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Cigar Review: Fratello Navetta Atlantis

2 Jan 2018

In June, Omar de Frias announced Fratello Cigars would debut a new line called Navetta. Navetta means “shuttle” in Italian and is a “dream project” Frias envisioned while he worked at NASA for 12 years.

Made at the Joya de Nicaragua factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, Navetta sports an Ecuadorian Oscuro wrapper. It began shipping in September in four introductory formats ranging in price from $10.50 to $12.50: Discovery (5 x 50), Endeavor (6.25 x 54), Enterprise (6 x 60), and Atlantis (6.25 x 52).

“Blending Fratello Navetta was special as I wanted to translate the ultimate celebration our men and women of the space program felt after a successful mission,” said Frias in a press release. “After being part of over 21 missions, nothing beats the feeling of getting our astronauts home safe to their families. Colleagues of mine would get together and smoke a very special cigar to commemorate the occasion. This very special blend carries the ultimate feeling of innovation, duty, honor, and success.”

I paid just over $18 (including crazy Chicago taxes) for Atlantis. Like the other Navetta sizes, this pyramid features two interestingly shaped bands of white, black, and silver that nicely complement the dark, velvety wrapper they partially conceal. After the large foot band is removed, it’s easier to take full measure of the oily exterior leaf, which has plenty of tooth, thin veins, and a reddish hue.

I was a little disappointed to see that my sample had some slight damage at the peak of its sharply pointed cap (this is barely visible in my photo to the right). Fortunately, that part of the cap is intended to be clipped and, once that’s done, I find an effortless cold draw.

The pre-light notes at the foot remind me of dark chocolate and green raisin. After setting an even light, a rich, full-bodied, spicy profile arrives with a bang. The individual flavors remind me of espresso, roasted nuts, black pepper, and cayenne heat. The texture is thick and leathery. Background notes include cinnamon, cherry, and firewood.

As Atlantis—named for the Space Shuttle that completed 33 NASA missions—progresses to the midway point, the body settles into the medium- to full-bodied spectrum and the spice subdues a bit. The flavors are less intense but better balanced and smoother. Here, the cinnamon is more pronounced, and there are also traces of sweet cream and milk chocolate. The final third sees a reprise of the intensity from the outset.

Construction is superb. Expect an even burn line, solid gray ash, clear draw, and above-average smoke production.

What I’ll likely remember most about Fratello Navetta Atlantis is the pervasive taste of rich roasted nuts. This is a flavor that hits my palate in all the right places. I find it’s found in many cigars, but the sensation is often fleeting. Here, it’s central and consistent from light to nub.

It’s a bit of a shame that I didn’t review this cigar in time for it to be included on our 2017 best-of list (our list is the best of the cigars we reviewed that year, not the best new cigars that were introduced that year). Look for it on our best cigars of 2018 list. It earns four and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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