Bite Size Review: La Sirena Original
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, one aspect of cigar reviews that we treasure is discovering that unheralded, under-the-radar cigar that blows our hair back. REdiscovering a critically acclaimed cigar or former fan favorite that is simply no longer the “flavor of the moment” is equally exhilarating. We’ve seen a fair number that fall into both categories. In 2006, Arielle Ditkowich had a chance meeting with Nestor Miranda. By 2008, they had developed a new cigar, with the help of the Garcia family at My Father Cigars, under the brand, La Sirena (mermaid) and the Nicaraguan puro, La Sirena Original, was released in 2009 during the boutique cigar boom.
The Original became a hit and Cigar Aficionado would later bestow the “A” vitola with a 91 rating. Arielle and Co. then followed this up with the Merlion in 2012, a collaboration with the León family at La Aurora and a third collaboration, this time with Quesada, to produce the largely Dominican blend, Oceano. The bands adorning the Original and Merlion are works of art – exquisite eye candy that suck you in like a sailor entranced by a friendly mermaid (c’mon, you knew it was coming). So, what happened? Customers want what’s new and retailers want what sells – established, known quantities. Many boutiques fall victim to these market dynamics unless they find ways to remain relevant and “stay in front of the microphone.” Hopefully the Little Mermaid can find her way.
Oscuros are a dicey blend and not always executed well. With Miranda and Garcia behind the blending wheel, we’re confident this will be a smooth ride. When you can finally manage to stop gawking at this crazy sexy band, the aesthetics of the seamless, milk chocolate-colored Oscuro skin are droolworthy. Our oily robusto delights with a mélange of fragrant cacao, pan dulce (sweet bread) and citrus aromas. The draw is effortless and there is a nice bit of cacao and dark fruit on the palate.
The initial burst of creamy leather and black pepper was hypnotizing. Smooth and rich, our little mermaid continued with well-balanced intonations of caramel and a long earth and pepper finish. Wavering between savory and lightly sweet, the smooth fusion of honeysuckle and espresso notes combined with a nice spice is dreamy. Bolder, woody profiles prevail in transitions, but well-balanced for the most part with hints of caramel and toffee on retros and draws. Combustion and burn are excellent, but she’s a slow burner, so take your time. Overall, the Original is a great experience and while very tasty, some additional humi time may soften the harsh edges in the last transition. Buy a fiver and share them…and stop ogling the band!. – In Fumo Pax!
Did you Know: Between 2013 and 2015, all 3 lines of La Sirena’s initial line-up include at least one vitola that garnered a rating of 89 or higher from Cigar Aficionado.
- Profile: Med-Full
- Vitola: Prince [Robusto]
- Length / Ring Gauge: 5.0″ x 50
- Purchased: B&M
- Origin: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro
- Binder: Nicaraguan Criollo
- Filler: Nicaraguan Jalapa & Condega
- Cutter: Colibri ‘V’
- Lighter: Colibri Firebird
- Price: $9.83
- Humidor Age: 2 weeks
- Box: 20
- Other Vitolas: Corona [5.5″x42], Belicoso [5.5.x52], Gran Toro [6″x60], Churchill [7″x50], “A” [9.25″x48], Salomon [7.25″x57]
Smoke Time: 1:43
Build: Firm; some veins; some tooth; milk chocolate-colored wrapper; oily; seamless; single cap; holds strong, tight 1″ dingy gray ash
- Wrapper – Lots of rich cacao
- Foot -sweet bread, light citrus
- Cold Draw – Cacao, dark fruit
- Initial: Burst of creamy leather, black pepper; long finish with light pepper and earth; dark fruit and caramel on retro; finish becomes toasty with hints of espresso; honeysuckle essence on draw; becomes woodier with uptick in spice (nose).
- Transition: Woody profile; notes of cedar, espresso and earth on retro; yet more spice on palate; light caramel notes on retro; increase in strength; wood and earth notes on finish; hints of toffee on draw, lighter on retro.
- Transition: (becomes a tad harsh) Profile dominated by cedar; earthy, espresso finish; becomes very savory with notes of cooking spices.
Complexity: Very good
Balance: Very good
Touch ups: N/A
Weaknesses: Final transition is a gemisch of harshness and spice
Recommendation: 2. 5-packer
- Go-to (boxworthy)
- Yard ‘gar
- Smoke a banana instead