In October 2018, Pittsburgh-based “Island” Jim Robinson’s Leaf & Bean Strip cigar shop released the latest addition in its Leaf by line, a series of cigars produced for the store by various cigar makers that are made at different factories.
The new addition was Leaf by Omar, the name of which refers to Omar González Alemán’s La Corona factory in Nicaragua, which also happens to be the factory that produces Hirochi Robaina’s cigars. The line consists of a single vitola—a 6 x 52 toro—with a blend that includes an Ecuadorian habano wrapper covering a binder from Pennsylvania and internal filler tobaccos from Nicaragua. Each cigar carries a retail price of $9.95 and it is sold in bundles of 10.
As with the rest of the cigars in the Leaf by releases, the Leaf by Omar features extremely original packaging: instead of being covered in cellophane or enclosed in a tube, each cigar is wrapped in an actual leaf of tobacco, with a band placed on the outside of said cover leaf.
There have been a number of different lines made by different factories in the Leaf by series, including:
- Leaf by Oscar — Made by Oscar Valladares
- Leaf by Esteban—Made by Esteban Disla of Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A.
- Leaf by Noel — Made by Noel Rojas of Guayacan
- Leaf by James—Made by James Brown of Fabrica Oveja Negra/Black Label Trading Co.
- Leaf by Omar — Made by Omar González Alemán of La Corona
Here is what I said in my original review back in May of 2019:
I have been very impressed with all of the Leaf by releases I have smoked, and while the Leaf by Omar is not at the top of the range, it is a very well-blended addition to the line. The profile is full of roasted peanuts and creamy leather with a slight, but distinct cherry sweetness and intermittent cinnamon on the retrohale. However, the construction is easily one of the best attributes of the cigar, as I only had to touch up two of the samples once each—both in the first third—and the draw was excellent on all three after a simple straight cut. Although there are better cigars in the Leaf by Series, the Leaf by Oscar makes for a very enjoyable time.
- Cigar Reviewed: Leaf by Omar
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano)
- Binder: U.S.A. (Pennsylvania)
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $9.95 (Bundle of 10, $99.50)
- Release Date: Oct. 26, 2018
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1
As was the case for the cigars in my first review, the Leaf By Omar is not exactly attractive, covered in milk chocolate brown wrapper that is very parchment-like to the touch and with very little oil present. There are plenty of veins noticeable, and the cigar is nicely firm when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of nuts, leather, milk chocolate, coffee beans, nutmeg and earth while the cold draw brings flavors of cashews, creamy oak, leather, cinnamon, roasted coffee beans, hay and a nice but subtle fruity sweetness.
The Leaf By Omar wastes no time getting started as I light the foot, with some significant spice on my tongue becoming noticeable immediately combined with a dominant creamy cashew flavor that seems to be pulled directly from the cold draw. Additional notes of bitter cocoa powder, cinnamon, bread, espresso beans, leather and earth flit in and out, while there is also some significant amounts of tart cranberry sweetness—almost like a blend of fruit flavors that you would find in store-bought cranberry juice, as opposed to straight tart cranberry juice—combined with black pepper on the retrohale. Although there are no major changes in the second half, both the spice and pepper begin to die down considerably, with the former disappearing for good just after the start of the final third. In addition, while the creamy cashew note remains dominant in the profile, the second half does bring a few new lesser flavors including charred oak, dried tea leaves and slightly floral. The cranberry juice blend sweetness also continues to be an integral part of the profile until the end of the cigar, albeit only present on the retrohale.
Construction-wise, while the burn was never what I would call razor-sharp, it also needed to be corrected only once in the first third and the draw was excellent after a simple straight cut. The smoke production was also dense, white and plentiful, while the overall strength starts out firmly between the mild and medium ranges in the first third before finally reaching a point smack dab in the middle of medium by the time I put the nub down one hour and 33 minutes later with a little more than an inch remaining.
After I enjoyed the Leaf by Omar as much as I did the first time around, I was very interested to see how it changed with a bit of age on it. Profile-wise, the aged version of the Leaf by Omar is familiar, but noticeably different: instead of the roasted peanut note I remarked on the first time around, this aged sample was full of creamy cashews; instead of sweet cherry sweetness, I tasted a more tart cranberry juice blend. With all of that said, the result ends up being the same: the Leaf by Omar is a complex, well-balanced and extremely enjoyable cigar that is easy to recommend and remains a worthy addition to the series.