Posted by Jack | in San Lotano | on 06 Apr 2013 | at 3:07 PM | 3171 views
As you can probably tell from my photos, Spring is starting to actually appear in Dayton.  After what feels like a year of sucky cold weather, the sun decided to show up again and bring the temperature up to a bearable 58.  After a morning of plumbing and cleaning and spreading bug killer on the yard, I decided to sit on the back porch and light up a sample that Jordan at The Wharf gave me - a hefty San Lotano Habano.  I have had the Oval - which I enjoyed totally - but none of the other San Lotano varieties.  I tend to enjoy the Habano wrapper leaf, so I figured this one should be a no-brainer.  How was it?  Let's see....
Construction: While a little rustic, the SLH is covered in a beautifully spiraled and nearly veinless Habano leaf.  The cap appears doubled rather than the triple cap we have been seeing on most brands these days.  The cigar is also very heavy in the hand - which is usually a good sign.
Pre-light Aroma and Draw: Out of the nicely yellowed cellophane, the SLH gives off a very powerful tobacco aroma.  From the unlit foot, I get a nice spicy hay-like smell that is very pleasant.  As I prepare to cut this rather large toro, I get a very nice cinnamon flavor from the wrapper leaf.  The cutting goes without a hitch and the unlit draw is spot-on.
Light and Burn: The breeze kept me from using matches to light this cigar - as is my usual want - so I was forced to use the jet lighter.  I usually try to avoid using the jet for anything except burn corrections as the intense heat can scorch the wrapper if you are not careful.  The burn starts out nearly perfect and in the first third it went a little ragged.  It finally evened out as the first third came to a close.  The Habano offering of the San Lotano line is a pretty slow burner too.  During the ragged portion of the burn I had to cool a couple of spots down and rather than spitting on my finger and trying to touch the burn - usually burning my finger - I employed a nifty device given to me by Ernie at The Wharf.  It's a sterile sailene dropper used for nebulizers.  I filled one with distilled water and dripped a drop on the hot spot - no burned fingers this time!  What a great idea!
Tasting: Starting off the San Lotano Habano gives off a nice peppery blast.  While similar to Tatuaje and Don Pepin it is actually a bit more primal and less refined.  About a half-inch into the first third the flavors start to kick in and the pepper starts to drop but not vanish completely.  There are hints of coffee in the mix but only slight ones as that peppery spice and a heavy woody flavor hit full force.  So far, I would say the SLH is a medium bodied cigar with full flavor.  As the end of the first third closes, I get a nice nutty sweetness added to the peppery and woody spice.  As the middle third starts up, I get another addition to the already woody spicy profile.  And it's something new to any cigar I have had.  It's a very mild fennel-like spice that is very unexpected and is extremely slight.  I am drinking a big glass of water as I smoke this cigar and it helps keep my palette clear.  I find that drinking beer, wine, or whiskey with a new cigar tends to taint my perceptions a little too much for a review.  Into the final third that nutty sweetness increases a bit.  While not an overly complex cigar, it's highly consistent and enjoyable from start to finish.
Value: Since this was a gifted sample, I have no complaints, of course.  The SLH will run you around $7 online.  Not a bad price for a cigar I think I could smoke fairly regularly as a cigar to smoke when I am puttering around outside or fiddling with my computer.
Final Thoughts: I greatly enjoy the offerings that A. J. Fernandez has brought to the market over the past few years.  To date, I enjoy the Oval the most.  This past week, I smoked three different habano wrapped cigars and all were excellent.  The Four Kicks by Crowned Heads, the Cojonu 2012 Habano by Tatuaje, and this San Lotano.  While not as refined as the others I smoked, the San Lotano is still recommended.
Wrapper: Brazilian Habano (Cuban seed ligero!)
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican, Honduran
Strength: Medium to full
Size: 6 x 54
Nice looking cigar and well constructed
The band is heavy and comes off easily - always a plus in my book
The sterile sailene dropper - genius idea that works like a champ!
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