Cigar: CLE Prieto Toro
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Since the SYAP (Shut Your Ash Up) team has been busy, I decided to burn some time with an unadulterated, no-holds barred review of the #17 cigar of the year, the C.L.E Prieto Toro. While the robusto is technically the vitola that got the rating from Cigar Aficionado, I wanted a longer smoke…so sue me.
Now, to preface this, I am eating pizza and drinking coke. The traditional lazy man’s delivery dinner when all other options are exhausted. I say this only because when I looked down at my cigar…the paper wrapping is stained with pizza grease. Just sayin’….now on with the show!!!

   The look of the cigar is a little “done up” with a nice tissue wrapper around half the cigar screaming into your eye-balls….”PRIETO!” and a nice traditional “CLE” band near the head of the cigar. Tear that off and I get a nice eye full of an almost seamless wrapper tobacco. No thick stemmy lines and no external issues. It’s clean and dark like a hershey’s bar right out the pack in it’s soft box pressed form.

   Let’s get down to the real meat and taters’! First whiff of the Prieto isn’t overpowering as you may expect by the look of it. Smelling the foot brings out some cedar box notes and maybe a hint of white pepper….but smells good out the wrapper. Again, construction seems flawless with a nice triple cap that is well done. Kudos to the rollers on this one.
I’m going to start this off with a double-blade cut and torch the shit out of it! Get one fo your own and follow with me!

   First Third: Those extremely subtle notes of pepper I smelled on the foot come right out of the gate on the first light. To quote the movie “Anchor Man”, “It stings the nostrils”. The peppery-ness dosen’t last for long. I’m about half an inch down from first light and they are barely noticeable. This stogie starts to get very creamy with a little dry cocao taste coming through along with some woodsy-ness. The strength of the cigar so far seems fairly mild. The strength of the flavor, I would grade around medium. So far so good through the first third of the smoke. The only thing that’s note worthy is the oak flavor notes start to get a little more intense and if you will brave a retro-hale, the pepper makes a comeback but not all that much. Then as I come down to the end of this third, everything seems to go a little flat. The Oak flavors take over and it kind of washes everything out. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but it’s a thing….on to the 2nd third!

   Second Third: The ash is strong with this one. The ash is holding very well as I near my first half-hour of smoke time. I’m starting to get a little pepper kick again and it really grabs my attention. Keeps me interested in what to expect as I delve deeper into this rabbit hole. I have a VERY even burn going into the half and I’m not displeased. I think the Coke I’m drinking may be affecting things but “go on do what you like, I think it’s obvious I also like to write” (name that tune!). I’m beginning to get a little cedar sweetness reminiscent of that pre-light smell from the foot. The aroma starts to meld well with that oak flavor I was getting before. Even burn so far, good aroma, good flavor. I’m through with this section when the ash became sentient and jumped off my cigar. I blew out on the cigar to clear any residual smoke followed by a nice big puff and boy does it taste cleaner now….ON TO THE FINALE!

   Third Third: I’m retro-haling more and more and with that comes more and more pepper. It’s not off-putting. It’s actually very pleasant. It’s like eating a light chocolate cream after a steak dinner. Suffice to say I would be upset if Bruce Lee Nunchaku’d this stogie out of my mouth at this point in time. The Oak flavors are coming through stronger and I’m getting a little more strength from the stogie. I would happily recommend a splashy, light scotch to pair with this one. I’m finishing this review up to the band and I have been at it for a total of 1 Hour and 10 Minutes.

Final Thoughts: After smoking this cigar, I haven’t had a single draw issue the entire way. The flavors have been very consistent and the construction is excellent. The pepper goes in and out and the wood flavors are more noticeable than most however it does not dominate the entire flavor profile of the cigar. On a scale of My Little Pony to Orlando Bloom’s acting career, I would rate this cigar 14 Jason Robnett Beards!