The La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull cigar is a bit of a unicorn.
Nobody (that I knew) had ever heard of it before about a week ago.
Then, Cigar Aficionado put the cigar on the map by naming it the #1 cigar of 2016 in their annual rankings. Now, it's nearly impossible to find and everybody who is anybody in the cigar world is trying to get their paws on one if they haven't had the privilege.
I was lucky enough to stumble into the Andalusian Bull cigar over the holiday break and thought I'd share my thoughts as I worked my way through the 6.5" x 54 whopper.
Pre-LightThe Andalusian Bull is a beauty of a cigar. While not as dark and charming as many of the more visually appealing cigars, the real attractiveness with this cigar comes in the hand feel. My wife would kill me if she read this but it's kind of the like the girl in college that doesn't have a pretty face but once the lights are off all of her curves are in the right place. The salomon shape is a little intimidating, truth be told.
The stick is solid in the hand and feels like a brick - stuffed full of tobacco. Double banded, the green and gold colors on the band are fairly unique and should allow this cigar to stick out well among the noise at most brick and mortar cigar shops.
The salomon shape is easy to cut as well. I snipped about a tenth of an inch from the cap and took a cold draw. Nearly flawless with just a touch of tension. Definitely some notes of cedar right off the bat on the cold draw.
Cigar Specs:Origin: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Reported Strength: Medium to Full
Blender: Litto Gomez
Smoking Conditions: Outdoors on a covered, partially enclosed porch. Minimal wind, 55-degrees.
Andalusian Bull - First Third
Upon lighting the LFD Andalusian Bull, I was immediately hit with earthy flavors. Sort of a damp but not really a dusky note hit me right away. That subsided relatively quickly and gave way to what I would call a dark chocolate / cocoa type note.
So far, very enjoyable with a bit of sweetness that hinted at citrus but didn't quite get to the realm of orange or grapefruit for me. Just sort of a melange feeling.
I was surprised by the smoke output - there wasn't much. A lot of guys love a cigar that gives off a ton of smoke. This cigar isn't it if that's your thing. I don't know if this does it justice, but this slow-mo video will show you the amount of smoke coming off the foot.
Lucky for me, I don't really care about filling my mouth with a ton of smoke. I've smoked cigars with far less smoke output but if you're a fan of Diesels and some of the big smokers, you'll be disappointed with this aspect of the cigar.
After a couple draws at this stage a creaminess hit me. At first, I couldn't place it but then it hit me hard: Caramel. Smooth, creamy, delicious caramel. It's glorious. Absolutely glorious.
Sadly, the caramel doesn't last as a primary note for long. But the smoke does start to pick up a little bit at about the half way point of the cigar. At this point, I'm about an hour in to the smoking experience. This cigar is a bit of a marathon. :)
About an hour and a half in I start to pick up the traditional Dominican dank, tanginess that I associate with so many Dominican cigars. It's not as pronounced and unenjoyable as I'm used to and doesn't last long --- but it's there. It subsides into a similar experience to the first third with some cedar and cocoa notes leading the way.
Final Third of the Andalusian Bull
I'm getting a little more pronounced cedar as we work our way into the final third of the cigar. There's a sweetness that comes along with it. I wouldn't call it a caramel this time though --- something else, I can't quite touch it.
The smoke output remains pretty decent in this third as well. Perhaps my first-third of low smoke was an anomaly.
Truth be told, I expected this cigar to come full circle and bring me back to the same flavors I experienced in the first-third. It didn't but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.
Total smoke time for this cigar was about 2:05 for me. I could have gone even longer, I suspect. I nubbed it out and didn't put in a ton of effort. Overall, this is an excellent cigar but after two-hours, the sun had gone down and I got cold. I suffer for cigars but only to a certain point!
In summary, I'd definitely smoke this again and once we're back into the warmer months - this is a can't miss cigar. While pricey - $15-$20 per stick - it's easily one of the better cigars of the year and I think Cigar Aficionado was justified to include this on their Top 25 cigar list.
Post-Script: What's an Andalusian Bull?
Being a gringo, I had to look it up. The matador on the cigar band is a clue and a good one but I was curious to know more details.
In a nutshell, an Andalusian Bull is a bull from the southern coast of Spain. Andalusia is a region that's comprised of about 34,000 square miles and includes at least one city you might have heard of - Seville. So, I'd imagine the matador on the band means the bull is tied to bullfighting and all that history in Spain that I'm not familiar with. (Litto Gomez, the creator of the cigar was born in Spain).