Background: La Flor Dominicana 1994
Today’s review is for the La Flor Dominicana 1994 “Rumba.” The cigar was introduced at IPCPR 2014, in celebration of the Gomez family’s 20 years in the cigar industry. The 1994 has a Mexican San Andres wrapper over Dominican binder and fillers. As detailed in a news item last July, a limited maduro version of the cigar has been introduced in collectible steins. The standard 1994 is available in 4 sizes, a 58 x 6 “Aldaba”, a 52 x 6.5 “Rumba”, a 52 x 5 “Conga”, and a 54 x 7 “Mambo”. While the maduro version is limited in nature, this non-maduro version of the same will remain a part of regular production. Retail for the Rumba is about $7.40 in the Tampa market, where I purchased all cigars in preparation for today’s review. We will also be featuring this cigar as our Cigar of the Week on Half Ashed Episode 106, scheduled for March 6, 2015.
As mentioned above, the standard La Flor Dominicana 1994 I’m smoking today is not presented as a maduro, although it is as dark in color as many cigars that are. It has a very toothy wrapper that gives it a bit of a hazy appearance, but the background color is definitely in the darker spectrum of medium brown. The tooth also gives it an almost “sandy” feel at times. It has modest veins and visible but not prominent seams. The pack density has varied widely on the examples I have smoked. Of the dozen or so I’ve had, I have encountered draw issues on a few. None have been plugged or unsmokeable, but some (today’s included) have been very tight and required some effort to manage and keep stably lit. The prelight draw provides some initial berry sweetness and perhaps a bit of an earthy bent at finish. The aroma is more akin to sweet oats or even worn leather.
The initial puffs from the La Flor Dominicana 1994 come through as bready and sweet. There is a modest amount of spice, which is only felt upon retrohale. This spice is tempered by the fact that I don’t really feel it on the soft palate as one might normally expect. It’s almost an afterthought at the tail end of retrohale. During this first third I have typically gotten some sweet citrus, although the flavor is quite sedate on today’s example. The burn has been generally well mannered on the 1994 – especially in the early portions of the cigar – although some have wandered at times. This is despite the issues I have had with the draw on some.
Going into the midsection of the LFD 1994, I typically begin to notice that the earlier spice has entirely faded into the background and only comes through on the occasional puff. I personally retrohale the majority of draws, and probably tend to notice this more than most. This portion of the cigar is characterized by an intensifying sweetness, reminiscent of the berry flavor pre-light. I won’t say that it is prominent, but recognizable. The bready flavor continues to play the protagonist, with the sweetness as support.
In the final stretch of the cigar, the spice returns a bit and can now be felt on the soft palate. I have also noticed a tendency to develop a slightly tannic finish. The spice increase is a noticeable uptick, but none of those I’ve had were overpowering. I’d put the 1994’s strength firmly into the medium range. It probably brings a little less body than I typically expect from La Flor Dominicana as well. I don’t get the palate-drenching body that I would normally associate with the brand. The flavors are bold at times, but overall subdued. I’m comfortable keeping a few of these around in the humidor but don’t foresee filling a coolidor with them. With the first couple I smoked, I was quite enamored; after having a few with tighter-than-optimal draws I’m less so. Still, it is a solid blend that can be enjoyed by most any smoker at any particular time. I’d definitely recommend giving them a try. I think there’s plenty to enjoy, and with its “sweetspot” pricing it’s a winner.