It has been 2 1/2 years since Kerr Vijante released his first cigar under the Stogie Roads Cigars banner. In that time a lot has happened for Kerr. He followed up his original EdiciónXXXV release with a second barber pole blend – the Sweet Grass Gringo™ . Stogie Road Cigars also moved to a new factory – Tabacalera Nuevo Nica SA, located in Esteli, Nicaragua. It all seems to have come together in a prefect storm for Kerr as his core line of cigars are beginning to be talked about more and when I spoke to Kerr, he noted the cigar business is consuming him now more than ever and most recently he announced he will not be doing his weekly show do to the demands on the cigar side of the business.
Today I would like to offer a review of the company’s Sweet Grass Gringo™ . Please note, this is not the original, it is the one that is made in collaboration with Tabacalera Nuevo Nica SA.
In the press release for the new factory – Stogie Road Cigars notes:
“The Sweet Grass Gringo™ will be produced with some of the most flavorful and beautiful candela. More bold than the original blend while keeping its sweet grassy notes.”
I have not had the original therefore I have no comparison to make. I have to take the statement at face value. What I can tell you is that the blend is supposed to be the same, only using a finer selection of leaf. The company describes the blend as:
- Wrappers: Nicaraguan Candela/Ecuador Connecticut Shade
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Fillers: Dominican and Nicaraguan
The Sweet Grass Gringo™ is expressed in a single (6 x 50) Barber Pole Toro vitola and comes packaged 20-count boxes with an MSRP of $9.45 per cigar. If you are looking for where to get these, I know that GFP Cigars carries them on their online store.
For this review, I sampled three Sweet Grass Gringo™ cigar which I received from Stogie Road Cigars for the purpose of reviewing on Stogie Press.
I must say, the Sweet Grass Gringo™ is a beautifully constructed barber pole, which is something I have come to appreciate from Chris Weber, the owner of Tabacalera Nuevo Nica SA. where this and all Stogie Road Cigars are made. The wrappers are silky smooth and the candela leaf is a even bright green color providing a well place contrast to the light tan color of the Ecuadorian Connecticut shade. There are just a few veins running along the barrel and the cigar is nicely packed and solid in the hand. An expertly applied triple cap finishes the presentation.
Like all Stogie Road Cigars, the Sweet Grass Gringo™ is adorned with a single band that boldly displays the company’s logo which is a compass face and a star burst with the letter “SRC” and “Stogie Road Cigars” printed in the center. The logo is representative of Kerr’s travels in the cigar industry.
As for the pre-light aromas. I ran the cigar along the nasals and noted little aroma along the barrel while the foot offered an herbal grassy note. I guess that is the start of where Sweet Grass comes in the name of this cigar.
Moving on to the cold draw, I sliced the cap with my double blade cutter and gave it some cold puffs. I found the draw to be spot on with restriction offering notes that were definitely herbal with a slight hint of touch up sweet butter. There is most certainly something cooking in the frying pan with these notes.
With the pre-light experience satisfying my intrigue, I chose to ignite this one with a lit cedar spill so as not to overly scorch the delicate wrapper. The foot took to the flame well as I easily brought it to an even orange flow and drew in the first puffs of surprising peppery smoke. Follow along a I burn the this one to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Peppery notes start the journey
- Light grey ash forms on a medium to thick wavy char line
- Herbal sweetness builds as the pepper quickly tones down
- Cream and coffee notes join the mix adding an interesting dimension
- Smoke is thick and mouth filling
- Once the ash falls, it reveals an off centered burn cone
- Herbal aromas wafts off the foot filling the air around me
- The burn goes off requiring a touch up starting the second third
- Grassy sweetness and spice becomes the predominate notes
- Aroma shifts from the early herbal sweetness to a syrupy sweetness
- Cracker note nuances appear
- The ash has been quite flaky through the burn
- Spice notes have increased a bit by midway with underlying sweetness
- Grassy notes re enter the mix
- Dry fruit and cream notes swirl in deep in the second third
- Butter and spice takes me into the final third
- Another slight off burn developed
- Herbal notes re enter the mix
- Mild to Medium in Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 50 minutes
The really nice thing about barber pole cigars is the fun transitions back and forth between the different leaf used in the role. In the case of the Stogie Road Cigars – Sweet Grass Gringo™ that is clearly evident in the ever changing and shifting flavors and aromas of the cigar. The whole journey started with a surprising pepper shot and then settled into what I would describe as two separate cores of notes. The candela most definitely gives you herbal sweetness and some grassy notes while the Connecticut offers cracker and buttery sweetness. The fillers just add more as the journey winds though from foot to nub. The burn though was less than stellar and ran off a few times through the experience and required a touch up. It also had a flaky ash throughout. I would consider a fiver of these and rate it a 89.
Point Deductions: (-1) Flaky Ash; (-1) Off centered Burn Cone; (-1) Off Burn; (-2) Multiple touch-ups