October 08, 2011

Pride Cigars Bandolero Billy the Kid

Pride Cigars Bandolero Billy the Kid (5x50)




This is the second of the Pride Cigars that I've reviewed. This series called Bandelero pays tribute to the wild west with each cigar named for a famous hombre. Four shapes are offered: Billy the Kid (5″ x 50), Pancho Villa (6″ x 60), Butch Cassidy (6″ x 50) and Jesse James (6-1/2″ x 52 Torpedo). Manufacturer’s suggested retail prices range from $6.90 to $7.90. Ares Contreras, owner of Pride Cigars has this to say about the Bandelero line;
“These sizes,” explains Contreras, “are so-named to let cigar lovers know they’re in for a brawny, full-bodied smoking experience. The rustic-theme artwork on Bandolero’s cedar box carries the image of a six-shooter, and holds 20 cigars in cellophane tubes. You might be interested to know that ‘bandolero’ in Español, especially when referring to an hombre by a señorita, is slang for a ‘bad ass’ … this is a cigar for serious cigar veterans, not greenhorns.”
The Dominican-grown Habano wrapper is dark and oily but it’s not processed as a maduro, it’s a natural shade. Contreras states,
“Bandolero also features a Dominican binder and triple-fermented Dominican/Nicaraguan filler. Both binder and filler tobaccos are aged a full three years, and the finished cigars are aged in cedar chests for another six months.”
Contreras explains,
“All Pride cigars are entubado-bunched … each seco and viso leaf is rolled lengthwise, one by one, like soda straws. The buncher then arranges them in a circle around one or more tubed leaves of ligero in the center. Rather than having blockages from folds and twists in the filler leaves … more common in conventionally-bunched fillers …the smoke passes freely through each tubed leaf from foot to head, and the ligero is more easily centered. Though more labor-intensive, the consumer is assured of an easy, uniform smoke.”

Bandolero cigars are all triple capped. Pride Cigars are only available at local cigar shops; not internet sites. Contreras also says this about the limited production of these cigars;
“Our limited production is evidence that quality is what drives us, not quantity … Bandolero’s first release is only 10,000 cigars, 2,500 per shape. Miguel Francisco, our master blender, and I work side by side. We test and refine each new blend over several months, to get the recipe right … if we’re satisfied, we know smokers will be, too.”

All Bandolero shapes join the company’s core “Pride” line of cigars at better smoke shops nationwide, starting August 15.

So, let's see what the new Bandolero cigars are all about.



Video review HERE.

The cigar is a dark reddish brown color and rough looking. I suppose this a reflection of the men they represent. It feels dense. It has a very oily wrapper. The cigar is triple capped.



The draw was a tad firm but not bad. The initial flavors were pepper, leather, underlying raw almonds and citrus. The cigar seems full bodied right away.

After 1/2 inch there are leather notes, dry cinnamon, subtle citrus and a ton of black pepper. The finish is one of vanilla. The cigar is definitely full bodied. Quite an assortment of flavors right away.

Only 1/4 inch later and the cigar had much more citrus notes that seem to be orange and they are becoming rich. The pepper is still strong. The wrapper of the cigar is very thick and corse. The citrus ntoes are blending quite well with the cinnamon notes, which is not a dry cinnamon any longer. The finish is sweet vanilla with a subtle citrus and some lingering pepper.

At the midpoint the citrus notes are richer, the cinnamon is still good and the leather notes have returned. The cigar is still very full bodied.

Near the end of the cigar the dry cinnamon notes have returned. The finish remains the same; sweet vanilla. At this point the cinnamon notes seem to change from a dry cinnamon to a rich cinnamon with every draw. The citrus remains rich and nice. The cigar is complex or at least one that changes quickly!



At the end of the cigar I was thinking this was a great cigar. The changes it made during the smoke were nice. Back and forth between dry cinnamon and rich cinnamon, the rich orange citrus, leather appeared then went away, and all along the pepper was amazing. The finish remained about the same with one of vanilla. Lingering pepper came along on the spice after the 1/3 point or so and stayed. This was a very good full bodied cigar that Pride Cigars can take great pride in producing.

Score: 93

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