Last year at IPCPR, Fratello released the first cigar in their Spazio series (Italian for “Space”), the Fratello Navetta. The Navetta was an “out of this world” smoke, if you can forgive the terrible space pun (I assure you, it won’t be the last bad space pun in this review). And one year later, Omar de Frias, owner of Fratello Cigars, decided to flip the Navetta blend on its head and reverse engineer what was a terrific blend, effectively creating a new and interesting cigar—the Fratello Navetta Inverso.
The Inverso has an opposite color scheme as the original cigar and, likewise, where the Navetta had an Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper, a Dominican viso binder, and Nicaraguan Jalapa fillers, the Navetta Inverso has an inverted version of this blend. This is evidenced by a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper, an Ecuadorian binder, and Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers. This clever re-blending and flipped branding creates a striking appearance, while staying true to the Fratello name and newly introduced Spazio series.
Fratello Navetta Inverso Corona Gorda Breakdown
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
- Binder: Ecuador
- Filler: Nicaragua | Dominican Republic
- Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, S.A. (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 5⅞” x 46 (Corona Gorda)
- Price: $9.50 (MSRP)
Navetta Inverso has the standard Fratello band, with two small rockets on the side (replacing the leaf design of standard Fratello cigars), as well as “Navetta Inverso” inscribed on the over-sized sub-band. This large, angular, black and silver band covers the entire bottom half of the cigar. It is a really sleek presentation, with the box resembling the protective tiles on an actual spaceship. Omar spared no expense on the packaging or the level of detail; even the font of the box is NASA-themed. The dark band and silver accents make this slightly slender cigar reminiscent of a sports car—being even more attractive than its predecessor, in my opinion.
The wrapper is oily and toothy—a perfect piece of tobacco, with slight veins supporting a firm, well-built cigar. I don’t detect any soft spots upon inspection. The foot smells nutty and has some real musk to it. Finally, the pre-light draw tastes of rich cedar, with notes of citrus on the sides of the palate.
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The cigar starts with a rich, dark, oaky quality, pouring with smoke on every puff. It has a bit of ammonia on the first few puffs, but that quickly dissipates. This is a cigar that just feels great in your hand, offering a fantastic white pepper taste and a nice earthy body. While it doesn’t really taste like coffee, it seems to pair excellently with a dark-roast brew, which was the beverage of choice for this review.
Unfortunately, the burn has been less than perfect; I have had to touch it up once already (less than 30 minutes in), but I don’t find that it is affecting the cigar in any way. The draw has gotten a little tighter, but the flavor is still there. At about 30 minutes into the cigar, I would categorize this as a medium-body, medium-strength smoke. With yet another touchup, the cigar really starts to open up—on the retrohale, this corona gorda tastes like an Almond Joy, delivering coconut sweetness, a nice dark chocolate finish, and some nutty notes (yes, I know that Almond Joy is milk chocolate and Mounds is the dark chocolate rendition, but there is no such thing as a dark chocolate Almond Joy, so you’re just going to have to leave me alone on this one).
As the Inverso really begins hitting its stride, I am desperately trying to avoid using a million cliché space or spaceship analogies. That being said… it felt like we had a bit of trouble during the takeoff, but now we are in orbit (I hate myself for saying that). Moving forward, there are continued notes of sweetness, but it comes in the form of dark fruits (I get a black cherry or plum flavor). The burn has remained inconsistent, but it has picked up a tick or two in strength. I get some charcoal and barbecue notes, with some serious spice that accompanies it. On the retrohale, there are notes of paprika and more of the same white pepper from the first third.
This cigar is perfectly sized and does a great job of delivering flavor and smoke. I feel like this is a great cigar to smoke on a yacht… I’ve never smoked a cigar on a yacht or even been on a yacht, for that matter, but this cigar has the requisite amount of refinement; it is high-class, while also being a dynamic and flavorful experience. I know the Spazio line is space-themed, but I don’t think you could smoke this cigar in space—space being a vacuum—so it would be very difficult to keep it lit (or so high school science tells me). However, this has me thinking, can you smoke in, say, a spaceship? Has anyone ever been bold enough to try? Is mankind brave enough to conquer the true final frontier of space-based smoking??? But in terms of the cigar review that you may have forgotten you were still reading… the Inverso has maintained a nice chocolate flavor and has eased up on the spice and strength that briefly appeared in the middle of the cigar. (Is it weird that I almost expect a standing “O” after that oratory display of excellence?)
I have smoked for about an hour and fifteen minutes and I am not even to the band yet. This is a slower-burning smoke, but it has maintained enough changes in strength and flavor to keep my interest throughout. On the whole, this is a somewhat complex cigar, but the flavor has not necessarily burst through the entire time. At the tail end of this cigar, I get a lot of earth, mixed with some red pepper flavors and generic cabinet spices.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Absolutely! I will preface this statement by saying that I smoked more than one Inverso for this review and not all the samples I smoked were the same in consistency and smoke output. All of that to say that the Navetta Inverso is a very interesting smoke that is well-presented and highlighted nicely by its corona gorda format (among my personal favorite sizes). This is a cigar that can really develop with age and is a fun experiment to smoke along with the original Navetta to see how minor tweaks in a blend can have a massive effect on a cigar.
- Flavor: Medium-light
- Strength: Medium
- Body: Medium
- Dark Fruits
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Coffee, Coffee porter, Almond Joy, Dark chocolate, Chocolate milkshake
- Purchase Recommendation: Box split
- Excellent concept and branding
- Great flavor transitions
- Somewhat inconsistent
- Relight issues
- Flavor not always upfront