As part of its offerings at the 2017 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, Villiger Cigars North America reached into the company’s archives for a heritage brand, with a reblend for its reintroduction.
La Flor de Ynclan goes back beyond Villiger’s time, as it is a long-discontinued Cuban brand that dates back to the late 19th century or early 20th century that the company originally released in 2005. However, that blend was short-lived on the market, and as such relegated to the company’s archives in 2007. It would remain there until earlier this year.
As part of its reintroduction, Heinrich Villiger, chairman of the board of Villiger Soehne AG, and Jose Matias Maragoto of ABAM Cigar Factory in the Dominican Republic, reworked the blend, giving it an Ecuadorian wrapper, Indonesian binder, and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers.
It is available in three sizes.
- La Flor de Ynclan Robusto (5 x 50) — $11 (Boxes of 25, $275)
- La Flor de Ynclan Torpedo (6 x 52) — $12 (Boxes of 25, $300)
- La Flor de Ynclan Churchill (7 x 48) — $12 (Boxes of 25, $300)
While Villiger is fairly well-known for being the head of the cigar company, Maragoto’s name likely isn’t one recognized by most consumers. Born in Cuba, he left the island in favor of the Dominican Republic. Just over 22 years ago, Villiger met the young cigar maker, and some two decades later, the pair now work together with Maragoto overseeing the production of all Villiger cigars made in the Dominican Republic. In a rarity in the world of Dominican Cigars, the ABAM factory isn’t located Santiago de los Caballeros, which is considered the cigar capital of the country, but rather in its actual capital city, Santo Domingo.
- Cigar Reviewed: La Flor de Ynclan Torpedo
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: ABAM Cigars S.R.L.
- Wrapper: Ecuador
- Binder: Indonesia
- Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Torpedo
- MSRP: $12 (Boxes of 25, $300)
- Release Date: July 2017
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The cigar’s torpedo shape is immediately familiar and appears to be constructed rather well, though I do find a bit of softness just above the band. While they are flat, the seam lines are visible on the capa, with a tanned shade of brown that is reminiscent of butterscotch but lacking the vibrancy. The wrapper itself is a bit more rustic than what you might find on the shelf of your favorite retailer, as it has a couple of water spots and mottling, which in some samples has me thinking of a typical Cuban leaf. The foot is a mix of cereal grain and flowers, sort of a breakfast of Cheerios with a vase holding something from the floral department, with wood and pepper making occasional appearances in the three samples. The cold draw is near perfect as far as air flow, with some more of the Cheerios flavor along with a bit of banana and pepper being found consistently.
Not surprisingly, the Cheerios note rolls right into the first puffs of the La Flor de Ynclan once lit, paired with a bit of pepper, banana peel and an underlying binding note that has me thinking of chicken broth for a few puffs, though I get more char than broth in one sample. It’s an enjoyable and unassuming start, medium in both body and strength, possibly a tick more for those whose preferences lean toward the mild end of the spectrum. Pepper moves into the nose more so than it does that palate, with retrohales rewarded quite handsomely by way of clean pepper that tingles the nostrils without being overpowering. Certain samples show a bit of a damp and woody undertone, though it varies from cigar to cigar. Even without a laundry list of flavors and aromas to list off, the La Flor de Ynclan produces a very enjoyable overall profile that is rich, balanced, and engaging to the senses. The first clump of ash falls off at the transition to the second third, and while it leaves, a pinch more pepper comes in to the smoke’s profile.
The extra pepper ends up making a fairly significant difference in the profile of the La Flor de Ynclan, sharpening up the smoke that hits both the tongue and nose a bit. It comes across as a fresh shake of table pepper to mashed potatoes or French fries, not changing the base notes as much, but redefining the initial and dominant interaction. The cigar stays fairly linear through the midpoint, and as you can see in the photo, even though it looks like the ash was hit by an axe, it still holds on quite well. Given the profile, I find myself retrohaling a bit more than normal in order to enjoy more of the cigar’s pepperiness, which remains near perfect in terms of both type and strength for my preferences. As for what the palate gets, there’s a slight shift to a heartier profile; one sample goes to a toasty pizza crust base, while another picks up more firewood and a bit of char. Heading into the final third, the cigar nudges forward a bit in strength, as the pepper gets a bit more vibrant and the base flavor picks up a touch of chalk and clay-laden soil, while the pepper now leaves a tingle on the front of the tongue.
If there’s one thing that’s clear about the La Flor de Ynclan Torpedo, it’s that it’s not going to be making major steps in flavor or strength, but rather progressing steadily while staying fairly true to peppery top note and rather neutral core. Both the body and the strength of the cigar are a bit more intense than they were earlier, though not so much that it seems like a different cigar. Woods become a more consistent base note and add a thicker base that now coats the tongue rather than simply glide across it. The cigar begins to get a bit soft in its final inches, showing much more give than I remember it doing before being lit. While a bit stronger now, the cigar finishes much the same way as it started: rich in pleasing pepper but fairly tame on the palate, though a bit of heat in the very final puffs sharpens things up unnecessarily.
- Jose Matias Maragoto, president of the ABAM Cigar Factory, spoke about the La Flor de Ynclan project during our visit to the Villiger booth at the 2017 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
- On what could be referred to as the cigar trail of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo has been a city you just drove through on the way from La Romana to Santiago, and slowly at that, given its congestion and lack of adequate freeways. However, with the ABAM factory growing, it might soon be reason to pull off the road and pay a visit.
- I’ve had the chance to visit Santo Domingo just once for a little over a day, but was quite impressed by the city. I’d certainly like to go back — and not just because it’s home to two teams in LIDOM, the country’s professional baseball league.
- Those two teams, by the way, are the famous and rather successful Tigres del Licey, as well as the Leones del Escogido. Both play their home games at Estadio Quisqueya.
- A torpedo is one of the few vitolas I will recut while smoking; I find it can be challenging to nail the perfect cut on the first go, so I err on cutting too little, knowing that I can open it up if need be.
- Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to smoke the other two vitolas yet, but given their relatively close ring gauges to the Torpedo, I’m not sure how much the flavor would differ.
- Speaking of the other two vitolas, Villiger shipped members of the media the cigars in these three pack samplers reminiscent of Habanos S.A.’s sampler boxes that are given out at the Festival del Habano.
- I can’t say I recall smoking the original La Flor de Ynclan, so I don’t have memories of it to compare to this revamped version.
- Tony Hyman’s Cigar History Museum has a pair of images that show the original logo and vista of the Cuban La Flor de Ynclan brand.
- The always helpful Cigarcyclopedia has a listing for it as well, in both natural and maduro versions, with the latter using a Mexican wrapper and a dual binder of Ecuadorian and Nicaraguan tobacco.
- I also came across this listing for what appears to be the first incarnation of the La Flor de Ynclan, which indicates it came in eight different vitolas.
- The cigars for this review were provided by Villiger Cigars North America.
- Final smoking time was two hours on average.
The relaunched La Flor de Ynclan has done a solid job in impressing me with medium to medium-full flavors, clean pepper notes and consistent progressions in flavor and strength. While the cigar didn't task me with keeping a log of non-stop flavors, it never got bland or boring, finding a solid core profile early and sticking with it to the end, nudging it up in strength consistently. This may not be a cigar that will wow your senses, but it should impress you with solid core flavors that seem to be about as reliable as any I've come across in a cigar recently.