||Like we said in this month's letter, as we continue to expand, we're able to get more creative with our tasting lineup. The first cigar (#86) this month was the Fratello Navetta. Well... so is this one: The Fratello Navetta Inverso. It uses the same tobaccos as the Navetta, only turned inside out! Where the Navetta had an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, a Dominican viso binder, and Nicaraguan Jalapa fillers, the Navetta Inverso has an inverted version of this blend. This is evidenced by a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper, an Ecuadorian binder, and Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers. Of the Inverso, Fratello owner Omar de Frias, said, "I know the making of it all sounds a little complicated, but from conception to finished product, it only took about three months. It’s actually the easiest thing I’ve ever done. All I did was inverse everything—and then voila! Plus, we’re using 70 percent ligero on this. It’s insane!” Both of these cigars are considered 'celebratory' cigars both in theme and price point. This was a really nice smoke, with prominent dark chocolate and nutty flavors, and smoking blind allows it to be smoked fairly for what it is: a really well made, tasty cigar. However, creating a cigar like this begs comparison, and when comparing to the original Navetta - one of our favorite cigars of the year - it doesn't quite live up. The flavors while good are not quite as rich or complex, not quite as balanced. But beyond that, as far as we can tell, the cigar smokes great as its own entity. It's only when comparing to it's older, more handsome sibling does it fall a bit short. Overall though it was a fascinating experiment on the art of blending and how much the different components of a cigar can really change the experience.
|Review: Cigar Dojo
||The Fratello Navetta Inverso is a well-made cigar with a really interesting take on blending and cigar making. The concept of taking what was a successful blend and flipping it around, or inverting it, to make something familiar, yet somehow totally different, really interested me. The branding is sleek and the cigar is just plain fun to smoke. It had some inconsistencies from cigar to cigar, but at its height, it was a flavorful experience that developed nicely throughout.
||To borrow from Omar de Frias' quote, it is amazing how much shuffling the blend of a cigar can change things, whether it be one leaf or the entire layout of tobaccos, even if using the same components of another cigar. While I maintain that original Navetta is one of Fratello's best blends—if not the best to date—the Navetta Inverso doesn't reach the same levels at its predecessor. Even with impeccable construction and technical performance, the depth of the cigar's flavor profile never fully materialized itself. Whereas the original Navetta built and developed from start to finish, the progression of the Inverso was much more constrained, with pepper doing much of the work and even then, it felt like it wasn't getting the pairing it deserved. I'm still planning on doing a side-by-side comparison at some point to see just how the two line up, but in this race, my money remains on the original.