Flor de Gonzalez Gold Series Robusto
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I knew little of this brand until about a year ago, when I came across a stellar review in Cigar Envy’s report on US-made brands. Shortly thereafter, JR Cigars put the line on special and I was compelled to give the Flor de Gonzalez Gold Series a try.
Flor de Gonzalez is perhaps best known for their Nicaraguan “Green Label” sandwich smoke. But the Gold Series shouldn’t be confused with its budget sibling.
This was the original blend manufactured under the FdG marque by Cuban-emigree Arnaldo Gonzalez in 1993. The company fared well during the boom, with production handled in-house at Gonzalez’ Hialeah, Florida factory. But FdG struggled to stay afloat when the bubble burst. Production was shifted to Nicaragua in order to minimize costs, with one noteworthy exception – the flagship Gold Series. The FdG Gold is still made exclusively in Florida, crafted in small quantities under the supervision of Arnaldo’s daughter, Yadi.
The family’s meticulous stewardship over the brand’s glamour line is apparent. Weighty in the hand and nearly flawless to the eye, it’s hard not to be impressed by the 5.5″ x 50 FdG Gold Robusto. The ECCT wrapper is uniform in color with only the thinnest of veins. The cap is flat, and each is tightly packed with Dominican and Nicaraguan filler. The consistency is remarkable. There is not an “off” stick in the box. Clones.
It starts as you would expect a shade-wrapped smoke would, with a mild tobacco character and a soft finish. It picks up notes of toast and toffee in the first half. The finish lengthens, becoming more caramelized. But it never strays far from its tobacco core during the course of its slow, even burn.
Hints of earth and spice creep in on the second half, but there are no daring twists in the plot line here. The body is mild for the first half, peaking at medium toward the finish. You will get your money’s worth, however, as smoking time comes in at one hour.
This blend doesn’t break any new ground. It is, however, among the best renditions of an old staple — an easygoing, flavorful shade smoke.
CONCLUSION: Though fuller bodied smokes better suit my palate, I reach for these regularly in the morning. The flavors won’t “wow” you, but these are world class in terms of appearance, construction and value ($73.95/box 25). Next time you’re looking for something to pair up with morning coffee, the US-built Flor de Gonzalez Gold Series merits a good look.