J. Fuego Gran Reserva
Is it plume or is it mold?
In the summer and early fall months as temperatures and natural humidity in the air are at higher levels, your cigars must continue to be monitored carefully. One of the biggest concerns is mold. Mold thrives in dark, damp, warm areas. For those of you who have lived in a house with a basement or have experienced a leaking roof that caused moisture to get behind the walls of your house, you get the idea.
If you have a humidor loaded with cigars then you have an investment at risk. Naturally, avoidance is the best policy. Get yourself a decent digital hygrometer/thermometer and do not let the humidity, nor the temperature go above 70 degrees Fahrenheit; remember the 70/70 rule – 70 degrees (F) and 70% relative humidity! This, again, is easier said (or written as in this case) than done in the hotter, more humid months. If you have lots of money, you can certainly trick out your humidor with auto temp and humidity devices. If you don’t have or want to spend lots of money, common sense goes along way:
1. Relocate the humidor to a cooler location in the house.
2. Talk to a local tobacconist about relatively inexpensive gels/solutions that regulate humidity.
3. Remove the humidification device and simply leverage the natural humidity in the air.
But hold on, don’t confuse plume with mold! Plume is a good thing! And the two are easy to confuse.
Plume is a crystallization of oils from the cigar that appear on the wrapper as a fine spray of salt-like substance. One distinction, it tends to be evenly distributed across the surface of the cigar. In contrast, mold is fuzzy and will most often occur in spots on the cigar. What is the significance? Plume is considered to be a rare indication that a cigar is clearly at its peak for smoking. Mold is, as you would expect, not good. Some fellow cigar smokers claim they will dust the mold off and still smoke the cigar, and the cigar is still OK. It rarely happens to me, but I toss ‘em.
Scan your stock of cigars and, if you have some plume, don’t hesitate -- get smokin’!
J. Fuego – Gran Reserva
Size: 6.0" in length; 50 Ring Gauge
Jesus Fuego comes from a multi-generational family of accomplished cigar people. Jesus, himself, has been a master blender for many of the big names in the business, including some of Rocky Patel’s most renowned blends.
He has now branched out into the retail market with his own brand of cigar. I recently had the opportunity to meet Mr. Fuego and smoke a couple of his top-of-the-line smokes, the Gran Reserva, at a recent tasting event in town.
- Wrapper: Corojo Sun Grown
- Filler: Blend of Nicaraguan, Honduran, Costa Rica, and unnamed
Look and feel
The dark sun-grown wrapper of this cigar is deemed to be a proprietary Corojo leaf. Corojo is a relatively old type of tobacco, originally of Cuban origin, that is getting a lot of use in many of today’s cigars. It has a distinct flavor and is reminiscent of a Cuban cigar. The Gran Reserva’s dark, oily wrapper is exactly what you look for in a good sun-grown wrapper leaf. In handling the cigar, it is weighty and balanced, with consistent firmness (no soft spots) throughout its entire length. Construction appears to be of high quality, too. In conversation, Jesus does point out that the blend consists of tobacco from four different countries, but was hesitant to name all four.
Aroma and Taste
The pre-lit smell was a rich, earthy tobacco aroma. A double guillotine cut led to a pre-lit draw that was also very inviting. Upon lighting up, I was greeted with a burst of the earthiness that I detected in the pre-lit state, but also got a good blend of espresso/dark chocolate bitter sweetness on the draw. The peppery undertones were relatively light to medium, but never even near overpowering. I would class this cigar as full bodied, but never harsh or overpowered with nicotine. Over the 1+ hours of smoking the cigar, I noted the complex flavors mingling at different intensities and sometimes highlighting one flavor over another. I have to say that the burn was slow, cool and even -- providing an effortless smoke. I was a little disappointed that I could not get the Gran Reserva cigar at some of the more aggressively priced online discount cigar sites.
RATING: 9.4 (on a scale of 1 to 10) – This is a cigar that I plan to buy again and again. Consider it one of the best values in the super premium market, though its price tag makes it more of a treat vs. a regular event for me. In my opinion, this is one of the best new cigars to be released over the last couple of years and is now in my top-3 picks of all time. However, I have only smoked two to date.
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"Fresh air makes me throw up. I can't handle it. I'd rather be around three Denobili cigars blowing in my face all night." – Frank Sinatra