, dry wood, and hints of caramel. Spice-forward and dry with a coarse texture, the strength settles after a half-inch. Here, the profile is earthier while still maintaining a fair amount of spice, especially on the tip of the tongue. At the midway point, the cigar is at its best: medium-bodied with citrus, subdued pepper, leather, all balanced by salted nuts and sweetness. The finale brings a reprise of the intensity from the outset.

With solid construction—sturdy ash, straight burn, clear draw, and good smoke production—coupled with a spicy Nicaraguan character and body that sways from full to medium and back to full, the Hoyo La Amistad Robusto is an enjoyable smoke and a good buy at less than $8. I award it an admirable rating 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

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