Wrapper: Habana 92
Binder: HVA
Filler: Undisclosed
Vitola: 5 x 52 (Robusto)
Brand: El Aprendiz
Factory: Top Secret Nest, Dominican Republic
CigarNoise Price Range: $6 – $8
Availability: Regular Production
Source: Manufacturer

El Aprendiz Robusto – Pre-Light Thoughts

For many cigar smokers, blended gems coming out of the Dominican Republic hold a special place in their heart; or at least in their humidors.  This cigar is a Dominican puro hailing from Tamboril and is manufactured in a factory referred to most commonly as Top Secret Nest or Manufactura Rivas.

El Aprendiz Cigars is the result of a partnership between two members with over six generations of tobacco knowlege between them.  Steven Rivas gathered his passion for tobacco through his father, learning the craft and creating his own blend at age 13.  Jamil Tavarez found his love for tobacco and the cigar world simply through his own curiosity.  The two men combined their knowledge and passion, giving birth to a new blend and life to El Aprendiz Cigars, meaning The Apprentice.

This cigar is aesthetically pleasing with a medium brown wrapper that carries a light, oily sheen and a small amount of tooth.  The cap is perfectly applied and the cigar feels firm without seeming over-filled.

Remember those no-bake chocolate cookies mom used to make?  I smell those on the wrapper.  From the foot, natural sweet tobacco notes combine with a hint at ginger spice and coffee.  The cold draw is spot on and tastes just like a bowl of bran flakes with just a sprinkle of sugar.

El Aprendiz Robusto – First Third

Oak, Leather, Red Pepper Spice, Floral, Mineral

With the foot toasted and smoke rolling, oak and leather are the predominant flavors on my palate.  There is a decidedly floral finish to the smoke and just a touch of red pepper spice to close things out.

El Aprendiz Robusto

The medium sharp burn line is becoming a bit wavy immediately; even with a very careful torch job to get it lit.  With an inch of ash hanging off the end, it doesn’t appear the burn line is going to correct itself so I offer my own input.  Right before I apply the correction, I am tasting a bit of a mineral note.  Lets hope that disappears.

As I work towards the end of the first third, there have been no real notable transitions.  I have noticed the profile taking on a more creamy feel which is a nice change from the beginning where each flavor I experienced was very clear cut.  While they weren’t harsh at the start, they weren’t complimentary to one another either.

El Aprendiz – Middle Third

Oak, Leather, Cocoa, Cream, Mild Pepper Spice, Baking Spice, Molasses, Cedar, Cinnamon

The profile from the first third hold steady as I move into the middle section.  Oak and leather lead the way but a teasing of cocoa and cream shows up as well.  A barely discernible pepper spice rounds out the profile.  The ash is flaky and drops for the third time as I start this section.

El Aprendiz Robusto

Moving throught the final stages of the middle third, I am encountering the first real flavor transitions.  Oak changes to cedar with a drop of molasses and a dash of cinnamon, all arriving in unison.  It’s a welcome change to the steady diet of oak and leather since the beginning.

Unfortunately, the smoke production is very low and I have to apply another burn correction to keep things straightened out as well.

El Aprendiz – Final Third

Cedar, Leather, Creamy Cinnamon, Natural Tobacco, Mild Pepper Spice

While the molasses at the end of the middle section was short lived, some of the transitioned flavors follow suit into the last third.  Cedar and leather join for the base flavors.  Close on their heels is a smooth, creamy cinnamon note with a natural tobacco finish.

El Aprendiz Robusto

One place this cigar has been rather plain is in the retrohale experience.  Until this final third, there have been no real notable flavors in the retrohaled smoke.  Now that the cigar is nearly at it’s end, the retrohale carries some very smooth generic wood notes and a mixed pepper spice finish.  This smooth feeling profile lasts right to the end of the cigar, providing a mildly highlighted finish to the experience.

El Aprendiz Robusto

From start to finish, El Aprendiz provided an hour and eleven minutes of smoke time.

El Aprendiz Robusto Review
8.4 Reviewer
8 Cigar Noise Network (3 votes)

Affordable Pricepoint

Familiar Profile


Eratic Burn

Familiar Profile

In the pros and cons you may ask why I listed “familiar profile” in each area. For some, it’s possible the familiar, comfortable flavors may be just what they are looking for. For others, myself included, I’m excited to try a new cigar, a new blend, to experience something just a little different. El Aprendiz was a good cigar, but it missed the “wow” factor for me. I’d be interested in getting more to see if some rest time wouldn’t benefit them. Should you smoke it? I’d say yes, give it a try because it may be just what you’re looking for.
What Other Folks Are Saying: 3 Make some Noise
Good cigar
It is a good cigar has a lot of flavor and good combustion, in each third the cigar gets better acquiring more flavor and strength
September 22, 2018, 9:40 pm
The rep stopped in at my shop and gave me two to try so I could decide if I wanted to carry them in my shop. Construction is excellent and the pre light draw gave me good flavor. That’s about the time my enjoyment ended. Leathery smoke with woody, almost peat moss type of notes. Very inconsistent burn requiring many touch ups. The cigar left an unpleasant taste in my mouth. Honestly, I’ve had better bundle Cigars that we’re $4 each. The customer I gave the second stick to mirrored my thoughts on the cigar. This is not a cigar I would recommend, buy or sell. Disappointing.
August 21, 2018, 4:01 pm
Great First Half
I really enjoyed the first half or so of my El Aprendiz. From the start I got Cedar, Leather, Floral, and Dried Fruit notes with a very creamy texture. After the first third, I remember logging in on mobile to see the price point that Ted listed and and thought it was damned good for the money. The profile alone reminded me of a maduro blend.

Past the halfway mark, the tasting notes got a little darker and dirtier. My burn line experience was similar to Teds, though, and having to constantly touch it up could be the culprit for my second half experience.

All in all, this was something that I'd happily smoke again down the road.
June 1, 2018, 5:56 am
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