When I look at new products and the cycles they go through, there are a couple of product descriptions that seem to be in endless supply, particularly from the viewpoint of I don’t think cigar companies are ever going to stop introducing new versions of X or Y.
In this case, X would be cigars with Connecticut shade wrappers and Y would be value-priced cigars.
Meeting at the intersection of X and Y is Miami Cigar & Co.’s new Don Lino Connecticut.
Introduced last summer along with the Don Lino Maduro, the new lines are made at an undisclosed Dominican factory. While the sizes and prices are identical between the two lines, the internal blends are slightly different. The Don Lino Connecticut uses an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper over a Dominican olor binder and four different fillers: Dominican criollo 98, Dominican olor, Nicaragua and Pennsylvania broadleaf. The Maduro keeps the binder and two of the fillers, but it replaces the Nicaraguan filler with a leaf from Cameroon.
- Don Lino Connecticut Gran Toro (6 x 60) — $6.50 (Box of 20, $130)
- Don Lino Connecticut Toro (5 1/2 x 54) — $6.25 (Box of 20, $125)
- Don Lino Connecticut Robusto (5 x 50) — $5.95 (Box of 20, $119)
- Cigar Reviewed: Don Lino Connecticut Robusto
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Undisclosed
- Wrapper: Ecuador (Connecticut)
- Binder: Dominican Republic (Olor)
- Filler: Dominican Republic (Criollo 98, Olor), Nicaragua & U.S.A. (Pennsylvania Broadleaf)
- Length: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Robusto
- MSRP: $5.95 (Box of 20, $119)
- Release Date: Sept. 29, 2021
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
So long as you don’t look at the cap, it’s tough to find much to complain about regarding the Don Lino Connecticut’s appearance. Unfortunately, each of the three cigars has a cap that is applied less precisely than the very best cigars. While I wouldn’t call it sloppy, it’s definitely does not look like a triple cap on a cigar from the My Father Cigars S.A. factory, which it’s not. Also, the straw-colored wrapper gets noticeably discolored in the cap area. Color-wise, it’s a bit on the dull side of light yellow, though there’s some oil. Despite being stored in cellophane, I can’t smell much from the wrapper. There’s something that reminds me of old newspaper; on one cigar it reminds me a bit of the smell of paste, though it’s very mild. The foot is stronger and more distinct with a medium-plus mixture of raisins and leather over some generic red wine and bread flavors. Cold draws are surprisingly different thanks to a good amount of creaminess, followed by oatmeal, artificial coconut and some woodiness. While it’s easier for me to detect flavors during the cold draw than I did when smelling the wrapper, it’s still a challenge compared to most cigars.
Once lit, the first thing I notice is that there’s a piece of tobacco in my mouth. Having this happen isn’t all that uncommon, but it happens on all three cigars, which isn’t normal. Flavor-wise, the piece of tobacco floating around my mouth produces a sharp burning sensation, which probably colors what I think I’m tasting from the smoke: sharp cedar, some creaminess and black pepper. Flavor-wise, the cigar takes a few quick turns before settling on a dry terroir version of earthiness that gets infused with creaminess. That sits over some toastiness, black pepper, white pepper and some underlying sweetness. At times, it tastes like a pretty typical Connecticut shade cigar, other times, the Don Lino seems more Honduran than anything else. The finish has even more of the dry earthiness and creaminess, now mixing with saltiness, nuttiness and a distinct orange peel flavor. Retrohales have a unique pear sweetness before the earthiness regains control, joined by a small amount of toastiness. The finish is pretty similar—I can still taste the pear sweetness and earthiness—though there’s some herbal flavors, white pepper and leather. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium-full and strength is mild-medium. I think if I wasn’t forced to score this cigar, I’d like say the construction was pretty good, though my notes list a number of small issues. The first sample I smoke has an open draw that produces less than optimal smoke production, the second cigar needs a touch-up and the final cigar sees the wrapper begin to unravel about a half-inch into the cigar.
