Leaf by Oscar “Maduro” by Oscar Valladares
The Leaf by Oscar line of cigars is made up of four different blends: Connecticut, Sumatra, Corojo, and Maduro. It was originally thought of by “Island” Jim Robinson, who owns a cigar and coffee shop called Leaf and Bean in Pittsburg, PA. Mr. Robinson had reached out to a good friend of his about the idea of this cigar. This was Oscar Valladares, who owns a cigar factory in Danli, Honduras called Oscar Valladares Tobacco and Company. Together, they collaborated to create these fine blends with the help of Esteban Disla (Nica Sueno factory) and Noel Rojas (Guayacan Cigars and Hermosa Cigars.)
Like many cigars, this cigar comes wrapped. One of the really unique aspects of the Leaf by Oscar series is the material the cigar is wrapped in. It’s not the traditional cellophane wrapper. It is wrapped inside of a raw tobacco leaf like a cocoon. During my research, I had come upon a story as to how this idea had come to be. “Island” Jim was touring the Oscar Valladares factory and was searching for something to put his cigar in for the trip home. He couldn’t find anything so he snatched up a stray tobacco leaf and wrapped his cigar in it. When he got back home to Pennsylvania he unwrapped it to find that the cigar had been preserved and the oils in the cigar had been brought out by the tobacco leaf wrapper making it a much better cigar. However, I was not able to espy any verification to this tale. It sounds good though! Another great aspect about the cigar line is that the bands on the cigars are made of completely organic material. They are literally a part of the tobacco plant’s leaf and stem. The band could be smoked, but would probably affect the taste of the cigar. I chose not to smoke the band for this review.
This cigar was blended using a Nicaraguan Jalapa wrapper with a Honduran binder and Honduran filler tobaccos.
The Leaf by Oscar cigar line comes in only one size: the 6 x 50 Toro.
The look of the Leaf by Oscar Maduro while still in its sheathe is not exactly what I would call a pretty sight. It’s very veiny. It reminds me of going off-road on my 4-wheeler when I brush my fingers across it. Both ends are wrapped and folded into the cigar. It smells of sweet honey. The organic band announces the cigar as a Leaf by Oscar Maduro in a light tan color with black outlining. Unravel and remove the protective outer tobacco leaf and the cigar shines with the tobacco oils that have been held prisoner inside of that outer layer of leaf. There is a similar secondary band announcing the cigar as Leaf by Oscar on the cigar itself. It is a chocolatey brown color which smells of honey and floral notes. It appears to have very minimal veins with tight seams. It feels smooth to the touch and not dry. The cap was straight cut and done with ease with no loose tobacco falling. The tobacco is packed tightly in the cigar. The cold draw is of hay, sweet honey, and light floral notes.
Upon the toasting ceremony and lighting of the foot there are some notes of honey, barnyard hay, and coffee. It starts off as a medium-bodied smoke. The draw is a little tight, but do-able. The ash is growing as a nice silvery gray hue. The burn line is slightly jagged, but an even burn for most of the circumference. About 10 minutes in I’m getting a very slight spiciness coming from the stick. The flavor profile hasn’t changed other than that. The oils can still be seen on the surface of the cigar’s Maduro wrapper leaf. As the first third draws to a close, there are notes of mocha coming into the profile with the honey, coffee, and still very slight spice remaining. The barnyard hay has subsided. This initial third was a 15 minute burn time.
That silvery gray ash is still holding on strong at the beginning of the second third. The flavor profile is mostly the same as in the closing of the beginning part of the cigar. There are some slight floral tastes coming into the game now. The ash finally dropped just inside of the second period of the smoke. The slight spiciness has left us with the honey, coffee, mocha, and slight floral notes to remain. The burn line has become a little uneven at the halfway mark of the stick. The mocha flavor is becoming the leader in the profile with coffee and slight floral coming in behind it. The honey is a background player. The burn line appears to be evening itself out some while the second ash is looking strong about halfway through this second piece of the smoke. The ash fell nearly at the end of this second third. Also towards the end of the second piece of this stick, the honey and slight floral tangs have disappeared from the profile leaving the mocha and coffee flavors battling for the lead. Although still a little jagged, the burn line has evened itself out by now. The second portion of the cigar had a 30 minute burn time.
The flavors going into the final third are the mocha and coffee. The mocha is in the forefront of the cigar. The smoke has moved from a medium to a full-bodied smoke with a full flavor profile. The silvery gray ash is holding on during this last part of the stick. There is a slight spiciness and floral flavoring on my lips. The coffee has been replaced with a savory chocolate taste about halfway through this final period. The ash grounded itself at this same point in the smoke. The burn line is an even burn now. Closing in on the final puffs of the cigar the flavors are still a strong mocha flavor with chocolate coming in second close behind it. When I put the cigar down it was a full-bodied smoke with strong mocha and chocolate flavors with mocha taking the lead. The burn time was 25 minutes for this final third.
This cigar had great and flawless construction to it. There were no required touch-ups needed to be made to the cigar. This was a very enjoyable smoke with lots of flavors in the profile. There were notes of barnyard hay, honey, coffee, slight spiciness, slight floral, mocha, and chocolate. It began as a medium-bodied stick with a few flavors and turned into a full-bodied and full-flavored smoke as it progressed. I would highly recommend giving this very unique cigar an opportunity to grace your palate as well as your eyes. If you are a fan of full-bodied cigars than you won’t go wrong with the Leaf by Oscar Maduro cigar. Till next time, my friends.