In late 2010, Litto Gomez added his name to the growing, yet still small, hat of manufacturers to produce a Candela cigar. Unlike recent initial launches from both Dion Giolito of Illusione (~hl~ Candela) and Andre Farkas of Viaje (WLP Candela), Gomez announced that his release would be regular production from the get go. (Giolito’s initial release was billed as a limited run, but he later would make it a regular fixture in the Illusione line; Viaje’s WLP Candela seems to be an annual limited release.)
On January 18, 2012, La Flor Dominicana issued a press release about the Double Claro:
La Flor Dominicana to introduce Double Claro, January 2012.
January 18, 2012 (Coral Gables, FL) — La Flor Dominicana will introduce its first ever Candela cigar.
The Double Claro is a medium bodied candela with an Ecuadorian wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and Dominican filler from our farm in La Canela. The original release will be in 25 count boxes available in three sizes (robusto, corona, chuchill). This item will be regular production.
No. 50 – Size: 50 x 5 Suggested retail per box: $171.50 Suggested retail per cigar: $6.86
No. 42 – Size: 42 x 5 ½ Suggested retail per box: $169.00 Suggested retail per cigar: $6.76
No. 48 – Size: 48 x 6 7/8 Suggested retail per box: $181.50 Suggested retail per cigar: $7.26
And the particulars.
- Cigar Reviewed: La Flor Dominicana Double Claro No. 42
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera La Flor S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuador Candela
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Dominican Republic
- Size: 5 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 42
- Vitola: Corona
- MSRP: $6.76 (Boxes of 25, $169.00)
- Release Date: February 9, 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
Litto’s rendition of Candela looks a bit darker and fuller than most of the other Candelas on the market. The Double Claro looks a bit rougher than the other Candelas, although it seems like a natural result of a wrapper that is no doubt thicker than the most recent green wrappers. Aroma is rather strong, but it’s not that Candela-like. There’s leather, earth and cocoa. It’s much the same from the foot, perhaps a bit more Candela-like. Cold draw is mainly Candela with a bit of tart and black pepper on the back. Despite some signs across all three that these weren’t as well filled as what has become the norm in the premium cigar world, the draw is dead on perfect. Aroma while lighting is a bit predictable, sweet grass, a bit toasty, but mainly what you’d expect from a medium to medium-full Dominican cigar with a Candela wrapper.
The Double Claro begins the first third with a surprising creaminess before some earth and sweetgrass take over. There’s a bit of black pepper on the back of the throat, but it tastes more generic Dominican than anything else, not really Candela, not really Litto. However, it eventually settles to a sweet wheat and creamy mixture (read that as Candela) with earth and black pepper on the throat. The Corona rendition of the Double Claro is full in flavor, medium in strength.
As the second third settles in, the profile gets sweeter. Overall, it actually makes it back to something rather reminiscent to the first third with an added cedar and a touch of molasses. While the first third was not a shining moment in construction consistency, the inconsistent smoke production and burn problems get a bit worse in the second third. While I manage to avoid all three Double Claros that I smoke from going out, it requires quite a bit of attention.
The final third sees the Candela hit its full stride. It’s full and highly developed, and quite frankly, amongst the Candela’s on the market, the most enjoyable rendition of the unique profile. While the cedar and pepper both subside a bit, the earth remains as it had for the first portions of the cigar. Unlike the first two thirds, the final third really seems to settle almost immediately and as such, the end of the Double Claro No. 42 is a bit less exciting than I had hoped for.
- The picture above isn’t as bad as it actually is. Removing the band the way I did really doesn’t go as smoothly for the wrapper as you would have hoped.
- Thankfully these come in cellophane. Candela seems rather prone to all sorts of wrapper damage, notably cracking.
- I really love the subtle artwork for the Candela both on the box and band.
- Strength is still in the medium-full category, which while light for Litto, makes it about as strong as the ~888~ Candela.
- A week in the humidor didn’t really seem to show any changes in regard to the minor construction annoyances. On another note, ash held fine.
- If you are interested in purchasing any of the three sizes of La Flor Dominicana Double Claro, call Casa de Montecristo (630.834.7777) and tell them halfwheel sent you.
- Final smoking time was 1 Hour 45 Minutes.
The Bottom Line: I’m not a fan of Candela. For me, the wrapper’s unique flavor is just not something I find uniquely enjoyable. The La Flor Dominicana Double Claro, while dominated near start to finish by a rather strong Candela flavor, is easily the best Candela I’ve smoked to date. It doesn’t try to do much. There’s the Candela flavor, a decent black pepper, earth, cedar and a few other flavors that come and go, but in the end, it’s more than enough. Put the Candelas from Arturo Fuente, Camacho, Illusione, Viaje and the Double Claro on a table and ask me to pick one, I take the latter each and every time. However, put nearly any other La Flor on the table, and I’ll take that in a heartbeat.
Final Score: 83