At first, I taste a little bit of a dry hay flavor. But after five minutes, it’s exploded and takes over as the top flavor of the Don Lino Connecticut. There are some puffs where the earthiness overwhelms the hay, but more often than not, the hay leads the flavor. That earthy, terroir-like flavor remains, though the creaminess is reduced, and is joined by some lemon, leather and white pepper. The finish sees the earthiness find equal footing with the hay flavor—producing a combination that sounds drier than it actually is—and leads secondary flavors of mild black pepper and some apple juice. From a what flavors am I tasting and how strong are they perspective, the retrohales are more or less carbon copies of when the smoke is in my mouth. There is one notable difference, which is that the hay flavor seems to be capable of hitting more parts of the palate when I blow smoke through my nose, but the differences are pretty subtle. Flavor is medium-full—nearly full—body is medium and strength is mild-medium. Construction is great during the second third, though the Don Lino’s ash seems to fall off at random times, which twice creates a mess in my lap.
The terroir-driven earthiness remains at its level from the second third, but the hay does not. Whether it’s simply a reduction in the hay flavor’s level or that there are actually new flavors, I’m able to find herbal sensations, as well as some of the creaminess that I picked up during the first third. And while the flavor profile while the smoke is in my mouth is very much a greatest hits album of previous sensations, everything else is quite a bit different. There’s barbecue sauce mixed with the earthiness and hay, along with a big black pepper note in the center of my tongue. Retrohales are different enough that I’m not sure if I’m smoking the same cigar. Nuttiness—a sensation I couldn’t taste during the first two thirds of any cigar—is now the leading flavor when the smoke is blown through my nose. There’s also an odd kiwi-like fruitiness and some pizza dough. The finish is led by either white pepper or black pepper—depending on the cigar—over earthiness. The two peppers and earthiness hit different parts of the profile, though they figuratively seem to come together in the center of the tongue, where I taste a harsh earthiness. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium and strength is mild-medium. One cigar needs a touch-up to help the burn, while the other two cigars finish without any construction issues.
- This is not the first Don Lino Connecticut, JR Cigar still lists an old example.
- I imagine many people think that a Dominican cigar sold by Miami Cigar & Co. is made at La Aurora. In this particular instance, I am told that the cigar is not made at La Aurora.
- This is a unique profile, one that I suspect a small group of people will love while the majority of people will be neutral towards. I’m in the second category, but that’s not because I think the cigar is bad. I never thought it was unbalanced or off-putting. Even in the first third, it actually didn’t dry my palate out. That being said, if I had to put together flavors in a cigar, leading with the terroir-style earthiness and hay would not be the first two choices.
- In my most recent review prior to this, I commented about how difficult the cigar was to smoke, particularly for someone that isn’t a regular cigar smoker. That cigar, by Joya de Nicaragua, suffered from both burn issues and an accompanying flavor profile that happens when a cigar gets relit. While the Don Lino didn’t burn flawlessly, this is about as easy to smoke as a cigar can get. It burns a bit quicker than an average cigar, but also seems fine if you want to take two or three minutes in between a puff. Most importantly, so long as you don’t go to the extreme ends of puff rates—say three puffs per minute or three puffs per 15 minutes—the cigar seems to deliver the same volume of smoke at roughly the same temperature.
- When he was editing the review, Patrick pointed out the band says “Hand Made Nicaragua” which is not true from what I’ve been told. We’ll update the review if we get an answer to the question.
- Miami Cigar & Co. advertises on halfwheel.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 35 minutes, a pretty quick robusto for me. The first half of the cigar seems to burn a lot quicker than the second third.
- Site sponsors Famous Smoke Shop and JR Cigar carry the Don Lino Connecticut Robusto.
While there are some stand-out flavors that I don’t normally find in most modern Connecticut cigars—namely the big straw and hay notes as well as the minor pear sweetness—for the most part, this is what I’d expect from a cigar marketed like the way the Don Lino Connecticut is. This is neither a classic Connecticut shade cigar nor a modern Connecticut. It’s a rather unique profile with linear changes that never really snuck up on me, but rather, gradually transitioned over the course of a handful of puffs. Given the price range—one that is somewhere between a bundle cigar and most of the value-priced Connecticuts—I think buying one of these will produce a good ROI, even if it's far from the best cigar in the humidor.