La Flor Dominicana Double Claro No. 42

With ample time still available for you to make your St. Patrick’s Day cigar plans, this week I bring to you what I believe is my first ever review of a candela cigar, the La Flor Dominicana Double Claro.

Green cigars have been with us for a long time, but the chances of seeing one in your local shop is only slightly better than your chances of getting hit with an overdose of gamma radiation. Or at least that was the case until recently, when a number of boutique cigar manufacturers decided to try their hand at taming the mean green, starting what might be a candela revival. The ones that have been hitting the market in the last year or two haven’t been the mild “American Market Selection” smokes of a bygone era, they’re more like the full-bodied cigars that are enjoying a lasting popularity. And the indications are, the Double Claro is a continuation on that theme.

Rather than breaking down the details on the latest candela on the market, I’ll let La Flor Dominicana’s marketing department to handle the introductions. Here’s the press release they sent out in January:

Coral Gables, FL January 2012 – La Flor Dominicana will introduce its first ever Candela cigar.

The Double Claro is a medium bodied candela with an Ecuadorian wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and Dominican filler from our farm in La Canela. The original release will be in 25 count boxes available in three sizes (robusto, corona, chuchill). This item will be regular production.

No. 50 – Size: 50 x 5 Suggested retail per box: $171.50 Suggested retail per cigar: $6.86

No. 42 – Size: 42 x 5 1/2 Suggested retail per box: $169.00 Suggested retail per cigar: $6.76

No. 48 – Size: 48 x 6 7/8 Suggested retail per box: $181.50 Suggested retail per cigar: $7.26

La Flor Dominicana is a vertically integrated premium cigar company, where we proudly control the process from the seed to the final grading, inspecting and packing process. Our tobaccos are grown at our farm in La Canella, Dominican Republic. Our factory is located in Tamboril.

And with that out of the way, it’s time to find out if the Double Claro is a cigar that’ll make people green with envy, or green for another reason.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 5 1/2 x 42
Wrapper: Ecuador
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Dominican Republic
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Beverage: Water
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Price: MSRP $6.76

The Pre-Smoke
I can’t be the first person to have thought of the Incredible Hulk when looking at the La Flor Dominicana Double Claro. The shade of green combined with the veins both on and just below the wrapper almost insist on the comparison. Though that probably works a little better with the larger sizes. Regardless, it’s a sharp looking cigar that’s hard to miss if it’s in your humidor. Surrounded by all those varying shades of brown, it might as well be neon green.

Aside from the unusual wrapper color, nothing else about the cigars I smoked seemed out of the ordinary. They had fine veins, and no obvious imperfections. To the touch the cigars were consistent, but felt a little on the soft side. The wrapper had an herbal hay aroma, and the cold draw produced a vegetal molasses flavor.

The Burn
The Double Claro burned fairly well, drew perfectly, producing lengthy ashes, and a good volume of smoke. However, each cigar I lit for this review experienced minor issues with unevenness and most required an occasional relight. Not a perfect performance, but nothing so serious that it would cause any real irritation.

The Flavor
The Double Claro’s flavor profile did evolve as it progressed, but it didn’t strike me as a cigar that needed to be broken down into thirds. As to be expected, there was an herbal/vegetal thread that tied it all together. It started off prominently, and with good amount of sweetness, but as the ashes dropped, it lost some of that sweetness and faded more and more into the finish. Pepper also appeared early, but it grew steadily instead of receding. Along the way I picked up some enjoyable cedar and graham notes. By the end, the flavor profile was dominated by a pronounced savory pepper and cedar.

The Price
Even with local taxes tacked on, the Double Claro should be accessible to even smokers on a budget. The green you get seems reasonable for the green you give.

The Verdict
The La Flor Dominicana Double Claro is a surprising smoke in several ways. As I mentioned in the introduction, it’s not the mild cigar with either the overly sweet or vegetal profile that I generally expect from candela. It’s got some hulk-like power to it, with plenty of body and even some complexity. But most importantly, it’s a good cigar in it’s own right, even outside the green arena. It’s enough to make you rethink candela as a viable smoking option. I won’t say that I’m planning on running back and buying a box, but if the occasion calls for candela, it’s on the short list of cigars I’d buy. (And that’s a very short list.) If you’re interested in going green, I’d recommend starting here. And if you’ve never had a candela cigar you liked, try this before writing them off completely. Just try not to make it angry.

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

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