At this years PCA Trade Show, I had the pleasure of meeting Steve Zengel, the founder of Los Caidos Cigars. The young company was founded in 2016 with a mission to honor fallen police officers and firefighters. The name Los Caidos translates into “The Fallen“.
The journey into cigars started when Steve opened Beach House Cigars in Seaside Heights, NJ back in 2012. Things were going well for Steve and his new shop until hurricane Sandy struck and wiped his shop out just 8 months after opening. With the help of a close friend, Scott Regina, he reopened Beach House Cigars in his hometown of Wall, NJ. It was during this time that he realized, through a retired police officer, Frank Lancelotti, which he hired to manage the shop, that there was local police charities formed to raise fund for the families of fallen officers. The shop started running various events to raise money for the charities, but Steve felt it was just not enough.
Although the shop was doing OK, he was advised by another close friend to close the shop and open a cigar line that would give give back $1.00 of every cigar sold to families of fallen police officers and firefighters. Los Caidos Cigars was born in 2016 as Steve connected with Paul Palmer, owner of Aganorsa Leaf to get the ball rolling. The rest is history and the brand has taken off with the help of shops around the country.
The Los Caidos Cigar
Los Caidos Cigars are sold with two different bands, a red and blue. The band represents either Firefighter (Red) or Police Officer (Blue) that the dollar raised on the sale will support. The blends are the same only the band and box colors are different.
As far as the blend, it is described as a Nicaraguan Puro expressed in a single 6 x 54 toro vitola. They come packaged in 11 count boxes with an MSRP of 109.89/box ($9.99/cigar).
Los Caidos cigars are manufactured at the Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA) factory in Nicaragua.
For this review, I sampled 2 Los Caidos cigars which I received from the company at the PCA trade show for the purpose of reviewing on Stogie Press.
The Los Caidos cigar is a dark tan with minimal veins. It has a slight oily sheen and is solidly packed with no soft spots, a nice weight in the hand, and finished with a simple cap.
As mentioned, the are two different bands that adorn the cigar – red for firefighter, blue for police officer. They both have the same design using either the red or blue and the name “LOS CAIDOS” printed in white on the bottom. The center of the band includes the company’s logo of two clasped hands (white and black) on a golden yellow back ground. The band is specially die cut, to allow the cigar wrapper to be seen in the middle of the band. The back of the band, includes a thank you note.
Running the Los Caidos across the nose, I detected a pepper and cocoa butter note off the foot but not much off the barrel. I did find the notes off the foot to be intriguing and inviting to fire it up.
Before igniting it, I sliced the cap straight across the shoulder of the cigar, using a double blade Zikar cutter and took a few cold puffs, which were as equally enticing as the pre-light aromas and delivered notes of fruit and pepper. I did note the cold draw was a bit snug.
It was finally time to fire up the Los Caidos, which I did with a double flame torch lighter. Follow along as I break down the Los Caidos cigar for you.
Cigar Review Notes
- First puffs of smoke were a tad harsh to start
- Decent volume of smoke was produced through a slightly restricted draw
- Dry fruit notes were hitting the mostly off the wrapper
- Light grey ash formed on thick and wavy char line
- Sweetness entered as the cigar began to settle in
- Butter and herbal notes filled in the early profile
- A decent ash evolved and when it eventually dropped in a solid chunk, it revealed an off centered burn cone
- Light cinnamon enters followed by a sweet nut
- Fruit aroma starts to fill the air
- Herbal notes enter again
- Moving through the second third, the early nut reveals as almond
- Burn line starts straightens out
- Mild sweetness deep in second third
- Spice enters moving toward the final third
- Aroma shifts to more of a Syrupy note
- Off-burn develops in then final third and needed a touch-up
- Smoke starts to burn hot in the final
- Medium strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 25 minutes
Overall, I found the Los Caidos to be flavorful cigar once it settled in after an early harshness. There were some standout notes and aromas like cinnamon, almond, herbal, and syrup as it burned through its 85 minute journey. It had a mild wave in the burn until it moved into the second third and then developed an off-burn that required a touch-up in the final. The smoke also burned hot in the final third. With a dollar going to a solid cause and a flavor profile that was pleasing through most of the burn, I would recommend picking up a 5 pack of these. I rate this an 89.
Point Deductions: (-1) Harshness to start; (-1) Wavy Burn; (-1) Off-Centered Burn Cone; (-1) Off-Burn; (-1) Required a Touch-up; (-2) Smoke is hot in the final