Perdomo Grand Cru Maduro Robusto

It was a tough call deciding which cigar to review this week. I was all set to review a lesser-known boutique cigar that had been around for a while, and as I looked through my bags of recent stogie acquisitions I noticed the Perdomo Grand Cru Maduro. I looked at it for a minute and it occurred to me I knew absolutely nothing about the cigar, other than it was new and I had three of them. And the reason for that was that that I had not seen any reviews of the stick yet, or any talk about it on twitter either. The path became clear, the new unknown must be explored.

Since google didn’t turn up much information on the Grand Cru Maduro, I decided to take a shot at contacting Perdomo directly. My luck at getting a manufacturer response to my queries has been pretty bad in the past. So to increase my chances I sprinkled the ash of an aged Cuban cigar on the floor and did an interpretive dance expressing the eternal battle of good and evil as it relates to my desire to receive a follow up email. The dance worked. Either that, or the folks at Perdomo are really on the ball, because in a few hours, I had all the information I needed for this review.

Here’s an excerpt of the press release they sent me:

Perdomo Grand Cru, the newest creation from Nick Perdomo, Jr., is an extremely well-balanced “puro”, blended with all Cuban-seed (Semilla Habano) wrappers, binders and fillers. These exquisite tobaccos from a crop of 2004 have been carefully hand-selected and well-aged as the “Grand Cru”, or the best of the best yield from Perdomo’s farms in 2004. Perdomo Grand Cru offers a bold, full-flavored smoking experience in either a rich, earthy Corojo wrapper or a dark, oily Maduro wrapper.

Packaged in traditional, yet elegant boxes of 20, the Perdomo Grand Cru is available in four traditional sizes including: Robusto (5 x 50); Toro (6 x 50); Churchill (7 x 50); Torpedo (6 x 54). Suggested retail price range from $6.00 to $6.75 per cigar.

And with that, it’s time to give the leaves of 2004 their trial by fire.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Cuban-seed (Semilla Habano)
Binder: Nicaragua Cuban-seed (Semilla Habano)
Filler: Nicaragua Cuban-seed (Semilla Habano)
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Beverage: Water
Price: MSRP $6.00

The Pre-Smoke
The first thing we must address is the band. It’s nice enough looking, but it could be a point of confusion. The only difference between the band on the maduro and the corojo is the color of the background. The maduro has a darker brown background, while the corojo has an orangish-tan color. It does say which is which on the top of the cigar box, but some shops either remove the top, or it’s obscured by the shelving structure of the humidor.

As the press release states, the wrapper leaf of the cigar is a dark, oily maduro. As I looked over the cigars for this review, I noticed one of them was also pretty toothy, but also lumpier than the other two. One of the sticks had what looked like a patch near the foot of the cigar. All three of them were consistently firm.

The wrapper had a potent pre-light aroma that was an interesting medley of beef jerky, compost and sweetness. Like some cigars I’ve reviewed in the past, the wrapper scent seemed to evolve and sweeten the longer it was free of it’s cellophane restraints. My notes for the cold taste are a little less exciting, I got a pretty straight forward sweet chocolate flavor.

The Burn
The Perdomo Grand Cru Maduro had a lot of issues in the burn department. All the cigars burned unevenly and they all went out several times. The worst of the bunch was the lumpy stick. It went out frequently in the second third, and pretty badly canoed twice. The other two could be counted on to go out, like clockwork, around the beginning of the second and final thirds.

On a positive note, there were no draw problems. And though the lighter was often in play, the cigars didn’t seem to suffer much in the flavor department with all the extra fire. Also, the sticks could hold a pretty long, reasonably solid ash.

The Flavor
Looking over my notes, I don’t see a need to break the Grand Cru Maduro up into thirds. The profile, which did seem well balanced, and ever-changing, was constructed of the same flavor set from one third to the next. That set included dark and sweet chocolates, pepper, earth and caramel. The only exception to the rule was in one cigar that took on a coppery element for a while just before the final third.

The Price
With a price that’s just north of the budget stick border, it’s hard to complain about the cost.

The Verdict
Some cigars are a journey, taking you through very different thirds, this cigar was more of a full-bodied flavor kaleidoscope. Each puff was a slightly different mixture of the flavor palette. The Perdomo Grand Cru Maduro may not have taken me on a flavor voyage, but that didn’t keep me from really enjoying the cigar. The constant small transitions in flavor kept my interest, leaving me quite content to just stay put. To be sure, the burn problems were an annoyance, but one I was willing to tolerate because of what I was tasting. Would the verdict be the same for a longer smoke? It’s hard to say, but I plan to find out.

Now while the lack of significant flavor evolution turned out to be a good thing for me, it’s likely to be a deal breaker for some. By the time the ashes of the first third rest in your ashtray, you’ll know what to expect for the rest of the smoke. And for that reason, I’d recommend giving the robusto a shot before venturing into the larger vitolas.

Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Very likely, with the hope that later batches will burn better.
Recommend It: Yes, but try the robusto first.

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