If you’ve listened to hip hop and R&B over the last couple of decades, you have undoubtedly heard that phrase in the first couple of bars of any number of songs, but now it’s applicable to a cigar. In the summer of 2022, Ian Reith of Dapper Cigar Co. announced that his Desvalido line was getting a remix at the hands of Raul Disla, the production manager of the Nicaragua American Cigars S.A. (NACSA) factory in Estelí. The project started as a request from Reith, who wanted to see what Disla would to make a Dapper blend more to his liking.
The original Desvalido blend used an Ecuadorian habano rosado wrapper that was grown by the Oliva Tobacco Co. as well as a U.S.-grown binder. Underneath those are four different fillers: two Nicaraguan filler tobaccos from Oliva Tobacco Co.’s Cofradia farm in Jalapa and its La Joya farm in Estelí, while the third tobacco is Connecticut broadleaf sourced from Lancaster Leaf Tobacco Co. Details concerning the final filler leaf were not disclosed, though Reith described it as “some interesting tobacco we’ve never used before and some of which was relatively new.”
As for the Disla version, the blend specifics are not being disclosed, but Reith said it is more Nicaraguan than the original version.
“The resulting blend is simpler in leaf variety, bolder in flavor and strength… yet ritualistically smoke-able,” said Reith in an email to halfwheel. “The blend reminds of why I started smoking Nicaraguan cigars to begin with.”
The Desvalido – Disla is offered in the same four sizes as the original Desvalido line:
- Desvalido – Disla Robusto (5 x 50) — $11.36 (Box of 20, $227.20)
- Desvalido – Disla Toro (6 1/8 x 52) — $12.36 (Box of 20, $247.20)
- Desvalido – Disla Lonsdale (6 1/2 x 46) — $11.96 (Box of 20, $239.20)
- Desvalido – Disla Corona Doble (6 3/4 x 54) — $13.34 (Box of 20, $266.80)
Both versions are regular production lines.
- Cigar Reviewed: Desvalido - Disla Toro
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Nicaragua American Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Undisclosed
- Binder: Undisclosed
- Filler: Undisclosed
- Length: 6 1/8 Inhces
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $12.36 (Box of 20, $247.20)
- Release Date: August 2022
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
I can’t be certain that the orange band on the Desvalido – Disla Toro is playing tricks on my eyes when it comes to the color of the wrappers, but it seems like it might be. The leaves on the three cigars all seem to have a bit more color to them than just their darker-than-average brown color. It’s a great pairing between the band and wrappers, as they complement each other quite well. Each of the three wrappers has a number of smaller veins, with the more prominent ones hidden on the backside of the cigar so as not to distract from the visual. Each wrapper is also impressively oily on my fingers, while also offering a bit of fine texture. The cigar is rolled quite firmly with just a little give to be found in spots, and while there was no mention of a box press in the news story of the cigar’s upcoming release, the cigars I am tasked with smoking appear to have a bit of a press. If anything, I’m surprised they are firm as they are given what appears to be an intentional press. The edges are rounded just enough so as not to be sharp, but looking at the foot reveals the shape fairly easily. Depending on how oily the particular cigar is, the aroma off the foot reminds me of something between ground beef and salami. Despite that start, there is a pivot to toast and then just a sprinkle of pepper on the tail end of the finish. Each aroma is also quite cool as it hits my nostrils, though heats up when the pepper hits. The cold draw is a touch firm, and on the first cigar, I have to do a double take to make sure I clipped off enough of the cap. The flavor mirrors most of the same notes found in the aroma, though I don’t get as much toast. It’s also a bit richer and more developed sensation than the aroma offers, while a slightly oily glaze coats the tongue in the process.
