Three, Two, One — We have liftoff. That was the sound of Omar de Frias and his Fratello Cigars team back at the 2017 IPCPR where they showcased the 4th introduction for Omar’s young company. Over those four years he has became a cigar household name to many a cigar enthusiast.
As many of you know, but perhaps some don’t, Omar left an impressive career with NASA to pursue his cigar passion. Not an easy thing to do with the FDA coming down on the industry, but that did not phase him. He joined forces with Joya de Nicaruagu for his first two lines; the Fratello and the Fratello Blanco and then used La Aurora for his third line, the Fratello Oro. For the Navetta he went back to Joya de Nicaragua.
The Navetta is a tribute to his NASA careeer, with the name coming from the Italian for Shuttle. He also named the 4 vitolas in the line after Space Shuttles:
- Discovery – Robusto (5 x 50) MSRP $10.75
- Endeavor – Toro (6 1/4 x 54) MSRP $11.25
- Enterprise – Gordo (6 x 60) MSRP $12.00
- Atlantis (Boxer) – Box Pressed Torpedo (6 1/4 x 52) MSRP $12.50
Each of the vitolas are available in 20-count boxes.
The blend of the Navetta is described as:
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
- Binder: Dominican Viso
- Filler: Nicaraguan
For this review, I sampled the Navetta Discovery, which I received from Fratello Cigars at the 2018 IPCPR and has been resting in my humidor now for 6 months.
The Fratello Navetta is an inviting cigar right from the bands that adorn it. The cigar has two bands, both using a white and silver motif. The Bottom band is a more of a sheath that covers a good part of the robusto I am sampling. It has a chevron on the top pointing you to the primary band and the bulk of it proudly displays the name “FRATELLO” vertically along it. The primary band is a double chevron with the name “FRATELLO” printed horizontally but the top states “FRAT” and the bottom “ELLO” There are shuttle images separating the letters in the center.
I know I don’t talk a lot about bands, but being the geek I am, I just think this one is pretty cool.
Once the bottom sheath is removed, which I peeled off, the full presentation of the cigar is present. A medium brown and oily wrapper presents itself that has basically no veins and a smooth texture to the touch. It is finished with a simple cap and is solidly packed.
The pre-light aromas included a raisin and nut off the foot and a baking spice/vanilla note along the barrel. The aromas kept me engaged as I proceeded to slice the cap with a double blade cutter and run it through some draw tests.
The draw was fine, not overly restricted and not loose, and it delivered a hint of fruit with a lacing of black pepper that seemed to grow the more you cold puffed it.
I enjoyed cold puffing this but knew it was time to ignite the engine and send the leaf up into an orbit of smoke. I warmed the foot to a even orange glow and took in the first taste of mouth filling smoke. Yes, this one doesn’t playing around with the smoke volume, it is full throttle from the first puff!!
Cigar Review Notes
- Sweetness, fruit, and a dash of pepper on the nose start the journey
- White ash evolves on a medium char line
- Cinnamon notes fill out the profile along with a syrupy aroma
- Ash fell after a good inch plus of burn
- Inward ash burn is presented but I leave it be
- Sweetness increases midway with a gentle herbal spice
- Burn fixed during the second ash carry as the next tap showed a well centered cone
- Spice and sweetness are very well balanced midway through with a bit of cocoa nuances
- A mild nut component enters the profile – I am thinking cashew
- Spice increases in the third stage booster with a finish of cream
- Medium to full in strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 20 minutes
Overall, the Fratello Navetta is a fine blend that offered delicious flavors, aromas, and transitions, all delivered through a full volume of smoke from foot to nub. The burn was a touch wavy at in the first half and there was an inward burn after the first ash drop. I would consider buying one of these if I saw it on the shelf. I will need to check out the Endeavor (toro) vitola. I rate this a 92.
Point Deductions: (-2) Slight inward burn cone; (-1) Wavy Burn; (-1) May buy Another