When it seems like marketing hype runs wild both in and out of the cigar industry, there is something rather refreshing about just calling something what it is, which is exactly what Isaias Santana Diaz did with one of his latest creations.
Not oblivious to the growth and success of big ring gauge cigar in recent years, Diaz decided to make a pair of his own that were called the Flor de D’Crossier Enormous 360.
Announced in July 2016, the two cigars made their formal industry debut at the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show and began arriving at retail shortly after, though there was more of the oscuro wrapped version, which measures 6 1/4 x 68 hitting the market initially. The second version didn’t get a widespread release until February 2017, this time featuring a claro wrapper and checking in at a slightly smaller 6 1/8 x 65 vitola. He said that due to their size, both blends need a bit more time in the aging room to mature, hence the delay in getting more to market quicker. As such, he would only be able to release batches of between 150 and 200 boxes at a time.
Diaz hasn’t disclosed any specifics about the Enormous 360 Claro, other than that it uses 30 grams of tobacco, a tidbit that is integral to understanding the name of the cigar. With 12 cigars in a box, there is a total of 360 grams per package. Some of those leaves date back to 2005, though again, Diaz isn’t saying which specific ones.
- Cigar Reviewed: Flor de D’Crossier Enormous 360 Claro
- Country of Origin: Costa Rica
- Factory: Pure Aroma Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: n/a
- Binder: n/a
- Filler: n/a
- Length: 6 1/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 65
- Vitola: Gordo
- MSRP: $16.50 (Boxes of 12, $198)
- Release Date: August 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
This once shockingly big but now fairly more common vitola is wrapped in a leaf that has a fairly oily sheen; it varies from sample to sample but is consistent at a general level. The leaf is fairly uniform in its toffee shade of brown, though I found a green spot on the first sample, while veins are small but fairly plentiful and create an elaborate network for the eye to process. There is just a bit of give to the cigar, generally uniform from top to bottom and sample to sample, save for the head of the third sample, which is quite soft. The foot offers aromas of banana bread, slightly sweet and fairly singular. The big ring gauge doesn’t prevent the Enormous 360 from having a very good cold draw as far as air flow, while flavors are quite mild and bread-like.
For all its subtlety and mildness before being lit, the Flor de D’Crossier Enormous 360 Claro isn’t shy with flavor once it starts burning. The opening puffs are fairly peppery, with a bit less smoke than I would have imagined given the size, and what is offered is soft in texture. The base notes of the flavor are a bit harder to pin down as they seem to evolve fairly quickly in the first inch, starting earthy before moving towards a woodier profile for a bit and then lighter and wheat dominant by the start of the second inch, though each plays well with the constant pepper component. Even with the pepper, I’m impressed by how smooth the smoke is through the first third, and the big ring gauge certainly seems to be helping keep the cigar cool.
There is a bit of blending of the three base notes from the first third to start off the second third; I get a fair amount of peanut as well, and the pepper ticks up a notch or two. Two clumps of ash have already come off, and on the second cigar I notice that the burn line isn’t quite as sharp and even as I would prefer, though it’s not terrible. The middle portion of the cigar keeps a good bit of potent pepper in its profile, though the smoke is thinning out a bit at the midway point. The banana note from the pre-light aroma is making a surprising appearance, and there are a few times in all three samples where I find myself quite impressed with the cigar’s flavor, balance and texture, despite how much I dislike the size. A bit of cake donut comes in and affects both flavor and texture of the smoke, the former a bit more favorably than the latter. Hints of sweet cedar come out in the final puffs of this section, while I’m getting some more faint peanut flavors as well.
The final third struggles with some combustion issues in some samples, and I’m left to wonder if all the relights are having as much as a negative impact on the flavor as I think they might be, as the second sample—which didn’t need a relight—smokes quite well There’s a bit more char in the final two inches, though it feels layered on top of some very pleasant creaminess and some peanuts that would otherwise make for a solid finish. Only in the final inch does heat become a factor, and it’s more in the physical sensation of the smoke on the lips and tongue than it is in regards to the flavor, while also becoming a bit too hot to hold comfortably in the fingers.
- D’Crossier is the only company I can think of that uses vented cellophane for its cigars. In the case of the Enormous 360, there are six sets of four small vents, two each on the front and back and one set on each side.
- The cellophane flap at the end is held down with a skinny strip of what appears to be packing tape, something else I can’t recall seeing used by other companies. Most either leave the flap use or have a sticker with the SKU and some other details on it.
- The black ink on the bands rubs off quite easily; a good bit of it came off on my fingers during the final photo. If you hold your cigar by the band, expect to need to wipe off your fingers.
- The second sample I smoked had a pinhole in the cap, off-center and looking quite out of place. It didn’t look like a beetle hole, but it didn’t look like it was designed to help the cigar breathe and lose humidification.
- While it’s not an immediate comparison, the rows of squares that line the sides of the band did make me think of the Cuban Cohiba marca for a moment. It also reminded me of the PDR Cigars AFR-75 band, though not quite as much.
- There are a few spots where my only gripe about the Enormous 360 is the size, something that should speak pretty highly about the blend.
- The draw and combustion of the third sample was well below that of the first two samples, and cost the cigar a point or two. While the flavors in the third sample were still fairly decent, it was a subpar smoking experience.
- In my most recent review of the AVO Improvisation LE17, I noted that I think I’m officially over big ring gauge cigars. The Enormous 360 Claro only confirms that sentiment.
- In March 2017, it was announced that Espinosa Premium Cigas and Pure Aroma Cigars, Inc. had ended their distribution agreement, citing issues with the production levels at the Pure Aroma Cigars S.A. factory. The two companies formed that agreement in May 2015.
- In October 2013, I reviewed the D’Crossier Diplomacy Series Limited Edition 2008 Robusto, and in that review you can read a bit about the history of the company and how the name D’Crossier came to be.
- Interestingly, in that review Diaz was quoted as saying he would never use cellophane on his cigars. “They need to breathe like we do,” he said.
- The D’Crossier website has an extensive section called The Tobacco Process, which is worth a read.
- The cigars for this review were provided by D’Crossier Cigars.
- Final smoking time was just three hours on average.
Once again, smoking three samples of a cigar yielded an interesting and beneficial result, at least in terms of forming an opinion about this cigar. While the first two samples were constructed quite well, the third was soft and affected the combustion quite noticeably. The first showed a few rougher spots in terms of flavor, the second was quite smooth and enjoyable, with the third a tick below that. Despite a vitola that I basically abhor, the Flor de D’Crossier Enormous 360 Claro can be an enjoyable cigar when the combination of construction and flavors is right, and I’d certainly be interested in trying this blend again, though in a less enormous vitola.