Review: La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Robusto Limitado TAA Edition
The Mi Amor Robusto Limitado is rolled for Ashton at My Father Cigars S.A. in Estelí, Nicaragua, the second La Aroma de Cuba line to get the Pepín treatment after the Edicíon Especial in 2009. The binder and filler are grown by the Garcías, while the wrapper is a Cuban seed that comes from the San Andrés Valley outside of Veracruz, Mexico.
At the March 2011 meeting of the Tobacconist Association of America, a variety of cigars were available for purchase exclusively by TAA retailers, a happening that has become increasingly common over the past few years. The most recent list included:
- Ashton VSG Robusto Especial
- Jaime García Reserva Especial TAA
- La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Robusto Limitado
- Oliva Serie V No.4*
- Padrón TAA
- Romeo y Julieta Exclusivo Para TAA by José Seijas
- Tatuaje TAA 2011
*The Oliva Serie V No.4 was offered in a variety of forms before its formal release at the IPCPR 2011
Incidentally, the last TAA meeting was March 25–29, 2012 in Los Cabos, Mexico. Dates and location for the 2013 meeting have yet to be announced.
For those unfamiliar with the TAA, here’s how the organization describes itself:
Our Mission Statement: To provide an open forum of ideas, strategies, and problem solving between retail tobacconist and vendors to the trade.
Our Organization’s Objectives: TAA exists to achieve three primary objectives:
- To establish a forum where members can exchange information and share solutions to mutual problems.
- To be represented by experienced tobacconists who promote professionalism in the industry through training and exercising fiscal responsibility. The representatives are full-line tobacco retailers who wholeheartedly comply with applicable state and local laws, are well established in the industry and the community.
- To function as a buying group that takes advantage of industry close outs and passes huge savings to members, and exclusively provides high-quality cigars and pipes manufactured by TAA associate members and under TAA-owned trademarks.
TAA retail members can buy directly from associate members (manufacturers and suppliers) at special offered prices. The support and cooperation of all members is what makes TAA so valuable. Taking advantage of networking opportunities benefits all members. Sharing knowledge and experience is mutually satisfying, and buying from associate members strengthens purchasing lines. All members are encouraged to attend the annual convention, which is not only educational but enjoyable.
If you think that a Robusto seems like an odd vitola for a special release, you’re not alone. The rest of the La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor is fairly standard offering:
Churchill – 7 x 50
Magnifico – 6 x 52
Valentino – 5 3/4 x 58
Belicoso – 5 1/2 x 54
Duque – 5 1/4 x 56
The Duque was the latest addition to that list, being announced in mid-April. You’ll notice that the line has yet to offer a vitola under 50 ring gauge, making it the only one of the three La Aroma de Cuba lines to omit a sub-50 ring gauge shape.
And here’s a picture of the box of the Robusto Limitado TAA Edition:
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s light this stick up.
- Cigar Reviewed: La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Robusto Limitado TAA Edition
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 5 1/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Petit Robusto
- MSRP: $7.50 (Boxes of 10, $75.55)
- Date Released: May 2011
- Number of Cigars Released: 800 Boxes of 10 Cigars (8,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 5
A complex earthy note with soil, chocolate, barnyard and a bit of wood all fighting for attention mark the pre-light aroma with notes of meat and coffee grounds hanging around as well. This aroma jumped off the third cigar reviewed as soon as it was pulled out of the wrapper, the only one of the four cigars to do this. It was also much spicier than the other three cigars smoked. Cold draw is easy and a bit lighter than the pre-light aroma would have suggested, with a note of tangy wood leading the way followed by some coffee, chocolate cake and chocolate sauce tagging along but with no real spice to be found. The Mi Amor’s wrapper is fairly veiny – though they are small veins and don’t detract from the appearance, but rather add a bit of rustic beauty to the cigar. There’s a fair amount of give to it and the cold draw shows how the air moves through the cigar without resistance.
Earthy notes that have become synonymous with the Mi Amor lead off the first third with some clay and chalk standing out – a great way to taste the terroir of the tobacco. There’s a bit of pepper on the retrohale, but it’s not overwhelming. A dry, spicy tingle that just sits on the tongue throughout the first third, backed by a woody, nutty taste that is very enjoyable.
Flavors bounce around a bit in terms of intensity in the second third of the La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor, but remain rooted in an earthy core. It’s safe to say that if you didn’t like the first third of the cigar, you’re not likely to find many changes later on that will have you singing its praises. The flavor adds a bit of chewy sweetness towards the midway point, though it plays backup to the core flavors that have been developing since the first puff. The Mi Amor has performed flawlessly to this point, with a sharp burn line, strong white ash and consistent smoke output.
Consistency of flavor dominates the final third though the smoke dries out a bit thanks to a more pronounced chalk note, though there are a few puffs that are tough to palate due to a overwhelming combination of spice, heat and some bitterness. Nuttiness enters the equation as well – a particular note of peanut butter on toast stands out before it’s time to let the cigar burn out.
- At times I struggle when thinking about how to describe the flavor and strength of the Mi Amor – it’s definitely a cigar with a lot of big, bold flavors, though I don’t think of it as being as strong as a La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero or 601 La Bomba. I realize this isn’t a flavor for everyone, but it sure is a flavor for me.
- Robert Levin, head of Ashton/Holt’s, said there were around 800 boxes.
- Outside of the box, the La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Robusto has no distinguishing marks to indicate it’s a limited release. I’ve grumbled at times about how low-profile the TAA has been, as they could have a much more visible presence in the cigar industry.
- That being said, the Tatuaje TAA released in September 2011 did feature the TAA logo and ’2011′ on the Tatuaje Exclusive band. The Padrón TAA sticks had a mention on the box, but nothing on the cigar.
- Unfortunately, tragedy struck Ashton and the rest of the cigar world at the 2012 TAA convention, Manny Ferrero, SVP of Sales for Ashton, passed away at the age of 63.
- This is the first cigar from Ashton that has used a Mexican wrapper. With such a good result, I’m puzzled as to why they waited so long to finally do it, but I’m glad they released such a great one on their first try.
- Final smoking time averaged about one hour and 20 minutes.
The Bottom Line: After the first cigar, I was pretty convinced that the La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Robusto Limitado would earn a no-brainer 88 or 89, though each subsequent cigar gave me reasons to both add and subtract points. Having been fortunate enough to smoke a few of these over the course of a few weeks, it crossed my palate in numerous situations and with a variety of accompaniments. Every time something new seemed to pop out, each solidifying it as one of my favorite Mexican wrapper leaf cigars. While the Belicoso seems to concentrate the flavors on the palate just a bit better, there’s nothing to be mad at in this more compact vitola, and I see a few more ending up in my humidor before they’re sold out.
Final Score: 89