Standard & Twain Cigars: #77 , #2 Content The first puffs of the Bellas Artes Maduro Robusto add a bit of pepper and earth to the chocolate cupcake flavor, but the latter is still dominant amongst the trio. It’s not long before the black pepper and earth begin to jostle the chocolate for lead flavor, winning the two-on-one battle by the time the burn line is at the one-inch mark but not completely pushing it completely off stage, at least for a bit. After that first clump of ash drops, the two sides seem to find balance, with the earth and pepper scaling back just a touch and some of the richer chocolate notes allowed to develop. It has shifted into a darker chocolate note as well, with just a touch more of a cacao note but hardly bitter, though still flirts with a warmed chocolate syrup flavor. Retrohales deliver plenty of black pepper that quickly tip the scales, potent but not overpowering in their impact ... The flavor gets a bit more robust in the final inch, finishing a bit rough but still very enjoyable thanks to a bit of grape sweetness coming into the equation. The cigar is still producing plentiful amounts of smoke and burning with an even burn line and smooth draw after just about two hours of smoking time.
Standard & Twain Cigars: #75 , #2 Content Would I smoke this cigar again? Without a doubt, yes. This is a box-purchase smoke, maybe even multiples. There is no question in my mind, this is Espinosa’s best cigar to date. The packaging is fresh, bright, and invigorating. The construction was solid, I love when a cigar has that solid exterior feel without being overly packed with tobacco, making for the perfect draw. I only needed one relight throughout, though this could improve with age. The strength on this cigar is sneaky and somewhat surprising; yes I should’ve expected that with an Espinosa cigar, but the delicate look and feel distracted me. I recommend smoking this while sitting down… I also really enjoyed the seemingly endless flavors to be discovered, which I’m sure I missed a few. At one point near the end, I could’ve described a sweetness that reminded me of Cinnamon Toast Crunch milk (you know what I’m talking about). And that’s what makes a cigar like this so fun, going back for more, to try and understand its full experience.