Sunday, September 13, 2015

Cigar Review: Por Larrañaga Picadores


In 2014, Habanos S.A. announced that one of the oldest brands in production, Por Larrañaga, would be receiving a new vitola. It had been 12 years since a new vitola was introduced to the brand, and for those past 12 years there were only been three vitolas in production. Those three vitolas were on the smaller side of things, nothing over a 42 ring gauge, and one of those was a short filler blend. The new vitola released, titled Picadores, would be a much lager releases, a Hermosos No. 4, and would come with new packaging as well. This release would be the one that launched the brand into the 21st Century, and it is a brand that desperately needs a jump start. Personally, I love the Por Larrañaga brand and everything it delivers, so let's see how the new Picadores smokes.


Habanos: Por Larrañaga Picadores
Country of Origin: Cuba
Factory: La Corona
Wrapper: Cuba
Binder: Cuba
Filler: Cuba
Length: 127 mm
Ring Gauge: 48
Vitola: Hermosos No. 4

The Picadores is rolled perfectly and comes with a great triple cap. The Habano is firm throughout and this is well made. The newer band really pops off the wrapper, and while it looks great, I miss the older bands. The Habano has a nice Colorado coloring to it and there are few veins present throughout. The wrapper sports an aroma of light tobacco, earth and spices, and the foot is showing similar notes overall.

The first third has a nice beginning and it is a new and enjoyable flavor profile to the brand. It has a nice spiciness to it and there is a touch of leather present with that. I am getting some mineral qualities as well, and it has a manure and earthy like finish. It is smoking at a medium-full to full level in terms of flavors, and the same goes for the body. The strength is around a medium level, and this is a nice smoking Habano. It is very different from the smaller offerings in the brand, but very tasty. The construction is absolutely perfect and it is showing an even burn line with a firm charcoal ash on the end. The draw is cool, and you could not ask for more in a Habano.


I am in the second third now and I am finding that the Habano is increasing in strength and body the further along I get. The flavors are increasing as well and this is a Habano that will catch you off guard. I am getting a lot of pepper and spice notes, and there are some mineral qualities present with that. The finish is of dry earth and tobacco, and it has a very soft floral perfume touch. As mentioned earlier, I would classify this Habano as being medium-full to full, and it is a power house of a smoke when you look at Habanos. The construction is still perfect as well and it is showing a razor sharp burn line with that firm charcoal ash on the end.


The final third remains fairly similar to that of the second third and it is delivering a flavor profile that is spicy, showing lots of pepper notes. There are those mineral qualities present as well, and it has a rough tobacco and earth flavor with that. The soft floral notes have faded completely and it has that manure like quality on the finish. The body, strength and flavor profile remains at that level between medium-full and full, and this is not a Habano that I would have in the morning or afternoon. This is an evening smoke and something quite different than what I have gotten with other PL releases. The construction remains top notch in the final third though and it is producing a smooth draw with a nice burn line and a charcoal ash on the end.


If you smoke through the offerings in a lot of the brands coming out of Cuba, you will find that there are some major differences throughout some of the brands and that not every vitola is similar or in line with what the brand is title to be about. The is definitely the case with the Picadores and the Por Larrañaga brand. The Picadores produces a flavor profile that is quite different from what is produced with the Montecarlos, Panetelas and Petit Coronas, and comes off as its own brand all together. It is rather spicy, showing a lot of pepper qualities, and it has a fuller strength and body than what I expect with the brand. While I love the vitola offering, I prefer the flavor profile that comes with the older offerings. I believe that some younger Habanos smokers will enjoy the smoke, I think the American market will dig it as well, but for those who love the classic Por Larrañaga brand, it may not be their cup of tea. I give the Habano a rating between 87 and 89 now. With some age, I can see it being around a solid 90.

Young Rating: 87-89
With Age Rating: 89-91