Last month, Litto Gomez visited Texas for a few events, one of which served as a debut of sort. On November 21, the La Flor Dominicana N.A.S. debuted at Michael’s Tobacco of Keller, Texas. Outside of its origins and strength, N.A.S. is a much different cigar for La Flor.

For starters, it’s a cheroot, a smaller open perfecto that is rolled without molds and is open on both sides. Secondly, it features its own band, a break from La Flor’s normal approach to making cigars, which the implementation of only a few different band styles across a host of lines. Finally, it’s made entirely of Dominican pelo de oro ligero.

Pelo de oro is a strand of tobacco that was actually outlawed in Cuba due to its propensity to create blue mold. It’s made a comeback of sorts, largely thanks to My Father’s José “Don Pepín” García. Since then, both Davidoff and La Flor Dominicana have stated its inclusions in blends. Each of these companies is using pelo de oro grown in different regions: the Garcías from Nicaragua, La Flor Dominicana from the Dominican Republic and Davidoff claims the Zino Platinum’s pelo de oro is grown in Peru.

N.A.S., which stands for nasty ass shit, has been in the works for months. We actually were given a prototype version of the cigar, which was not a pelo de oro ligero puro as Gomez was still processing the wrapper tobacco. 

La Flor Dominicana N A S Prototype

The boxes of N.A.S. look like this:

La Flor Dominicana N A S 2

(Via Michael’s Tobacco of Keller)

Michael’s received 50 boxes of 20 cigars. The was much talk about an expanded distribution of the cigar in 2014, although as of now, nothing is confirmed.

La Flor Dominicana N A S 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: La Flor Dominicana N.A.S.
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera La Flor S.A.
  • Wrapper: Dominican Pelo de Oro Ligero
  • Binder: Dominican Pelo de Oro Ligero
  • Filler: Dominican Pelo de Oro Ligero
  • Size: 5 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 42
  • Vitola: Cheroot
  • MSRP: $8.69 (Boxes of 20, $173.80)
  • Date Released: November 21, 2013
  • Number of Cigars Released: 50 Boxes of 20 Cigars (1,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 4

Cheroots don’t have to be ugly, this one is. It’s a rough dark wrapper underneath a band that I am not fond of. There’s little aroma to speak of from the wrapper outside a touch of leather, which is also on the foot, completely overshadowed by black pepper. Cold draw is slightly woody, some white pepper on the lips and black pepper on the tongue. This is very much like smoking test blends at a factory, the tobacco still has some ammonia and other signs of youth. 

You cannot be surprised as to how this cigar starts: strong. The draw is open and there’s some toastiness on the initial puffs of the first third, but it’s largely a large black pepper and a larger blast of nicotine. It’s beyond what most full cigars would be like, but it’s not fatal. There’s honestly little development of the flavor, except for the paradox that comes about from trying to keep the cigar lit. In order for the N.A.S. to burn well, you have to smoke very quickly. That takes the cigar to a very harsh place flavor-wise, which is unfortunate, but I suppose better than the cigar going out. My lighter is getting a workout in the first third. It’s not the start I wanted.

La Flor Dominicana N A S 2

The second third is honestly not much different. In order for the cigar to keep burning, it has to get harsher. Even without this, the flavor is still not great: bitter leather, toastiness, burnt grass and a gigantic black pepper. I can get nuttiness from the nose, but it’s really harsh. My issues with the burn continue with the N.A.S., but the cigar is surprisingly cool all things considered.

La Flor Dominicana N A S 3

Into the final third, I am still not sick. Eat a big meal and you should be fine; smoke on an empty stomach, you will be in trouble. Flavor is similar, although the leather is gone. Honestly, the final third of the N.A.S. is my favorite part, because the harshness is a bit reduced. I go as far as I can, but eventually I’m frustrated and bored.

La Flor Dominicana N A S 4

Final Notes:

  • I smoked four for this review. While I managed to get two to avoid going out, it was an absolute struggle and required multiple touch-ups to keep the tobacco burning.
  • As such, there’s an interesting dynamic that occurs. The middle of the cigar is a constant problem as it’s difficult to get the lighter in there without knocking off the ash.
  • Pete Johnson tried the ligero puro experiment a while back with the Thermonuclear, a cigar that was made essentially as a joke. That cigar was the basis for T110—and later Fausto—which was a toned down version of the cigar. Oliva introduced the Cain and Cain F, which have 77 and 82 percent ligero respectively.
  • The reason you don’t see ligero puros are endless. For starters, it’s expensive. Secondly, and on display here, ligero does not burn as well as other leaves. 
  • I promise, it’s not a no-win situation for LFD with bands. The last time I reviewed a La Flor store exclusive, I complained about how almost all of the cigars they have given exclusively to stores feature the same nondescript band are roughly six inches long. N.A.S. is neither, but this band is beyond bad in my opinion. While the red and black contrast, the text is essentially unidentifiable. 
  • This is probably the strongest cigar I smoked in the last six months, but it’s hardly the strongest cigar I have ever smoked.
  • I do wonder what this will taste like in a few months, I’m not so convinced the burn issues will ever be worked out though.
  • LFD has done a cheroot before, the Icepick. My Father also made one and J. Fuego sells the Originals size very well across its lines.
  • Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time on average was 55 minutes.
  • As of now, the only way to purchase the cigar is through Michael’s/Town & Country. You can reach them at 817.358.8862. Don’t forget to tell them halfwheel sent you.
68 Overall Score

Despite my best efforts, the N.A.S. would not stay lit in a reasonable manner. Even after a bit of dry-boxing, the only way I kept this cigar lit was smoking at a rate of one puff per 45 seconds. The problem? The N.A.S. became literally nasty as far as harshness. I think this cigar is going to need tweaking before it goes to market, at the moment, it’s little about flavor—which is unique, especially for those who have not been to a cigar factory—and more about whether you can stomach the strength. As a cigar version of the cinnamon challenge, the N.A.S. makes sense. As anything you would recommend or smoke regularly, I am at an utter loss as to how this could ever be recommended.

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I have written about the cigar industry for more than a decade, covering everything from product launches to regulation to M&A. In addition, I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff here at halfwheel. I enjoy playing tennis, watching boxing, falling asleep to the Le Mans 24, wearing sweatshirts year-round and eating gyros. echte liebe.