Recently we posted a news story that Arandoza Cigars was adding a third blend to its lineup, the Red Label, which is set to be released at this year’s IPCPR convention and trade show. With its other two blends being Nicaraguan puros, the Red Label is a deviation from that using a Mexican San Andrés wrapper instead. Like their other two blends, the Red Label will come in three sizes, however the only size that is shared with the other two blends is the Toro.

  • Arandoza Red Toro (6 x 52) — $7.80 (Boxes of 20, $156.00)
  • Arandoza Red Churchill (7 x 49) — $8.10 (Boxes of 20, $162.00)
  • Arandoza Red Gordo (5 x 60) — $8.50 (Boxes of 20, $170.00)

Arandoza Red Label Toro 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Arandoza Red Label Toro
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Zona Cigar Factory
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua Triple Ligero
  • Size: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $7.80 (Boxes of 20, $156.00)
  • Release Date: July 2014
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2

The dark chocolate brown wrapper of the Arandoza Red is slightly rough and a little oily, but looks very consistent and even. The red, gold and black band really pops against the dark wrapper. Giving the cigar a gentle squeeze I see it’s firm with just a little bit of give. The aroma off wrapper is an intoxicating and intricate mix of sweet tobacco, chocolate and spice. The cold draw on the other hand, isn’t nearly as complex or bold as the wrapper with just a more singular sweet tobacco note and only the slightest hint of cocoa.

Starting into the first third there is a rich spice note, a nuttiness and a rich deep earth note giving the cigar a very bold profile right away. Interestingly enough, while bold, there is almost no pepper that I can detect. A dry cocoa note is added to the mix which pairs nicely with the rest. Draw is right in the middle of ideal and the burn line is pretty sharp with only a slight bit of waviness. The dark gray ash is speckled with bright white mixed in and holds to a little over an inch before I let it drop in the ashtray. The rich earthy profile continues as before without much change, which I’m happy to see isn’t fading.

Arandoza Red Label Toro 2

The second third sees more of the same flavors, but has become slightly less bold and a little more smooth and creamy. The spice, nuttiness and rich earth are still at about the same level, however the cocoa has turned into a creamy chocolate note. While the burn isn’t horribly off, it has needed a number of tiny touch ups here and there. Only about halfway through the cigar the nicotine is really starting to show its hand, putting the cigar easily into the medium full category with no signs of letting up. A sweet cedar note has developed, sticking to the overall earthy theme. The chocolate and spice has faded somewhat though the rich earth and nuttiness are still towards the forefront.

Arandoza Red Label Toro 3

The final third continues to build in strength while the profile has become less bold. Cedar, earth and nuttiness are still there, though the chocolate and spice are almost nonexistent at this point. The cigar has also opened up a little bit and billows smoke with each draw. The burn continues to require small touch ups at a fairly consistent rate. Smoking the cigar down to the last inch it continues to be smooth and doesn’t get hot or harsh at all, allowing the flavors to shine through all the way to the end.

Arandoza Red Label Toro 4

Final Notes

  • The company launched their second blend, the White Label, one year ago at IPCPR 2013.
  • Billed as their strongest blend to date, I would heartily agree with that. The cigar ended well into the full strength category and I could feel the effects for a solid 30 to 45 minutes after I finished the cigar.
  • The secondary band’s design, while intricate and pleasing to the eye, makes it kind of hard to see the gold colored “Red” lettering. There won’t be any confusion over the lines, because the band’s color theme is quite indicative of what line it’s from.
  • Touch ups were needed throughout most of each sample I smoked. Since overall construction was pretty great I’m curious if this was just an issue with these two cigars or if it the wrappers might have shined more at a slightly lower humidity level.
  • The samples for this review were purchased sent to halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was just under two hours.
89 Overall Score

Having never tried any of the other Arandoza cigars I was able to go into this review with a clean slate. Right away the Red Label blend blew me away with a very rich and bold profile. Unfortunately that bold profile faded somewhat throughout the cigar, though it did develop some new and enjoyable notes as well. The fairly consistent need to touch up the cigar got a little annoying, though babysitting it did allow for the profile to shine since the burn never really affected the flavors. These samples easily got me excited about the brand and make me want to seek out their other lines. As for the Red Label, they’ll be on my watch list once they start hitting the shelves after the tradeshow and I can recommend you do the same.

Brian Burt

I have been smoking cigars since 2005 and reviewing them as a hobby since 2010. Initially, I started out small with a 50-count humidor and only smoking one or two cigars a month. Not knowing anybody else that smoked cigars, it was only an occasional hobby that I took part in. In March of 2010, I joined Nublive and Cigar Asylum, connecting me with many people who also shared an interest in cigars. Reading what they had to say about brands I had never heard of, I quickly immersed myself in the boutique brands of the industry and it was then that cigars transformed from a hobby into a passion.