Alma Fuerte kicks off with big bursts of flavor on each puff. Spice is often the most noticeable component on a cigar’s first few puffs, but it’s only a minor player here. There are lots of creams and light, milky chocolate notes, as well as heavily sweetened coffee. The draw is a little tighter than anticipated from the pre-light experience (great, but slightly tighter than perfect—would be nice to have a little more smoke as well).
This is due to the cigar heating up more with larger puffs, though the differences aren’t normally so unique. On shorter, smaller puffs, you’ll get smooth flavors of cream, coffee, light mineral, and a long sweetness on the finish. On larger puffs, flavors shift to pine, peppermint, anise, menthol, and white pepper.
Another pleasantry is the freshly cut tobacco against the tongue—giving a bright and citrusy sensation. The construction is good, having a slightly wavy burn but not requiring touchups of any kind. This produces a solid ash, with a dusty texture and light gray shade—holding in two to three-inch chunks. Throughout the cigar’s midsection, any lingering nuances of spice have disappeared, leaving a retrohale that can be fully exhaled without a touch of nostril-tingling zest.
Flavors are centered around mineral qualities, reminiscent of rain, the smell of a wet basement, and other musty nuances. Nearing the band, a slight spice returns, giving a zesty, white pepper that is a welcomed change of pace. The spice balances creamy notes of Nutella, hot cocoa powder, and anise.
The profile is uncharacteristic as well, with full flavor, medium-plus strength, and full body. It’s a smoking experience that can be nubbed as far as you’re willing to take it. Without question—it is a fantastic smoking experience. That being said, it also doesn’t hurt that I was able to procure the cigars at a duty-free shop in a Nicaraguan airport—giving a shockingly large discount of 50%! This has me wondering about the cigar’s final MSRP for the U.S.
The extravagant packaging would appear to be the culprit, even as the Plasencias insist otherwise, telling Cigar Aficionado in October, 2016: It’s not the box, it’s the aged tobacco. I know it’s bold to come out with a cigar in this price range, but I think we need to make a bold statement.
And we have excellent tobacco in our inventories that we have been selecting and putting aside for a long time. Nestor Plasencia, Jr. There’s just no getting around it, you can’t deliver packaging of this quality without it significantly affecting the cost. However, if I’m buying Alma Fuerte at MSRP, I still think it’s good enough for the occasional smoke—maybe five times per year.
Multiple cigars were smoked for this review, both in the Nestor IV size and the uniquely-shaped Sixto II. We originally intended to review the Sixto II due to the hex-press shape, but found the smoking experience much better on the Nestor IV. Not only did the toro deliver a much bigger flavor blast, but a drastically better burn (multiple touchups and re-lights on the Sixto II) and construction—as some of the Sixto cigar’s wrappers split after lighting.
If I were to score the Sixto II, it’d most likely end up around a 90 or 91. Smoke Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes Pairing Recommendation: barrel-aged stout, Mexican Coca-Cola, espresso, bourbon Purchase Recommendation: up to the full box, depending on the dollar amount you can justify Plasencia Alma FuerteThe famed Plasencia family makes it absolutely clear that they intend to be a big player in the realm of ultra-premium cigar offerings, introducing the head-turning Alma Fuerte as their first cigar under the new Plasencia 1865 brand.
The most traditional size is dubbed "Nestor IV," offering a whopping two and a half-hour smoke time through its beefy, 6¼" × 54 toro grande vitola. The cigar's usage of ultra-select and aged tobaccos is noticeable, with HUGE flavor output at first flame. Flavors of sweet coffee, chocolate and marshmallow hot cocoa powder, creamy Nutella, and loads of mineral qualities lead the charge of flavors warranted of the cigar's price.
Also, we can't help but assume the pattern of large ring gauges in the line was used to help justify the steep price. Hopefully we will see a thinner offering in the future, as this blend becomes more and more flavorful as you move from the largest to the thinnest sizes offered thus far.
Vitola: Nestor IV (Toro) 6 (https://scotchcigars.com/index.php/2020/04/12/top-10-cigars-under-10). 25” x 54 ring gauge ~$20 Sample provided by Plasencia Cigars I was visited while I worked at Burns one evening not too long ago. Javier Carranza, the national sales director for Plasencia Cigars, came in to tell us a little about their brand and let me smoke one of their cigars.