Leccia Luchador El Gringo

Today Punch and Draw tag-team a Luchador El Gringo from Sam Luccia. Will they stay in the ring, or do they end up with their tonsils pinned?Leccia El Gringo Frog Splat cigar

Punch: This Luchador El Gringo is the Frog Splash vitola (4.5 x 70). This should not be confused with the Leccia Luchador which was released prior to the Leccia company being acquired by General Cigar in September, 2014. This El Gringo has a lighter wrapper, hence the name “gringo”, I’m sure. The only component common between this and it’s earlier, darker cousin is Pennsylvanian ligero.

Draw: Unveiling the cigar offers an aroma of clover hay, with a hint of cilantro and some slight elephant pen.The wrapper has an almost waxen smoothness. Mine sports a single noticeable vein, with tight box press obliterating all traces of seams except the cap. The bundle of dense filler viewed at the foot suggests a cut-away of a Milky Way dark, no …a carob nutrition bar …something tasty. The Luchador El Gringo is an expectedly very-stiff stick, however one of my three sticks seemed less rigid; more natural. Still stiff, but not steel. I tried to toast the wrapper on one of them, but instead caused the wrapper to boil and burst like a frog’s skin on electrolysis.

Punch: A figure-eight double punch gives this a WIDE OPEN draw. This giant box pressed object is a challenge to get a good seal with which to suck the smoke. Up to ½” in it is a medium intensity of classic tobacco flavor, with a faint classic Double Bubble bubble gum fruitiness – which I guess is a cherry fruit flavor – with mild black pepper, and that is more in the nose than on the palate.

D: Large-punch figure-eight gives a radically loose draw with notes of coarse-ground black pepper, and more cilantro (spicy sweet chlorophyll). On one of the three, I also detected smokey barbeque. On two of the three, I had cap issues as a result of the punching. Initial flavor is cooked fresh spinach, with vinegar …some collard greens. Yes, this is soul food for the cigar smoker. A lot of black pepper. It’s good, but it’s a strong flavor; I don’t know how much of this I can enjoy.

P: Wait… Yes, cilantro. It took til ½-inch for the flavor to develop… and now it is suddenly a flavor bomb. Along with the cilantro there is a vegetal component adding some nice complexity – and a tad of cardamom and pepper on the finish. There is also the presence of some chemical component much like one I didn’t like in the original Luchador. The intensity is approaching full. One of my three samples smoked for this review had a fast burning side at this point (or three lazy sides; you decide). Micro-pulls are intensely sweet in a sucralose way.

D: Yes, nice tag on the cardamom! This flavor has been consistent, if building more depth, all the way. I’m almost to the middle, and I’ve nothing to add but “YES” …okay, there’s more starch in this now, starchy leather. Still spinach, and the black pepper has faded a bit. Full of flavor with a hint of harsh: kind of an edge. I agree with Punch, the intensity here is about full. On one of the three, I also started tasting black coffee at this point – medium roast.

P: In the second third, it is still quite bold with the addition of bay leaf to the previous description (of vegetals). After that it mellowed out, tapering back in both flavor intensity and complexity to a smooth, mild profile of cardamom and leather. On one of my three, it remained quite bold up through the middle and the flavor profile started to wear on me like a quarter-ton masked luchador with hate in his eyes!

D: My ash held on to halfway, even in the Kansas wind …try not to be under it, because it’s a big chunk of hot ash. The ash is mildly crunchy, but not with the crispy core of recent smokes. Several puffs later, it did try to go out on me, requiring a relight for thoroughness; but the stick does require slow smoking, so finding that correct frequency is the challenge.

Coming into the middle third, flavor intensity is reduced. Here, it’s not so much spinach for me as coffee and chocolate. The greens are still there. Cardamom, rubbed sage are more noticeable as a greens seasoning this time around. I think I am tasting bubble gum base as an aftertaste, on the upper back sides of my mouth. I’m getting flashes of garlic in the finish and aftertaste.

