At this year’s Tobacco Plus Expo (TPE2020) I received a personal invitation from Tabac Trading Co. owner, Patrick Potter, to come to a rolling event he was hosting. Patrick introduced himself at the show and explained that at the event he will be personally rolling cigars and would like for me to come by if I had the time. Even with a busy schedule that evening, I made sure I found my way over to to the Forum Tower in Caesars Palace to checkout the craft of Mr. Potter.
When I got there, there were a few people sitting around smoking cigars, drinking, and conversing much like you would do at a cigar lounge. Off the side was Patrick’s rolling table and there he was, as promised, rolling cigars from the bunching, binding, to applying the wrapper. Patrick is a tall, lumberjack looking man, and may be the last person you think of when you think of cigar rollers. He has had a deep passion for cigars ever since he smoked his first one at age 14 in the warehouse of the original Tinder Box owned by his grandfather Robert Gabriel and founding partner Ed Kolpin.
Patrick handed me a fresh rolled cigar which I fired up and.. well, you know how that goes, they are still moist and they don’t burn right, but it is fun just the same. We got to talking about his business Tabac Trading Company, which he told me has been operational since 2015. He has a decent portfolio of cigars and he has been hands on with blending each one. One of those is the topic of today’s review, the MUESTRA de TABAC Trifecta.
The MUESTRA de TABAC Trifecta is actually a trio of three different blends, each crafted using a patent pending process in a double footed perfecto figuardo. Each blend uses two different wrapper leaves and is designed to be smoked from either side. This concept did not happen over night, and Patrick and partner Joey Febre worked on the idea for two years, through trial and error, to get it right. What they ended up doing was bunching the filler from the middle out instead of top to bottom and cigar history was born. The three blends in the Trifecta series are:
- Trifecta – Double Claro/Habano
- Trifecta – Pennsylvania/Connecticut
- Trifecta – Brazilian Mata Fina/Sumatra
Today I will focus on the Trifecta – Pennsylvania/Connecticut which has blend described as:
- Wrapper (Capa) – Pennsylvania Broadleaf & Connecticut
- Binder (Capote) – Nicaraguan Habano Viso
- Filler – Condega Seco, Esteli Viso, Esteli Ligero
The MUESTRA de TABAC Trifecta is expressed in a single 5.5 x 64 perfecto and comes packaged in a 45-count display box that holds 15 of each blend. Retailers can also purchase refill bundles of a blend. MSRP is set at $13.00/cigar plus state taxes. In Patrick’s state of California, they retail for $17.50.
Let’s get started with this. To begin, the MUESTRA de TABAC Trifecta – Pennsylvania/Connecticut is a rather peculiar cigar if you did not know the story. It is a short stout perfecto with open ends. No cap! Don’t worry, it does not matter which end you fire up. The Connecticut half is golden brown and silky smooth while the Broadleaf side is what you expect, a veiny, rough, dark brown leaf with a light marbling. There is a slight oily sheen on the wrappers. Pressing between my fingers, I noted the cigar was solid with no soft spots.
A single black and gold band is wrapped around the center of the cigar splitting the Broadleaf from the Connecticut. The middle of the band is emblazoned with the company’s logo all around it. To add confusion again, if you did not know, the name “TRIFECTA” is printed in gold on a black background on either end of the band so there is no indication of which is the top or bottom, and that is the point, there is no head to the cigar.
Running the figurado along the nose I picked up a sweet pungent aroma along the barrel. There was a spicy note off the Broadleaf foot and toasted bread note off the Connecticut foot.
No need to use a cutter for this one, you just choose which side to light up. For this review I chose the Connecticut side. But first a few cold draw puffs. I actually cold puffed from both ends and they both had a well constructed restriction. Going with the Connecticut side to light, I continued the cold puff and noted a bold profile of spicy pepper and earth.
Well here it goes, I used my double flame torch to warm the foot, which took to the flame well. I drew in the first puffs of peppery smoke. Follow along as I break down this experience and turn the Trifecta to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Peppery hit to the palate and a decent burn on the retro-hale to start
- Natural sweetness and spice enter as the pepper quickly recedes
- Thick and chewy smoke from the first puff filled the palate
- Light grey ash forms on a fairly thick char line
- Chocolate aroma fills the air around me – just to put an exclamation point on the profile
- High oil development above the burn line early in the journey
- Draw is perfect
- Cedar notes join the mix followed by a touch of citrus and a developing caramel component
- Aroma shifts to a simmering butter note
- Slight bitterness comes and goes, after an inch plus of burn
- Tad more spice adds to the mix
- Strength is solid medium approaching the end of the Connecticut half
- At the widest part of the figuardo, it starts to burn hot to the touch
- Excellent ash has held for half the cigar and when it fell it revealed a centered but sharply pointed burn cone
- Increased sweetness appears as it moves into the Broadleaf part of the journey
- Dry fruit components join the mix
- Strength moves to full
- Burn gets wavy in the second half
- Spice takes over as predominant note deep in the final
- A tasty peanut note lingers on the palate
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 40 minutes
Overall, the Tabac Trading Co. Trifecta – Pennsylvania/Connecticut was one hell of a flavor bomb with developing notes and aromas throughout the journey. Starting mild in strength it ratchets up through the burn to a solid full deep in the journey. The Connecticut half had pristine burn qualities and the ash held tight till it got precisely to the end of the half. The Broadleaf half picked right up and shifted flavors as one would expect, offering its version of the blend. This is truly like smoking two different cigars in a sitting. The Broadleaf side did have some burn issues but in the end this is one you may want to pick up a handful. I need to get another and smoke it the other way for a second review. This is certainly one for the most discerning palate, I rate this a 93.
Point Deductions: (-1) Wavy Burn Second Half; (-1) Burned hot to the touch in second half; (-1) Slight Bitterness in the first half; (-1) Sharp Pointed Burn Cone
Bonus Points: (+1) Excellent Oil Production on Wrapper; (+1) Complex Flavor Profile; (+1) Solid Long Ash