La Hoja Cigars, a company that has deep roots in the cigar industry dating back to 1962 here in the US and even deeper roots to Cuba, has released a number of new blends for 2015. When I spoke to them in the beginning of the year I asked what they were up to and was told that they were restructuring slightly and will be coming out some new and exciting blends. As their Facebook page notes:
Years of refinement and expertise, invigorated by the discovery of bold new blends and sabores, have collaborated to produce “La Hoja Cigars”
Well La Hoja has been busy and did a number of press releases in December of 2014 on their new blends for this year and I have finally gotten the opportunity to enjoy them. I have always been a fan of this boutique company and loved their Autentico Maduro. You may have read that review last year and possibly the review we did on the La Hoja Edicion Clasica 1962 Toro last month. Now we have the pleasure of reporting on the new La Hoja Edicion Maduro 1962. The best part is that I took the Edicion Maduro 1962 on a trip half way across the world to the Land of the Rising Sun (Japan). I decided to take what little time I had, when not working, to sample it while walking the streets of Nagoya Japan one sunny day.
The La Hoja Edicion Maduro 1962 is a beautiful, dark chocolate-colored, maduro cigar. The band on the Edicion Maduro 1962La Hoja Maduro is classic in design, embossed gold, red, and black. It has the traditional La Hoja logo emblazoned on the front in gold on a red background and the words Edicion above and Maduro below in white. The year 1962 is printed below in white signifying the year La Hoja was founded in the US. There are golden scrolls on the left and white of the year and the words La Hoja Cigar Company in red below. It finished with a an orange satin footer band.
The La Hoja Edicion Maduro 1962 is blended with Dominican Piloto Cubano and Nicaraguan tobaccos similar to those in the binder and filler of the Edicion Clasica. But Wrapped in a Mexican San Andres Maduro wrapper. What is critical to this blend besides the San Andres wrapper is the select Dominican Piloto Cubano leaf. Willie Flores of La Hoja will be the first to say that the Piloto Cubano is the best tobacco that the Dominican Republic ever grew. It has an intense flavor but is expensive due to the low plant yield. For those that like the Cuban Criollo leaf you may be interested to know that the Piloto Cubano is a derivative of that and was brought to the Dominican Republic in the 1970s.
In the press release, J Carlos Gomez, Executive VP at La Hoja Cigars stated:
The San Andres Maduro wrapper gives this blend a sweet and earthy touch…but in order for us to incorporate this into a blend that meets La Hoja quality standards, we had to be incredibly discerning about the other leaves to make sure they complement the wrapper.
The danger of San Andres Maduro wrappers is that particular leaf can create a smoke that is too dry and that parches the smoker. We’ve blended this cigar specifically to offer the flavor of San Andreas but with considerable balance as well.
The La Hoja Edicion Maduro 1962 is available in 4 vitolas:
- Edicion Maduro 1: Robusto (5 ¼ x 52)
- Edicion Maduro 9: Toro (5 ¾ x 56)
- Edicion Maduro 6: Toro Gordo (6 x 60)
- Edicion Maduro 2: Belicoso (5 ¼ x 54)
The Edicion Maduro has a wonderful fermented tobacco scent with some earthy characteristics on the foot and along the barrel, indicating that this cigar was ready to smoke right out of the box. I am sure further aging will only make this better.
Since I was not able to travel with my torch lighter I picked up a simple butane lighter at the local 7-11, yes they have those in Japan. I clipped the cap with my double blade cutter and gave it a few dry draw puffs. The sweet taste of the aged tobacco filled my palate and there was a peppery flavor building upon my lips. I stood on the street corner watching the black suited “salary-men” heading to work on this beautiful Saturday morning, The Japanese work some crazy hours, and Saturdays and even Sundays are not always a day off.
As I toasted the foot and took in the sights, the Edicion Maduro delivered some heavy pepper on the first few puffs. Wow, I was not quite ready for this, first thing in the morning, but I got over it and the Edicion Maduro settled down after the 1st inch. The ash did fall about every inch and half. After the pepper faded there was a terrific toasty scent coming off the foot. After all the rice I have been eating during the week, the scent of toast was quite the delight. Not only was the aroma toasty but there was a delicious cinnamon spice flavor coming in. Yummy cinnamon toast in the morning!
The burn was a bit wavy and without my torch lighter I chose to use the old Cuban method to control the wave by wetting my finger and rubbing it on the longer part of the non-burnt leaf. It works like a charm and the burn corrected itself after a few more puffs. I noticed that the wrapper was now oiling up quite nicely.
As it transitioned into the second third there was an dark espresso note coming in that blended terrifically with the earlier cinnamon. This is turning into a real delight as I stand on the corner puffing away as the locals pass with curios looks on their face. In Japan, they still smoke cigarettes quite heavily, you can even by them in vending machines on the street but cigars in Japan are still rare and are known as Hamaki (rolled leaf).
The aroma turns sweeter as it blends into the second half and the strength picks up at this point. I decide to find an outdoor spot to sit and come across a small restaurant that is not yet opened for lunch and sit down on an outside chair to finish the Edicion Maduro. It is always easier in my mind to sit and relax smoking a cigar than walking about.
The remainder of the Edicion Maduro settled into a delightful finish that maintained the sweet coffee and spice notes. It did burn a little hotter in the final third but that could be due to my walking and puffing a little faster than it should have. The strength was a solid medium. This is a cigar that could be easily enjoyed in the mid-morning, sitting in the summer sun, with a dark espresso or cafe cubano.
La Hoja Cigars are made at the Tabacalera DBL S.A. factory in Tamboril, Dominican Republic using tobaccos from DBL’s farms and Leo Reyes’ farms. The sample for this review was provided to me by the local Independent Representative for La Hoja – Jack Smink.