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Whole Leaf Tobacco

Dominican Negrito Wrapper

deluxestogie

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#1




I purchased a bundle of 20 JR Dominican Alternative Overruns from the JR Daily Dutch Auction for $24.00. My interest was because of its wrapper, said to be Dominican Negrito. I've never seen or tasted the variety, though I was aware that it is difficult to successfully grow, difficult to cure, difficult to work with, and troublesome for blending. On the plus side, it was the wrapper used in a niche, limited run cigar called The King is Dead, that sells for $7-10 per stick.

These cigar were stated to be a 4.5" x 50 robusto, with an EMS wrapper. Their photo showed a nice, fat, dark EMS cigar.

On the cigars' arrival, I saw that they were clearly labeled as 5.5" x 43 (a small corona), and the wrapper was a grayish claro in color. (The color is difficult to capture in my flash photos.) The detail description has no mention of scrap filler, so it is presumed to be long filler. On actually measuring the small panatella-looking cigar, it is 5.5" x 40. So, the size in the listing was not what was on the packaging, and the measurements on the packaging were not those of the cigars.

The unlit taste of the wrapper reveals a mild bitterness that remained detectable throughout the smoking of the entire cigar. Otherwise, the flavors and aromas while smoking were subdued, with little character. The draw was notably tight, but still smokable. Burn was decent.

I decided to see what was inside this misleadingly marketed cigar. I misted one, then unwrapped it. What was surprising was that about half of the filler, inside the binder, completely surrounded the remaining half of the filler. To me, that is a dead givaway of a "sandwich" cigar--one in which partial scrap filler is used. And indeed, the "inside" filler consisted of partial-length leaf sections. Also of note was the utter dryness of the filler--far drier than you would expect for cigars stored in the world's largest humidor.



To test whether the supposed Dominican Negrito wrapper was the source of bitterness, I reassembled the cigar filler within its own binder, and covered it with my own wrapper. And yes, the resurrected cigar lacks that bitterness.

I "posted" a review of the cigar, an absolutely objective one, but it apparently didn't meet the JR standards, since it has yet to be displayed. (This is the third review of mine over the past year that was not displayed.)

Conclusions:
  1. The length, ring size, shape and wrapper color are fraudulently stated by JR.
  2. The ring size is fraudulently stated on the packaging by the manufacturer in the DR.
  3. The photo in the JR listing is not of these cigars.
  4. The lack of any statement regarding scrap filler can not be assumed to mean a long filler cigar.
  5. The bound bunched filler likely is very old.
  6. The filler is extraordinarily dry, perhaps intentionally so, since it was so tight a draw even with the very dry filler.
  7. Dominican Negrito wrapper (if that's what it is) sucks.
  8. JR is reluctant to display honest reviews.
I'm not aware of anywhere that you can purchase seed for Dominican Negrito, although it is held by GRIN (PI 377895, TI 1580): https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/accessiondetail.aspx?id=1283082. It is a chest-high plant with long, pointed leaves 18" x 8".



Regardless, I would not be enthusiastic about growing it or purchasing any cigar using it. GRIN classifies it as cigar filler, but I would say, based on its taste and plant characteristics, that it would be better described as a primitive. There is a good reason why you don't see it in any but oddball cigars.

Bob
 
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#2
You need to leave just enough mystery so the readers of your reviews who have a tendency to do so, are still capable of convincing themselves to try the cigar even though, deep down, their subconscious, or their holy spirit, the Tao, or Ralph W. Emerson is turning in their graves (yes, in their soul), moaning, "Nooo! Don't do it."

You're too exact. Certainty is an illusion, Bob.

Edit: but great review Bob. They should be sending you free samples of cigars that could possibly/actually pass your thorough scrutiny.
 
Last edited:

deluxestogie

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#3
Aw, shucks. I guess you could tell that my review was straight from my spleen.

You seem to be suggesting that JR doesn't know that they are foisting mislabeled and misrepresented products on their customers. They know. (I've informed them. Others have informed them.) Their bet is that it won't matter, and that they can still make money. Not only was the specific cigar that I've critiqued on auction at an unusually low starting price (red flag number one), the JR retail site lists it as being offered at a "special" price (red flag number two). They know those cigars are crummy, and that they are dumping them under false pretenses. And they are not overruns. They are unsold, ancient inventory with the ID removed.

Their warehouse probably sorts out giant bins of aging, unpopular, unsold Alternatives that they group as big cigars or little cigars, regardless of wrapper color or exact dimensions or even strength. They peel off the specific Alternative labels. Then they apply some legitimate cigar-like title to the tens of thousands of random bundles in a particular bin, and call them "Overruns". Rather than a "Spring Cleaning" kind of process, it's more like cleaning your late Grandpa's house of cobwebs that date to the Great Depression.

Lew Rothman, the founder of JR Cigars, who would have happily taken your last dime, was nonetheless an honest merchant. He would probably have (and may have) gone through the same warehouse clearing process, but would have been candid about what he was selling.

"This is old inventory, maybe 10 maybe 20 years old, guys. Most of these are okay smokes, but some are crummy. We can't afford to sort through them all, and list exact sizes and colors. If they were great cigars, they wouldn't still be here. Hey! What do you expect for $24 these days?"

The difference is in the attitude of the business. Rothman regarded his customers as intelligent consumers who may be willing to gamble on iffy cigars.
The new JR, instead, considers its customers as chumps. As suckers.

Contacting them is like being able to speak only with the most junior waitress, when you are unhappy with a restaurant meal. There is no longer an identifiable manager or chef. The new JR has lost its personal connection.

Confession: At a mere $24 per bundle of 20, I ordered two bundles! $55 (with shipping) down the tube.

Bob the Disappointed
 
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#4
Oh, I didn't think there was any naievity on their part. I was just suggesting that if your reviews were in code, so knowledgeable folks could read the truth between the lines, while people who are going to buy them anyways, (because negrito sounds exotic), might still buy them, the odds of them publishing your reviews would be increased.

I think they might make nice Christmas tree decorations.
 
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#5
Normally if these big site bundles don't have long filler listed in the description they usually contain either mixed or short filler.
 
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#6
Viaje uses this wrapper on a couple cigars. The few sticks I've had with this wrap in my opinion weren't that good. The Caldwell was probably the best but with their inconsistent construction I won't spend a dime on his cigars.
 
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