Team Cigar Review: CLE Azabache 2016 TAA Robusto

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Cigar Details: CLE Azabache 2016 TAA Robusto

  • Vitola: Robusto
  • Length: 5″
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Wrapper: Mexican Maduro
  • Binder: Honduras
  • Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru
  • Factory: El Aladino
  • Blender: Christian Eiroa
  • Price: $7.00
  • Release Date: February 2016
  • Source: C.L.E.

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The cigar has a single band that is primarily silver with black lettering and some gold highlights. The band has the company name up top and the line name in a holographic strip down below. The cigar also has a tissue wrapper from the bottom of the band that is twisted off at the foot. The tissue has the company name as well as the TAA logo. After sliding off the tissue wrapper, a very dark brown leaf is revealed and the cigar has a slight box press. There are a couple of visible veins, but they are very well pressed. The seams are easily visible due to a slightly darker shade at the edges of the leaf, but they are smooth and blended well. There appears to be two caps with the top cap lifting around some of the edges. I can’t say I get much of any aroma from the wrapper, but the foot gives off a very faint aroma of sweet tea. The pre-light draw brings a slightly fuller version of the sweet tea that I was getting from the foot.

Pre-light Experience

The CLE Azabache 2016 TAA Robusto has a thick and hearty maduro shade wrapper. Veins are well pressed and seams are tight. A uniformed spongy give is felt throughout the entire cigar. The head is finished off with a thick, triple cap. Nosing the wrapper gives strong barnyard, wet earth, and construction paper. Nosing the foot gives subtle white pepper and sweet dried nuts. Cold draw tells dry cardboard, mixed nuts and gritty earth.

First Third

Upon lighting, I’m greeted with a very smoky wood note, similar to when you just add wood chunks on to hot coals before smoking meat. After a few draws, an intense black pepper emerges while the smoky wood is now a secondary note. At a half inch in, the pepper settles down quite a bit and evens back out with the smoky wood, while a slight cream joins in to the mix. At an inch in, the pepper mellows even more and a creamy coffee is now up front while the smoky wood note is just noticeable on the finish. Interestingly, the retrohale consists of a light creamy cocoa. At an inch and a quarter, the pepper and coffee are gone, while the smoky wood comes back to mix with the creaminess. As the third comes to a close, a little cocoa appears to mix in with the creamy, smoky wood. The strength in this third was slightly above medium.

First Third

The first third brings forth notes of cocoa, milk creaminess, medium bodied sweet cream, balanced black pepper spice and sharp oak. There’s a bright stone fruit detected in an intermittent fashion. Halfway through, a slight ashy harshness is detected. Through the nose, semi-nose scorching black pepper and mixed nuts. The finish is comprised of quite a bit of dryness, giving flavors of mixed nuts and balanced black pepper. In terms of body and strength, medium.

Second Third

As this third begins, it’s still the slightly creamy cocoa and smoky wood. At a half inch in, the cocoa transitions over to coffee while the cream and smoky wood remain. The retrohale now consists of a general woodiness. At an inch in, the profile is really working together well with the slightly creamy coffee and smoky wood. This profile remains through the end of the third. The strength in this third was slightly above medium.

Second Third

The second third has the same flavors as the first third. The profile becomes more earth and black pepper spice centric. There is still the same flavors of milk creaminess, medium bodied sweet cream and sharp oak. Through the nose, still the same semi-nose clearing black pepper and mixed nuts. The finish is still comprised of dryness in mixed nuts and balanced black pepper. Body and strength continues to be at the medium mark.

Final Third

As this third begins, the nice mix of creamy coffee and smoky wood continues. At a quarter inch in, a little black pepper joins in to the mix. The retrohale is now a creamy wood. As the third continues, the pepper peeks in and out while the creamy coffee and smoky wood maintains its presence the entire time. This is how the cigar finishes. The strength in this third was medium-full.

Final Third

The last third is a mirror of the second third. Still earth and black pepper centric with secondary notes of milk creaminess, medium bodied sweet cream and sharp oak. Through retrohaling, semi-nose clearing black pepper and mixed nuts. The finish is still dry with mixed nuts and balanced black pepper. Body and strength finishes off at the medium mark.

Burn

The burn was slightly wavy the entire time and I did have to perform a re-light in the final third. Ash held on in inch and a quarter increments.

Burn

Burn performance was overall average. Total smoking time clocked in at a good 1 hour and 40 minutes. Burn line was sharp until the end of the first third, in which a major touch-up was required. Also, within the beginning of the last third, another major touch-up was needed. Ashes held on tight averaging one inch increments.

Draw

The draw was perfect for the first half of the cigar and then slightly tightened up as the cigar finished out.

Overall

Lots of different flavors and transitions in the first third, but I never felt the cigar found a flavor balance. Getting into the second third, the cigar settled into a consistent flavor profile with some slight transitions. A nice experience is that the cigar maintained its enjoyment level from beginning to end, which is important to me. The strength level is slightly above medium the entire way, so it should be approachable to most smokers. Even though it wasn’t that balanced in the first third, I found the transitions entertaining and the rest of the smoke kept my attention. I could definitely see revisiting this again.

Aaron
Jiunn
Very Good Pre
Light
Very Good
Good First
Third
Good
Good Second Third Good
Good Final
Third
Good
Good Burn Average
Very Good Draw Good
Good Overall Good

Draw

Draw although good, was on the tighter end of the spectrum. Not a huge issue but a noticeable one.

Overall

I find the Azabache 2016 TAA to be a consistently good cigar. There wasn’t much going on in terms of transitions but given an hour and forty minute smoke, I wasn’t bothered, and my cigar A.D.D. certainly didn’t kick in. The only downside was the major touch-ups, which was annoying and let my attention focus off the flavors at times. But all in all, very tasty cigar with good depth in earth, spice and natural sweetness.

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

6.87

Cost/Point

$1.02

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

6.53

Cost/Point

$1.07

Scoring System

Aaron LoomisTeam Cigar Review: CLE Azabache 2016 TAA Robusto

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