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JFR Corojo Robusto

jfr-robusto-625p.jpg

I’m a sucker for a pigtail cap and an unfinished foot. There’s just something about the rustic, right off the roller’s table look that stands out when I’m scanning shelves in a walk-in. It didn’t hurt that I’d read modestly favorable reviews of the JFR (Just for Retailers) courtesy of Cigarfan at Keepers of The Flame and Jesse at CigarJack. So I had no reservations at all about snagging one of these corojo robustos.

Though I didn’t verify the dimensions, it appears to be 5.5″ x 50. Aside from the novel foot and cap, it’s ordinary in appearance. It has a light sheen, nut brown hue and a couple prominent veins. Though it’s difficult to nail down info about these, it seems these are Nicaraguan puros made by Tabacalera Tropical in Danli, Honduras. Cigarfan has more on their provenance, including this blend’s rumored connection to Don Pepin Garcia.

To start, it’s not difficult to believe that Don Pepin had a hand in creating the JFR. It has a familiar leathery core with pepper and nutmeg on the finish. After a few minutes, however, I also note a thin grassiness indicating youth. It’s not enough to spoil the occasion, but I can see why Jesse suggests resting these for a couple of months.

At the one-third mark it remains predominantly leathery, but with increasing dashes of earth. Unfortunately, I’m also running into a construction hitch. The burn is straight, but the bunch now has a ‘donut hole’ that’s resulting in a hot draw.

Meanwhile, it’s getting stronger and a little more complex with the addition of nuts, but the texture is getting dryer by the second. I’m forced to hit my Brazilian coffee with increasing frequency.

The tunneling issue resolves itself by the final third, but now the flavor develops some bitterness. I keep at it for another half inch, but the pieces just aren’t coming together for the JFR. It has its merits up to a point, but it is marred by a series of problems — grassiness, dicey build and finally the premature onset of bitter char.

CONCLUSION: In a nutshell, not very good. The JFR’s flavor components were there, but its overall performance was held back by its apparent youth and sub-par build. I appreciate where Tropical was going with this — a Pepinesque, med-full budget smoke — but they came up short in the execution. Even at the reasonable $4.00 price tag, I can’t see myself reaching for another.

SCORE: 83

4 comments

1 cigarfan { 11.13.08 at 9:44 pm }

I’ve heard from various quarters that this cigar has gone downhill, but I have yet to smoke a bad one. I picked up a few JFCs to compare them to the JFR (review forthcoming) and both have been outstanding for sub-premium priced smokes– no construction issues, no grassiness. I trust your judgment though. Maybe you got a bad one, or maybe this line is destined for discontinuation.

2 Kevin { 11.14.08 at 9:01 am }

As much as anything, I think the one I smoked just needed time. No single issue with it was disqualifying, but the sum of the small issues made it disappointing.

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