The Desvalido – Disla Toro starts off with more of the salami sensation found before the cigar was lit, with a meaty flavor that has some fatty oiliness, and just a bit of pepper and earth in the background. More pepper can be found in the retrohales, as a little bit of white pepper delivers a very subtle tingle to the nostrils and a tingle that eventually begins to remind me of Altoids. As the initial flavors settle in on my palate, I get a bit of wood, paper and pepper in two of the three cigars, while the third brings about more a more pronounced earth flavor leaping ahead of the others. With a number of distinct flavors, each seems to be jostling for attention in the first inch, but when they find harmony, the resulting complexity and layering of flavors is very impressive. After the first clump of ash either falls or gets tapped off, the cigar picks up some creaminess that pivots the profile in a new direction, only to be drawn back once the pepper returns and pulls the other flavors along with it. Flavor hangs around the medium mark for most of this section, while body is medium-plus and strength is just shy of medium. Construction is very good, with the firm draw of one cigar my only note.
The second third holds on to most of the key aspects that the first third offered, though the earth stands out just a bit better here than it did in the first third, giving the cigar a grounding flavor off of which the other flavors can build and layer themselves. Pepper is used quite well during the start of the second third, both on the palate and via retrohales, with its lingering finish quite impressive. A cologne-like fragrant woodiness begins to emerge around the midway point, somewhere between cedar and sandalwood in their perfume form. The creaminess returns past the midway point, though not in the quantity or vibrance offered earlier, but rather as a bit of a filler between the other flavors but far from enough to overtake them. The final puffs of this section see the cigar take a big step forward in terms of the fullness and vibrance of flavors, which now taste like the power was turned on and they were brought to life. That nudges flavor up into full territory, body is medium-plus, and strength is medium.
While I don’t notice it departing, the final third starts with a much drier profile that reveals the absence of the creaminess from earlier. This brings about more dry earth, a bit more pepper, and a resurgence of the woodiness from much earlier. The overall net effect is a more textured smoke that reminds me of the texture of the soil in a tobacco field as it passes through my fingers. As the cigar begins to eye its conclusion, the pepper takes a step forward in the profile, and instead of being a cohesive sensation on the taste buds, it feels like it is going after individual taste buds, resulting in a more pointed sensation. Along with that new sensation from the pepper, it also begins to sting my eyes with each puff. The final puffs reveal that there is also a lot more nicotine in the cigar, as I can feel it kicking in throughout my system as I get to the final inch or so of the cigar. Finally, the smoke gets hot on my lips so I find myself needing to pace out the puffs in order to minimize that uncomfortable sensation, which eventually leads me to put the cigar down with just over an inch to go. Flavor finishes full, body finishes medium, and strength has increased to medium-full, leading me to think about some white sugar to proactively neutralize the effect. Construction remains very good, as the burn line is even, smoke production is good if not plentiful, and the draw stays smooth and easy on the whole.
- Both versions of the Desvalido blend are available for sale, meaning you could pick up one of each and smoke them side-by-side to see the differences.
- In retrospect, I certainly wish I had had the time to do that for this review.
- Brooks Whittington reviewed the original Desvalido Toro.
- Raul Disla was the person behind Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust’s Muestra de Saka Unstolen Valor, which was released in 2020 and blended by Disla instead of Dunbarton’s Steve Saka.
- This appears to be the first in a series of Disla-remixed Dapper blends.
- Desvalido translates from Cuban Spanish to “those without hope”
- I wouldn’t call the Desvalido – Disla Toro a true nicotine strength bomb, but it does finish with enough to have me thinking of finding some white sugar to neutralize the effect.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was two hours and 15 minutes on average.
- Site sponsor Atlantic Cigar Co. carries the Desvalido – Disla Toro.
After finishing the three cigars for this review, I found myself coming back to the words that Ian Reith used to describe the Desvalido - Disla Toro, as he called it "simpler in leaf variety, bolder in flavor and strength... yet ritualistically smoke-able." While I didn't smoke the original Desvalido as part of this review, I certainly agree that this blend is both on the bolder side and quite smokeable. I really like the first two thirds of the cigar, as the process that the blend goes through to establish and organize its components is quite engaging. The final third starts fine, but both the change to dry earth and the increased nicotine sensation left a bit to be desired. Thankfully, those two things might diminish with time, so I'm already starting to think about doing a redux on this cigar at some point as it does not seem to need much before it could turn into a rather impressive cigar. It is definitely worth a try now, and I'd be inclined to pick a few more up to stash in the humidor with a reminder to smoke them in the next year or so.