Binder: Vizo 2020, Vizo Criollo 98, Ligero Criollo 98, Ligero 2020
Filler: Havana Vuelta Arriba
Vitola: 5 1/2 x 54 (Cortos)
Brand: Caminos Cigars
Factory: Top Secret Nest (Tamboril, Dominican Republic)
CigarNoise Price Range: $8 – $10
Source: IPCPR 2016
Availability: Regular Production
Caminos El Retiro – Opening Thoughts
Today I am reviewing another great cigar from the Dominican Republic, the Caminos El Retiro. El Retiro, blended by Master Blender Francisco Chico Rivas, is available in three vitolas: Largos (7 x 48), Trillos (6 x 52) and Cortos (5 1/2 x 54). The Cortos is the cigar I have on hand and has a MSRP of $8.50.
El Retiro is a medium brown color with a leathery, toothy appearance. I also notice the leaf used in the cap is a lighter shade than the rest of the wrapper. This cigar is rolled to be quite firm.
Scents of sweet tobacco, honey, honey and more honey come from the wrapper. This may lead down a path of no return in a very delightful way. The foot smells of hay and honey. After I punch cut the cap, more hay and honey present themselves in the cold draw.
Caminos El Retiro – First Third
Bran Cereal, Mineral, Mild Cedar, Mild Tobacco, Baking Spice, Apple, Honey, Dried Fruit
Without further delay, let’s get the party started. After toasting the foot, the first few puffs produce an ample amount of smoke. It is somewhat thin in substance but carries flavors of bran flakes and a distinct metallic/mineral note. I truly hope the mineral note disappears in a hurry. Making their presence known are baking spices and apple flavors. Yes, for just a few moments it tastes just as if I took a bite of a red apple!
While a bit wavy, the char line is crisp and shows plenty of life even in the rest. The punch cut I chose is proving to be completely adequate for a very nice draw. It isn’t airy and carries just a bit of resistance.
The retro hale is smooth, free of heat and pleases the senses with honey, more of the bran flake flavors and a touch of dried fruit. I can’t quite discern the fruit type, but is is unmistakeable. Mild tobacco flavor shoulders it’s way into the dance, complimenting the other participants.
Twenty-eight minutes into this experience and the light gray ash is holding on with endurance. The flavor profile is very consistent, minus the mineral surprise at the beginning, with smooth flavors continuing to transition in and out of the smoke – both in the mouth and in retro hale.
Caminos El Retiro – Middle Third
Cedar, Dried Fruit, Honey, Mild Tobacco, White Pepper
Choosing to not force the ash off the end of the cigar, I help myself to the next portion of El Retiro. Cedar makes a move to lead the way with the dried fruit note and mild tobacco following obediently. Midway through this third, white pepper appears very shyly and dances quietly on the tongue. It simply wants me to know it is there without disrupting the other flavors.
The honey, dried fruit and pepper notes mingle together nicely in retro hale, allowing just a touch of heat in the sinuses. I have to remove the band to access the final portion of this third. The lower portion of the band has a very unique depiction of two paths leading from tobacco fields. It has me wondering if there is meaning behind the paths. Are they leading to or from the fields? Maybe a question for an upcoming “Meet and Greet” with Cesar Reyes of Caminos Cigars?
The El Retiro is now churning out heavier smoke, providing a light, pleasant coating in the mouth. The burn line is a bit wavy, but very crisp so I resign from the thought of any touch-up.
Caminos El Retiro – Final Third
Cedar, Dried Apricot, Mild Tobacco, Bran Cereal, Pepper, Cream
The final third of my cigar begins with the ash falling. This proves to be a great change of pace with the smoke production becoming even heavier. The mouth feel of the smoke is nearly chewy. If there is a drawback to this third, I am already noticing the draw tightening up a small amount. It isn’t prohibitive, but noticeable.
Cedar continues to be the lead man in the dance. Finally, my patience is rewarded and I am able to name the dried fruit note as apricot! It took some time for it to really show it’s true color but I’m very pleased with the flavor. Mild tobacco continues to linger around with the bran flake and pepper in tow. A new arrival is ushered in as cream inches through the door, refusing to be ignored. I apply my first touch-up to the cigar, easing the burn line back on track.
With my hour of smoking the El Retiro nearing an end, the strength is really increasing. Unfortunately, the difficulty in draw increases as well. I would describe this as a full bodied, medium strength cigar with rising power near the end. Accentuated pepper notes and absence of the earlier honey flavor make the retro hale a altogether new experience near the end. The El Retiro leaves me with an understanding that it means business until the end with lingering memories of softer notes.
Complimenting Flavor Profile
Near Perfect Burn
Mineral Note At Beginning
Tighter Draw In Last Third