Maduros range in taste from mild to full-bodied, depending on the tobacco used and how the dark, almost black wrapper was processed. True Maduro cigar lovers enjoy the stronger taste that brings the earthy and dark chocolate tastes. That’s why we conducted a small experiment with the J.L. Salazar y Hermanos Reserva Especial Series cigars. It’s a very limited edition cigar that is handmade in Nicaragua in small batches. Since the wrapper is extensively cured and aged, not many are available. Only 100 boxes or so are made monthly. As a result the cigar has not been rated by the major cigar publications. There just aren’t enough of them.
We took 20 cigar smokers who have been smoking cigars for at least 10 years. Many of the panelists were Cuban, most were not. All had experienced Maduros and liked them. A box of J.L. Salazar y Hermanos Reserva Especial Series Churchill Maduros was opened and passed out. They were all asked to review the cigar and to give it a final rating based on stars. One star was the lowest and five stars the highest. Here are the results, including some of the statements.
Most said that the cigar started out spicy or strong. It quickly mellowed out to smooth and flavorful. Some said that it was medium-bodied after the first inch while most said that it was still full body all the way through. Some said it was powerful yet very smooth, giving the impression of being medium-bodied when in fact it was full bodied. The tastes identified were cream, floral, bittersweet chocolate, dark chocolate, cocoa, licorice, leather, toasted nuts and earthy. All agreed that the burn was perfect and had a pure white ash. Only one had some burn issues but that could have been due to his proximity to the air conditioner vent that was blowing on him.
After smoking the cigars, here’s what some of them said:
“Didn’t want to put it down. It was a sad moment when it finally ended. Wanted to light up another one.”
“Very complex. It’s so smooth that you think it’s milder than it really is. Loved it.”
“I normally smoke the J.L. Salazar Toro. The Series Maduro cigars have all the same features plus more. Perfect balance between cocoa, cream and leather.”
We can include 17 others but in a nutshell, they were all about the same. Not one smoker made a negative remark. Even those who originally said it was a bit powerful in the beginning ended up smoking them to the nub. Can it be that they were adverse to making a derogatory statement because they got a free cigar? To make sure that they were honest about how they felt over this Maduro cigar, the ratings were anonymous. Each smoker was asked to give it from one to five stars, fold the ballot over so that no one can see their rating and put the paper into an open humidor. This way the ratings would validate their statements. The final results? An average of FIVE STARS.
On a personal level, I like the stronger Cuban-seed Habano tobacco cigars. The J.L. Salazar y Hermanos Reserva Especial Series have become my personal favorite. I try not to smoke it daily as you can’t smoke just one. The taste is so good that you want to light another a few minutes after finishing the cigar. It’s also what many of the panelists said.