Last year, La Barba introduced a brand new brand that drew upon owner Tony Bellatto’s knowledge as a sommelier. Named Ricochet, the new line that he described was inspired by “the components of wines from around the world that I have fallen in love with.”
“The first was blended with my love of Italian Zinfandel or ‘primitivo’ in mind, taking cues from the wine like spicy, earthy, leathery, and a little sweetness and spice, said Bellatto in a press release. “The new Ricochet is modeled after first Left Bank Bordeaux and Is very balanced and complex with a definitive spicy minerality, and a touch of soft sweetness.“
Released earlier this year, the new incarnation of the line is named Ricochet Crü Mexi-Sol and incorporates a Mexican sun grown wrapper leaf covering an Indonesian binder and filler tobaccos sourced from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Pennsylvania. Like the original version, the Ricochet Crü Mexi-Sol debuted in four different sizes, all of which are packaged in boxes of 25.
- La Barba Ricochet Crü Mexi-Sol 4 1/4 x 44 — $7 (Box of 25, $175)
- La Barba Ricochet Crü Mexi-Sol 6 1/4 x 52 — $11.25 (Box of 25, $281.25)
- La Barba Ricochet Crü Mexi-Sol 5 1/2 x 54 — $11 (Box of 25, $275)
- La Barba Ricochet Crü Mexi-Sol 6 x 60 — $11.75 (Box of 25, $293.75)
Ricochet Crü Mexi-Sol is rolled at Tabacalera William Ventura in the Dominican Republic and is distributed by Down&Back, LLC, the distribution company behind Caldwell Cigar Co.
- Cigar Reviewed: La Barba Ricochet Crü Mexi-Sol 5 1/2 x 54
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera William Ventura
- Wrapper: Mexico (Sun Grown)
- Binder: Indonesia
- Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua & U.S.A. (Pennsylvania)
- Length: 5 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Robusto Extra
- MSRP: $11 (Box of 25, $275)
- Release Date: July 2019
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Covered in an espresso brown wrapper with a noticeable red tint that is hard to miss, the Ricochet Crü Mexi-Sol 5 1/2 x 54 is quite smooth to the touch despite the lack of oil. There are no major veins visible and the cigar is nicely firm when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of strong and bitter dark chocolate, oak, manure, leather, tree bark and bready sweetness while the cold draw brings flavors of creamy leather, oak, earth, cloves, cocoa nibs, black pepper and light raisin sweetness.
The first third of the La Barba Ricochet Crü Mexi-Sol follows the cold draw almost to a T, including the same strong creamy leather and oak dominant on the palate, while lesser flavors of gritty earth, ground coffee beans, hay and slight floral. There is also a very familiar raisin sweetness combined with some obvious black pepper, both of which are the main notes on the retrohale. Construction-wise, the burn shows issues almost out of the gate, forcing me to touch it up a couple of times, while the draw is a bit looser than I would like after a simple straight cut, although still easily within the smokable category. The smoke production is copious and thick off of the foot, while the overall strength fails to even come close to the medium mark by the end of the first third.
Thankfully, the raisin sweetness that was noticeable on the retrohale in the first third increases in strength a bit just as the second third begins, which in turn increases the complexity in the profile with flavors that include the leather, oak, oatmeal, earth, peanuts, sawdust and hay. There is a bit less black pepper on the retrohale compared to the first third as well, but some spice on my lips shows up right after the halfway point and continues to be a factor throughout the second third. The burn has evened up nicely and it remains trouble-free throughout the middle third, while the draw continues to be slightly loose and the smoke production continues to flow off of the foot in large quantities. Strength-wise, the Ricochet Crü Mexi-Sol increases enough to easily hit a point just south of the medium mark by the time the second third ends and seems to still be increasing, albeit very slowly.
The final third of the La Barba Ricochet Crü Mexi-Sol 5 1/2 x 54 is much the same as the second third, with the dominant combination that includes both creamy leather and aged oak wood chips. Other flavors of hay, earth, cocoa nibs, floral and bitter espresso flit in and out, and there is still a nice amount of both black pepper and raisin sweetness on the retrohale. The overall construction seems to be hitting on all strides, with the burn and the draw both giving me almost no issues at all. Finally, the strength increases slightly compared to the second third, but still runs out of steam right after reaching the medium mark, where it remains until I put the nub down with less than an inch left.
- Each one of the cigars I smoked for this review were consistent not only in profile, but also two other very obvious ways: the massive amount of smoke that poured from the foot at all times, and the noticeably loose draw that I was left with, no matter how little of the cap I cut off.
- I was unimpressed by how the logo on the original Ricochet release seemed to disappear into the background orange color, but the dark blue color of the Crü Mexi-Sol really helps it pop.
- Speaking of the logo, while some people might first think of shaving when seeing the straight razor logo, my first thought was actually of George Stark, the antagonist in Stephen King’s novel “The Dark Half” who makes short work of most of his victims using a straight razor. (Yes, I am a bit of a nerd.)
- There is actually a WWE wrestler named Trevor Mann who goes by the ring name of Ricochet.
- Although both the original Ricochet and the Ricochet Crü Mexi-Sol launched with four different vitolas, only one of the sizes was the same between the two lines, namely the 6 x 60.
- Other than a couple of touch-ups in the first third on one of the samples and one touch up in the final third on another, the overall construction was excellent.
- The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time averaged one hour and 57 minutes for all three samples.
Bellatto has said that La Barba Ricochet Crü Mexi-Sol blend is meant to be "very balanced and complex with a definitive spicy minerality, and a touch of soft sweetness,” and while I did not experience every one of those descriptors, he came damn close. The blend is nicely balanced and has some spice in it—especially in the first third, although it falls off pretty quickly after that—with dominant flavors of oak and leather along with a slight raisin sweetness. However, there is one thing missing from his list: progression. The flavors in the profile were distinct, balanced and harmonious, but stayed fairly consistent from the first puff to the last, a fact that became almost painfully obvious right around the start of the final third in each sample. Those who enjoy flavors of leather and oak in their cigars will love this release, but anyone looking for a profile that features some significant changes will most likely be underwhelmed.