Tarazona Cigars has a really cool looking logo and a few blends of cigars, but where did they come from? I have noticed over the past couple of years, lots of new small cigar companies popping up. It seems that everyone who has ever tried blending a cigar is starting up a company. Eddie Tarazona is the founder of one of these smaller cigar companies and for him, it was a life long dream. I recieved three of his cigars from the 2011 IPCPR to sample. Let’s see how he is doing (all the sizes and shapes I smoked were robustos, 5x50 ring gauge).
Who Is Eddie Tarazona?
I could not find much information about Tarazona cigars on their website. In a section labeled “Our Story” you’ll find a picture of Eddie sitting in a chair with his dog Kahn, a Pit Bull he rescued. I rescued a Louisiana Catahula, so I thought that this must be a good guy. What does dog rescue have to do with cigar blending? Nothing, but it does tell you something about ther person behind the cigar. I wanted to know more about this company and the man that runs it so I wrote to them. I asked who is making their cigars, where are they made, how did the owner, Eddie Tarazona, get into the cigar business. Well, I got an email from Eddie, and had the pleasure of interviewing him on the phone.
Eddie is from the Carrol City part of Miami, Florida. When he was 15, his older brother took him down to a place called South Beach Cigars. He met an old Cuban roller there, and after shaking the man's hand and smoking his first hand rolled cigar, he was hooked. Making cigars was his dream. Eddie got a full scholarship to Liberty University in Virginia, and graduated with a degree in Government and Jurisprudence. He worked for a while in 'Corporate America' but was drawn to the cigar business after meeting Roberto and Carlos Mederos, Cuban American brothers who were making cigars in the old Cuban tradition. Cigars became Eddie's life, and discovering what makes a good cigar. He learned blending and rolling from the Mederos family, and with their guidance, started his own line. His ties with the Mederos brothers remains very close.
The Tarazona Blends - Classic, XTC and 305
The Classic is “ … mild to medium bodied … Sumatra wrapped cigar that has a slightly sweet taste … smooth, clean … ” These words are right from Eddie’s website and I admit, I agree with what is written. This is a smooth cigar and the wrapper does have a pleasant natural sweetness. The draw was really tight but the cigar was still smokable. The burn is relatively even. The cigar has a good cap and is very firm. Other than the really tight draw, there is really nothing not to like about it, and it does have the look and feel of a classic well-made premium cigar (wrapper - Sumatran, filler and binder Nicaraguan).
The XTC is “…medium to full-bodied cigar … subtle, spicy … rich toastiness…” Again, right from the Tarazona Cigars website and accurately stated. Eddie knows how to describe cigars. The draw is not as tight as the Classic, but still too much for my liking. It burns very slowly and hold a good ash. The cigar does have some good flavor. (wrapper: - Nicaraguan Sun-Grown Corojo, filler and binder Nicaraguan)
The 305 is “… full-bodied maduro…rich and oily Costa Rican maduro … leathery … wood and spice …bold…” The website’s description perfectly fits, which is not always the case when reading the manufacturer’s comments. I did taste a lot of leather and a rich espresso flavor. I think it was a bold move to put a Costa Rican wrapper on this cigar, however, it works. The wrapper makes this cigar something special. This really is a full-bodied smoke, and the draw on this one is excellent (wrapper - Costa Rican Maduro, filler and binder – Nicaraguan)
The range in price is from $149 to $188 for a box of 25, which is around $6 to $7.50 a stick. Is this a good value? A good cigar is more than great tobacco, good flavors and nice aroma, it is also the heart and soul of the blender. I had to relight all the cigars when they burned down to 2”. However, I had smoked 3" of these 5” cigars for 1 hours and 15 minutes, which is long enough to enjoy the smoke. So, the answer is "Yes" these cigars are a good value. One word of advice – cut the cigar, don’t punch it. Because these are rolled a little tight they will smoke better from a full cut (yes I tried my Shuriken but the device does not work well on a tightly rolled stick).
The blend of these cigars are excellent, delivering good taste and nice aroma. The cigar does suffer from minor construction problems. Lighten up the draw on the Classic and XTC and they will be a 4 1/2 star cigar instead of only 3 1/2. The 305 is a winner and gets a 4 1/2 star rating on its own, which is why I gave the overall rating of 4 stars.
The best part of these cigars are their wrappers, espcially the Indonesian Sumatran wrapper on the Classic. The natural sweetness is a real treat.
Is the Cigar Business Going to the Dogs?
In the case of Tarazona Cigars, the answer is yes. Eddie donates $5 from from every box of cigars he sells to the Humane Society in Miami for animal rescue, more specifically, rescuing pit bulls like his dog Kahn. More and more cigar companies are giving back to the community. I am now on the look out for more philathropic cigar companies and owners like Eddie Tarazona to write about.