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Cigar Review: Diesel Cigars Vintage Robusto Gordo

October 12, 2023 By Kevin Acuff

Diesel Cigars – Diesel Vintage Series Robusto Review

There seems to be an emerging trend in the cigar world that is becoming more prominent as time goes on. That trend is to offer an elevated smoking experience at an affordable price using well-aged tobacco. Let’s face the facts. There are many smokers out there who do not have the disposable income to go out and purchase a forty-to-fifty-dollar luxury cigar. While this new-style cigar is not intended to offer the same level of experience, they are blended to give smokers a taste of what vintage tobacco truly is. 

Justin Andrews said, “With Vintage Series, we’ve responded to feedback from our valued retailers across the country who told us they wanted to give their customers the true experience of vintage tobacco in a well-crafted, premium smoke. The catch was that it had to be at just the right price point. I’m proud to say that AJ Fernandez and I have delivered a cigar that fires on all cylinders: quality, construction, complexity, and price.”

The latest offering from Diesel Cigars features a Mexican San Andreas Négro wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder from Estelí, and a blend of Nicaraguan Jalapa filler tobaccos ranging in age from five to eight years. Having had the opportunity to experience some other brands offering in this line, I am very eager to dive into this latest release and experience these fine, aged tobaccos.

Under the lid

The thought put into the blend of this cigar is apparent upon seeing the outside of the box. Adjacent to the gold Diesel logo on the woodgrain lid is a vertical band containing the logo, a brief backstory of the company’s origins, and a brief description of how this blend came to be.  Upon opening the box, we find two trays containing ten cigars, with a burlap-style ribbon to lift them from their pockets. The cigars are rugged, with great eye appeal. They have a reddish-brown oily wrapper, a light amount of tooth, and almost undetectable seams. Quite a few raised veins are running throughout the wrapper, and two of the three samples I smoked had stems protruding from the wrapper. It will be interesting to see if burn is affected by this nuance.

Forged Cigars states, “Developed in collaboration between AJ Fernandez and STG’s Justin Andrews, Diesel Vintage Series is a powerhouse Nicaraguan-forward smoke with deeply-aged filler tobaccos.”

The prelight aroma from the foot is dark and earthy, with natural tobacco, barnyard, raisin, and dark chocolate, while the cigar’s body is simply barnyard. The prelight draw, which has just the right amount of resistance, highlights notes of damp earth, black cherries, and pepper with a slightly floral finish.

Let’s put some fire to it and see what this cigar has to offer.

  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andreas Négro
  • Binder: Estelí Nicaragua
  • Filler: Jalapa Nicaragua, aged between five and eight years
  • Vitola Reviewed: 5 X 56 Robusto Gordo $7.79 (Box of 20 $155.80)
  • Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez de Nicaragua, SA
  • Release Date: July 2023
  • Number of cigars released: Regular Production

Performance Notes

First third: Getting things burning, the cigar starts with a little black pepper spice and dark chocolate. Just a few puffs in, and the chocolate note transitions to more of a brownie batter, with an overall creamy sweetness. There are also cinnamon and charred oak notes with a slight hint of floral on the finish. The retrohale has a cabinet spice theme with white pepper and cardamom leading the way, with the charred oak note on the finish. Overall, the cigar is spicy, with a hint of sweetness, providing a smooth and balanced start to the smoking experience. Strength is solidly in the medium to full range, as is the body and complexity.  The burn line is thin and crisp, while the draw is spot on. I noticed a high volume of smoke output and a very tight, dense ash on all samples smoked for this review.

Second third: The cigar continues to develop in the middle section and seems to mellow slightly in intensity. There is quite a bit going on with the flavor notes, with salted caramel and cashews joining into the already flavorful notes at the start of the cigar. The cabinet spice of the retrohale remains, but it is now beginning to pick up a red pepper flake spice to it that leaves quite a tingle in the sinuses. The burn goes slightly wonky just past halfway and needs a slight touchup. Draw continues to perform well through the middle section of the cigar. Strength remains medium-full, while body and complexity step into the full range.

Final third: Getting into the final part of the cigar, the sweetness and creaminess that have been present all along fade, and the cigar gains a tartness to the profile. The notes present here are bitter cherry, dark espresso, baker’s chocolate, damp cedar, and leather. The pepper notes on the retrohale have also increased in intensity, with fresh ground black pepper, barnyard, and rye bread pushing past the cabinet notes detected earlier. The cigar burned well through the end with no additional maintenance, and the draw performed admirably all the way through. Strength finished at medium-full, with body and complexity clearly in the full range.

Core flavors throughout the smoking experience were chocolate, cabinet spice, charred oak, and red pepper flakes.

  • Strength: Medium-Full
  • Body:Full
  • Complexity:Full

Smokin Experience: Without question, what Justin Andrews set out to do with this cigar was accomplished. I am still left scratching my head about how a company can release a cigar that performs as well, if not better than several popular cigars two to two and half times its price point, but that is accomplished here. The aged tobacco used here shines through, positively impacting the smoking experience. This cigar has a sub $8 MSRP, making it a strong candidate as an everyday cigar. While a little strong for less experienced smokers, it would still be a good foundation for them to learn stronger, fuller-bodied cigars without breaking the bank if the cigar must be abandoned due to strength tolerance. These are a box buy for sure. While I have yet to try any other size than the Toro, I am confident there should be a similar smoking experience across the board.

Purchase Recommendation: Box buy or multiple five packs in different sizes

Smokin Facts:

  • Forged Cigar Company was created in 2021 by the Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG).
  • Justin Andrews leads the Diesel brand and is the New Business Development Manager for STG.
  • Diesel Cigars was founded in 2009.

Additional Vitolas available

  • 4.5 x 60 Gigante Nub $8.79 (Box of 20 $175.80)
  • 6 x 52 Toro $7.99 (Box of 20 $159.80)
  • 7.75 X 49 Double Corona $8.79 (Box of 20 $175.80)
  • 6 X 46 Rabito $9.29 (Box of 10 $92.90)

Smokin Wrap

Number of cigars smoked: Four

Average smoking time: 1:33


Kevin Acuff – Senior Reviewer & Editor

Kevin Acuff was born and raised in Northeast Ohio. Growing up in a rural area, he was able to indulge in some very exciting life experiences at a young age. He acquired his private pilot license before he had a driver’s license, spent several years on the competitive bass fishing tournament trail, and even spent a couple of seasons racing motorcycles. In 2001, he relocated to Las Vegas, spending the better part of the past 20 years working in the sign industry. It was one of those industry trips, back in 2014 that changed his life for good. His boss handed him a Siglo V and an instantaneous bond was formed.

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