Team Cigar Review: La Gran Llave Torpedo

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Cigar Details: La Gran Llave Torpedo

  • Vitola: Torpedo
  • Length: 6.5″
  • Ring Gauge: 56
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Filler: Nicaraguan Habano
  • Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez
  • Blender: AJ Fernandez
  • Price: $9.99
  • Release Date: March 2016
  • Source: AJ Fernandez

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The wrapper is a deep brown with a bit of red tint. The veins are well pressed and the seams are smooth and barely visible. The torpedo head is finished off with a well applied triple cap. The cigar also carries a nice box press which is appreciated on this large ring gauge. There are two bands, The primary band is red and black with gold lettering and borders. The second band is the same color scheme and carries a “Reserva No.” identifier. The aroma from the wrapper carries a nice stone fruit sweetness while the foot gives dark chocolate. The pre-light draw brings a mix of sweet hay and raisin. This has to be one of the more delightful pre-light aroma/flavor mixes I’ve come across.

Pre-light Experience

The La Gran Llave Torpedo has a rectangular box press wrapped around a rustic red hued Colorado red wrapper shade. Veins are well pressed and seams nearly invisible. Bunch and roll feels well done as there are no soft spots and a uniformed give is present within the entire cigar. The torpedo head is finished off with a well applied thick double cap. Nosing the wrapper gives fresh cedar and intense white pepper. Nosing the foot tells white pepper, mixed nuts and cedar. Cold draw reveals spicy peppered heat, white pepper, dry wood and hay.

First Third

Initial draws bring a mix of wood, cocoa and slight cinnamon. At a quarter inch in, the wood transitions to a more defined cedar with a bit of spice while the cocoa and cinnamon go away, but a bit of cream joins in. At three quarters of an inch in, the cedar loses most of its spiciness and some unsweetened chocolate joins the profile. At an inch and a quarter, the chocolate leaves and the cedar transitions to oak while some creaminess remains in the profile. As the third comes to a close, the profile is a slightly creamy oak. The retrohale is straight oak. The strength in this third was right at medium.

First Third

First third’s flavor profile consists of leather, creamed dried mixed nuts, subtle black pepper and slight barnyard. The retrohale is comprised of intense black pepper, rich nuttiness and sharp cedar. The finish is both soft and short with namely creamed nuttiness and dry wood. Strength and body is at the medium mark.

Second Third

As this third begins, the creamy oak continues with intermittent appearances of some wood bitterness. At a quarter inch in, some earthiness joins in with the creamy oak. At three quarters of an inch in, some sweetness enters to mix with the creamy oak and earthiness. At an inch and a quarter, a slight cocoa rejoins the profile. The retrohale is now a very creamy oak. As the third comes to a close the creamy oak with earthiness and a slight cocoa note remains. The strength in this third was right at medium.

Second Third

Second third’s profile becomes both softer and better melded with emphasis on dried mixed nuts, dry wood, faint black pepper and subtle wood bitterness. The retrohale also becomes softer providing black pepper, nuttiness and cedar. The finish is now made up of lasting creamed nuttiness, dry wood and subtle wood bitterness. Strength and body continues continues to be at the medium mark.

Final Third

As this third begins, the cocoa leaves the profile leaving the creamy oak and earthiness. At a quarter inch in, some bitterness joins the profile. At an inch in, the profile becomes very full with lots of creamy oak and earthiness and still maintains some bitterness. As the cigar wraps up, it maintains the full creamy oak and earthiness with the slight bitterness. The strength in this third was medium-full.

Final Third

The primary difference between the second and last third is the increase in wood bitterness, which leads to the other notes being less distinguishable. Other less noticeable notes such as subtle black pepper, bitter mixed nuts and dry wood. The retrohale’s intensity of flavors makes a comeback with sharp black pepper and rich nuttiness. The finish is now mainly dry wood and wood bitterness. Body and strength finishes out at the medium point.

Burn

The burn line was slightly wavy most of the way and always kept up with itself. The ash held on in one inch increments.

Burn

Very good burn. Total smoking time was a long and slow 2 hours and 50 minutes. Ashes held on tight with minimal flowering, averaging 2 inch ash marks.

Draw

The draw got very tight at the one inch mark, but making a small second cut on the torpedo head opened things back up and it was perfect the rest of the way.

Overall

This cigar had the typical AJ Fernandez flavor profile that I’ve come to expect with a lot of creamy oak and earthiness. The bitterness in the final third was less than desired but wasn’t a big detriment. This vitola was a beast and I would like to try this in a smaller ring gauge to see if it provides some more concentrated flavors. The flavors became very full towards the end and I’d like to see that more from the start. All in all, this is another enjoyable cigar from AJ and I can see many people liking it. I wouldn’t turn one of these away if offered.

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

Draw

The draw was very good. Slightly snug for my liking but I tend to get that with torpedo style heads. No real issues with the draw.

Overall

I find the La Gran Llave to be like many of AJ’s offerings. That is, a profile centered around wood, spice and cream. Nothing truly stands out or is off-putting about the cigar. I do wish the profile reached further depth in spice with the smoking experience matching closer to the pre-light experience. With that said, I’d like to try the line in a thinner ring gauge. Another consistently good offering from AJ’s vast portfolio.

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

6.00

Cost/Point

$1.67

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

6.67

Cost/Point

$1.50

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: La Gran Llave Torpedo
Jiunn LiuTeam Cigar Review: La Gran Llave Torpedo

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