Many memorable moments in one’s life are the result of happenstance. On a sunny day in southern Marin, a decade or so ago, as the spinnakers on the sailboats cruising the San Francisco Bay ballooned with the breeze, I was sitting in an oversized leather chair at a tobacco shop with the final third of a Davidoff cigar in my hand. Suddenly, the weathered, Dutch door to the outside opened with a gentle squeak. An aristocratic-looking gentleman walked in wearing a finely-tailored, dark suit with a blazingly-white dress shirt. Several minutes later, the owner of the shop introduced me to Litto Gomez, the founder and owner of La Flor Dominicana cigars.
Litto took one look at the Davidoff in my hand, flashed a wide grin, and extracted a cigar from the inside pocket of his jacket. As he handed the cigar to me, he said, “Try this. It is my personal blend.” I immediately noticed that instead of the usual LFD logo, the cigar was encased with a band identifying the long cigar as an “LG” with the words “Litto Gomez” embossed on the band in a diminutive font. Tossing aside the Davidoff, I cut and lit the cigar and was rewarded with a mouthful of smooth cedar, cinnamon spice, and leather. From that moment on, I have tried to sample every new release produced by La Flor Dominicana. Most have provided a great smoking experience, while many have been truly outstanding.
Several years ago, while traipsing through southern Spain, Litto Gomez discovered an antique and unusually-shaped cigar mold. Returning home, he had the mold duplicated for the production of a new cigar. Ever the marketing man, he named this unique figurado the Andalusian Bull in honor of Spain’s heritage of bullfighting and the area of the country where the animals are bred. The La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull was introduced to the public at the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas. In the press release for the cigar, the company stated;
“Invoking the spirit of Spain’s famous Toreros, this cigar has character and flair in both its flavor and presentation. A Dark natural Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper covers some of the most powerful fillers and binder grown on our farm in the Dominican Republic. The flavors are complex, with a myriad of spices and a touch of sweetness creating an exquisite full-bodied smoking experience.”
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La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull Breakdown
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Corojo
- Binder: Dominican Republic
- Filler: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera La Flor S.A. (Dominican Republic)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 6½” × 64 Figurado
- Price: $15.00 (MSRP)
The Andalusian Bull is one of the new additions to the extensive La Flor Dominicana portfolio for 2016, joining the Connecticut-wrapped Reserva Especial, the colorful and one-of-a-kind Salomon Único, and a petit version of the La Nox. Since the Bull was inspired by a vintage cigar mold, it is produced in only one size—a large figurado (6½” x 64, $15.00 MSRP). The La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull is shipped in a gorgeous dress box with ten cigars lined up like mustered soldiers. Underneath each cigar is a gold ribbon, which allows for easy and undamaged removal.
Litto and his son Tony collaborated on the development of this cigar and spent a lot of time calibrating its final composition. The figurado is constructed with an Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper which, according to company statements, is the first time that this specific priming (which is undisclosed) has been used in any of their cigars. Both the binder and filler tobaccos are harvested from Estancia La Flor de Palma—a farm shared by Tabacalera Palma and La Flor Dominicana. The filler blend contains some Dominican Criollo ’98 along with a touch of Pelo d’Oro tobacco.
The La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull is a formidable and imposing cylindrical figurado; the cigar’s initial ring gauge of fifty-four, beneath the short torpedo cap, flaring out over its six and one-half inches to a whopping sixty-four ring gauge at the foot. Its wrapper is very smooth—with tight seams, two visible veins, and almost imperceptible tooth. The color of the LFD is a mixture of beaver and chestnut, with contrasting splashes of taupe scattered across the wrapper. A medium amount of oiliness produces a glimmering sheen in direct light, like the horns of a bull reflecting the rays from a late-afternoon sun hovering over an overpacked stadium.
