Exactus Cigars are a Dominican company who’s factory got its start back in 1955. Then in 1995 the company went through some changes with their products and techniques. In the change, the factory name was changed to Tabacalera El Artista S.A. The most recent cigar from Exactus is the Puro Ambar Legacy.
Vitola: Gran Robusto
Wrapper: T13 (Exclusive to Tabacalera El Artista, grown in Rancho Elba Maria)
Binder: Wine Fermented Criollo 98
Filler: Criollo 98 & 1900 (Exclusive to Tabacalera El Artista, grown in Rancho Elba Maria).
Price*: $3.78 (Cigars International)
The main thing that stands out is the fairly large band. The mainly white band has the Puro Ambar in a shiny bronze color that matches the outlining of the band. Looking at the band, one would wonder why is there so much free white space in it. A closer look reveals “Metele Fuego” embossed in the empty white space of the band. The foot has a secondary band with “Legacy” on it that has the same color scheme as the main band except in reverse. The background is the bronze color and the lettering is in white.
The cigar has a dark brown wrapper with shades of darkness in it as well as lighter areas around the small veins of the tight seamed wrapper. There is a few toothy spots on the wrapper, but not noticeable at first glance. There is a good amount of firmness in the feel of the cigar and it has a nice heft to it. The cold draw is pretty thick, but does offer some cedar notes.
The draw was a bit tighter than I would have liked it to be. The firmness of the cigar may have been a key issue to the thicker draw. The ashes were very tight with nice rings and a few minor flakes here and there. Each dirty gray & light black ash lasted for about an inch & a half or so. The burn was a bit wavy throughout the majority of the cigar. A few times it got almost to a point of needing a touch-up. I only gave in to the off burn once and gave it a relight and touch-up. Was the burn an issue? It could have been if it had gotten any worse.
At first, this cigar starts off a bit rough, but improves eventually. Once the roughness eases off, a bitter coffee flavor somewhat similar to a chicory coffee. A bit more into the cigar, notes of leather and oak appeared and mingled with the bitter coffee note. Towards the end of the first third, a hint of a salty flavor showed its face. The salty note added nicely with the leather as the oak is easing off some. Leaving the first third, the cigar has me having a hankering for a cup of chicory coffee. I brew up a cup and doing so opened up the coffee and leather notes a bit more.
Leading off into the middle portion of the cigar, the chicory coffee is pairing fairy well with the cigar. The salty note from before is muddled out with the coffee and a bit of black pepper shows in the flavors. Its not as strong as the other key flavors, but its more noticeable towards the end of the draw. Around the half way point, the bitterness of the coffee note got a bit too much. With that being said, I gave the cigar a quick purge & a partial relight. This did ease off some of the bitterness, but I think the tighter draw has caught up to the smokability & some of the flavors of the cigar. The bitterness eases off a bit more, allowing the black pepper and oak to shine more. The leather starts to ramp up in strength towards the end of the middle portion and is pretty potent.
Heading in the final stretch of the cigar, the leather is still a key player, followed by the bitter coffee and the black pepper that now a bite to it lingers in the finish. The flavors stayed the same except the coffee note took the lead more with the leather a close second. With a inch and a half left, the bitterness showed back up. I think the tight draw has now drawn the final straw in the cigar. I tried another purge, but had not much luck in trying to rid the bitterness. With that being said, I laid the cigar to rest.
Overall, this cigar had some nice flavors, but some construction issues that ended up being the death of the cigar at the end. I enjoyed the coffee, leather and oak flavors. But when the bitterness over powered the other flavors, it was a bit of a deal breaker with me. The tighter draw seemed to be the key opponent against the flavors as it created some heat issues that caused the bitterness. After a purge, the flavors did get somewhat better, but after a few purges I was over the issue.
I believe if the draw would have been a good bit lesser, the flavors would not have been tainted by the bitterness. The only bitterness I did like was the bitterness that accompanied the coffee at the start of the cigar. Over all it wasn’t a bad cigar, I think it has a lot of potential if the draw problems would have not been around. I don’t think a rest in the humidor would solve the draw issue with this particular cigar. I had a few other sizes of this blend and they did not have any draw issues. Possibly this cigar was a bit over filled or rolled a bit too tight. That is one thing about a handmade product, every now or then there will be a construction issue. A medium to full bodied smoke with a soild medium flavor strength.
The price I found this cigar online for is a heck of a deal. This cigar is well worth the $4! When I smoked this, I figured it to be double that as it did have some good flavors that one would experience in a cigar in a $6-9 range cigar.
* This cigar was provided to me, unsolicited, from Exactus Cigars for this review. Many thanks to those great people for the opportunity to review this cigar!