In November 2013, La Flor Dominicana announced a single store exclusive for Southington, Conn.-based retailer Mickey Blake’s.
Appropriately named Mickey Blake’s Edición Exclusiva, the new blend was created by Litto Gomez of La Flor Dominicana after one of the owners of the store visited the company’s factory in February of that year, as detailed in an Instagram post:
In February of this year I had the distinct pleasure of sitting with Litto Gomez, owner of La Flor Dominicana at his factory in the Dominican. During my visit, the discussions turned to why not do something unique for the store. You can only imagine how humbled we were when Litto decided to make us our own limited production cigar. So without further delay. I present the Mickey Blake’s Edición Exclusiva. 6 1/4 x 60 soft press in 12 count box. We are so proud of this honor as well as the friendship we’ve developed with LFD. Thank you Litto, Ines and Tony.
Measuring 6 1/4 x 60, the soft-pressed gordo extra is composed of a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper covering a Nicaraguan binder as well as filler tobaccos grown in the Dominican Republic. There were a total of 150 12-count boxes released priced at $149.99 each—meaning each cigar retailed for $12.50—all of which were rolled at LFD’s Tabacalera La Flor S.A. factory in the Dominican Republic.
Mickey Blake’s Edición Exclusiva was released on Dec. 4 during an event at the store that was attended by both Gomez and Jon Carney from La Flor Dominicana.
Here is what I wrote in my first review back in February 2014:
I have smoked most of this past year’s La Flor Dominicana releases at least once and the Mickey Blake’s Edición Exclusiva does almost nothing to set itself apart: earthy, leathery and slightly sweet, it takes a while to get going strength-wise, but when it does, it hits you like a rocket. The construction is excellent on all three samples I smoked and they were wonderful to smoke in that regard. However, it is also a huge smoke, can be harsh at times, and features a profile that gets fairly monotonous about halfway through, which is not a good thing when you are talking about a two-hour cigar. A decent release if you are already a fan of La Flor Dominicana, but with all of the other blends they have released last year, it is just not as interesting as most of the rest of them.
- Cigar Reviewed: La Flor Dominicana Mickey Blake’s Edición Exclusiva
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera La Flor S.A.
- Wrapper: U.S.A (Connecticut Broadleaf)
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Dominican Republic
- Length: 6 1/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 60
- Vitola: Gordo Extra
- MSRP: $12.50 (Box of 12, $149.99)
- Release Date: Dec. 4, 2013
- Number of Cigars Released: 150 Boxes of 12 Cigars (750 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1
This La Flor Dominicana Mickey Blake’s Edición Exclusiva was taken from the same box as the samples in the original review, so it is no great surprise that it shares a number of similarities, including the dark and smooth to the touch espresso brown wrapper, a lack of visible oil, and the fact that it is close to rock hard when squeezed. However, there is one difference: the soft box-press is even less obvious than before, so much so that I am not sure how many people would realize this cigar was once box-pressed. The aroma from the wrapper is a combination of barnyard, dark chocolate, creamy leather, earth, aged cedar, hay and black pepper, while the cold draw brings flavors of the same aged cedar, leather tack, roasted espresso beans, cocoa nibs, bread and a slight indeterminate sweetness.
Although the Mickey Blake’s Edición Exclusiva takes a while to get going, once I am finished toasting the foot the flavors begin showing up in earnest. They include a distinct creamy cedar flavor that easily takes the top spot in the profile, interspersed with notes of strong but generic nuts, leather, barnyard, hay, minerals and a touch of floral. There is plenty of aggressive black pepper and spice present on the retrohale and on my tongue respectively, and while I pick up some light vanilla sweetness on the retrohale, there is just not enough of it in the first half to make much of an impact. Unfortunately, the creamy cedar note from the first half easily remains the dominant flavor in the second half while both the black pepper and spice are shells of their former selves by the time the final third begins. Other flavors flit in and out in various amounts, including more generic nuts, earth, cinnamon, leather, dark chocolate and coffee beans, but none of them ever become strong enough to knock the cedar note off of its throne. Finally, while the slight vanilla sweetness from the first half keeps limping along, it sadly never becomes a much-needed major player in the profile.
In terms of construction, the LFD Mickey Blake’s Edición Exclusiva has some issues on multiple fronts, both of which were not the case the first time around. Specifically, the draw is a bit looser than I prefer after a straight cut—albeit not bad enough to negatively affect the profile—while the burn needs to be touched up twice in the first third before evening up for the remainder of the cigar. However, one of the largest changes between the original review and now is the strength. Where the former built up quickly and eventually rammed its full strength at me by the end of the final third, this cigar features a strength level that is noticeably more balanced with the rest of profile, ending just shy of medium plus after two hours and 17 minutes of smoking time.
I have written before about how I love to redux La Flor Dominicana releases—especially stronger blends—due to their propensity to morph into very different cigars after some significant age. On its face, the Mickey Blake’s Edición Exclusiva is no different in that regard. It has changed from a powerhouse of a smoke that blasted you with strength in the final third into a much more rounded, much more balanced profile overall. In addition, the dominant flavors have also changed significantly from leather and earth in the first review to a combination of creamy cedar and generic nuts in the aged version. Having said that, both the secondary flavors and the vanilla sweetness that are present in the more recent sample are quite light and never develop into enough of a cohesive mix that would help them complement the overall profile. After six years of rest, the Mickey Blake’s Edición Exclusiva has changed for the better in a number of ways, but unfortunately, those changes are still not even close to enough to propel the cigar to the top tier of La Flor Dominicana creations.