El Pulpo is the second core-line release from Artesano Del Tobacco, following up on the highly successful Viva La Vida. The El Pulpo was intended to be a stronger blend than Viva La Vida, but still offering much in the way of complexity and nuance. This blend has made quite a splash, receiving high marks from many publications, including the #10 spot on Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 Cigars of 2023. I elected to light up the robusto this morning, as it is the smallest vitola.
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Maduro
Vitola: 5 x 56 Box Pressed Robusto
Price: $15.00 MSRP
Link to Purchase: The Cigar Farm (Use code “WW10” to save 10%!)
This cigar has a very clean San Andres wrapper that is dark with a slight reddish hue. Even though it’s a 56 ring gauge, the BP makes it seem like a standard Robusto. The cigar smells of cocoa and earthy bread. The cold draw is like a brandied candied cherry. First light reveals plenty of full bodied and full flavored smoke. It’s oily, woody, and a bit tannic upfront with the finish being full of toast and dark coffee. The retrohale has plenty of pepper and a dark chocolate and raisiny quality to it. About a half inch in and things are mostly the same. The tannins have dropped out of the profile and have been replaced by some citrus zest. Moving into the second third the citrus in the draw has come up. There’s still some oily wood as well. The finish has become some combination of baking spices and syrupy dark fruit. Passing halfway there’s some milk chocolate joining the profile now. The retrohale still has some pepper, chocolate, and more of a brighter fruitiness than the raisins at the beginning. Construction has been perfect. Into the final third there’s a bit of earth and pepper now on the draw with the chocolate moving to the finish. The strength seems to be bumping up and is into the medium-full range. Coming to an end at just over an hour the profile remained consistent and the performance was flawless. The strength did reach near full levels.
Overall this was a good cigar. I was reluctant ahead of getting any El Pulpo because of the larger ring gauge, however, the box press on these is tight and really makes them seem like a 50-52. It had plenty of flavor with some nuance, though, for me, when cigars are this full and bold it can be harder to pull out those more nuanced notes. This also definitely had some creeping strength that I would be mindful of. If you like bold, dark flavors with plenty of strength, then this is right up your alley. If you prefer loads of complex, discernable flavors this may not be for you. Also tread lightly if you don’t like a nicotine kick.
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