In June 2020, Amendola Family Cigar Co. announced that it was going to move its production from Tabacalera Kafie in Honduras to a trio of Nicaraguan factories. In doing so, it also meant that some of the company’s cigars would get reworked.
One of those was the Amendola Connecticut—part of the company’s core line—which is now known as the Cremoso. There doesn’t really appear to be anything that that ties the Cremoso back to the old Amendola Connecticut, so for all intents and purposes, this is a new cigar from a relatively new company.
It’s offered in a single 6 x 52 toro size—the old Connecticut was also sold in a robusto vitola too—and is being made at the Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. factory in Estelí. It uses an Ecuadorian Connecticut shade wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan fillers. For some context, the Amendola Connecticut had an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper over a Honduran binder and Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers.
- Cigar Reviewed: Amendola Cremoso
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuador (Connecticut)
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $9.99 (Box of 20, $199.80)
- Release Date: December 2020
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
While the triple cap is nicely applied, this isn’t the prettiest looking shade-grown wrapper I’ve ever seen. Two of my samples also have noticeable water spots—the green discoloration you can see in the picture below. It lacks the golden hue that you’ll see a lot on the Ecuadorian-grown versions and instead has more of a mustard color that I associate with the leaves grown in Connecticut. The aroma from the wrapper—which is from Ecuador—is shockingly sweet and smells like rotten apple juice, barnyard and some red grapes. The foot is medium-full with a mixture of prunes, coffee, raisins and a bit of powered chocolate. Cold draws produce a lot of raisins over coffee and a bit of roughness. It’s medium-full and each cigar has the ideal amount of resistance.
The Amendola Cremoso begins with earthiness and raisins over some bread, leather, white pepper and minerals. After an inch and I’ve sort of lost sight of the fact that this is supposed to be a Connecticut cigar. It has oatmeal, earthiness, white pepper and some creaminess. The finish is a bit more Connecticut-like thanks to oatmeal, black pepper and some creaminess. Retrohales produce flavors of cloves, lime and some earthiness. The finish of the retrohale is noticeably less intense as the other parts of the tasting experience. Flavor-wise, there’s cloves, red pepper, leather and grains. While those flavors might not be that odd for a Connecticut-wrapped cigar, the overall profile is. It’s full in flavor, body is medium-plus and strength is medium-plus. Construction on all three cigars is excellent in the first third.
Things get much more Connecticut-like in the second third, though it’s still not the typical version of the profile. The flavor has a lot of bread-like sensations, including both generic bread and dry crackers. That leads a mixture of raisins, creaminess and earthiness. The finish has even more of a cracker flavor—now more salted like a Ritz cracker—along with some creaminess. Retrohales have earthiness, kiwi, green pepper and leather. The finish has soy sauce, some more of the green pepper-like burn, earthiness and a touch of the kiwi sweetness. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium-full and strength is medium-full. Construction remains excellent with tons of smoke production.
Just when I thought the Cremoso was lightening up in profile, it comes back in full force. The flavors are a bit more normal with nuttiness, earthiness, white pepper and creaminess as the standouts. At any given point, one of them is slightly stronger than the rest of the other sensations, though it seems to change from puff to puff. The finish has a lot of peanut flavors over earthiness and creaminess. After about 30 seconds, black pepper builds on the tongue. Retrohales have a lot of black pepper, though I can find some cranberry underneath it. The retrohales finish with lots of toastiness accenting earthiness and then a mixture of pepper that varies between black pepper and white pepper. Flavor is full, body is medium-full and strength is medium-full. The draw tightens a bit on two cigars and one cigar needs a touch-up to get to the end without going out, but overall, construction has been fantastic since the start.
- I am 99 percent sure this is the first cigar I’ve smoked from Amendola.
- If you are wondering about the “Est. 1983” that is part of Amendola’s logo, I’m guessing that’s a reference to the age of the owners. Its website also says that the company was founded in 2017.
- The Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. factory is known for having a very specific blending profile. It’s typically some mixture of Nicaraguan corojo and criollo tobaccos, of which, I’m sure some are included. A lot of the cigars it makes use one of those varietals for wrappers, some use Ecuadorian habano or Sumatra, and there are a host of cigars that use Mexican San Andrés. Despite the wrapper’s general popularity, Connecticut shade is just not something that TABSA uses with frequency. In fact, outside of the AGANORSA Leaf Connecticut, I’m not sure I can think of another cigar from the factory that uses Connecticut shade for its wrapper.
- I find it interesting that Amendola moved production to three factories—La Zona and Tabacalera AJ Fernández are the others—and decided to have this cigar made at TABSA because those other factories work with a lot more Connecticut shade than TABSA seems to.
- Amendola decided to make all three blends of the core line in the 6 x 52 toro size, but if you wanted a smaller Connecticut-wrapped cigar it has a new line called Signature Series Cannoli that has a Connecticut version in a 5 1/2 x 42 corona. It is being produced at La Zona.
- If you are wondering about the Cannoli line, that’s a reference to the founders’ Italian-American heritage. The back of the bands for the Cremoso also feature an Italian flag.
- I have long thought that giving Connecticut-wrapped cigars to new smokers wasn’t the best of idea, but this one is too strong for what I would feel comfortable giving to a new smoker.
- Construction was excellent for most of the time I was smoking the three Cremosos, but the final third of one of the cigars had a very tight draw and anemic smoke production.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 35 minutes.
- Site sponsor Atlantic Cigar Co. carries the Amendola Cremoso.
It’s been pointed out—both here and by other media outlets—that 2020 may have not been the strongest year for the TABSA factory. I think that’s fair to make that claim, though I think it’s worth qualifying that statement by pointing out that it applies to new products from TABSA, and more specifically high-performing new products from the factory that are capable of making Top 25 lists. The Amendola Cremoso is likely just a hair or two short of that mark, but it’s a really good cigar. This is a predictable not very Connecticut-like Connecticut cigar from a factory that isn’t known for working with the wrapper, but that has no effect on the end result. If you are like me and haven’t smoked a cigar from Amendola before, the Cremoso is an excellent starting point.