It was a challenge to choose a cigar to review this month because the IPCPR (International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers) trade show was in August. This is significant because the IPCPR is where many manufacturers and brands release their new cigars for the year. Because of the new FDA laws restricting a manufacturer’s ability to succeed financially with a new blend, the new releases this year were somewhat lackluster. Still, there were quite a few newbies that made out like cream.
Introducing the Oscar by… well… Oscar. One might remember Oscar Valladares’ rise to fame with Island Jim’s Leaf and Bean line. A very thankful and humble man, Oscar has a refreshing origin. Oscar Valladares was originally Rocky Patel’s personal driver. One day, he made the decision to start his own factory with Island Jim as his first customer. What was supposed to be merely a house blend grew into a colossal success. Through just Jim’s shop alone, they sold their first 5,000 cigars in a month! When other retailers got wind of The Leaf and Bean, they decided to buy it wholesale and the brand took off. When it came to marketing the Leaf, Oscar was hesitant about using his own name. Island Jim insisted that he put Oscar’s name on the band and Oscar eventually agreed. Fast forward a few years and you have a man with more than just a name. Oscar has a signature.
Just like The Leaf and Bean cigars, the Oscar cigar has unique packaging. The foot of this cigar sits in a vibrant green candela leaf and its band is a beautiful teal color. There is no other cigar on the market that looks anything like it.
As much as this cigar is reminiscent of The Leaf and Bean, don’t be fooled. The Oscar has its own very distinct taste that is nothing like what he has previously blended. When smoking it, the Oscar starts out with bitter notes of oil and leather. On the retrohale, it has some rich spice to it. The cigar has an earth and mineral taste that you get with tobacco grown in more volcanic regions. About halfway through, the cigar begins to taste more like dark chocolate with hints of citrus. It’s a very smooth, well-constructed cigar that leaves a beautiful cake-layered ash.
The cigar is good. It is not just different from Oscar’s previous blends, its flavor profile stands out from most other cigars.
Be safe, have fun, and enjoy your smoke!