You may not know Matt Hunt and His brand FQ Cigars but this is a brand that has been growing since 2013. Since Matt lives in Central Florida, I have had the opportunity to meet him from the beginning of his journey. The name FQ stands for Fernandez y Quiroga.
I first reviewed the company’s Phenom line back in 2014 when I was visiting Japan and that cigar got an honorable mention in the 2014 Stogie Press Top 25. Matt went silent for a little bit, but has since come back on the scene. It is not easy for a small boutique cigar company like FQ Cigars in this indeterminate FDA era, and I applaud him for staying in the business. Not only is Matt staying the course, but he prides himself for being hands on with production at Nicaragua American Cigars S.A. where he personally selects each cigar that goes to retailers.
The other week, my good friend and Stogie Press associate, Alton Otto, gifted me some cigars. One of those cigars was the FQ Cigars Proper Robusto, which is the topic of this review.
The FQ Cigars Proper blend is described as:
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
- Binder: Honduras
- Filler: Connecticut Broadleaf & Honduras
Presented in 20-count boxes, the FQ Proper is available in 3 vitolas:
- Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46) — MSRP $9.50
- Robusto (5 x 50) — MSRP $11.00
- Toro Gordo (6 x 54) — MSRP $12.00
The FQ Cigars Proper Robusto is what I sampled for this review. I know you can purchase these from Cigar Hustler in Deltona, FL. Matt keeps production small, so you may find that the selection you want is sold out, but don’t fear he will make more.
The FQ Cigars Proper Robusto is a visually appealing, well constructed with a dark brown wrapper with a high sheen. There are just a few veins running through the leaf and it is finished with a triple cap and a closed foot.
A single band declares this as the FQ Proper Cigar. Unlike the Phenom where it used a black band, the Proper uses a white and gold band with black lettering. The name “PROPER” is prominently displayed in the center with the gold FQ cigars logo above and the statement “Hand Selected & Blended By” with Matt’s signature on the bottom.
From a pre-light aroma perspective there was not much to talk about along the barrel whereas the closed foot offered a light peppery spice.
Slicing the cap, straight across the shoulder of the cigar, the cold draw was snug with notes of pepper, fruit, and nut.
Using the soft flame of a cedar spill, to properly warm the foot to a fine ignition, I drew in the first pepper laden puffs which opened the nasals quite well for the journey to follow.
Cigar Review Notes
- Pepper hits on first puffs
- Chocolate breaks in quickly behind the pepper
- Full volume of smoke
- Medium grey ash develops on a medium thick and wavy char line
- Sweet floral aroma
- Nuance of dry fruit enters
- Wave has not caught up by the end of the first third
- Touch of earth enters, moving into the second third
- Sweetness and smooth mellow notes enter
- Off centered cone once ash is tapped
- At this point I decided it was time to touch the burn line up with my single flame torch
- Coffee notes with a light citrus finish give the palate more to think about
- Deep into the second third, spice notes tease the tongue
- The final keeps the same profile with more coffee and peppery spice
- Medium in strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 20 minutes
Overall, the FQ Cigars Proper Robusto kept my interest with its intriguing flavor profile and pleasant transitions from foot to finish. There was an early wave in the burn that eventually required a minor touch up after which the burn was fine. This is worth a fiver if you are looking for a new blend to add to your rotation and want some bold broadleaf and Honduran flavors. I rate this a 92.
Point Deductions: (-1) wavy burn; (-1) Medium grey ash; (-1) Minor Touch-up; (-1) Off Centered Burn Cone