I had swim team taxi duty this weekend. So I found myself with an uninterrupted 90 minutes to kill while waiting on the boys to finish practice. Luckily, I planned ahead and brought along a cigar that was new (to me) and Iíve wanted to try. Today, Iím reviewing the El Mejor Espresso.
Manufacturer: Nestor Plasencia
Brand: El Mejor
Vitola: Toro (6x52)
Wrapper: Mexican Maduro
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran long filler
Burn: Poor, uneven and fast
Smoking Time: 55 minutes
Price Paid: <$2 (at auction)
Age: 20 days in my humidor
Smoking conditions: Outdoors. Cold (38-40 F). No wind.
Prelight: Man, what a beautiful cigar. Dark, chocolate brown, oily wrapper and clean box press. (Speaking of this wrapper, I highly recommend you check out the Educational threads on Maduro.) A light squeeze reveals some soft spots. Actually, the sides (vs. the face where the label is centered) are pretty soft along the entire length. Closer inspection of the wrapper reveals a couple wrinkles/creases (at the foot and the head). Cuts easily and smooth (Xikar double guillotine). Prelight scent was of sweet tobacco. Prelight draw was loose with light tobacco and faint roasted coffee notes.
Light: Toasted and lit with single flame torch. Lit easily and evenly.
First Third. My first draw generates lots of smoke and it continued to put out thick clouds of smoke throughout. With the first few draws, the burn got uneven (badly). One side of the wrapper stopped burning. Flavors were of bitter chocolate with a hint of burnt (not just caramelized) sugar. Needed a touch-up. Ash is mottled grey and flaky and held <1 inch.
Second Third. The bitterness of the first third mellows now. Iím still getting chocolate but softer. Not milk chocolate but good dark chocolate. Iím now picking up hints of caramelized sugar, almost a toasted marshmallow flavor. Maybe it's more of a scent than a flavor. Hard to tell but itís nice. Also getting some black coffee flavor. The burn problems continue. Needed two touch-ups and the ash fell both times. Really struggling to keep one side of the wrapper lit.
Third Third. Flavor changes. All the softness has pretty much gone away. Iím getting flavors of charred wood and scorched coffee now. Burnt popcorn too (bitter). Starts out as hints and then burnt popcorn becomes the dominant flavor. The bad burn continues but I donít want to touch it up any more. (Rather smoke it than burn it.) Almost the entire final third, the cigar is hot to the touch. I let it die at about an inch.
Conclusion: I definitely think the flavor of this stick suffered from the additional flame necessary to keep the burn from getting totally out of hand. Just goes to show how interrelated the construction/draw/burn and flavor of a cigar are. It ainít just aesthetics. One half of this cigar burned very quickly and the other had a hard time staying lit. Flame touch ups increased the total burn rate, which was already pretty fast due to the loose draw/pack. There were some nice flavors in this cigar that I hope will become more dominant if left to rest for 6 months. Maybe resting will help with the burn issues too. Iíll do that and try again.
Recommend: Nah. Thereís better knowckaround maduros out there, even under $2. Weíll see if I change my mind after they rest a while.