Altadis U.S.A. has tried to reinvent the Trinidad brand quite a few times, but its most recent attempt is unlike any before it.
Last year, the company introduced the Trinidad Espiritu, a five-size line packaged in colorful boxes and made by Abdel Fernández in Nicaragua. Both are departures for Altadis U.S.A.’s Trinidad brand, which has typically mimicked the Cuban version of the brand and made in the Dominican Republic.
For this attempt, Altadis U.S.A. used packaging inspired by Havana in the 1960s, including bright and colorful art.
As for the blend, it’s a Nicaraguan puro. There are four regular sizes and one vitola—the Fundador— that is sold only at events.
- Trinidad Espiritu Robusto (5 x 52) — $9.90 (Box of 20, $198)
- Trinidad Espiritu Toro (6 x 52) — $10.15 (Box of 20, $203)
- Trinidad Espiritu Magnum (6 x 60) — $10.65 (Box of 20, $213)
- Trinidad Espiritu Belicoso (6 1/8 x 52) — $10.40 (Box of 20, $208)
- Trinidad Espiritu Fundador (7 1/2 x 40) — $11 (Box of 20, $220, event-only)
- Cigar Reviewed: Trinidad Espiritu
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Robusto
- MSRP: $9.90 (Box of 20, $198)
- Release Date: July 2019
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Th wrapper is a great-looking rosado color that I just don’t find on many cigars from the A.J. Fernández factory. It’s not all perfect, there are small veins and a bit of discoloration on two cigars, one cigar seems rolled soft, but overall the appearance is good. Aroma from the wrapper has a bit of barnyard initially before a rich caramel, some birchwood, wet leaves and eucalyptus; some of the barnyard and acidity stick around on the back end. The foot smells sweeter with Cornflakes, hay and some sweet and artificial coffee flavors. There’s a lot more barnyard on the cold draw, joined by some funk, dry cocoa powder, unflavored beef jerky and an artificial orange flavor that reminds me a bit of Tang.
The Espiritu begins with some spice on the tongue followed by orange peel, bread, minerals and super burnt coffee. After a few puffs, it picks up from the mild-medium start. There’s a mixture with a lot of peanuts, creaminess, saltiness and minerals. Quicker puffs produce white pepper, while slower puffs avoid all of the irritation. Retrohales are sharp with minerals and lemongrass before a finish of nuttiness, creaminess, leather and lemon. There’s no pepper lingering on the tongue, but I feel some more of the white pepper sensation down my throat. Flavor is medium-full, body is full and strength is medium.
Much like the opening puffs, the second third of the Trinidad features a number of different bread flavors. At times it’s pizza crust, other times more of a corn tortilla flavor and sometimes just generic bread. In addition, there’s some earthiness and a powdered gravy flavor. Fortunately, the biggest change is the lack of roughness. Retrohales have a deep ketchup flavor along with some minerals while the finish is very easy with some mineral flavors. I wish that more of the savory or sweet flavors broke though, but it’s not to be. Flavor remains medium-full, body is closer to medium-full and strength is medium-plus.
While things were going great in the second third, the final third of the Espiritu gets a bit too sharp. Upfront there’s earthiness, lemon and salt. The latter seems to increase with each puff and eventually my notes on two cigars read, “it’s too salty.” Retrohales have pistachio, generic bread and paprika. The pepper is completely gone unless I push the cigar purposefully to produce the sensation. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium-plus and strength picks up to medium-full. Construction is great on two cigars, tour one sample spends the final third tunneling.
- I suppose technically this is Series No.1, and there could still be follow-ups to it, but it will seem a bit odd given that this was very much Guerra’s project, who is now at Davidoff. For what it’s worth, we were told there were three cigars planned in the series.
- Guerra did a lot to promote this release, including an event and creating a Spotify playlist to play alongside the cigar. I always got the hint there was more planned for in-store events, but that seems to have not come to fruition for one reason or another. There is the aforementioned Fundador, which is only available at events.
- Altadis U.S.A. has really struggled to release cigars on time and the Espiritu seems to have been one of those cases. I got the sense this was supposed to be a spring release, but it ended up becoming an IPCPR Convention & Trade Show release, which led to its being overshadowed.
- I really liked the packaging for this release and would have loved to see this design as one of the humidor offerings from the company.
- Altadis U.S.A. has released a lot of cigars, a lot of them with Fernández. To some degree, I’m not really sure what the point of this is now. There was a time in which Fernández brought a different blending approach and different tobaccos, but now there’s not only enough AJ-made Altadis U.S.A. product but also a plethora of product coming from the factory in general. For those wondering, as far as new lines for 2019 from Altadis U.S.A.: A.J. Fernández was been behind three of them, the same number as the two factories owned by the same company as Altadis U.S.A.
- The star of the show from the partnership is the H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez, which has sold very well since its introduction a few years ago.
- JR Cigar, which has the same parent company as Altadis U.S.A., advertises on halfwheel.
- Final Smoking time was one hour and 45 minutes on average.
- Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Corona Cigar Co., Famous Smoke Shop, JR Cigar and STOGIES World Class Cigars all carry the Trinidad Espiritu Robusto.
This is a good cigar—albeit not a very good cigar—that was plagued by one sample burning poorly for the latter half of the cigar. Flavor-wise, it’s a nice medium-plus profile, but I have no idea where it would fall into the large catalog of Altadis U.S.A. releases. More importantly, if you put it on a table next to all the other Altadis U.S.A. releases from 2019, I’m not sure why you would start with this one. Like the H. Upmann Hispaniola by Jose Mendez, a slightly better cigar, Altadis U.S.A. seemed to fall victim of its own richness in brands in 2019. I’m curious to see what becomes of this series going forward, but that has more to do with the trajectory of Altadis U.S.A. than it does with the first offering of Espiritu.