El Gato Negro is a new, limited special edition cigar that was created by a great Brother of the Leaf – Drew Nicastro. He was kind enough to send me some samples of his new creation a few months back and today I offer my take on the El Gato Negro (The Black Cat). Keep in mind, this cigar was one that was not for sale, it was a special cigar that Drew gave away to try. He does plan on creating additional blend with the Olivian Rodriguez factory in the Dominican Republic.
Drew offered some insight into the El Gato Negro journey:
“This batch of limited special edition hand-made cigars were created to honor my father nicknamed, ‘Perucho’ and the life and business our family left behind when we were exiled from Cuba. The image is of the Plaza del Mercado, in Guiness, Cuba were he owned and operated his first store called, ‘El Gato Negro’ which sold everything, from hardware, to watches, toys, general merchandise and yes even cigars and unlike popular myth, the black cat store was very lucky and a successful family owned company. This was of course until it was taken away by the brutal communist government of dictator Fidel Castro, forcing our family to immigrate legally to the USA.
Luckily we were welcomed with opened arms and fortunate to become American citizens.
“Cuban by birth, American by the grace of God.”
These cigars were inspired by my family’s heritage and journey.
This is a limited edition, Cuban inspired cigar, hand made from all Nicaraguan tobaccos, a San Andreas wrapper and Nicaragua binder and long leaf tabacco, We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!”
As noted, the blend is described as:
- Wrapper – San Andreas
- Binder – Nicaraguan
- Filler – Nicaraguan
It is expressed in a (5.5 x 52) toro. If it was to be sold, it would have carried a retail price of $20.00/cigar and packaged in 13-count boxes according to Drew.
For this review, I sampled three El Gato Negro Toros, which I received to review on Stogie Press.
The El Gato Negro is a slightly rugged, medium to dark brown cigar that has a mildly toothy wrapper. There are noticeable veins running through the barrel and the cigar feels decently packed. A well applied pigtail cap and closed foot finishes the presentation.
A single gold and black band adorns the cigar that has a silhouette of a black cat and the name El Gato Negro printed across the band. The phrase Primera Edicion is printed on the bottom which translates to “First Edition”. There is also a large outer cedar sleeve covers from the bottom of the band to the foot and is wrapped with a red satin ribbon. The sleeve has a image of a black cat on it also.
Running the El Gato Negro across the nose I picked up a piney aroma off both the foot and barrel. This is a rather unique pre-light note for me.
I used my double blade cutter to slice the cap straight across the shoulder and proceeded to give the cigar some cold draw puffs. The draw had a proper restriction and offered a peppery note on the lips and tongue which grew on each puff, warming the mouth.
Using my double flame torch, I warmed the foot to an even orange glow, that took to the heat well with the closed foot. The starting notes were a touch of natural sweetness and earth resting behind an early peppery blast. Follow along as burn this one to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Light sweetness and earth with added pepper start the journey
- A pleasant nut aroma immediately starts wafting off the foot
- Light grey ash forms on top of a thick jagged burn line
- Cedar notes join the early profile
- Citrus peel starts to build in the background keeping the palate salivated
- Things shift suddenly near the end of the first with with umami notes (think soy sauce)
- Slight off burn forms and eventually needed a mild touch up
- Moving into the second third, there are anise notes which brighten the mix
- Ash fell in a decent chunk revealing a slightly off centered burn cone
- Black cherry and dark chocolate notes enter – reminds me of the Portuguese Ginjinha drink, which is a Portuguese liqueur made from sour cherries and served in edible chocolate shot glasses
- Lot of floral fragrance wafting off the foot
- Deep in the second third I started to get a bit of a Medicinal like taste for a number of puffs
- Light spice notes evolve with continued cherry notes down through the final
- Medium in Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 40 Minutes
The El Gato Negro Primera Edicion Toro was a very complex cigar that offered an array of flavors and aromas through the journey. I got the rare Anise and Umami notes in the second third along with Cherry notes that I don’t always get. Unfortunately, there was a medicinal note deep in the second third, on every sample, that required me to take some points off. There was also some burn issues that required a mild touch up. This one that an experienced palate may find quite interesting. Overall I give this a 89.
Point Deductions: (-1) Wavy Burn; (-1) Off Burn; (-1) Touch up Required; (-1) Off Centered Burn Cone; (-2) Medicinal Notes in Second Third
Bonus Points: (+1) Very Complex