In honor of our 20th anniversary we have created a very special cigar uniquely packaged in a beautiful porcelain beer stein. The cigar is made with tobaccos that were set aside several years ago in anticipation of this very special occasion. The complex and powerful flavors of this cigar originate from the best fillers and binder grown on our farm in the Dominican Republic and are complemented with a sweet and savory Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper. This blend is as special as the occasion it serves to commemorate and is symbolic of the quality and pride with which La Flor Dominicana has built its name. The packaging is a toast to our friends and loyal fans that have supported us over the years. It is because of them that our passion for making cigars is as strong as it has ever been. Cheers! – LFD Press-release
In addition to the limited release, a very similar blend will be made available in 4 sizes, a 58 x 6 “Aldaba”, a 52 x 6.5 “Rumba”, a 52 x 5 “Conga”, and a 54 x 7 “Mambo”. The blend will feature the same fillers & binder, but with a natural San Andrés wrapper. This line will be a permanent addition to our portfolio. – LFD Press-release
What I’m reviewing today is the regular-release La Flor Dominicana 1994 Conga (non-stein). The difference between the limited edition stein version and the regular release is the wrapper. The regular release features a natural San Andrés which has not been fermented as long as maduro leaf requires. If I didn’t know the 1994 had a San Andrés wrapper I might have guessed habano because it’s so much lighter in shade than most San Andrés leaf.
Rolled: Tabacalera La Flor S.A.
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: 5×52 (Robusto)
Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés (natural)
- Exceptional construction, slight give when squeezed, no soft spots
- Somewhat toothy with tiny hairs all over the wrapper
- Natural dark reddish hue to San Andrés cover leaf
- Foot – raisin/wine, mulling spices, cayenne pepper
- Wrapper – leather, manure
- Perfect resistance to draw
- Cold draw – Cedar, slight earth, breadiness, and a flavor that reminds me of tamarind
The first 2-3 puffs start surprisingly soft with no pepper and very little flavor but that doesn’t last long as a med-full red pepper builds on the retro-hale and tongue shortly thereafter. Below the dominant pepper are earth, coffee, mulling spice and a slight dried fruity sweetness that reminds me of raisin. The smoke is velvety soft and the mouth-watering finish coats the palate with flavor between puffs. That being said there is some harshness to the smoke that leaves the back of my throat scratchy. Unsurprisingly the 1994 already exhibits solid strength at around medium to full and the body isn’t too far behind either.
The base notes of red pepper, earth and coffee continue in the second third with just a touch of rich cedar. While the the raisin-like sweetness becomes more saccharine it also takes on a tangy or tart dimension (I’ve often heard this called citrus). The retro-hale is where the mulling spices and red pepper truly shine along with a sweet bready characteristic. The red pepper does begin to soften heading towards the half but the harshness in the throat remains. The strength and body are on a slow, but steady ascent.
In the final third the earth and coffee notes remain but are slowly dropping back while the cedar rises. The aftertaste remains somewhat tart and tangy but moves towards acidic or bitter. The combination of sweetness, cedar, bread, raisin and mulling spice make for an awesome retro-hale even though the pepper kicks more than I’d like and some ammonia develops towards the last inch. Not only does the 1994 get a little harsher in this third with some palpable ammonia, but it tends to dry out the palate so keep a drink on hand. With an inch to burn the combination of ammonia and heat put a lot of stress on my palate. I wouldn’t follow this with another cigar. Strength and body at full. There were no issues with the trifecta of smoke production, construction or draw throughout the smoking experience.
The LFD 1994 follows the company’s tradition of producing full strength cigars. At this piont at time (at release) the 1994 is more of a sensation cigar with plenty of the two P’s. Power and pepper. That is not to say it lacks flavor, on the contrary it is med-full flavored.
Rating a cigar at the time of release is often a foolhardy affair. Even if the tobacco’s have been properly fermented before roll, a cigar often needs rest for tobacco’s to marry and time for any remaining ammonia to release. There are a lot of great flavors to be had when smoking the 1994, yet the harshness of the smoke left my throat scratchy and my tongue a fatigued by the end. From my experience with LFD I know that time will turn this into a fabulous cigar, I just can’t recommend it right now. A definite candidate for a revisit a few months down the line.