I've finally found it: Cigar Aficionado's Cigar of the Year 2016, the LFD Andalusian Bull. I've heard fantastic things about this cigar; back in Honolulu, the shop I go to (Tobaccos of Hawaii, on South Beretania Street, for those of you who either forgot or haven't seen me mention it yet) ran out even before CA announced their Top 25 Cigars of 2016. The demand for these things was already high before they were officially given the title of COTY, and now... well, I've been searching since January, and I only just got my hands on my first one today. So, yes. I'm quite a bit excited to get to try this one.
Cigar: La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull
Vitola: Gordo (6 1/2” x 64)
Price: ~$15/stick (may be higher based on high demand)
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Corojo
Rating (out of 10): 9.8
First thing that you're going to notice about this cigar is either its bold, green, black and gold band, featuring a silhouetted matador and the gold-embossed lettering, “LFD,” or the spectacular salomone shape of it. Salomones are an unusual shape for a cigar, and are extraordinarily difficult to roll. But, La Flor Dominicana has made a name for itself as a cigar brand known for its unusual shapes. LFDs stand out nearly universally in the appearance department for precisely this reason.
Beyond that, the Andalusian Bull features a medium-dark Corojo wrapper with a nice reddish hue to it, and a light oily coat. It is neatly capped with a softly-rounded point.
The Bull showcases LFD's expert construction. Not only do LFD's rollers (also known as tabaqueros) churn out thousands of oddly-shaped cigars, they've mastered the technique. I'd go so far as to say that LFD may have some of the world's very best tabaqueros in their employ.
No cracks, tears, soft spots, firm lumps, nothing. Perfectly rolled, perfectly capped, and I can't wait to get this thing burning!
The barrel is giving off a nice cedar aroma with faint hints of compost, and the foot explodes with a rich molasses scent to it.
Got a nice, clean cut with my Xikar scissors, allowing a nice, open draw, which, before lighting, is sweet and salty, mainly molasses on the draw and salt on the finish.
I start up Tom Jones' “Boy From Nowhere,” and light up. The molasses is still there, but I'm now tasting some very nice graham cracker on the draw, as well, and the finish is far less salty now that it's lit.
A bit of the wrapper peeled away right near the start, but it didn't destroy the cigar, and shouldn't pose any issue moving forward.
Barely even into this thing, and I can definitely tell you it's a full-bodied smoke, no question. The Bull is out of the gate, and is not holding anything back. Better keep on your toes, matador, lest you end up getting gored by this Bull's ferocity!
It's struggling to burn evenly early on, and a light touchup was needed.
Maybe a quarter inch in, and I'm suddenly getting a rich, smoky barbecue flavor! There's something I would have never expected to taste from a cigar!
Wow. This cigar is incredible. But it will knock you right on your ass if you're not ready for it. Do not try to smoke one of these on an empty stomach!
About an inch in now, and still... wow. The burn has mostly evened out, though the line is a bit wavy. The ash is nice and firm, and near-white in color. The barbecue flavor has faded almost entirely, and we're back to primarily graham cracker and molasses, with a sweet and salty finish. The salt has mostly faded, but is still just noticeable enough. The aftertaste, though, is all honey sweetness.
Ashed it just at the start of the second third, even though it was holding out quite well. Being cautious.
A bit less molasses here, a bit more graham cracker. Some faint undertones of cocoa in there, too. A little spicier, too... some red hot pepper notes coming in on the finish.
There's a hint of something new coming in toward the middle... sweet and tart, like black cherry.
The burn is remaining nice and even, too. My gods, this is delicious. Lovely aroma, too, as long as there's not a breeze or a fan or something blowing the smoke directly into your face.
That cherry note just gets bolder and bolder,balancing nicely with the consistent graham cracker profile.
The graham cracker and cherry mix is holding on into the last third, but a more noticeable honey or molasses aftertaste is building on the lips.
As it burns, though, more of that smoky barbecue is returning to the flavor blend. Not enough to overtake the primary graham cracker and cherry profile, at least not yet. It's hiding just beneath that, just enough to be noticed. That salt and pepper finish is creeping back in, as well.
In the final inch, things start to wind down quite nicely.
Or, I may have spoke too soon... the black cherry comes roaring back in as we move into the last inch, as the Bull makes a last effort to survive this fight. Next, the barbecue again. This Bull is showcasing everything it's got in these final moments. A blast of salt towards the very end...
...And, finally, the Bull slumps down, and the matador is victorious. Unless this thing was too strong for you, in which case...
I can absolutely see how the Andalusian Bull was Cigar Aficionado's Cigar of the Year of 2016. Everything about this thing is impressive; the shape of it, the size, and above all else, the rich, complex, and delicious flavor profile. I was a little disappointed I didn't win a box of these from Cigar Aficionado at the end of January; now, I'm devastated.
All joking aside, though. I'm glad I got to give this one a try, and I'm looking forward to buying a box once demand dies down enough for me to actually find one.