Partagas is one of the cigar world’s longest-standing and most time-tested brands. It is unusual that they never had a Connecticut blend before. This is solved with the arrival of the Partagas, which has a unique blend. Its leaves come from Nicaragua, Indonesia, Mexico, Honduras, and Ecuador. It is a blend that makes us wonder if it could have a real presence in an already competitive market.
One of the most surprising things in the cigar world is the number of the huge-heritage brands that are now releasing cigars to fill in the substantial gaps in their catalog of high-end blends. Perfect example is the Partagas Cortado. This is the first Connecticut blend that Partagas has put out, even though the brand dates all the way back to pre-embargo Cuba.
But the big question is, can Partagas, with all their experience and wisdom in making cigars for so long, still pump out a quality Connecticut blend in a time and age where it’s tough to do, and cigar smokers are more discerning than ever?
Appearance of Cortado Toro
The Cortado is a medium-strength cigar with a silky texture, coupled with the rich taste of coffee. Its ring gauge of 52 ensures the perfect burn time, while its length of 6 inches provides an easy draw. You will notice an aroma reminiscent of roasted coffee beans and caramel when you smoke this cigar. Consistent in flavor until the end, this tasty treat will not leave you disappointed.
A couple of things to know about this blend, it’s got that Ecuador Connecticut wrapper on it. Its binders and fillers are from Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Indonesia. This is why we can say that it is a well-rounded blend.
If you look at the wrapper on this, the Ecuador Connecticut wrapper is your typical very like coffee with a cream-colored wrapper. It’s a smooth leaf, but that Indonesian binder underneath does present a lot of like bumps and unevenness along the shaft of the cigar. If you observe, it’s got a very deep and well pronounced double cap on it, and you don’t see as much of that today as you see the triple cap. Interestingly, a big brand like Partagas decided to do a double cap with this, but the overall presentation on this is excellent. That red and white band gives it a perfect look and feel special with that nice Connecticut color, and those things go really well together.
This thing gives me something new; there is a nice ruggedness to the flavor and some pepper on the retrohale. There is a little bit of spice in the back of the throat, coffee in the flavor, and a pleasant and mild floral note. It’s not your typical creamy, smooth, and sweet Connecticut that you see all over the place these days. It kicks off with a bit of a punch that I like and appreciate, especially as it’s called Cortado, which refers to some espresso with a little bit of milk in it. Certainly kicks off like a shot of espresso but let’s see what it does to us now as we jump to the first third.
Flavor-wise, this Cortado is putting out something through the retrohale. Something vibrant and pretty rugged, and it’s where I was getting that floral note which is still very much there, even more now than it was, but I’m getting roasted almonds along with that still coffee on the tongue. Now also cedar, two very different sets of flavors coming through the tongue and through the retrohale that make a very nice well-diversified profile that has me watching not to puff too fast on it because it really is nice.
Going through the second third, there is a beautiful long ash that didn’t fall off. Big respect, and I appreciate that. Flavor-wise, I’m actually still in that surprised area, and the second third is where we typically get the more balanced, more smoothness, and even the creaminess. This is headed in that direction but not the direction I wanted to see it go as I really liked this sort of rough around the edges, rugged roasted almonds with floral and that beautiful coffee with cedar in there. The pepper and spice were great and had frayed edges on the flavor, and I loved it, but now it’s sort of evening out, and that flavor through the second third just doesn’t carry the same bite or the same punch that it did in the first third. The stick is now giving that nice transition of experience and not like a transition of flavor notes or anything like that but certainly a flavor that develops as you continue to smoke through it. We still got more to go in the final third, and hopefully, it holds on to the flavor, and I can get back some of that ruggedness from the first third.
Final third, the ash falls off, and it’s fine since it held on all the way to the last couple of puffs. It was 2 inches long, which means that, it has a solid construction. The draw on this was perfect, but the flavor has been the shining part of this blend. The start had great consistency and really nice development near the end as I got back some more of that first third. The strength started to rise a little bit, and I lost some of that floral note and cedar, but it now has coffee roasted almonds. Also, white pepper joined in the mix of all that stuff and put that kind of rugged feeling around the edges flavor back in my mouth. I kept coming back for more as it was so good. I was very careful not to overdraw on this thing or overheat it, and so for the final third, I didn’t get any kind of bitterness or anything like that.
Partagas should have done a Connecticut a very long time ago if it was going to turn out this good. It was such a great experience, and I can only think of a couple of other Connecticut that present with this much presence, like the Padron’s Damaso or the Rose of Sharon from Southern Draw. In the medium-bodied Connecticut blends, this now joined in the mix, and it is at a more reasonable shelf price of around $7, depending on the size. It has amazing flavor and experience all the way through, and my final smoking time on this has been 56 minutes on the corona size.