Forcade Giralda Maduro Patriarca

In my introductory discussion of the Forcade Giralda Maduro Patriarca, I had planned on referring to a guest review of the Giralda Natural (or “Medium”) from a year or two ago. But looking through our Cigar Review Index, the review seems to have disappeared. Maybe it was a casualty of past battles with our servers, or perhaps it was never there and I’m thinking over a review I read elsewhere. No matter, the point of bringing it up is that the Forcade Giralda cigars of a few years ago are not the same ones you’ll see in shops today, even though both bear the same band with the Spanish gypsy lady.

After working hard to establish the brand, the owners of small boutique scored a major victory by recruiting Don Pepin Garcia and his son Jaime to make and blend their cigars. Originally, the rumor was that the blend remained the same and was merely rolled at the My Father Cigar factory. I asked Chistrian about this when she was in town recently, and she confirmed that the Garcias did rework the blend in addition to rolling them. (I have since noticed that this is also stated on the “Family” page of the Forcade website.) And as a result of the new production scheme, the sizes and prices of the cigars have also changed from the original offerings.

The Forcade Giralda takes it’s name from the La Giralda, an important church and landmark in Seville, Spain, and not from the mysterious gypsy depicted on the cigar’s band. The significance of both seems to be their connection to Spain, which is where the family’s ancestors lived prior to immigrating to Cuba. So with the mysterious band clarified a bit, it’s time to get down to business.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 6 x 53
Wrapper: Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Honduras, Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Smoking Time: 2 hours
Beverage: Water
Source: Samples
Price: MSRP $7.65

The Pre-Smoke
The wrapper leaf on the Giralda Maduro Patriarca was dark, and a little rustic looking, with a number of larger, occasionally twisted veins. (A characteristic more commonly seen on Cuban cigars.) I noticed that one of the cigars I smoked for this review was a little rougher looking than the others, with more veins and color inconsistencies ranging from deep reddish browns to black. Another stick was had an incredibly toothy, oily wrapper. Despite the visual variations, there didn’t seem to be a single imperfection on any of the sticks.

The cigars were consistently firm to the touch, and the wrapper gave off a rather pungent compost aroma. The cold draw was likewise pronounced, offering up a surprisingly distinct cocoa and raisin flavor.

The Burn
In addition to looking rougher than the rest, the colorful cigar mentioned above also burned differently. It was jagged, often leaving behind peninsulas of unburned wrapper leaf which required lighter intervention. The ash was a little less solid than the rest as well. However, that sub-par experience was outweighed by the generally great burn of the other sticks. The majority of the cigars burned evenly, produced a seamless, light gray ash and rarely had need for additional fire once lit. If this was a beauty contest, the toothy cigar would be Miss Maduro Patriarca 2010. It was flawless in both cosmetic and combustion properties.

The Flavor
The flavors of the first third were a pretty consistent, but involved combination of wood, cocoa and coffee with a raisiny sweetness. The flavors lingered quite a while, but the wood note was the most pronounced in the finish.

In the second third, the raisin and occasionally charry wood flavors took center stage, with pepper, chocolate and leather taking on supporting roles. Though as the cigar progressed, the sweet raisin flavor faded and darker notes of chocolate and coffee began to take its place. As before, the finish tended to be long and woody. (TWSS.)

As the final third began, there was a return of the raisiny sweetness, but otherwise, the chocolaty, woody flavor combination remained prominent.

The Price
The hefty torpedo seems reasonably priced given its size and star-powered production. However, fans of the pre-Pepin Giralda will notice that it now commands a few bucks more a stick than it once did.

The Verdict
I don’t have a lot of experience with the Giralda line from the time before Pepin and son took over its construction, so I won’t try to compare the two. But I will say that the Giralda Maduro Patriarca is a solid stick, with the rich flavors you expect from a maduro, and it was a pleasure smoking each one. I am very likely to buy more the next time I see them, but unfortunately, the Giralda isn’t a cigar I see in the shops very often. So if you come across some in your travels, pick up a few and give ’em a shot.

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

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