Admittedly, walking into a cigar store, whether for the first time or five hundredth, can be an intimidating and overwhelming experience. So many choices and price points, it is sometimes very difficult to decide what you are going to purchase. And it is especially true when you are choosing between brands you may have never tried, going back and forth in your mind as to whether or not you want to use your hard-earned money on an experience you may not enjoy. It is even more difficult when you enter a store that carries its very own house-brands, made by big name manufacturers, often at a price point that is very appealing. The best advice a cigar geek can give is to ask the tobacconist any questions you might have; they are in the business to educate and help people enjoy their cigar experience.
All of the above led to today's review, the Purofino Vida del Fuego, a Cigar King house blend made at the Raices-Cubanas factory and blended by the experts at Alec Bradley. As I am a fan of smaller ring gauge cigars I chose this cigar in a corona vitola. Also of note is that this will be my first cigar of the day so my palette will be as open as possible, with no previous cigars weighing in.
Pre-light this cigar has a wonderful sweetness both on the lips and the dry-draw. Notes of raisin and a sweet hay come to the forefront and excite my palette before the cigar has even had flame touched to it. The cigar has a beautiful wrapper, with no soft spots, hard spots, or visible veins. Dark and oily with some slight tooth make this a very pretty cigar. Time to light this beauty up.
I used a single flame torch lighter on this particular smoke and it lit up quickly and effortlessly. Right off the bat the sweet raisin flavor I was experiencing on the dry-draw comes out in the smoke. There is a slight spice through the nose, but not a peppery spice, more of a sweet spice that I would liken to nutmeg. The cigar has a wonderful aroma, full and sweet, with a nice white smoke. This early in the smoke I would say it is about a medium body.
Once into the cigar about an inch, the body has stepped up into the high medium, low full range. A nice earthy taste has come into play at this point and the sweetness has stepped down. The spice is still in full effect, especially through the nose, though it is more apparent on the tongue than it was at the start.
At the halfway point the burn starts to get a bit crooked. Nothing too major, just a small difference from one side to the other. The sweetness has started to creep back up and the spice is just as full as ever. This is now a full bodied cigar as well, having built its way up slowly to this point.
Entering the final 1/3 the burn has corrected itself as I had hoped it would. No major tunneling or canoeing on me so we are in good shape. This cigar is finishing much like it started. A nice raisin sweetness on the tongue with a sweet spice through the nose. Definitely finishes stronger than it started though.
Final Thoughts: Overall this was a great cigar. It was a roller coaster of flavors, maneuvering between a sweetness and a nice earthy flavor and back again. The spice complemented the cigar very well and was never a distraction from the flavor. It seems that now-a-days some manufacturers are using spicier and spicier tobacco that, in my opinion, take away from the overall experience because they overwhelm you with spice. I would highly recommend this cigar to the smoker who enjoys a full body, high complexity cigar. This isn't a stick that a novice should jump right into but should definitely be on everyone's to-try list.
Don't just take my word for it though. Try it for yourself. The Purofino Vida del Fuego is available at CigarKing.com.