For the sixth size in his Flor del Valle line, Kyle Gellis of Warped Cigars invoked the three numbers that seem to get some attention among some cigar smokers: 109.
Those numbers are a reference to the style of head that the cigar offers, a hybrid between a traditional parejo, or straight cigar, and the pointed head of a belicoso. It is marked by its softly rounded shoulders and has been used by a number of manufacturers, though might best be known in recent years because of the Edmundo Dantes Conde 109, an Edición Regional for Mexico from 2007. Gellis debuted the cigar at the 2019 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show. shipping it to retailers that same month. As noted above, it became the sixth size in the line:
- Flor del Valle Cristales (6 x 42)
- Flor del Valle Gran Valle (5 1/2 x 50)
- Flor del Valle Las Brumas (4 1/2 x 48)
- Flor del Valle Sky Flower (5 5/8 x 48)
- Flor del Valle Sky Flower Corona Cigar Exclusive (5 1/2 x 42)
- Flor del Valle Seleccion del Valle (6 x 52)
The Flor del Valle line debuted in 2014, notable for being the first cigar from Warped to be made outside of the El Titan de Bronze factory in Miami. Instead, the line was made at the Tabacaos Valle de Jalapa S.A. in Estelí, Nicaragua, using only Nicaraguan tobaccos for the blends. The wrapper is a corojo 99 leaf from Jalapa, while the dual binder uses corojo 99 and criollo 98 leaves.
Here’s what I said about the Flor del Valle Seleccion del Valle when I reviewed it in September 2019:
The first two thirds of the Flor del Valle Seleccion del Valle had me interested if not enamored with the profile of this latest size. Sadly, all it took was a few puffs of the final third to have me alternating my gaze between the burn line and the ashtray while my attention was summoned to the growing irritation in the back of my mouth and throat. I’d certainly take those first two thirds over and over again without issue, though the finish needs to get a good bit better before this could be considered a complete cigar that is truly enjoyable from start to finish. There’s always hope that time may solve some of the issues, but for now, this is one to smoke aware of the fact that just as you have settled in with it, it might up and turn on you.
- Cigar Reviewed: Flor del Valle Seleccion del Valle
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicaragua (Jalapa Corojo 99)
- Binder: Nicaragua (Corojo 99 & Criollo 98)
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $12.95 (Box of 20, $259)
- Release Date: July 2019
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1
When I take the Flor del Valle Seleccion del Valle out of its cellophane, it catches my eye for looking slightly like a barber pole, something that is the result the variance in the color of the wrapper leaf. That extends to the head of the cigar, which is dark enough that it looks like it might be a higher priming of the same tobacco. Between the color variance and some veins, the might not win a cigar beauty contest but fortunately this isn’t one. It is an attractive shade of leaf, nutty and tanned, and a lighter shade than what might come to mind when thinking of Nicaraguan tobacco. As I look at the head of the cigar, I have a moment of realization where I wonder what my response would have been if this cigar had a traditional head, as otherwise, it’s a very common 6 x 52 toro, a size that rarely piques my interest. The cigar is rolled firmly and shows no immediate concerns. The foot offers a very sweet aroma at first, reminding me of a room temperature rosé wine before picking up some pepper and just a bit of wheat bread. The cold draw is a touch firm but far from obstructed, while flavors have a subtle nuttiness to them, with just the slightest sweetness and oiliness.
The Flor del Valle Seleccion del Valle starts with a mellow flavor at first puff, but one that gets quickly enhanced by white pepper on the retrohale. It’s not a very quick burning cigar out of the gate, with each puff only slightly advancing the burn line but producing good amounts of smoke. Before the one-inch mark, there’s more black pepper in the mix and the cigar has what I often refer to as a robust profile: earthy, a bit rocky, and not particularly smooth on the palate. The ash is quite fragile in the early going, with the small breaking completely off with hardly any prompting, something I don’t inherently care about but is a bit frustrating. As the ash builds back up, the flavor smooths out a bit as the rocky earthiness subsides, a bit of nutty oiliness enters, and pepper dials down just a touch. This relatively quick progression of flavor and sensation is interesting, and one I’m intrigued to how—or if—it continues. If anything the sensation more be the more intriguing, as I’m less sure of just what the next puff will hold, sometimes getting rocky and robust, other times smoothing out, delivering what I want to call a suggestion at condensed milk or something similar, yet it doesn’t offer enough to quite stand out. Other than a slightly firm draw that slows down the burn rate, and the somewhat delicate ash, the first half of the Flor del Valle Seleccion del Valle smokes well. Flavor alternates between medium-plus and medium-full, body is steady at medium-plus, and strength is just above medium, though it’s not immediately obvious just how much of a nicotine punch this might have.
The back-and-forth of the flavor profile and its accompanying physical reaction continues into the second half and seems to have found itself in a certain rhythm. There’s still a good amount of nuttiness, accents of both white and black pepper, and some underlying rich earthiness that comes out on the finish. It’s an enjoyable sequencing of flavors, with the finish lingering for a couple of seconds after each puff and providing a subtle tingle to the entire mouth. Combustion seems to slow a bit as the burn line makes its way into the final third, as some puffs feel a bit labored to get decent smoke production, but the flavor is at some its most vibrant. Black pepper has surged into the forefront, bringing with it some but not all of the earthiness that had largely been at the base of the profile. The back and forth may be over, as the Flor del Valle Seleccion del Valle seems to be on a path of increasing flavor and sensation, with black pepper delivering more tingle to the taste buds in the final third. There is also some appreciable nicotine strength as well, as the cigar shifts into a fuller, more stereotypical Nicaraguan profile. Smoke production increases, and while the draw is largely the same, combustion seems to be increasing just a touch. There’s a bit of heat entering the profile in the final two inches or so, further enhancing the effects of the pepper and earth, while also providing a bit of a red chili pepper sensation for added tingle. The Flor del Valle Seleccion del Valle finishes at or near full in flavor, strength and body, with a slightly tight draw extending the smoking time to almost exactly two hours.
Knowing how our scoring system works but not knowing how the cigar will score exactly, I have a feeling this will come in a few points higher than it did when originally reviewed. I don’t know if the cigar got appreciably better after a year of rest as opposed to this sample simply performing well, but it does suggest that the Flor del Valle Seleccion del Valle is still a very flavorful and peppery cigar. There are spots where it is also fairly complex, though they seem to be more transitions than stopping points, a minor issue but one that if resolved would only further help the score. While the 109 head makes this a somewhat more intriguing vitola than a typical toro, the blend itself is what makes this cigar shine and worthy of lighting up.