Review: Trinidad Robusto T
For those of you that don’t know…
In 2009, Habanos S.A. celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Trinidad brand by releasing a Robusto in the Trinidad line at the Havana Libre hotel during the XI Habano Festival in Cuba.
The history of the Trinidad line is interesting to say the least, perhaps the most controversial of any Habanos line. Wikipedia does the basics:
According to Adriano Martínez, a former executive of Habanos SA, in Min Ron Nee’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Post-Revolution Havana Cigars, the Trinidad brand was first produced in 1969 at the El Laguito factory in Havana.
In the early 90′s, the cigar received much attention in Cigar Aficionado after an interview with Avelino Lara (formerly the manager of El Laguito, and a producer of cigars for the Graycliff Hotel in Nassau, Bahamas until his death on October 27, 2009). In the 1992 interview, Lara claimed that Trinidad was an ultra-exclusive brand that only Fidel Castro was authorized to hand out as diplomatic gifts. Lara also claimed Trinidads were of a higher quality than the much-lauded Cohibas that had formerly been diplomatic exclusives before their mass-market release in 1982.
Two sources have contradicted Lara’s claims: President Fidel Castro himself and the afore-mentioned Mr. Martínez. In an interview with Cigar Aficionado, when asked about Trinidads, Castro stated that he only gave Cohibas away as diplomatic gifts, and in his autobiography; my life, he claims to know very little of the Trinidad brand. In the Illustrated Encyclopedia, Martínez stated that Trinidads were actually a lower-level diplomatic gift than Cohiba cigars, made with a tobacco blend similar to that used in the Cohiba vitolas, but without the third barrel fermentation that Cohibas receive.
In 1995, Cigar Aficionado hosted the Dinner of the Century in Paris, France, where, among other rarities, the guests became the first outside of diplomatic circles to taste Trinidad cigars.
In February 1998, the Trinidad brand was released for public consumption at an opening ceremony in the Habana Libre Hotel in Havana. The initial release was only in one size: the Fundador. Though Martínez and others maintain that the blend did not change in the transition from a diplomatic gift to a mass-marketed cigar, the size did. The diplomatic Trinidads only came in one size, that of a Laguito No. 1 (the same as the Cohiba Lancero). The Fundador instead comes in a new size with a factory name of Laguito Especial, the same length as a Laguito No. 1 but with a ring gauge of 40 instead of 38.
With the addition of the Robusto T in 2009, there were five different regular production vitolas in the line. They were:
- Fundadores — 7 1/2 × 40 — Lonsdale
- Coloniales — 5 1/4 × 44 — Corona
- Reyes — 4 3/8 Inches × 40 — Petit Corona
- Robusto Extra — 6 1/8 Inches × 50 — Robusto Extra
- Robusto T — 4 7/8 Inches × 50 — Robusto
Unfortunately, in 2012 it was announced that both the Robusto T and the Robusto Extra were being discontinued bringing the total number of regular production vitolas down to three.
The Robusto T was available in two different box counts: 12 count and 24 count. The 24 count looked like this:
And the 12 count boxes look like this:
But enough of that, let’s get down to business, shall we?
- Cigar Reviewed: Trinidad Robusto T
- Country of Origin: Cuba
- Factory: El Laguito
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Filler: Cuba
- Size: 4 7/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Robusto
- Est. Price: $14.00 (Boxes of 12, $168.00)
- Date Released: 2009
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2
The Trinidad Robusto T looks like a well made cigar with a lightish brown wrapper that has some tooth to it and is dry to the touch. It feels fairly light in my hand for its size, but does not seem to be underfilled from a simple observation. There is some give when it is squeezed and the wrapper smells strongly of barnyard, hay and sweet cedar.
The first third starts off with a strong wood note (oak), some creamy leather and just a tad bit of sweetness. There is a small amount of spice on the lips, but very little pepper even on the retrohale. During the first third, there’s a peculiar note that is at first unidentifiable, but by the end of the first third it becomes apparent that it is a tea note. The draw is actually a little loose, but I am hoping it will firm up.
Coming into the second third, the tea note is getting stronger, as is the sweetness underneath. There is a nice floral note that comes and goes along with notes of cedar, chocolate and just a hint of pepper. The spice from the first third has completely disappeared and I am very impressed with the overall richness of the flavors as I taste them. Strength is still quite low, mildish medium at best.
The final third shifts profiles a bit with more of a creamy, honey-like sweetness taking the dominant spot flavor-wise and less of the tea note from the first two thirds. While there is still no pepper, there is a bit more spice, albeit just enough to notice. I am also getting flavors of hay, wood and even a little cinnamon with the spice. Strength ends where it began, at a medium minus. The Trinidad avoids getting hot — a great ending to a cigar.
- Interestingly, James Suckling gave the Trinidad Robusto T his Cigar of the Year award for 2009 when they were first released, in a video you can see here. I am not sure I would go that far, but it is quite good.
- This cigar came from a 2010 box.
- Also interesting, there was a Tubo version of this cigar announced, but it was never actually released before the vitola was discontinued.
- Every cigar in the Trinidad lineup (regular, special release and ERs) has a pigtail cap.
- The Trinidad brand was named after the city of Villa De la Santísima Trinidad (The Holy Trinity) in Cuba, which was founded on December 23, 1514 by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar.
- The Robusto T has a very dry profile and finish.
- Comparing it to the Trinidad Robusto Extra, I enjoy the Robusto T more for the richness of the flavors, as well as the vitola difference. I find the Robusto Extra to be a bit long sometimes.
- The construction and burn were wonderful for all samples, and even though the draw was a bit loose on both samples in the beginning, they righted themselves fairly quickly.
- The smoke was abundant and velvety, with a strong wood scent.
- The Robusto T burned fairly quickly and the final smoking time was 1 Hour and 5 minutes.
The Bottom Line: While I have not smoked as many Trinidads as I have other Cuban marcas (Partagás, Bolívar, Cohiba etc), I think this is one of those cigars that people either love or hate. The profile is fairly unique with strong tea and floral flavors, along with a nice creamy sweetness. However, it is not a strong cigar at all, coming in at the milder side of medium. Construction was excellent on both samples and I was extremely impressed with the richness of the profile. The main problems are the facts that: A) Habanos is discontinuing them (along with the Robusto Extra) and B) If you can find them, they are not exactly cheap, especially when compared to just about everyone’s favorite vitola in the Trinidad lineup, the Fundadores. Having said all of that, I am glad I got a box and will be putting the rest away for a while, to see how they age.
Final Score: 92