Cigar Review: La Conquista by Gran Habano

  • Conquista_straightVitola: Robusto
  • 5” x 52 ring gauge
  • MSRP ~$8.00
  • Samples provided by Gran Habano

Background

Almost two years ago I took a look at a “pre-release” version of La Conquista by Gran Habano. At the time the pricing was “to be determined” and the packaging was anything but finished. And who knows…the blend may have been changed between then and now, as well. The blend appears to be very similar, if not the same, using Columbian, Costa Rican and Nicaraguan fillers, a Nicaraguan binder and a Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper.

La Conquista is available in three sizes. I had the Gran Robusto (6 x 54) previously. This time when asked about getting review samples, I was careful to say that I preferred smaller ring gauge cigars and I got the 5 x 52 Robusto to review.

In my previous look at this blend, I concluded that “La Conquista is probably the best cigar I’ve had from Gran Habano…pleasant and flavorful, although not the most complex cigar….” Time to see how a couple of years of regular production and a different vitola work for this cigar. Gran Habano sent me two samples for review…this review is based on my second one.

Prelight

The boxes for these have a fairly plain black outside with some gold writing and artwork on the outside of the lid. The inside of the lid is much more ornate, featuring the same artwork as the band, that of a conquistador group in the new world. It’s hard to tell exactly what they are doing, but they are apparently accompanied by a friar with a church banner topped with a cross. Curiously, below the artwork on the band is a copy of the face and headdress used on the Black Dahlia band. It’s so small, I didn’t really see it until I zoomed in on the artwork with my phone camera to try to see better what the groups of conquerors was up to. The bottom portion of the cigar is wrapped in a cedar sheath that has a small strip of gold ribbon at the foot. The cedar has the logo type repeated on it in black.

Conquista_cedarAfter taking the cedar sheath off, I could see that the wrapper was a peanut butter color with a light oily sheen visible in the light and more noticeable under my fingertips. The wrapper smelled of cedar, natural tobacco and a slight earthiness. The foot of the cigar had a mix of wood, hay and bell pepper.

Once cut, the cold draw was excellent and had flavors of wood and light earth, along with an almost orange citrus note.

Flavor

I got the La Conquista fired up with a minimal amount of fuss and started immediately to get flavors of sweet citrus and red pepper. Minor notes of cedar, earth and tea followed. The retrohale had notes of tea, cedar and pepper. As I burned through the first third, I got a continual and interesting mix of citrus, cedar and pepper primarily. 

The second third continued much in the same vein, with cedar flavors coming to a greater prominence on the palate and retrohale, though pepper and sweet citrus flavors still played a substantial supporting role.

The last third of La Conquista had a resurgence of citrus in both sweetness and tartness. Cedar and pepper played in the background, never going away.

Construction

I had excellent construction on this cigar: great draw, very even burn line and solid ash for over half an inch.

Conquista_bandValue

The price point on this blend is right in the middle of the “sweet spot” and the blend is quite enjoyable, making for excellent value.

Conclusions

In the end, smoking La Conquista again in the “final released” format confirmed what I had thought of the pre-release version: this is my favorite Gran Habano release…and it’s not the most complex cigar on the market. The flavor profile didn’t have major transitions or new notes coming in; it mostly had cedar, citrus and pepper notes that dominated the smoke at different times. But it was very, very enjoyable. The Nicaraguan-heavy blend has a lot going for it all the time, but I think this is one of the best uses of Costa Rican and Colombian leaf that I’ve ever had. La Conquista was medium-bodied and pleasing to my palate from beginning to end, all through nearly an hour and a half.

Gran Habano is an advertiser on Leaf Enthusiast and did supply the cigars for this review. That did not influence the outcome of this review.

By-The-Numbers

Prelight: 2/2
Construction: 2/2
Flavor: 4.5/5
Value: 1/1
Total: 9.5/10

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

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