At the end of 2020, I introduced a new cigar brand, La Hoja del Chan Cigars or simply El Chan, with a review of their Habano Gran Toro. Today I will be digging a little deeper into their portfolio with a review of the company’s Connecticut blend. Known as the Big Rubio, it is another (6 x 60) Gran Toro vitola offered by the young Puerto Rican company.
The El Chan Big Rubio is one of the three primary blends the company offers. In the case of the Big Rubio, it is described as:
- Wrapper – USA Connecticut
- Binder – Indonesia
- Filler – Nicaragua/Puerto Rico
The Big Rubio has an MSRP of $10.00/cigar and though sold in singles currently, the company does offer the option of purchasing 20-count bundles. You can purchase these directly through the company’s website.
The cigars are produced at the company’s factory – La Hoja del Chan Cigars in Puerto Rico.
For this review I sampled two of the El Chan Big Rubio Gran Toros which were provided by the company for the purpose of reviewing on Stogie Press. Both have been aging for about 4 months in my humidor prior to sampling.
The El Chan Connecticut Gran Toro “Big Rubio” highlights a light tan Connecticut wrapper that has a gentle sheen when the light shines upon it. The cigar feels solidly packed and is silky smooth to the touch. The seams are tight and there are minimal veins running through the leaf. A simple cap finishes the presentation.
Like its darker habano brother, the Big Rubio is adorned with a single band using a black, white, and gold motif. The name “EL CHAN” is proudly presented at the bottom along with a caricature of the brand owner, Gaby Cruz Ayala-Chan(El Chan), centered in the band.
I did not pick up any pre-light aroma along the barrel but the foot presented mild earth and natural tobacco sweetness.
Once I sliced the cap straight across the shoulder with my double blade cutter, I proceeded to give the Big Rubio a few cold draw puffs that had a fine restriction and graced the palate with notes of earth and a butter nuance. A few more puffs and I started to notice a growing black pepper note.
With the pre-light examination out of the way, I lit a cedar spill and gently toasted the foot as I drew in the first puffs of thick and creamy smoke. Follow along as I burn the Big Rubio to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Initial puffs offered notes of toasted bread and fruity jam
- The smoke is full, thick, and creamy
- A light grey ash develops on a fairly even and medium thick char line
- Herbal flavors enter after about an inch of burn
- Once the ash fell in a good chunk, it revealed a well formed ash cone
- Mild jag in the burn
- Lemon grass notes begin to evolve moving into the second third
- A light sweet background plays well with the citrus
- Smoke is quite smooth especially through the retro-hale
- This is turning out to be an elegant smoking experience and a great morning start
- Nut nuances evolve into a tasty almond moving through the second third
- Pepper notes appear through the nose entering the final third
- The cigar starts to burn a tad hot in the final telling me its done
- Mild in Strength
- Total Smoking time was 1 hour and 45 minutes
The El Chan Connecticut Gran Toro “Big Rubio” was a pleasant and mild smoking experience that was not overly complex but did offer some interesting notes like almond and fruity jam. This may not be a cigar for everyone but if you are looking for a well constructed, mild and flavorful Connecticut, you may want to pick a fiver of these. A fine cup of coffee or even morning tea would pair quite well with this one. I rate this a 92.
Point Deductions: (-1) Mild jag in Burn; (-1) Burns hot in the Final