Don Duarte Reserva Robusto. A brand that may not ring a bell with many cigar smokers. But it has a history to it. About a decade ago, the brand had some traction in Europe. But due to health-related reasons, Roger Duarte Rodriguez had to put everything on hold. Now the brand is back and available in a few countries. The Nicaraguan puro with the H2000 Oscuro wrapper that we are reviewing is from the personal stash of Don Duarte and has been aged for a decade.
The great grandparents of Don Roger Duarte Rodriguez, Don Rafael Rodriguez, and Juana Lanuza de Rodriguez, were one of the founders of Esteli. Don Rafael Rodriguez was a tobacco grower and one of the first to export tobacco out of Nicaragua. And his great grandmother on the Duarte side, Dona Maria Duarte Boza, owned a small tobacco manufacturing plant in Masaya. They processed tobacco from Ometepe and turned them into small cigars called Chilcagres. So tobacco runs through the blood of the Managua born entrepreneur. He acted as President of Tabacalera Tropical, which is now known as Aganorsa Leaf. That’s where he met the legendary Evelio Oviedo who blended the Don Duarte cigars.
Name: Don Duarte Reserva Robusto
Factory: Plasencia Cigars
Wrapper: Nicaragua, H-2000 Oscuro
Price: € 7.10
Cutter: Xikar X2
Lighter: single flame
Smoke conditions: indoors with ventilator
Smoke time: two hours fifteen minutes
Sponsored by Don Duarte
The cigar has a closed foot. That always gets a cigar a few bonus points for aesthetic reasons. The wrapper is dark, leathery, oily and beautiful. The brown ring fades away on the dark wrapper. The secondary ring is gold with black text. The triple cap is beautiful. And even after ten years, the cigar still has a nice, medium-strong aroma of wood and barnyard. The construction feels good.
The cold draw is tight, due to the closed foot. But there is flavor in the cold draw. Gingerbread comes to mind and black pepper. The first flavors after lighting the cigar are wood, leather, spices, and a pleasant sweetness. Some pepper and coffee show up as well but mellowed out after a decade of aging. The aging also makes the cigar easy to retrohale. In the second third, there is more pepper but again mellow. With spices, leather, and even a hint of chocolate. Slowly there are coffee flavors, spices, leather, and even a little fruity acidity. Near the end, the cigar gains a lot of pepper, spice, but there is also some sweetness, wood, and leather.
The draw is great. The ash is white. The white blueish smoke is sufficient but could be a little thicker. The cigar is mellow, smoothed out due to the decade of aging. It’s still medium-bodied, medium flavored though. The cigar is well balanced, it has character. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.