If there was one site that made itself known for loving lanceros, it was my former endeavor, TheCigarFeed. A few summers ago I once reviewed 50 different lanceros in 50 days. If there’s one retailer that’s making itself known for loving lancero, it’s STOGIES World Class Cigars in Houston.
Jorge Ahued, one of the store’s co-owners, really likes lanceros. And he’s been smoking them long enough that many of his customers have taken a fondness to them. It’s enough that Ahued has created the H-Town Series, 10 different lanceros that will be exclusive to STOGIES.
Yesterday, the third member of the H-Town Series was released at an event, the Fratello Lancero. The cigar, which actually debuted as an event-only cigar last year, measures 7 x 38 with a pigtail. It’s priced at $8.50 or $170 per box of 20. STOGIES will only receive 500 boxes, although the cigar will continue to be available at select Fratello events.
- Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H-Town Lancero (7 x 38) — December 19, 2013 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars) — $9.50 (Boxes of 20, $190)
- Alec Bradley Nica Puro H-Town Lancero (7 x 40) — August 2014 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars) — $7.95 (Boxes of 20, $159)
- Fratello H-Town Lancero (7 x 38) — February 2015 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars) — $8.50 (Boxes of 20, $170)
- Cigar Reviewed: Fratello H-Town Lancero
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: n/a
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
- Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
- Filler: Nicaragua & Peru
- Size: 7 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 38
- Vitola: Lancero
- MSRP: $8.50 (Boxes of 20, $170)
- Release Date: Feb. 6, 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
You should be able to tell where your Fratello Lancero comes from, as I imagine future event releases will probably forgo the STOGIES secondary band on the foot. Outside of that, there’s little that will be out of place for fans of Fratello. The cigar features the same dark and oily wrapper with the unique red band. It smells of licorice, leather and hickory out of the cellophane, with the foot giving of sweet chocolate and hickory. I’m a bit taken back by the cold draw, which is mild-medium, and shows hickory, dry cocoa and sweet creamed coffee.
There’s a bit of semi-harsh woody notes to begin the cigar, but shortly after a dark chocolate and red pepper flavor show itself through the nose. Both are quite restrained and the cocoa is definitely bigger than the red pepper. As things get going, the cigar develops into a core that is rather familiar to me after smoking a couple dozen Fratellos: wet earth, cedar, meatiness and an undeveloped and restrained pepper note. Occasional puffs provide a mild, yet lasting sweetness that help balance things out. Construction is what you hope for in a lancero, a chunk of even ash, a draw that begins tight and opens up midway through each draw and a great amount of smoke in the mouth with a small, but steady stream coming from the cigar when resting.
At the core of the Fratello Lancero remains the cedar, but now the cocoa flavor has returned to interact with the meatiness and creamed coffee. In addition, I’m able to pick up some tarter lemonade flavors through the nose as well as a toastiness on the finish. Outside of those three flavor developments, pretty much everything else remains the same, including construction and strength, which I’d peg at the shallow end of medium.
With two-inches left, the Fratello Lancero needs much more attention. it’s not particularly unique given the vitola, but puffs now have to be more regimented at a bit less than a minute. There’s a pretty dramatic shift in flavor with gingerbread rising to the top in front of white pepper, cocoa and meatiness. In the nose, the tart citrus note is still present, but it’s now mimicking a charred lemon peel. Towards the one-inch mark, things get a bit too harsh for my liking and I put the cigar down.
- The exclusivity for this cigar is very similar to how RoMa Craft Tobac has handled much of its single store releases. It’s available at a single store and then at events.
- Because it so oftentimes gets misquoted, a traditional lancero is 192mm x 38, 7 9/16 inches neither 7 1/2 inches nor 7 inches.
- I really do appreciate the approach taken by Fratello. The line was introduced at the 2013 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, and so far the only expansion cigar-wise has been two additional sizes, the other of which reviewed here.
- There are a lot of people that work in the hard in the cigar industry, I’m not sure I’ve personally witnessed any working harder in retail stores than Fratello’s Omar de Frias.
- If he didn’t already have enough occupations, de Frias works at NASA full-time, he could surely create (another) side business hosting seminars for how to interact with new customers.
- Fratello does have a whole bunch of new swag coming, if that’s what you are into.
- Lanceros do not normally sell well, but I think the success at STOGIES speaks to just how important a retailer is in influencing customer decisions.
- Strength is on the lightest side of medium, nearly mild-medium.
- Cigars for this review were given to halfwheel by Fratello.
- STOGIES World Class Cigars currently advertisers on halfwheel. Fratello has advertised on the site in the last year.
- The Fratello H-Town Lancero is still available from STOGIES.
If you like the Fratello line, and you like lanceros—you’re in for a treat. That’s oddly not always the case, but it definitely seems to be here. It’s the same core cedar, cocoa and coffee flavors that I have found to dominate every other Fratello I smoke with the same approach to balance, texture and body. That being said, if you haven’t been able to understand why Fratello has been one of the hottest new brands in the last two years, the Fratello H-Town Lancero isn’t going to do much, if anything, to change your mind.