Since 2006, La Flor Dominicana has released a semi-regular series of cigars called the Litto Gomez Diez Small Batch, a limited edition cigar that uses tobacco solely from Gomez’ La Canela farm in the Dominican Republic and is shipped in a distinctive wooden crate that contains 105 cigars.
The company released the line in 2006, 2007, 2010, and 2011, as well as releasing the fifth installment in December 2013, but in 2012 La Flor Dominicana offered a unique and yet to be repeated alternate version of the Small Batch, the Litto Gomez Diez Small Batch No. 4 Oscuro. Approximately 100 crates were made available for the entire country, for a total run of about 10,500 cigars, though the company has said that those numbers are always an approximation. Regardless, there are less than half the amount of oscuros than the original version, which saw some 26,250 cigars produced.
Quite simply, oscuro means dark, but in the world of cigars it means much more. Unlike maduro, which means ripe and tends to garner the bulk of the attention, oscuro takes a step further on the color scale and often involves a more labor-intensive process.
As I mentioned in my original review, the basics of getting an oscuro leaf involve starting with leaves at the top of the plant that have been exposed to a significant amount of sun and as a result have begun the curing process while still on the stalk. The curing process is generally shorter and less intense than for maduro—but leaves destined for oscuro status are aged for significant amounts of time which further darkens them, sometimes to the point of being nearly black. In the case of the Litto Gomez Diez Small Batch No. 4 Oscuro, Gomez moistens the leaves and squeezes the veins to the point where they break, releasing the leaf’s oils to naturally darken the leaf.
Here’s what I said when I reviewed the Litto Gomez Diez Small Batch No. 4 Oscuro in July 2012:
If you’ve smoked the Litto Gomez Small Batch No. 4, you have a general idea of what this cigar is about, but you’re also missing a tremendous amount. The extra oil and sweetness the Oscuro process adds is a winner—and makes this the choice between the two, at least for my palate. It’s not a cheap, overbearing sweetness; rather it is a thick, rich sweetness that fills in the rougher spots of the Dominican binder and filler and adds a level of complexity that you probably didn’t realize the cigar needed until you actually got to try it. The technical performance is darn-near flawless, and the limited availability of these make them that much more desirable. Yes, it is a $19 cigar, but for those occasions when you have the time and peace of mind to enjoy it—it’s well worth the extra coin.
- Cigar Reviewed: Litto Gomez Diez Small Batch No. 4 Oscuro
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera La Flor S.A.
- Wrapper: Dominican Pelo de Oro (La Canela 2006)
- Binder: Dominican (La Canela 2006)
- Filler: Dominican (La Canela 2006)
- Size: 7 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Churchill
- MSRP: $19 (Cabinets of 105, $1995)
- Release Date: June 29, 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: 100 Cabinets of 105 Cigars (10,500 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1
The Litto Gomez Diez Small Batch No. 4 Oscuro has become one of my favorite cigars from a visual aesthetic, unapologetic in its size with a dark brown and incredibly oily wrapper that provides a great sheen. Veins are certainly present on the cigar along with a bit of tooth in spots, and while some of the oil has been lost to time, its presence is still felt in the leaf. The roll quality is solid with just the slightest bit of seam visible and a clean cap, with solid construction and no soft spots detectable. The pre-light aroma at first whiff is subtle but surprisingly peppery. There are notes of old wood wine crates, just the slightest bit damp and with a bit of age on them. A barbecue like sweetness is found on the ever-so-slightly firm cold draw, with notes of thick tomato sauce, some smokiness and a bit of pepper coming together deliciously.
An easy first few puffs start off the cigar, with a touch of earth and mild spice leading the way on the palate while the nose gets treated to a meaty smokiness. The first retrohale has a cayenne pepper punch that hits quickly and then dissipates, almost as if challenging you to take another go at it. Touches of black pepper start to appear on the palate just as the first bit of ash drops off at about three-quarters of an inch, consistent with what I remember about its inability to stay attached much beyond an inch. By the time the burn line has progressed through the first third, the cigar has stepped up its strength thanks to increasing amounts of pepper and a solidifying of the core earth note. There is nowhere near as much sweetness as I recall from the first time I smoked the Litto Gomez Diez Small Batch No. 4 Oscuro, yet the move to distill and concentrate the flavors happens almost on cue.
The uptick in strength carries the cigar into its second half before it begins to back off just a bit in steady, measured steps, though don’t think that the pepper component completely goes away. Gone is the sweetness that was much more prevalent in the cigar’s youth, with a much more pronounced note of earth and soil coming through heading into the final third and a much gruffer flavor profile than I recall the Litto Gomez Diez Small Batch No. 4 Oscuro offering originally. The oil in the cigar keeps this a very slow burning cigar, and the final third is the slowest yet, but it provides the opportunity to further soak in the earth, pepper, and soil that the cigar stays rooted in while adding some wood and meat notes at times. Strength is markedly more than it was at the beginning and would likely qualify as a full-bodied cigar for most people. If the strength isn’t an issue, the cigar stays fairly cool and smooth all the way down to the fingertips, with a touch of chocolate and baking spice coming in at the last minute to add one more subtle transition while bringing in just a bit of sweetness to finish out the cigar.
If there's one thing I can say for the Litto Gomez Diez Small Batch No. 4 Oscuro, it's that it has evolved but without completely abandoning where it started from. I'm a bit disappointed that many of the notes of fruit and sweetness were almost entirely gone as that was one of the biggest things I raved about when I first smoked the cigar. In their place have come much bigger and bolder notes of earth and terroir, which in their own right are very enjoyable as well, but just lack that thick, syrupy sweetness that helped to fill in some of the rougher edges. This is still a fantastic cigar--one that I wish I had more of and one that is certainly worth trying, assuming you can still find them and don't mind the premium price on this limited edition cigar.