El Primer Mundo Connecticut Shade Toro

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In the meantime (and in no way affiliated with Swisher International), this week I complete my review tour of the El Primer Mundo cigar offerings. In the past I’ve posted my thoughts on the Criollo Maduro and the Rosado Oscuro, but I’ve shied away from the Connecticut Shade. I did so because for quite a while I just wasn’t into Connecticut leaf. When that changed without warning recently (as these things do) I had a number of review requests for popular Connecticut-wrapped cigars. The El Primer Mundo Connecticut Shade was one of them. And since Sean Williams, the owner of the brand and resident of Atlanta was nice enough to hook me up with a few sticks recently, it’s the first of the requests I’m getting to.

In a previous post I mentioned El Primer Mundo cigar had been a challenge to find even in the Atlanta area. That is no longer the case, after contending with some family business and production issues inconveniently occurring back to back, the smokes are once again hitting the shelves, and Sean has been hitting the pavement doing events. And if this is the first you’re hearing about these cigars, here’s some quick background. They are made in Esteli, Nicaragua by the prolific Nestor Plasencia. Officially, the Connecticut Shade comes in two vitolas, the toro (which I’m about to review) and the robusto. I happen to know, however, that other options exist, but I don’t have a complete list at this time.

And now, it’s Time to bring the fire.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 6 x 52
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru
Smoking Time: 2 hours
Beverage: Water
Price: ~$6.00

The Pre-Smoke
Like the majority of El Primer Mundo cigars, the Connecticut Shade toro is a box-pressed stick. It sports wrapper leaf that I’d have to describe as a dirty light natural. In general, it’s a very light in color, but with some darker markings scattered around it’s length. In my inspection I didn’t find any actual imperfections. The cigars had one or two rather long, but thin veins, generally located together on one side of the stick, leaving the other sides very smooth in appearance.

The cigars also felt firm to the touch, and one was just a bit lumpier rest. The scent of the wrapper was a combination of grain, honey and compost, and the cold taste was all creamy vanilla.

The Burn
For the most part these cigars burned very well. There were a couple of episodes of noteworthy unevenness (mostly later on in the smoke), but the cigars never required any flame-related intervention. The ash was also solid, light gray and generally nice to look at while smoking. I discovered a crack near the head of one cigar after I had been smoking a while, but it didn’t seem to affect the draw in a noticeable way.

The most interesting aspect of the burn and the construction in general was the transformation of one stick as I smoked it. Normally, a box pressed cigar will swell and round out a bit near the burning end. That’s how it was with the first two. The last one one seemed to swell almost as soon as I pulled it from the cellophane. And I did note it was the firmest cigar of the bunch. About an inch in, I was no longer smoking a box-pressed cigar. It had resumed a more natural cylindrical shape. You might suspect that means the draw was tight, but that was never a problem. The draw was fine.

The Flavor
The Connecticut Shade toro says hello in a sweet, creamy way. A the cigar progressed, the sweetness developed into vanilla, caramel and honey at different points in the first third, and the creaminess became more of a grain or toast flavor.

In the second third the toast took on a bit of an edge that sometimes came across as spicy or peppery in the finish, particularly toward the back of the mouth. I noticed a bit of a divergence in the other flavors of this third. One stick presented a coffee and honey sweetness, while another had a full-on rich cherry flavor that really surprised me. This third finished creamy and toasty once again.

The creaminess lasted for a little while into the first third, reminding me of nougat with a little bit of spice. After that faded I started to get a coppery, mineral flavor which was joined momentarily by caramel before getting back to general creaminess just at the end.

The Price
I wasn’t able to track down the MSRP for the Connecticut Shade, but as I recall, it’s generally priced in $6 to $7 range. No complaints here, I think this is one of the most affordable smokes I’ve reviewed in quite a while.

The Verdict
If you’re a fan of Connecticut-wrapped cigars, you can’t go wrong with the El Primer Mundo Connecticut Shade. It’s has great, complex flavors that will keep you interested and it delivers them without punishing your wallet in the process. And that’s no April Fools joke. I’m not going to say it was my favorite cigar in this category, but I did enjoy it, and will probably be smoking more in the future. If your local shop carries them, would encourage you to check it out as well. And with this review I can officially say that I haven’t ever had a bad El Primer Mundo cigar. Now I just have to talk Sean into making something new for me to review.

Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes

Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.

Bonus! People have told me in the past that they thought the final image in the tower of burn would make great wallpaper. So if you’re interested, you can download a larger image of it here. Let me know what you think, maybe I’ll do again!