Wrapper: Habana 92
Vitola: 5 x 52 (Robusto)
Brand: El Aprendiz
Factory: Top Secret Nest, Dominican Republic
CigarNoise Price Range: $6 – $8
Availability: Regular Production
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.
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.
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.
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.
From start to finish, El Aprendiz provided an hour and eleven minutes of smoke time.