Once again the Okanagan Pipe and Cigar Club settled down to a meeting and chat in Kelowna. So I delved into my humidor for an ideal cigar for the occasion. I knew that I would have more time to smoke the stick than would be typical for me when I sit down to a cigar, so it made sense to take a larger size; and since it was the middle of the day I thought one of my lighter blends made more sense than a darker one. So I selected the first of my five-pack sampler of Perdomo cigars;the Fresco Sun-Grown Toro.
Says Cigars International:
Hold the elaborate packaging and expensive marketing ploys, and pile on some handmade goodness from Perdomo. The Perdomo Fresco is a handsome no-nonsense handmade from Nicaragua teeming with top-notch tobaccos. Fresco comes chock full of aged Nicaraguan long-fillers from the fertile valley of Esteli secured by a Jalapa binder, and nestled beneath hand-selected natural or maduro wrappers. A smooth and well-balanced blend, Fresco cigars deliver renowned Perdomo quality at everyday prices.
Well, I know Erin got a good deal on them because he told me so (though not what they cost us). I liked the look of it the minute I removed the wrapper. What a jaunty, cheerful label! Quite unlike the current fashion which seems to be to try to imply antique Victorian brocade or 1930s Mafioso ultra-modernist aesthetics, the Fresco has chosen to represent itself with a pithy, colourful and yet simple label design. I like it very much because it is original. According to Cigar Aficionado it would suit the brazen personality of the company founder, Nick Perdomo Jr., very well. It smelled of cedar and possibly a dash of nutmeg and its attractive Natural wrapper was smooth and almost seamless.
I punched the double-cap without difficulty and the pre-light draw promised more of that pleasant cedarwood. Having brought my cedar spills to share with the club, I fired one up and lit my first Perdomo easily despite the cold wind blowing over Tad’s porch.
The first few draws offered sweet sun-grown tobacco, a golden honey overtone, and yes, again that cedar taste. This was the first non-aromatic I had tried since my failed experiments with the last Olivas and I found it to be a delightful, uncomplicated smoke! It is clear to me that Perdomo isn’t worried about bells and whistles; they’re just trying to grow quality tobaccos to blend into quality cigars.
Since that sun-grown wrapper is one of the selling points of the cigar, I suppose I should explain what that means. Most tobaccos are grown in shade or partial shade in order to preserve the oils; or at least, that’s where the parts that make up the cigar come from, especially the wrapper. Sun grown tobaccos are specifically grown under direct sunlight. This deliberately bleaches the leaves for that lighter shade, but it also brings out a fuller-bodied flavour because it brings the oils to the surface of the leaf and concentrates them a little bit more through evaporation. The same process also evaporates some of the harsher, more acrid oils of the plant and results in a smoother smoke.
So I puffed away merrily on this smooth, easy to smoke stogie, chattering with the club, and before I knew it I was halfway through the cigar and 45 minutes had passed! So much for an extended cigar; it was just too easy to smoke because it was so smooth! Though I admit that by this time I had started to notice other things, like the faint oils on my lips and again, a hint – just the barest hint, mind you – of nutmeg or possibly cinnamon. This point is where I usually begin to discern “second third bitterness” but there was none. None at all. I peeled off the large label at this point and just kept going.
Before I knew it, the Fresco was smoldering down to a stub and it was nearly an hour later. So that’s a total smoke time of about an hour and forty minutes. It went out at just the spot I’d have considered stubbing it. I didn’t realize until I decided to find the ladies’ room that it was strong enough (or I had smoked it quickly enough) to make me just a little dizzy! So a stronger body than the flavours might suggest, which is often what you’ll find with a good light-wrappered cigar. And have I mentioned anything at all about re-lighting, or a crooked light, or anything like that? Exactly.
This, in my opinion, is an ideal smoke, especially for such a social occasion. It’s simple and uncomplicated and doesn’t go in for a lot of fanfare. it just delivers a consistently enjoyable, smooth-flavoured smoke that was so unpretentious that I hardly noticed I was smoking it; and yet I enjoyed it thoroughly and it got my wheels (and my mouth) moving. There’s a big difference between this effect, which was perfect for an afternoon social gathering, and making something so unassuming that it lapses into insipid. Nick Perdomo knows the subtleties of that difference, and if you were to sample the Fresco, I am sure you would know it right away also.
In this lady’s perspective:
I will definitely smoke it again and I look forward to what the rest of the sampler will bring! You can get the Perdomo Fresco (but do yourself a favour and demand sun-grown wrappers, it just completes the smoke) at Cigars International for $77.99 USD for a 25 pack or at Thompson Cigar for $61.99 USD for the same..