In April 2014, Leccia Tobacco announced its third regular production line named Luchador, which debuted in four sizes and featured both packaging and names inspired by lucha libre and the luchador.
Later that year, Sam Leccia announced that he would be joining General Cigar Co. following the sale of the Toraño brands, which also went to General.
Since then, Leccia has remained relatively quiet, but that changed a month ago when he announced Luchador El Gringo, the follow-up to Luchador.
The lines are differentiated by a different color scheme on the band that bears a representation of the masks that luchadores wear : blue and red instead of the green and red found on the original Luchador line. The new El Gringo line is composed of an oscuro wrapper from Nicaragua, a Nicaraguan habano binder and ligero fillers from Nicaragua and Pennsylvania. It is produced at the American Caribbean Tobacco S.A. factory in Nicaragua, the same place Leccia was producing Luchador before the move to General.
It debuted earlier this month at the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
There will be four different vitolas of the Luchador El Gringo when it launches in September, all sold in boxes of 21:
- Luchador El Gringo Chin Music (6 x 48) — $7.99 (Boxes of 21, $167.79) — Regular Production
- Luchador El Gringo Pile Driver (6 x 60) — $8.49 (Boxes of 21, $178.29) — Regular Production
- Luchador El Gringo Squared Circle (6 1/2 x 64) — $8.79 (Boxes of 21, $184.59) — Regular Production
- Luchador El Gringo Frog Splash (4 1/2 x 70) — $8.25 (Boxes of 21, $173.25) — Regular Production
- Cigar Reviewed: Luchador El Gringo Frog Splash
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: American Caribbean Tobacco S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Oscuro
- Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
- Filler: Pennsylvania & Nicaragua
- Size: 4 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 70
- Vitola: Wide Gordo
- MSRP: $8.25 (Boxes of 21, $173.25)
- Release Date: September 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
Visually, the Luchador El Gringo is quite unique, with a combination of obvious large ring gauge and close-to-extreme box press that makes the cigar fairly daunting at first glance. The wrapper is a gorgeous mottled hazelnut brown color and is silky smooth to the touch, with no obvious signs of oil. While the El Gringo is hard as a rock when squeezed, the wrapper seems quite subtle in your hands, almost leather-like. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of nuts, dark chocolate, hay, manure and cedar, while the cold draw brings flavors of leather, cinnamon, oak and some slight sweetness.
Starting out, the Luchador El Gringo features a very earthy profile, interspersed with other notes of hay, leather, dark chocolate, anise, oak and dark coffee beans. There is a very aggressive black pepper note on the retrohale that does not seem to be going away anytime soon, and just a touch of spice on my tongue that disappears as quickly as I notice it. I am picking up some faint and as-yet indeterminate sweetness on the finish, but it is just not strong enough to place yet. The burn is a bit wavy and the draw is extremely loose—albeit still smokable—while the smoke production is massive off of the foot. Strength-wise, the El Gringo easily comes within spitting distance of the medium mark by the end of the first third, and is only increasing from there.
Coming into the second third of the Luchador El Gringo, and the dominant flavors have not changed much, with the same gritty earthiness leading the pack, followed by oak, espresso beans, dark and bitter cocoa, baker’s spices, leather and a touch of toast. The sweetness from the first third has increased a bit, and reminds me of maple syrup, but it is only present on the retrohale where it combines with a black pepper note that is still quite strong and shows no signs of receding. The construction remains the same: the draw is too loose and the burn line is wavy, while the smoke production is well above average. The Luchador El Gringo pushes past the medium mark early in the second third, and is knocking on full by the time the final third starts.
Not much changes in the final third of the Luchador El Gringo, other than the strength that is present in the blend. The profile is still dominated by a combination of gritty earth and black pepper, while lessor flavors of leather, hay, oak, black licorice and slight mushrooms all flit in and out. The maple syrup sweetness has increased a bit more, as has the black pepper on the retrohale, but the only thing I taste on the finish is leather. The construction remains a carbon copy of the first two thirds, with a wavy burn line, a loose draw and smoke that seems to be never-ending. As expected, the strength easily hits the full mark just after the start of the final third, and gets a tad stronger before evening out slightly higher by the time I put the nub down with about an inch left.
- I find it interesting that all four of the original Luchador vitolas have names in Spanish while the new version’s sizes are named in English.
- The wrapper on the Luchador El Gringo is both gorgeous to look at and has a wonderful feel to it: silky smooth to the touch.
- I was somewhat at a loss on how to cut this cigar, considering the unique vitola. I was afraid if I used a regular straight cut, the draw would be too loose, and I was not sure that the cap would fit into the indention of a v-cut cutter. In the end, I compromised: I cut one sample with a v-cutter and the other two samples I cut just a touch of the cap off with a straight cutter. Unfortunately, my efforts proved to be for naught, as each of the samples I smoked had a draw that was much too loose for my liking.
- While I usually appreciate an extreme box-press with larger ring gauge cigars, the El Gringo is just too big of a cigar in my opinion, and I still had issues with how the cigar felt in my mouth.
- On that note, this probably was not the best size to hand out to press given that the majority of reviewers seem to indicate their preference for smaller ring gauges and at the very least, disdain for
- While the draw issues have already been mentioned, and the burn was nothing special, the smoke production from the Luchador El Gringo was massive, like a house on fire, and never let up from the first puff to the last.
- Along with the above, the ash on this particular vitola is extremely flaky, and little bits seemed to fall off with just about every puff I took.
- The final smoking time for all three samples averaged just over two hours.
- The cigars smoked for this review were given to halfwheel at the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show by General Cigar Co.
- Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar, Cigars.com, JR Cigars, Lone Star State Cigar Co., Serious Cigars and STOGIES World Class Cigars, all carry Leccia Tobacco products, but they have not posted the Leccia Luchador El Gringos for sale yet.
Make no mistake, the Luchador El Gringo Frog Splash is a monster cigar in terms of size, smoking time and strength. While the profile is far from complex in any discernible way, it was enjoyable, and kept my interest for the entire two-plus-hour smoking time, which says a lot about the blend. The overall strength is significant—especially towards the end of the cigar—and does overwhelm the palate at a few points in the cigar, but not to the point where it can be considered a detriment. In fact, the major problem I had with my samples was the too loose draw, an issue that persisted no matter how little I cut off of the cap. The Luchador El Gringo is a nice addition to Leccia's line-up, but I am looking forward to trying the blend in a smaller size to see if the strength is better incorporated into the profile.