Editor: Shawn is back again this week with a cigar that has quite the following. Another Cigars International exclusive, Nica Libre. I find these quite enjoyable as well for such a bargain stick.
Exclusivo 5.5 X 50
Filler: Nicaraguan Long filler
Wrapper: San Andres Maduro
Cost: $3.80 – $4.50
Sizes: Available in 6 sizes from a 4.5×46 to 7×50. All are box pressed.
The day ended off in the mid 80s for once and what a nice away to end a good day with a good cigar. Lets see how the Nica Libre turns out.
I have seen the Nica Libre being advertised as similar to a Padron Anniversary and heard it from other people as well. Even in a few catalogs you see the Nice Libre on the same page as the Padrons. The wrapper is from the same area (San Andres) as the Padron Anniversary Maduro. Its not the exact same wrapper, but from the same area.
First Look: A medium brown maduro wrapper with a few veins, not a dark maduro, but a lighter shaded maduro. Overall a nice feal to it, no hard/soft spots with a double cap. The cigar is deffinately no beauty queen, but looks can be decieving. The foot has notes of earth with a slight hint of coffee. The prelight draw is dead on. The flat sides of the box-press is obviously different and feals good in your mouth, almost like you are biting into a Snickers bar. Very faint flavors of earth in the prelight draw. Nothing jumps out at me on the prelight and what I do get is very faint.
First Third: The first draw has tastes of a light coffee, not a faint coffee, but a light bodied coffee. An undertone of pepper is slightly noticed also. The cigar produces a good amount of smoke and the room note is fairly nice. The draw is dead on, sometimes I find a box-press can corrupt a draw if pressed too much. The coffee note reminds me of the taste of a cup of coffee with a few packs of sugar in it. There is a very faint sense of sweetness in the smoke. Nice earthy tones are produced later on in the first part of the cigar. Most box-pressed cigars I’ve had have had a bad burn and always having to touch them up. As of now, this cigar’s burn is great!
Towards the end of the first third, the pepper notes show up just a little bit more. Its more noticed in the retrohale than in the draw.
Second Third: Comming into the second third I get a good note of chocolate. Then a slight pepper tone, but the chocolate is still the major note. The ash held for about an inch and a quarter. It wasn’t a tight ash, but it held up nicely. I’m really digging the chocolate-earthy notes in this cigar. The slight notes of pepper offsets the chocolatiness of the cigar. It reminds me of the contrast you get with a sweet and salty trail mix. Its a mixture that sounds odd (pepper and chocolate), but its really working for me. The chocolate is not super sweet, but more of a chalky dry chocolate note. But you can deffinately tell its chocolate. The burn and draw are still doing great. The burn is suprizing me with my history of box-pressed cigars in the fact of bad burns I’ve gotten from them.
Ending the second third the chocolate eases off and the coffee tones from the first third show back up along with the earthiness. The chocolate and coffee are mixing well together. It reminds me alot of a drink that Ben and I have at “The Cigar Shop” in Biloxi, MS. Its a Sumatra coffee with Milky Way Swirl chocolate mixed in. This cigar would pair quite nicely with that drink I think.
Final Third: This cigar has turned into a pretty nice smoke for the money.Same flavors as before, but more earthiness in the last part. The pepper is still the main note in the retrohale. I like the earthiness more than the pepper though. But overall the Nice Libre is a good combonation of flavors that works very well for me.
Final Thoughts: This cigar is a nice medium bodied cigar with nice flavors. Its complex, but not overly complex. The flavors stay the same, they just fade out and in to mingle well. This cigar would be a nice morning or lunch time smoke with a good cup of coffee (maybe with a little bit a chocolate mixed in it). I got a 5pk of the robustos and a 10pk flight sampler and can see these as being a “go-to” smoke that won’t break the bank.
I am going to call the Nica Libre “The Blue Collar Padron 64”. It has similar flavors as the Padron 64s, not an exact clone, but its similar.
The Nica Libre has the things I look for in a cigar: Good price and tastes, a nice “sweetspot” cigar if you ask me.