Patoro VA Salamone
Posted on March 15 2022
Smoking Time: 127 Minutes
Cigars Smoked: 3
Patrik Jonas Martin founded Patoro Cigar in 2001, after working at Davidoff for 13 years as a product manager. Martin partnered with 6th generation tobacco farmer Agusto Reyes in the Dominican Republic to grow their plants. The VA, or Very Aged, is Patoro’s most sought-after line, composed of their finest tobacco. Each leaf in this cigar is aged between 9-12 years making it extremely complex.
Visual Inspection: Patoro’s VA comes in large boxes of 30, packed with loose tobacco. I would be interested to know what kind of leaf they use because it has to have some influence on the taste. Anyway, the wrapper is very rustic, veins are extremely visible, however, the color is very similar to the wrapper so they don't appear off-putting. There are ample amounts of oil present on the wrapper, little clusters of tooth, and a rose-golden hue to it. After a squeeze, no soft spots were revealed.
With a sniff of the foot, I am surprised at how mild the aroma is, hints of cherry, and barnyard are there, but take some searching to find. If the tobacco is aged 9 - 12 years, the aromas would start to be more muted, explaining the lack of aroma. Now the cold draw, that's a different story. Immediately I was hit with notes of peach, bran flakes, and vanilla, all of which are surprisingly sweet.
First Third: The cigar is a salamone, which tends to be harder to light, not in this case. VA lit up very nicely and brought an unrestricted draw. While the sweetness from the cold draw has not translated, the VA brings notes of arugula, almonds, and anise. A retrohale brings a touch of black pepper to the nose. I am enjoying how medium it started, good flavors, but not overwhelming.
A crack in the wrapper has occurred, perpendicular to the cigar, it might be an inch long, but it hasn't affected the draw, and hopefully won't as I approach it. Notes of cream are showing up on the back of my tongue, and the arugula notes are fading quickly. The ash is stacking nicely and varies from white to grey in color. Cinnamon has joined the profile, and overtaken the rest. Now predominantly cinnamon, cream, almond are upfront, with anise and arugula lingering on the finish.
Second Third: As I progress, flavors deepen, while the body stays perfectly medium. The crack has not gotten any worse, which is promising. Ash is getting lighter in color and is holding very well. It’s no surprise this cigar comes from a former Davidoff employee, it truly resembles a Winston Churchill or Millenium. Cream and cinnamon are still in charge but have made way for new notes of granny smith apples, and rye bread. Peach has come back, with anise and arugula lingering. Another retrohale brings wood, black pepper, and Brazilian nuts into the profile.
Now I am about half an inch away from the crack, it hasn't gotten worse or exploded. The burn line is doing very well as well. Especially for a salomone, which tends to burn a bit off due to the change in ring gauge at the start.
Last Third: The body has started to grow along with notes of red pepper, cinnamon, and Brazilian nuts. While the flavors are getting stronger, the body is now leaning towards medium + which suits this cigar very well. As I hit the crack the burn line has dipped a touch and split a tiny bit more, but it appears to not be growing. While there is certainly a key set of tasting notes, there is a lot of complexity that keeps developing.
I am happy to report that after burning through the crack, nothing changed, it didn't affect the burn line, more than a slight dip, and it didn't further compromise the seemingly delicate wrapper leaf. Oil is starting to accumulate around the burn line, which actually started to drip onto the rest of my ashtray. Ash is still very firm and white in color. The flavors have stayed very similar this entire third, main notes are the same, with peach lingering and almond more prevalent at the start of a draw.
Final Thoughts: The thing about cigars is you can get an amazing $8 cigar, as you can get an amazing $30 cigar. And sometimes it's the complete opposite. I tend to go into a cigar review, avoiding the thought of price point, because It shouldn't define the cigar itself. Does this cigar taste and perform like a $30 stick? I know I like it more than most Davidoff core line cigars, which says something to its worth. I feel that this cigar truly is worth what it costs, now would I buy a box? If money wasn't an object, I absolutely would. The VA comes in a 30 count box, so it is a bit pricey, but these cigars would truly age well.