Dominican Trip Preview: 3 Arganese Robustos

Arganese CigarsIt’s official, I’m heading to the Dominican Republic (map) along with a small group of cigar enthusiasts, thanks to the generosity of Gene Arganese of Arganese cigars and facilitated by the finest cigar forum on the net, CigarLive. (Join up, it’s free!) So like a college student fighting through a Sunday hangover to cram for a Monday exam, I’ve been smoking every Arganese cigar I have so I can speak intelligently about them when I get there. I’m hoping three cigars will be enough, because that’s all I have! In fact the last of the three I’m blazing through right now were part of a 3 cigar sampler I picked up from the man himself at last year’s RTDA/IPCPR.

So when you think about it, I’m kind of a weasel. I haven’t actually bought an Arganese cigar (yet), and yet, I’m going to visit their facilities in an exotic locale. Well, I have an excuse. As of this time of this writing, the Arganese website indicates that their cigars are not currently available in the state of Georgia. And a quick search of several major online cigar retailers came up with no results. In short, I simply didn’t have the opportunity. And that makes sense because Arganese cigars are the new kid on the block. A fresh face trying to get some attention and some respect in a very large, thriving industry full of big family names with long histories.

I think that’s what this trip is about. It’s not about rewarding dedicated customers, it’s about making new customers and generating some word of mouth. And look, it’s working, I’m smoking their cigars and talking about them. Talk about a win-win for everyone involved!

Gene Arganese
Gene Arganese, the man with the plan at RTDA ’07

Oh yeah, one last thing. Before you pound you keyboard into pieces in a jealous rage, or hurl your wireless mouse through a nearby window, you should know that I am paying for the plane tickets. (Too late? Ah well, it was time to upgrade that old hardware anyway.)

So let’s take a quick look at the cigars. This isn’t going to be one of my standard reviews, simply because I like to smoke the same cigar several times to get a good feel for it. Instead, I’m going to write a brief summary of my experiences with the three different cigars that came in the sampler: The Connecticut Ambassador, the Cameroon Chairman and the Maduro Presidente.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: US Connecticut/Cameroon/Brazil
Binder: Dominican Republic, Indonesia
Filler: Dominican Republic
Beverage: Water, Coffee
Price: ~$6.00 (rumor has it)

The Connecticut Ambassador
This cigar was the last of the three that I smoked, and also happened to be my third place pick of the bunch. That isn’t to say it was a bad cigar. The predominant flavor I detected in it was a creamy grain flavor that kind of reminded me of beer. A hefeweizen to be exact. It also had some good sweet flavors that reminded me of syrup at some points and honey at others. As with the rest, the burn on this was without flaw, producing reasonable lengths of solid ash. If you’re a big Connecticut wrapper fan, you can’t go wrong with this one.

The Cameroon Chairman
Picking the silver medal winner of the pack was a bit difficult. I really enjoyed this cigar. Of course, it’s hard to be objective with this one, as I lit this one up upon finalizing the details of my upcoming trip. But there’s no denying that it had a great flavor profile. I got caramel, an interesting smooth citrus flavor and a semi-sweet vegetal flavor I equate with a good Cameroon wrapper. As with the Ambassador, the burn was great, and the ash was the brightest white of the bunch. The Cameroon Chairman is a cigar that’s going on my cigar shopping list. Now I just need to find a place to buy them.

The Maduro Presidente
I didn’t have to think too long about before awarding the gold to the Maduro Presidente. I enjoyed this cigar right down the nub. It’s hard to beat the smooth, rich, sweet cocoa, chocolate, coffee and finally leather flavors I got out of it. The only thing that called this champ’s ranking into question was darker colored ash. I generally prefer a light colored ash on my cigar, but this one was about the same color as the wrapper. Seemingly in a bid to make up for its less attractive ash, the Maduro Presidente held the longest ash of the bunch, weighing in at a respectable inch and a half. But substance won out over aesthetics handily here. Given to buy more of only one of these cigars, I’m buying this one.

What Other People Are Saying
There’s been a quite a few reviews of Arganese cigars around the web. Here’s the word at the virtual water cooler. (Hint: It’s all good.)

My Other Reviews
If you enjoyed this review, why not take at look at some other cigars I’ve reviewed? Check out my Cigar Review Index for a complete list.

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8 Comments

  1. Michael Parnell said,

    January 11, 2008 at 2:16 am

    Brian,

    I am going on the Arganese trip as well, however I’ll be there for the early trip.
    Unfortunately for you I plan to smoke all the cigars and drink up all the booze before you get there. JK
    Actually I wanted to go when all the rest of you guys are going, but my work schedule only allowed me to take the early trip.
    I’m sure that it will be quite a memorable trip that all of us will enjoy.
    I too have only had a couple of this and I totally agree with your reviews.
    The Maduro is the one I plan on buying a couple of boxes of when I can round them up.
    Thanks for the reviews and enjoy your trip.
    Mike

  2. January 11, 2008 at 4:43 am

    I completely agree with your ‘rating’. Maduro Presidente was by far the best smoke out of 3, especially in the petit corona format (I had a 12-sampler of Arganese cigars).
    Have fun there! :)

  3. Cigar Jack said,

    January 11, 2008 at 11:08 am

    They are great smokes, I have one of the Maduro’s left and that’s it out of three boxes of cigars. :) I’d smoke it right now but I promised it to a friend. I also liked the Connecticut which was a good morning smoke.

  4. Joe Drinker said,

    January 11, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    That’s cool Brian. Even though you have to pay for the flight, it should be fun!

  5. January 11, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    I can only say to you… “You lucky bastard!” ;-)

  6. Brian said,

    January 14, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Thanks guys,

    Michael, you should be about to head out right about now, if I remember correctly. Good luck with smoking up the entire supply- make sure you have Guinness on hand to record the record! (And some to drink would be handy too.)

    I can’t wait to go! And I’m really looking forward to another one of those Maduro Presidentes.

    Oh yeah, and Tom: Hee hee hee!

  7. Bill said,

    April 5, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Brian, where are the pictures of your trip? Here are mine http://www.billspagetoo.com/arganesetrip/ I know that if you went, you must of had a great time. I know that we did.

    All the best, Bill

  8. Brian said,

    April 5, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Hi Bill,
    Yeah, I had a blast. Thanks for the pictures. You can find mine all over the place. Here a few handy links:

    On this blog: Arganese Trip: Dominican Republic in Pictures
    On my photography website: Dominican Republic
    On Stogie Review: My Arganese Field Trip


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