At first glance, The LEAF by Oscar gave me the impression that it was unique. I’ve seen cigars with bands as big as the cigar itself, or cigars wrapped in paper, foil or cedar but I have never seen a cigar that is enveloped in a tobacco leaf strictly intended for packaging almost like cellophane. After visiting leafandbean.com, I found that this occurred due to happenstance when Island Jim decided to wrap one of Oscar’s cigars in a tobacco leaf for protection, as it was the only thing on hand. The next day he took the cigar out of its protective leaf and noticed how incredibly oily it was compared to the day before. This method of wrapping each individual cigar in a leaf doesn’t just make it stand out and look interesting, it also serves a purpose, protecting the natural oils of the cigar. I found this out for myself but it was somewhat problematic and I’ll tell you why…
George Rodriguez (Rodrigo Cigars) was kind enough to send us samples of the LEAF by Oscar for review. With each cigar we review, we have to take pictures before we smoke them. All of the pictures are taken by Josh at his house, so when they showed up on my door-step, I couldn’t unwrap them because we wanted to show-off the unique packaging in our pictures. Due to our hectic schedule, we had these mystery cigars sitting in the humidor for a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, my curiosity steadily increased. Finally, Josh and I got together for photographs and it was time for one of them to get de-leafed.
Rolled: Oscar Valladares Tobacco and Co.
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Corojo
Not only was the LEAF Corojo exceptionally oily with the outer-leaf removed, but the construction was top-notch. The LEAF Corojo has a solid roll, no soft spots and a perfectly packed foot. The corojo wrapper is milk chocolate in color with hints of red coloration. Veins are present, yet not abundant. From the foot I detected hints of earth, lingering white pepper, must and leather. The wrapper only emitted faint leather and barnyard. Once clipped, a draw with a perfect amount of resistance showcased tones of earth, vegetal and mineral.
The LEAF by Oscar made something noticeably apparent as soon as I lit up: this was a very flavorful cigar. The two most apparent flavors starting off were floral tones and cayenne. The cayenne managed to be full , but wasn’t too abrasive on my sinus. The sweet tones came in the form of a dark and robust toasted vanilla bean. A yeasty bread note added depth to the flavor profile and smoke characteristic alike. The bread gave the smoke a slightly chewy quality. Almond could also be detected during the first third, which added a creamy texture to the smoke as well. Undertones in this third consisted of nutmeg and oak. The long finish was comprised of a syrupy (mouth watering) vanilla bean, almond and oak , easily lasting between each draw. Medium body. Mild strength.
I know I have mentioned this before in my reviews, but I can’t stress enough how great it is when a cigar doesn’t lose it’s stride going into the second third. Instead of backing-off in terms of flavor intensity, the LEAF by Oscar continued to build. The floral notes remained a predominant flavor, while the cayenne changed into more of a white pepper note, backing off in intensity. The toasted vanilla bean became more of a brown sugar note while picking up strength. The undertones of nutmeg and oak likewise intensified , now matching the almond and bread notes that never wavered from the previous third. Hints of cream, mineral and coffee added even more depth to the second third. Floral tones, oak, brown sugar and cream could be detected during another long, syrupy finish.
The two dominate flavors during the final third were the floral tones along with brown sugar. Once again the white pepper diminished, becoming increasingly difficult to detect. While the pepper died down, the nutmeg maintained. Almond and cream never wavered from the previous third, adding a wonderful amount of depth to the flavor profile and smoke characteristic. Same goes for the bread, which managed to stay consistent. The oak stuck around throughout the entire cigar, never becoming a main note. Undertones of chocolate, coffee, must and mineral added even more balance and depth to the flavor profile. The finish throughout the entire smoking experience was long and syrupy. It consisted of floral tones, brown sugar, almond and cream. Medium-full body. Medium strength.
The LEAF by Oscar Corojo is a sure-fire Marquee that showcased consistent floral tones, ample bread, a wonderful brown sugar note and a creamy smoke texture. There is nothing substantial enough about the LEAF Corojo for it to land in another class. A wonderfully balanced and flavorful smoke.
I was absolutely enamored by this cigar. From the moment I removed the protective outer leaf, I knew it was going to be good. What I couldn’t know was that it was going to be this good. While smoking, I continually forgot to pour myself a cup of coffee from the pot I had just brewed because I was enjoying it so much. The amount of flavors, how balanced they are, how much they “crescendo” while smoking, along with the great construction make this a complete and impeccable cigar. If you’re a fan of corojo leaf then this will easily be a top-tier experience for you.