Nothing is more frustrating than a top-notch cigar that doesn’t get the credit it deserves, while various sub-par sticks seem to be all the rage. That said, Don Lino Africa bugs the hell out of me. Everything about this cigar I like. Now, I know I am me and you are you, but if you were me you’d enjoy this cigar....and if I were you I’d try it and likely enjoy it, too. Clear as mud? Good, let’s get on with the Duma.
First impression: This gets me all the time. The dark Nicaraguan wrapper is awesome to look at. Grown from Havana-seed, this smooth, oily leaf sports a reddish hue that instantly grabs your attention. It’s thick and chewy, and can take a beating. The pre-light aroma is equally enjoyable....woody, spicy....even some barnyard is at play. The cigar is solid from head to toe and heavy in the hand. It’s very well made.
The smoke: Upon lighting, I am instantly greeted with thick plumes of smoke that fill my palate. The aroma is loaded with charcoal and wood. There are some very subtle spices up front. Shortly thereafter, these faint spices fade away as the cigar becomes rich and chewy. It’s almost bready in character, offering equally prominent hints of sweet tobacco, coffee bean, and cedar. The spice might not be smacking the palate like it did in the beginning, but exhale through the nose and you’ll find it’s still there.
Second half: Midway through, I begin to feel the strength of this cigar. By this time, I’d call it medium, but flirting with the softer side of full-bodied. The spice is coming back, too....a dash of pepper is coating the sides of my palate and tip of my tongue. There’s a lot of tasty nuances going on....which is to be expected considering the complex long-filler blend (African, Dominican, Honduran, Nicaraguan). Despite being a bit flaky, the ash is still holding strong since the initial light. It’s bright white with some black striations. Some of our customers at the store mention a note of vanilla. I don’t catch that, but I do pick up a creamy element to the smoke that folks might find reminiscent of vanilla. To me, the cigar seems too hearty to contain anything vanilla.
The finish: Spicy and cedary. That’s all there is to it. A strong finish for a complex cigar that seemed to burn forever.
In a world where 92+ ratings seem to reign supreme these days, Don Lino Africa has been rated as high as 89, with enough 88s to field a basketball team. That’s pretty damn respectable if you ask me. What is it? The name? The band? The lack of 95-point ratings? Argh!