Guayacan by Noel Rojas Robusto

Drew Estate

Up for review this week is a cigar you may not have heard of yet, the Guayacan Robusto by Noel Rojas. I was in the same boat until I met Noel Rojas at the Chattanooga Tweetup a few weeks ago. We didn’t have much time to talk, but he handed me some samples and a business card and told me to call him if I needed more information. I decided to take him up on his offer and picked up the phone.

Noel Rojas has a colorful history when it comes to cigars. He hails from Pinar Del Rio, Cuba and began working in tobacco fields after school when he was just 13. He speaks fondly of his six years in the tobacco fields. After his compulsory military service, he tried to make ends meet by making cigars on the side. It went pretty well, but it didn’t take long for the authorities to put an end to that. So he got a license to be an artist and switched to making wooden sculptures for tourists out of Guayacan, a wood he described as tough, oily and aromatic. Unfortunately his artist license didn’t permit him to acquire the wood he needed, and once again he ran afoul of the authorities. Then five years ago, he gave up on trying to make it in Cuba and set up shop in the US.

Fast forward to the present day, and Guayacan by Noel Rojas is in more than thirty shops around the US. The cigar, named after the wood he carved in Cuba, is available in four sizes, Robusto (5 x 50), Toro (6 x 52), Torpedo (6 1/8 x 52) and Churchill (7 x 50). There are differences in the blend between vitolas, but all feature a mixture of Aganorsa leaf from the Esteli and Jalapa regions of Nicaraga. Let’s light it up.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Ecuadoran Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo ’98
Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo ’98
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Beverage: Water
Source: Samples
Price: MSRP $6.50

The Pre-Smoke
The Guayacan is a good looking smoke with a dark wrapper and finer, sometimes plentiful veins. Inspecting them more closely, I did find a few flaws, including cracks at the feet of a few cigars, and a small hole in one. (The cracks may well be a side effect of a sample stick’s life on the road.)

Every cigar I smoked for this review was well packed, and nearly rock hard to the touch. The wrapper aroma was light, and varied between compost and wood in smell. The cold draw was good, and had an earthy sweetness to it.

The Burn
The Guayacan burned very well overall, with the only real issues appearing near the final third. At that point I often had issues with unevenness, some requiring a touch up. But once corrected, it was back on track for the rest of the smoke. Otherwise, solid ash, even burn lines, and good draw. None of the flaws I mentioned in the pre-smoke had any impact on the smoking experience.

The Flavor
There was no introductory pepper blast or other prelude with the Guayacan, it got right into hearty leather, oak and a slightly musty earth, elements that I would taste a lot of throughout the duration of the smoke. I also picked up sweetness that was sometimes like syrup, and other times almost like cherry, but generally accompanied by spice.

As it transitioned into the second third the profile wasn’t quite as earthy. Coffee, leather, oak and pepper were the major players at this point, with a tart spicy sweetness that sometimes included cinnamon. A little further along I began to notice how long and interesting the finish was, often leaving me with a lasting combination of leathery tobacco and graham.

In the final third the earth that was nearly missing in the preceding section returned and brought with it pepper. Oak was still prevalent, but the leather faded considerably. Even late into the cigar, there were still occasional hints of spicy sweetness.

The Price
There can never be too many well-made cigars selling for less then seven bucks.

The Verdict
The Guayacan by Noel Rojas is an impressive inaugural offering from a new boutique manufacturer that is made even sweeter by its reasonable price tag. Toward the end of our conversation, Noel Rojas humbly said something to the effect of “I’m not trying to make the best cigar in the world, I want to make something people will enjoy smoking.” It may not be the world’s finest, but he definitely succeeded in making a very good cigar that many will enjoy a great deal if they have a chance to try it. I recommend giving it 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.