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Staff Reviews for Flor del Todo

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Flor del Todo

Rolando Reyes, Sr. is tireless. The man is over 80 years old, widely acknowledged as the best blender alive, and he still works like a horse day in and day out. Actually, it's probably more like night in, night out: his work habits are legendary - he sleeps during the day, wakes up late in the afternoon, and then stays up the entire night sorting cigars until rollers arrive the next morning. He inspects every cigar rolled in his factory. Yes, every single cigar. Amazing. Most people think that's some made up myth....but it ain't. My last trip to Honduras in July, I popped in on his factory late in the afternoon thinking he'd be up. Unfortunately he was asleep in his house, which sits about a pitching-wedge away from the front door of the factory. They woke him - damn, I felt bad about that - and we sat down at his kitchen table. On the table were 3 things - a pile of unbanded cigars, a bottle of rum, and a giant box of Twinkies. Twinkies! Forget that Atkins diet or South Beach crap - the "Rolando diet" is my kind of regimen. Rolando is an old school, no-nonsense guy who isn't really into bells and whistles. Which is probably why you don't see any glitzy packaging, slick marketing, or tons of publicity on his flagship Puros Indios or Cuba Aliados brands. But to me, "no pretense" is exactly what Flor del Todo is about, so while it's certainly not his finest blend it's a tidy personification of the man himself.

So on to the cigar: at first glance, Flor del Todo is certainly not winning any beauty contests. It is however one of Keith's top five knockaround cigars...cigars I burn when I'm putzing around the yard, on long car rides, playing golf, stuff like that. The Churchill is a meaty 7.25"x53 vitola packed to the brim with fillers. It feels like there's 2 cigars worth of tobaccos in here; in fact it takes a solid hour+ to burn it down to my knuckles. The draw is not effortless - not that it's a tough draw - but there's a little bit of resistance to it which I especially like in a knockaround cigar like this. The wrapper is a thick, double-fermented Ecuadorian leaf with a sort of marbelized appearance and rustic, chewy texture to it. The body is medium, the flavor smooth, slightly creamy, a little gritty on the tongue with a nutty character and pleasant aroma. The finish is very clean and crisp.

I give this one extra credit in the ratings category because of the enormous value - each stick costs around a buck each and that my friend, is unbeatable.

Flor del Todo

This cigar has been around forever, literally as long as my cigar memory serves me. And I can remember the first time I picked up this, um, beauty in about '98, it was a grimy, dry looking blah that tasted just like it looked. I'm not sure who schnookered me into smoking it, but I called it like it smoked and went on referring to it as "flor del doo-doo". Ya know what I mean, like doggie-doo-doo. Yuck. Then, sometime over the last 2 years, someone actually went out there and revived this beast, oh wait, stand by.....yup, that was us, Cigars International. Not sure what we were thinking at the time, because you really had to pick this one out of the trash heap. But, the reincarnation turned out to be right up my alley.

It took me awhile to actually reach in a light one up, but let me mention the price - less than $1 per stick. OK, twist my arm, it's worth trying for a buck. This latest product is made by Rolando Reyes' Puros Indios factory in Honduras of Brazilian, Dominican, and Nicaraguan filler and a dark Ecuadorian wrapper. Funny since it's made in Honduras, there's no leaves from Honduras. It says "mixed fillers". Hmm, perhaps I should be skeptical but I'm not going to pass judgement until I smoke it.

A quick snip and we're off. It's a little bumpy around the edges, but the wrapper itself is quite smooth. The clipped head doesn't reveal any mixed fillers, and after lighting up and drawing on it a few strokes, it doesn't leave any annoying leaf bits caught up in my teeth. In fact, I didn't get one. The first draw is quite pleasant, mild and creamy, no bite, no spices, just smooth. Hmm, a head-scratcher already. After just a few draws, it really opens up. Look out if anyone is standing behind you because they're going to get blasted with smoke. Just ask my buddy Ranger who happened to be down-wind on my deck when we first tried these. It's funny that he seems to be around every time I'm trying cheapie cigars. He doesn't seem to mind, and even after the last few years that we've been smoking together, I doubt he'd know the difference anyway. OK, back to the job at hand.

So far, a very nice surprise. Let me try to explain the flavor. No aftertaste, none, nada, don't look for one. My tonsils tell me it's mild to medium bodied, a bit up there on the strength scale, just enough to give you a little rush. Pleasant and very creamy with the slightest hint of beer-nuts on the wrapper (oh, never mind, I just threw back some Planters.) Just like those Miller Lite commercials (have you seen the ones in the fountain? wow!) this tastes great and lends itself to the perfect non-intrusive any-time smoke. The first half is incredibly consistent. Ranger won the smoke-ring contest, damn cigarette smokers make it look easy. The smoke is so plentiful that it was hovering in this tree overhead, pretty neat. The ash holds firm and solid for nearly an inch before flaking off. No signs of mixed fill whatsoever, so far I think that's a misprint, or the factory goofed.

The second half spices up a bit and it starts burning a little warmer. The finish is a little sharper and dryer as the cigar continues to fire out an awesome burn. There are a few spots that get a little soft and mushy, it's loosely packed and if you like chewing on your cigars, you'll probably take a bite right out of it. Yet the construction is superb, holds together well and clearly doesn't wear the mixed-filler label. This one's for real.

At about 45 minutes per cigar, not bad for the Toro size, we smoked a couple more that night. I expected a burnt, cottony, choked up throat the next morning. Nope, not a bit. We smoked each one down to about 2 inches, then it got a bit hot and tossed them. Heck, for a buck, it'd be worth smoking down half way, you get your money's worth after just a few draws.

You'll be shocked, believe me, I'm floored by how good this cigar is. Since that weekend on my deck 4 weeks ago, I've nearly finished the second bundle and am going to pick up a few more. It's a I-could-really-use-a-cigar-right-now cigar. This originally struck me as a mindless, riding-the-tractor, cigar. But, it turned out better. If you do decide to mow the lawn with it, you'll find yourself taking a couple of extra laps just to light up another and enjoy a few more strokes on this one. It's not the prettiest cigar, one you'll probably not hand out at the Christmas Ball, but overall it's a nice everyday cigar.

This sure ain't the Flor del Doo-Doo of old. It's the highest quality cheapie I've smoked in a long time. Light'm up fellas.