Don Gonzalez Special Edition Maduro Robusto

I’ve been meaning to light up a Don Gonzalez cigar for a few months now. It’s one of those lines I don’t see around much, but I keep hearing people mention it in conversation. After being asked for at least the third time if I had tried one, I decided to make the effort to find some. I hopped in the herfmobile and headed a Don Gonzalez event out in the burbs of Atlanta.

Though I met the Pedro Gonzalez, the owner, briefly at the event, I didn’t really have a chance to pick up too many tidbits about the Don Gonzalez Special Edition Maduros I bought. The cigars themselves are pretty new, but according to the ads the company has in cigar magazines, Don Gonzalez has ties to tobacco that date back to the 1930’s in the Pinar Del Rio region of Cuba. (Of course, these are produced in Esteli, Nicaragua, not Cuba.) I did find out that the Special Edition is a full line of cigars, not the limited or one-time production you might expect from the name. It’s available with Connecticut, Corojo and Maduro wrappers, in many of the ususual sizes, robusto, toro, torpedo and churchill.

That just about covers it. Let’s set them ablaze and see how special they really are.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Beverage: Water
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Price: ~$6.20

The Pre-Smoke
One of the more interesting features of the Special Edition Maduro was the toothiness of the wrapper. It was larger and more sporadic than most wrapper tooth you see, and it contributed interesting character to the overall rustic look of the cigar. (Unfortunately I burned the best example of this tooth prior to taking pictures.) For the most part, the cigars were without superficial imperfections, though one did have a blemish and a few wrapper holes near the foot of the cigar.

The cigars were very firm to the touch, a little lumpy and had a few larger veins. The scent of the wrapper was the standard slightly funky compost, and I tasted a little syrupy cedar in the cold draw.

The Burn
There aren’t any real problems to report about the Special Edition Maduro’s combustion. On the rare occasion when the burn line strayed, it wasn’t long before the problem worked itself out. The rest of the time it was nothing but solid white ash and a good draw.

While writing up this review and smoking the last stick, I did run into a wrapper split. I debated bringing it up, as it was at due in part to my clumsy removal of one of the bands. (Surplus glue also played a part.) I decided to mention it because the cigar continued to burn nicely in spite of injury. And that doesn’t happen very often.

The Flavor
The first few puffs of the Special Edition Maduro carried a sweet earthy cocoa flavor, and in the space of a few more puffs, cedar and hints of coffee emerged. After the inital variety, the first third settled on a predominantly sweet earthy cedar.

The next third was mostly a continuation of the dominant flavors of that preceded, though with a lessening in the sweetness of the earthy cedar combination, and a touch of bitter chocolate in the finish.

Aside from the expected increase in body, and a warmer burn, the flavors previously noted carried the cigar to its conclusion.

The Price
With an MSRP in the $6 to $7 range (I paid $7 with local taxes), it’s worth the price of admission.

The Verdict
The Don Gonzalez Special Edition Maduro is a solid smoke. It has an enjoyable, straightforward flavor profile (provided you’re a fan of cedar, and I am), a reasonable price and good burn properties. At the moment, their availability is a little limited, especially outside the Southeast, but the indications are that the cigar has been well received and distribution is growing. So keep an eye out for them in your local brick and mortar, and give the Special Edition Maduro a shot when you see it hit the shelves.

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

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