By now you have read the numerous articles and reviews I have done on El Artista, one of the largest vertically integrated cigar factories in the Dominican Republic. This year the company showcased a value priced cigar, known as the Buffalo TEN, at the Premium Cigar Association Trade Show in Las Vegas. The cigar is priced at $4.95 in a market that is crowded with $10.00 and up cigars.
In the words of Radhames ‘Ram’ Rodriguez, President of El Artista Cigars:
“We feel this is the beginning of a great flagship product line for us, not only does it smoke great but the whole package looks amazing. We have developed something that we feel cannot be beat”.
Having smoked a few of these since the show and most recently this week, I have to agree with Ram. It will be hard to find a better cigar at the price.
In order to craft this cigar, the company used a Dominican Negrito binder leaf and Dominican T-13 Hybrid filler leaf that are grown on their own farms in the Dominican Republic. The complete multi-country blend is described as:
- Wrapper – Toothy Mexican San Andres Maduro
- Binder – Dominican Negrito
- Filler – USA, Colombia, and the company’s own fields in the Dominican Republic
Take a pause and think about that blend. There are 4 different countries and six different leaf represented in this and it is priced below $5.00. When you own the factories, fields, barns, and processing facilities like El Artista, that is what can be accomplished.
The Buffalo TEN is available in a single, soft box pressed, 6 x 50 Toro, which comes in two retail packages:
- 5-Pack ($22.50 MSRP) in a wooden retail shelf display that holds five 5-packs
- Single-stick purchase ($4.95 MSRP) from a 40-ct retail bundle tray.
For this review I sampled 3 El Artista Buffalo TEN cigars.
The El Artista Buffalo TEN is a dark brown and toothy, box pressed, toro that has crisp edges and is finished with a simple cap. It has a decent weight in the hand and light spring to the barrel under a gentle squeeze.
There is a single band that adorns the cigar. It is not elaborate with art but instead uses a simple white and brown motif. The name “BUFFALO TEN” is printed boldly on the front with the word “Flavorful” underneath. It notes that it is “Blended by El Artista in Tamboril, Dominican Republic” Off to the side is a silhouette of a flowering tobacco plant.
From a pre-light aroma perspective, my nose picked up a mild pungent fermented leaf note along the barrel and a bright tobacco note off the foot. Not complex but not bad at all.
I opened the cap using a straight cut and gave it a few cold puffs. The draw was a bit on the looser side and offered notes of mustiness, pepper, and malt.
Proceeding forward, I used a double flame torch to warm the foot and took in the first puffs of smoke that I felt was a tad harsh on the palate but as you will read it settled down after a half- inch of burn.
Cigar Review Notes
- Initial light is a tad harsh for the first half inch
- Harshness settles and gives way to Sweet malt notes
- Salt and pepper ash grows on top of a jagged burn line that begins to develop a slight off burn
- Butter and cinnamon notes enter the mix
- Ash falls early with a flat burn cone that is a bit off centered
- A mild touch up corrects the burn and things start moving better
- Smoke is much smoother after the first third
- Mild spice notes midway with a gentle sweetness in the background
- Barrel starts to get more springy in the second half
- Coffee notes enter deep in the second third with a light cream undertone
- Spice grows in the final blending nicely with the coffee
- Medium in Strength
- Total smoking time was 1 hour and 20 minutes
Overall, the El Artista Buffalo TEN offered a decent smoking experience that started a bit harsh but settled into a pleasurable array of smooth flavorful notes. Early in the burn it had a slight off-burn that eventually required a touch-up. After the touch-up things progressed well. At a price point of $4.95 I would certainly pick up 5-packs of these any time. I am curious to see how they age. I rate this a 90.
Point Deductions: (-1) Salt and Pepper Ash; (-1) Flat Burn Cone; (-1) Off Centered Burn Cone; (-2) Mild Touch-up; (-1) Slight Off Burn