Now in their fourth year of establishing Plasencia as a premium cigar brand, Plasencia Cigars released Alma del Fuego at this year’s IPCPR trade show. The third of five cigars set to be released in the Alma Series, the name translates to Soul of Fire. This plays into the cigar’s blend concept, which is intended to showcase the inherently fiery characteristics of Nicaragua’s Ometepe island.
The Plasencia family has been one of the world’s leading growers of premium tobacco since 1865, when Don Eduardo Plasencia began growing tobacco in Cuba. Now in the fifth generation of tobacco cultivation, the Plasencias have continued this legacy in Nicaragua, including the pioneering of premium tobacco on the Ometepe island in the 1990s.
Placencia Alma del Fuego Breakdown
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun-Grown (Jalapa)
- Binder: Nicaragua (Double Binder)
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Factory: Plasencia Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 5″ × 50 “Candente” (Robusto)
- Price: $15.00 (MSRP)
Available in three sizes, Alma del Fuego centers its blend around Nicaragua’s Ometepe growing region. These leaves—which have been aged for seven years prior to rolling—make up half of the cigar’s filler recipe and half of the cigar’s double binder recipe. The remainder of the blend has been harvested from undisclosed regions of the Plasencia’s Nicaraguan farms, as well as a sun-grown wrapper from Jalapa.
- Candente: 5″ x 50 | $15.00
- Concepción: 6″ x 54 | $16.00
- Flama: 6½” x 38 | $17.00
Alma del Fuego continues the packaging style of including a multipurpose wooden lid that doubles as an ashtray. Taking on the deep red hue of the cigar, this lid ashtray sits on top of a classic hinge-lidded box. Once removed from the 10-count box, the cigar is wrapped in three bands: a repetitive “P” logo strip at the head, the primary band that presents the logo and cigar name, and a foot band that reverses the color scheme of the upper bands.
The cigar itself has a seamless chocolate-brown wrapper with a webbing of thin but visible veins. While not apparently oily or shiny, there is a distinct sheen and satin-like look and feel to the wrapper. The cigar presents a solid construction from head to toe, being finished off with a closed foot.
An earthy and woody aroma is apparent on the wrapper. This is followed by notes of dried apricot and chili pepper, with hints of citrus and berry aromas. With a straight cut, the cigar had a moderate resistance and medium-firm draw. The cold draw was sweet and had notes of cinnamon and toasted bread. With a sweet sensation of the raw tobacco against the tongue, this combination reminded me of a sweet cinnamon roll.
Click images below for full resolution
The initial lighting highlighted cinnamon and wet pine wood. A mineral component and meaty richness were apparent quickly afterwards, with the earthiness becoming more apparent after the first half-inch. The earthiness was like that of damp soil or clay. A scotch-like smoky and charred oak character is prominent with this medium to full-bodied stick, producing a medium output of dense smoke.
By the second third, the richness settled into an oily, roasted nuttiness reminiscent of almonds or cashews. A drier character of fresh-roasted coffee becomes more prominent in the overall profile, hiding underneath the damp soil character. The burn line is thin and clean, burning very evenly throughout the cigar’s first third. The grey ash held tightly and formed a concrete pillar look for the first inch and a half before falling.
Half way through, the spice softened, though still enough to create a slight bite in the retrohale. The strength of the cigar can also be felt as the true medium-plus nature begins to reveal itself. The draw remained slightly tight with good resistance, which I found to be nearly perfect for the smoking experience. The established profile continues throughout the remainder of the smoking experience, although the second half is noticeably more muted in overall flavor output. Red pepper, charred oak, dark mineral, and loads of soil carry the cigar to its completion. These notes are felt more on the palate than the retrohale, lacking the aromatic zest seen throughout the robusto’s first half.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
This cigar would come to mind any time that I am drinking a scotch. This was a flavorful and enjoyable cigar. There was enough flavor to keep me interested the whole time, albeit more so in the cigar’s first half. There were no significant transitions, as the core flavors were prominent throughout the entire cigar. This is likely a cigar that I would smoke in the evening after dinner with a malt-forward beer like a porter and a glass of scotch. At the price point, it isn’t something that I would necessarily go to frequently, but would be on the radar after a nice steak dinner to round off the night.
With the success and full flavor that I find in this line of Placencia, I will continue to have the entire line of Alma cigars in my rotation, as I really enjoy the full-flavored cigars that they have been producing.
- Ometepe is much further south than the more traditional growing regions of Jalapa, Estelí and Condega. This island is the home of two of the country’s 19 active volcanos, and is known for its rich, brown, loamy soil that is dense with nutrients. This gives a very earthy and sweet character to the tobacco grown there.
- The presentation of this cigar was a big draw at this year’s IPCPR, as the open box was on display with a functioning ring of fire (colored water vapor) dancing around it.
- This cigar profile came as a bit of a surprise, as the Alma Fuerte was billed as the strongest cigar of this series. Alma del Fuego is a neck-and-neck competitor for this title, in my opinion.
- The Alma Series has been highly rated and well-received, with former releases including the Alma Fuerte (Strong Soul) and Alma del Campo (Soul of the Earth).
- Flavor: Full
- Strength: Medium-plus
- Body: Full
- Charred wood
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Scotch | Root beer | Porter | Medium-roast coffee (black)
- Purchase Recommendation: Single stick
- Rich and full flavors from the get-go
- Good strength to compliment intense flavors
- Great construction and consistent burn
- Flavors were very consistent, though lacking in great complexity
- Lackluster second half
- Price point hurts the value ratio