The cigar is encased with an oversized oval band measuring nearly two inches in length. Lightly embossed and printed in the colors of black, dark green, and gold, the primary band features a silhouette of a matador with “LFD” printed on his muleta. A green and gold sub-band identifies the cigar as the Andalusian Bull, using a font based upon the handwriting of Pablo Picasso. Properly packed from the foot to the cap—bordering on the edge of papier-mâché—the wrapper aroma is heady and rich, while the open foot smells of baled hay, dried clay, hardwoods, molasses, and barnyard flatulence.
After 6/10 inches, the torpedo cap is removed with a double guillotine cut—to ensure the maximum amount of taste from the wrapper, binder, and filler—the initial cold draw is a bit tight, which was expected due to the size and shape of the cigar. Flavors of bread, cedar, coffee, cocoa, and natural tobacco immediately touch the palate, while a fair amount of peppery spice formulates on both the upper and lower lips. In the hand, the figurado is fairly heavy and cuts a commanding figure.
After toasting and lighting the cigar with a quad-flame torch lighter, instead of my usual double soft flame—due to the girth of the foot—the first draw produces a robust blast of pepper and chocolate, followed by a dash of the mustiness which is sometimes present in well-aged Dominican tobaccos. By the sixth puff, this initial flavor is enhanced with touches of the grassy note which is present in many of the cigars rolled at La Flor Dominicana. As the figurado settles into the burn, the cigar begins to display the characteristics of its tobacco composition—subtle sweetness from the Corojo wrapper, soft spice and creamy cedar from the Criollo used in the filler, and the unique rich and earthy taste indicative of Pelo d’Oro. This combination quickly culminates in a mouthwatering flavor profile that attractively coats the entire tongue and the roof of the mouth, while producing a lingering finish.
The draw of the Andalusian Bull is fairly tight, due in part to its length and shape, generating an average amount of smoke output. Aromas and flavors of french press coffee, chocolate, and leather mingle together in an ambrosial balance, while cedar, white pepper, and a touch of citrus are dominant on the unexpectedly smooth retrohale.
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As the La Flor Dominicana enters into its second third, the strength gradually increases from medium to medium-full, while the body of the cigar becomes fuller and rounder. The aromas and flavors present in the first third of the cigar continue to build, while the initial french pressed coffee note shifts toward a triple espresso sweetened with brown sugar. Flavors and aromas of black cherry, chestnuts, caramel, and orange peel appear in the mix, adding to the overall complexity of the cigar. The smoking experience is fairly characteristic of an LFD cigar—but not nearly as bold or as rustic as their gargantuan Digger.
The burn line has a minuscule waver, holding over two and one-half inches of concrete ash, highlighted wth streaks of obsidian between the densely compressed stacks. On the flavorful retrohale, the predominately white pepper note present in the first third is replaced by a mixture of red and black pepper with trace amounts of anise, cumin, hardwoods, and a brown sugar sweetness.
As it burns through its final third, the Andalusian Bull continues to provide a flavorful and enjoyable smoking experience. Aromas and flavors continue to be a complex and smooth combination of practically every category on the cigar tasting wheel—aged natural tobacco, nuts, dried fruits, herbs, spices, and earth—while an increase in minerality produces a desirable amount of saliva on the palate. The draw becomes very open, requiring only single puffs to produce bountiful amounts of ceiling-clinging smoke. A chewy and meaty flavor begins to flirt in and out of the flavor profile as the figurado enters the nubbing phase, like a venison chop pan-fried in unsalted butter. While the burn line still wavers a bit, the Bull has required absolutely zero touch-ups. It is a very good cigar.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
The answer to that question is, “Absolutely. And I have.” I was fortunate enough to be enjoying an afternoon at my tobacconist when they received their initial shipment of the Andalusian Bull. I quickly finished my cigar, lit the LFD figurado, and was immediately impressed. Afterwards, I went home with a handful. The cigar has become part of my monthly rotation.
- Smoking Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes to 3 hours
- Pairing Recommendations: Espresso, Harp Lager, Armagnac, Bourbon, and Rye
- Purchase Recommendation: Full Box
- Unique Shape
- Bold Flavors
- Excellent Construction
- High Price Point
- Long Time Commitment