Traficante Cigar Company (TCC) is a small boutique cigar company founded in 2015, and by what I gather from their website, the three amigos that founded this company, were narcotics officers. As they note on their site:
“The Traficante Cigar Company represents what we deal with in our narcotics enforcement careers. For this reason, you will never see our faces in photos…”
Interestingly, the name Traficante translates to Drug Dealer in English.
According to the Traficante Cigar Compnay site:
“…the journey to source a truly unique cigar experience led us to Esteli, Nicaragua .Semaforo’s Ranchon Bar was the perfect setting for one of our friends to tell us about his cigars. The rest they say, is history and what began as a hobby quickly turned into a full-time operation.”
The company prides themselves in making truly boutique cigars. They start by sourcing the finest tobacco from the richest tobacco-growing regions of Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico and the Dominican Republic for each of their craft. They age all wrapper leaf at least two years before it is utilized. When it comes to the filler leaf, they use a special Cuban aging process of placing the fermented leaf into what is known as a tercio.
The tercio is a special bale made from “yagua” (royal palm bark). The tercios are stored in a controlled temperature and humidity environment around 78 degrees and 70 percent RH. Using this process, moisture increases inside the tercio along with a slow increase of heat so that the tobacco leaves gently cook in their own natural juices and oils. The process takes time and costs more money, so it is not often used with many cigars on the market.
A final process is employed were they pack the filler leaf into Dominican rum barrels to further mature the leaf which adds additional flavor nuances.
The El Chapo
Now that you know more about Traficante Cigar Company, lets talk about one of their crafts – the El Chapo.
The blend is barely disclosed by the company, all they say is, it uses an aged maduro wrapper leaf and a blend of Dominican and Honduran long-fillers. Man, these guys are secretive.
The Traficante El Chapo is expressed in a single (5 x 50) robusto and comes packaged in 10-count boxes. It retails on their site for $12.50/cigar or $130.00/box. Yes, do the math, if you want the box it costs $5.00 more. Considering the company was founded by drug enforcement officers, I would think the name El Chapo was selected as a tribute of the final capture of Mexican drug lord Joaquín (El Chapo) Guzmán.
The Traficante El Chapo has an oily, dark brown and marbled wrapper that has a few veins running along the barrel. The cigar is packed tight and solid to the touch. and is nicely capped.
Traficante does not use bands on most of their cigars, instead opting to use a tag that carries the particular brand mark and hangs of a small thread tied around the barrel. In the case of the El Chapo, the tag has a visual of Guzmán on a black background along with the word “CHAPO” printed below. The letters “TCC” are printed on the right, identifying this a Traficante Cigar Company product. The is also a outer cedar sleeve on the El Chapo.
Running the El Chapo along the nose, I noted that the foot exudes a rich array of herbal notes but not much along the barrel.
I sliced the cap straight across the shoulder and proceeded to draw in some tasty cold puffs of what I would describe as orange honey along with a light peppery note on the lips all delivered through a nicely restricted draw.
I used my double flame torch to get the journey started and what a fine start it was, as my palate was graced with notes of citrus and spice. Follow along as I break down the El Chapo and burn this one to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Citrus and spice to start
- Solid white ash forms a mildly wavy and medium thick char line
- Cedar notes enter near the end of first third
- Ash fell in a nice chunk with revealing a centered but flat burn cone
- Touch of cocoa enters the profile, moving into the second third
- Light herbal notes join the mix
- Ash starts to get flaky
- Coffee notes add to the pleasure
- Light spice notes take you down to the final
- Medium strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 30 minutes to the nub
Overall, the Traficante Cigars El Chapo was a pleasant smoking experience that offered a delicious and balanced mix of flavors and aromas. Though not overly complex, it delivered fine transitions. The El Chapo did have a wavy burn once it passed the first inch of solid ash, but never needed a touch-up through the journey. This is worth picking up a five pack if you can find them. I rate this a 91.
Point Deductions: (-1) Wavy Burn; (-1) Flat Burn Cone; (-1) Flaky Ash