Ah, this is frustrating for me. I have over 14k unread e-mail in one account. Every now and again, I sort by sender, and remove the bulk mail that I simply haven’t read: these are usually Amazon suggestions – well, any company’s suggested sale prices and so on – which are generally timely, and, given my limited financial status at the moment, also generally pointless. So, I don’t read them. One of my bulk mailers is AMC, with my AMC movie card. There are no AMC theaters within a hundred miles of me, so I’ve not been reading them. However, I am all jazzed to see the upcoming Bond film, Spectre. And, I’ve even considered going all the way to Kansas City or Denver to see it. So guess what I found while flushing the bulk mail? A coupon for a free Bond coffee table book with pre-purchase of Bond tickets. Of course, the offer expired three days before I found it. Ah, this is frustrating to me.

P: Maybe you could keep a little more up to date with you email? Speaking of email, my office has had all its email on a server independent of the main office for about 14 years. Now the main office wants to have access/control of our email, and the 14 years of history. So for the last several weeks I’ve been working with them to migrate all of our office email to their Google hosted email system. Back when we started doing email in 2001 we figured, since we had a large allotment of email addresses available with our email host, we would just create personal emails on the office server. But now, it seems inappropriate to migrate those personal accounts over to the main server, but they want *everything*. I was going to go through my personal account and clean out any messages that were unrelated to the office – which would be pretty much everything in those personal accounts – and then I wouldn’t have those historical messages for reference any more. Argh!

Approaching the last third of the Luchador El Gringo more vegetals are joining in. In the last third the intensity has tamed down to a pleasant level. A welcome respite from the prior boldness. It still has most of the previous character but at a lower intensity.

D: This Luchador El Gringo moves through phases pretty quick: I was starting into the last third, and took a couple of puffs, and here I am near the nub. I’ve been working really hard to find that slower puff frequency, and I see where I’m now having a slight tunnelling issue. I have to stoke it to relight the wrapper – which really kills the ash retention.

The flavor here is quite rich, with a spinach or collard greens flavor on an old, starchy leather base, with cardamom sweetness, coffee, garlic zing, maybe a hint of bay leaf, and lots of black pepper …to me at least. Once, I distinctly tasted chocolate. Dark chocolate, maybe, with very little sugar.

P: Mine smoked well to the nub. With an inch to go there were some light florals. Quite nice.

D: Taking it to the nub, I’m holding it near the head, and it’s almost too hot to hold let alone smoke. The micropuffs are giving up an interesting sweet lime flavor – bright and clean. After a long rest, I can get one good pull, and the flavor is mostly starchy leather and cardamom, without the pepper or distinct greens. There is much more coffee in the aftertaste. Not mungy, but not particularly flavorful given the rest of the stick. This is as far as I’m going to take it.

Burn it or Spurn it?

Draw: Burn this with prejudice. A distinct smoke with a distinct name and heritage. A rich blend of vegetable, and spice, with a touch of sweet. Mild strength, in as far as I can tell I have smoked it. Character is fairly full, with a variety of subtle changes savory, spicy, and sweet around a greens-and-leather base. The flavor evolution is progressive, but can be grouped into distinct transitions. Intensity covers the full range, and averages at medium-to-full for me. Smoking characteristics are good overall, with a great ash and minor touchups. No real construction issues. With both character and intensity so strong, it would be hard for me to make this an everyday smoke. However, I very much enjoyed it as a break from the usual. Let the Luchador El Gringo put your mouth in a headlock, and stay in for the count.

Punch: Yes! I liked this plenty. It is a good cigar. lots of complexity, with a few interesting shifts. Starting out with a nice classic profile with the addition of a slight bubble gum. That progressed to a high intensity vegetal with cardamom and bay leaf. At one point it even got quite sweet. Finally it mellowed down to a tamer version of the vegetal profile. I detected no appreciable nicotine effects. The draw was a loose-medium. My burn required a few touch-ups but was otherwise pretty good. I believe my palate has adjusted to preferring milder sticks so this didn’t resonate with me personally, but that isn’t to say that it is bad. This Leccia Luchador El Gringo Frog Splat retails at $8.25, which seems to me to be a fair price for those who like higher intensity smoking experiences, or someone who would like some variety in their otherwise mild or medium routine and smoke something that will do a piledriver on their tastebuds.

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