Let us begin, as we frequently do, with a little dose of history. The year 1865 was filled with events ranging from the mundane to the momentous. Here are a few tidbits:
- John Deere receives a patent for ploughs.
- The New York Stock Exchange opens its first permanent headquarters near Wall Street.
- The first train robbery in the United States occurs in North Bend, Ohio.
- The first speed limit is introduced in Great Britain—2 miles per hour in the city and 4 miles per hour in the country.
- Confederate States Army General Robert E. Lee surrenders to Union Army General Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox
- Court House, effectively ending the American Civil War.
- President Abraham Lincoln is shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC.
- The United States Secret Service is founded.
- The summit of the Matterhorn is reached for the first time, the party led by Englishman Edward Whymper.
- The Dominican Republic regains independence from Spain.
- Lewis Carroll publishes Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
- Jumbo, a young male African elephant, arrives at the London Zoo.
1865 was also the year when Sixto Plasencia began growing tobacco in his native Cuba. After the revolution, the family was one of the first to cultivate tobacco in Honduras and Nicaragua. For most of its life, the company remained in the background, producing tobacco and manufacturing cigars for other brand owners—Alec Bradley, Nat Sherman, Rocky Patel, Altadis, Quesada, 1502, Crux, and Regius. That changed in early 2016 when the family established Plasencia 1865 and introduced the Alma Fuerte blend in October of that year at a swanky event held at the Carnegie Club in Manhattan. Produced in three sixes, these Nicaraguan puros were an immediate hit, with the Nestor IV (6¼” x 54) receiving a 93-point “Hot Cocoa” rating on Cigar Dojo.
At the 2017 IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas, Plasencia exhibited for the first time as a brand owner. In addition to showcasing the Alma Fuerte, the company also introduced their sophomore release—the Alma del Campo. Chief Executive Officer Nestor Andres Plasencia said—
Alma del Campo Tribu Breakdown
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Factory: Plasencia Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 5″ × 52 “Tribu” Robusto
- Price: $15.00 (MSRP)
The Plasencia Alma del Campo is the second blend in a planned five-part series utilizing the Alma designation, following the Alma Fuerte which was released in the fall of 2016. This line of cigars is offered in five sizes—the Madroño (6½” x 58, $19.00 MSRP), the Travesía (6½” x 54, $17.00 MSRP), the Sendero (6” x 56, $17.00 MSRP), , the Guajiro (5½” x 54, $16.00 MSRP), and the Tribu (5” x 52, $15.00 MSRP). The vitolas are shipped in sturdy wooden boxes containing ten cigars. Following the unique packaging tradition established with the Alma Fuerte, the lid on each box can also be used as an ashtray.
The Alma del Campo is a Nicaraguan puro composed of exclusive tobaccos from the company’s farms. Unlike the Alma Fuerte, the company has elected not to disclose the specifics of the Nicaraguan tobaccos used in the blend’s construction—such as primings and regional growing areas.
Click images below for full resolution
The Alma del Campo Tribu is a splendid looking cigar, with a ring gauge that is two points higher than a vitola receiving the traditional robusto classification (5” x 50). Its Nicaraguan wrapper is fairly smooth—with tight seams, small veins, a splattering of tooth, and a nicely applied cap. On the “Shades of Brown” spectrum, the Tribu is a blend of coyote and sepia, with a few darker splotches of taupe scattered across its face. A light oiliness on the wrapper produces a finespun sheen in the morning sunshine, like a tobacco leaf shedding its remaining light coating of dew.
The Alma del Campo is encased with three bands, each printed in floral white and liver brown. The first band is thin and rectangular, containing a repetitive series of the company’s logo—a “P” inside a circle. Next, a die-cut and lightly-embossed primary band holds the logo along with the words “PLASENCIA” and “ALMA DEL CAMPO.” Finally, a foot band redundantly identifies the cigar as an “ALMA DEL CAMPO.”
Very firmly packed from the foot to the cap, the wrapper aroma is a combination of cedar, cocoa, earth, and leather, while the open foot smells of damp soil, hay, and light manure. After the cap of the robusto is opened with a double guillotine cut—to ensure the maximum amount of taste from the wrapper, binder, and filler—the initial cold draw is firm. Flavors of cedar, chocolate, coffee, and dried fruits immediately touch the palate, while a touch of spiciness formulates on the upper lip.
After toasting and lighting the cigar with a soft double-flame lighter, the first few draws produce a blast of Italian Roast coffee, earth, hay, and light manure. The tip of the tongue then experiences a strong dose of assorted spices and pepper. This combination quickly culminates in a mouthwatering flavor profile that attractively coats the entire tongue and the roof of the mouth while producing a fairly lingering finish. The draw of the Tribu is nearly perfect with a touch of desirable resistance, generating an admirable amount of smoke output from the cap and the foot. Additional aromas and flavors of anise, cinnamon, and dark chocolate mingle together in an ambrosial balance, while black pepper and a dried fruit sweetness are dominant on the nearly sinus-clearing retrohale.
As the Alma del Campo enters into its second third, it begins to display the following general characteristics—medium-to-full in body, medium-to-full in flavor, and medium in strength. The nicely-balanced aromas and flavors present in the first third of the cigar continue to dominate, while the initial Italian Roast coffee note gradually shifts to a double shot of ristretto espresso. Notes of light cedar, mango, oatmeal, and peanuts flirt in and out of the mix, adding to the overall complexity of the cigar. The cigar is firmly residing in its sweet spot, producing a smoking experience that is lush and rich.
The burn line is razor sharp, holding one and one-half inches of white and silver ash highlighted with streaks of sable between the tightly compressed stacks. On the retrohale, the strong black pepper present in the first third becomes slightly subdued, allowing the dried fruit note to become more prevalent.
As it burns through its final third, the robusto continues to provide a very good smoking experience. With each puff, the espresso notes begin to display a slight increase in bitterness—similar to the difference between shots pulled with Lavazza coffee instead of Illy—while the flavor of a charred porterhouse steak sprinkled with sea salt appears as the cigar continues to incinerate. The draw remains very open, requiring only light puffs to produce a prodigious amount of room-lingering smoke. Stronger notes of minerals and rock salt begin to develop as the cigar enters the nubbing phase, inducing a desirable amount of saliva on the palate. The Alma del Campo remains smokable all the way down to the nub.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
The answer to that question is, “Absolutely.” The Plasencia Alma del Campo Tribu is a fine example of a Nicaraguan puro robusto, surpassing most of those currently on the market. While it does not have the extreme complexity of the Illusione Haut 10, the cigar defiantly deserves a spot in your humidor next to them. And along with its eye-popping packaging, the Alma del Campo would make the perfect holiday gift.
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: high-age bourbon, champagne, espresso, San Pellegrino, Bombay martini
- Purchase Recommendation: full box
- Outstanding Construction
- Overall Complexity
- Mouthwatering Flavors
- High Price Point