Bite Size Review: Micallef Grande Bold Mata Fina
The comedian, George Carlin, once opined that Americans have too many choices. Personally, I don’t think that’s a bad thing, and see it as more of a perk thanks to a largely free market and the resulting competition. I would agree that having too many choices can be annoying such as when a single manufacturer produces numerous versions of a particular product. Computers are a good example where computer makers pander to potential buyers with every conceivable combination thereby inundating the market with products differentiated by only minute variations.
In my opinion, this phenomenon seems to apply increasingly to cigars. Lines, sub-lines, extensions, exclusives, contract and catalog blends, commemoratives, collaborations ad nauseum have gotten to the point that in some cases the choices are so overwhelming, with sometimes little differentiation, that it intimidates existing customers who get lost and stay with what they know and new customers who don’t know where to begin and move on. This points to a bigger issue in that portfolios are becoming so large and confusing that it not only contributes to an already bloated market but this business strategy dilutes a company’s offerings thereby negatively impacting sales.
Al Micallef, Texas rancher and entrepreneur, knows a thing or two about business. After launching and growing multiple successful non-cigar related ventures, Micallef tested the water of making cigars after a serendipitous encounter with two 3rd generation Gomez Sanchez Cuban cigar makers. This meeting would lead Micallef to kick off his Micallef Cigars venture in 2017. Now sporting 2 lines – Legacy and Grande Bold – and over 15 cigars, Micallef Cigars has gained in popularity and earned it’s share of acclaim.
One of the newest members to the Micallef Cigar ranch is the Grande Bold Mata Fina. With binder and filler hailing from Nicaragua, you’ve probably figured out by now the wrapper is Brazilian. From its rich marbled, bourbon-hued exterior to the aromatic hints of charred wood and chocolate soufflé, our oily Toro oozes flavor. The roll is seamless and seems sturdy, but not hard. The triple cap is a bit messy, but the lush draw is open with a layer of chocolate pudding on the palate.
Upon lighting, it’s immediately apparent there’s layers of complexity. Swirling around a toasty core are savory bits of leather and black pepper balanced with a coat of vanilla and pie crust notes. The long finish smacks of baked bread with a charred wood overlay. A wonderful twist of Carmel corn and just the right amount of spice is added to the silky smooth texture. The draw is semisweet and a plummy backdrop joins the profile. Transitions demarcate increases in body and intensity, but a nice level of complexity continues around woody profiles and rich, savory finishes.
Combustion is spot on from start to finish and our Mata Fina is an excellent smoke producer; however, the cigar struggles to hold anything close to a 1” ash and it often tumbles if lightly jostled. While the flavor palette is reminiscent of other cigars employing Mata Fina leaf, it’s not as prominent allowing the Nicaraguan tobaccos to contribute more to the complex profiles. There are other cigars that produce a superior Mata Fina experience, but Micallef’s effort in blend, value and performance is certainly worth keeping around. – In Fumo Pax!
Did you Know: The Grande Bold Mata Fina 650MF (Toro) was given a rating of 92 by Cigar and Spirits Magazine.
- Profile: Med-Full
- Vitola: 650MF [Toro]
- Length / Ring Gauge: 6.0″ x 50
- Purchased: Online
- Origin: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Blade: Xikar Xi1
- Fire: Colibri Firebird
- Price: $8.55
- Humidor Age: 6.5 mo.
- Box: 20
- Other Vitolas: 446MF [Corona 4″x46], 556MF [5″x56], 654MF [Torpedo 6″x54], 660MF [Gordo 6″x60]
N O T E S
Smoke Time: 1:44
Construction: Oily; messy triple cap; Bourbon coloring; seamless; lightly veiny; sturdy with good give; struggles to hold 1″ ash; excellent smoke production.
- Wrapper – Barnyard, charred wood
- Foot – Chocolate soufflé
- Cold Draw – Chocolate pudding
- Initial: Complexity layered around a toasty core; black pepper, vanilla, pie crust and leather notes; finish of baked bread with charred wood overlay; notes of Carmel corn on retro; light spice; semisweet draw; plum notes added late.
- Transition: Cedar core; uptick in body and spice; notes of leather, chocolate and plum; hints of anise; prominent rich, woody finish with layer of espresso; hints of oats on retro;
- Transition: Lush woody profile; hints of leather especially on finish; intensifies; some residual plumminess; rich oats and wood mix on retro; long finish of dark coffee and toast.
Touch ups: N/A
- 5 packer
- Yard ‘gar
- NR [No Recommendation]