Independencia 1898 Robusto: Different and unexpected
I always love to try cigars that are new to me. Yes I have my tried and tested favourites that I can always find room for in my humidor no matter how full it is, but for me, the excitement of cigar smoking lies in finding my next favourite. When I was travelling in Yorkshire recently, I took the opportunity to visit one of the retailers that really set me off on my path of cigar discovery: James Barber Tobacconist in Harrogate.
This family owned and run business first came onto my radar when they were based in the picturesque small market town of Otley. This might seem like an unlikely place to be selling premium cigars, but having been trading since 1867, they must have been doing something right. On my most recent visit, I was greeted enthusiastically by Rosalie, the current owner’s wife, who insisted that I accept a couple of cigars from her home country of the Philippines – the Independencia 1898 Robusto and Petit Corona.
Having smoked cigars from most of the major cigar producing countries, I was surprised to discover that there was such thing as a Filipino cigar. Rolled to commemorate the centenary of Philippine independence, this was reflected in the rather large band that shows both the American and Filipino flags with the 1898 emblazoned across the top. Even though I wasn’t asked to review the cigar, it seemed fitting that I should, given its availability in the UK and my choice for review was the Robusto vitola.
Looking at the cigar, I did notice that there was a couple of rather visible veins in the wrapper, but these didn’t look ugly or ruin the aesthetic of the Independencia 1898 Robusto. There was a slight sponginess at various points along its length, but nothing that felt like a major hole in the construction and my fingers were left with a light oil on them. Aromas of marzipan and toffee drifted enticingly from the beautifully packed foot and once cut, the cold draw was sweet but not saccharine so I proceeded to light up and see what delights awaited me.
The first issue that I noticed was the light was uneven. After a few draws though this evened itself out, but at a couple of points during my time smoking the Independencia 1898 Robusto, the unevenness reappeared and had to be touched up. The second slight negative was the ash was rather crumbly, but I am happy to report neither of these issues took away from my overall enjoyment of the cigar.
My first draws on the Independencia 1898 Robusto filled my mouth with a smooth, creamy and sweet smoke. My tongue was left with a lovely taste of freshly baked onion bread. As this flavour dissipated, it was replaced by notes of warm biscuits. At this point, I assumed that this was ultimately going to be a mild-flavoured, lighter bodied cigar to smoke – but then I got into the middle third!
What had just started as gentle warm biscuits gradually morphed into spicier ginger biscuits with liquorice and roasted jalapeño peppers. The smoke from the Indepenedencia 1898 Robusto retained its sweet creaminess and lingered seductively on my tongue. The cocktail the I had chosen (La Fonte II) with the grapefruit notes from the Aperol, perfectly balanced the growing spiciness and delicious creaminess that remained with me for the rest of the cigar.
When I reached the final third of the Independencia 1898 Robusto I was met with notes of roasted coffee beans with a gentle undercurrent of cocoa. The aromas that filled the room were sweet and enticing. Setting aside the occasionally wonky burn and crumbly ash, I really enjoyed this cigar. It is definitely a cigar that I will be adding to my follow up Budget Cigars articles.
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Independencia 1898 Robusto Cigar Details
Independencia 1898 Robusto Cigar Details Review Summary
Despite an slightly uneven burn I really enjoyed this cigar and think that this is well worth a smoke for its budget price. I will be looking out for it again.
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