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Ventura Project 805 robusto review

In this review session Punch and Draw try out the new Project 805 robusto by Ventura Cigar Company and Draw reports on his day at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival.Ventura Project 805 robusto cigar

P: My wrapper has a very strong aroma – sweet alfalfa.

D: Been rolling in the hay, lately?

P: Very funny. But I’m talking about the wrapper on this Ventura Project 805 robusto.

D: Ah yes! My 805 also has a very sweet wrapper – fructose strong. I’m also getting oatmeal flour along with the alfala, kind of a rooibos scent. It has a beautiful colorado wrapper in muted metallic flake, with a light burnishing bringing out the veins in the leaf. Strong construction without being rigid.

P: This line was released at this year’s (2013) ICPCR. It is a Dominican Puro made with a unique tobacco claimed to have not been used before in a cigar – Andullo. The distinctiveness of this tobacco is the way it is fermented: pressed into palm seed pods which are then wrapped with natural rope making a rigid, six foot long bundle, five inches in diameter and left in this condition for up to two years.

D: I just punched mine, and it was well received. There’s molasses, still with oats and hay, and some rooibus.

Kansas has slipped rather abruptly into autumn, and this evening I’m accompanied by cooler temps, mild gusts, and scattered thunderstorms. The wind is making a pre-light toasting impossible, so I’ll move ahead with lighting.

P: Lighting it up – initial flavors are unlike any flavor profile I’ve had before: leather with bitter turnips on the long finish.

D: Nice call – I get turnips on the sides of my tongue middle-finish, and leather is rapidly taking a back seat. There’s also some chili powder in the aftertaste. I’m very surprised that there’s no sweetness, really – not as compared to the wrapper aroma and dry-draw.

P: Good point. No sweetness whatsoever. This profile is very dry – dry as in wine. After half-an-inch the bizarre turnip flavor has mostly faded — only being revealed faintly on the finish and the body is more mild.

D: Yes, a dry white wine. The bitter turnip is very clean; not the sour tannins of a Merlot. It’s really ringing the edges of my tongue. I notice the draw has tightened up slightly since lighting, too.

Ventura is in its third year, being a holding of Kretek International Group Inc, of Moorpark, California, itself being a 30+ year-old company. Ventura currently has 7 other lines including: Pura Sangre, a Nicaraguan puro, and Estilo Cubano which is a mix of Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Costa Rican tobacco. There’s a great write-up about them over at Cigar Aficianado.

P: And they have announced a new line, the PSyKo SEVEN, which is due to ship any day now, as their web site says it will be released last month.

This 805 doesn’t have a lot of complexity. Starting the second third it is still leathery but has some pepper joining the dry finish.

D: I’m probably somewhere in the middle of this Project 805, and the flavors are moving more savory: a little more salt, and white pepper for flavor, not heat. I will note that even in the regular breeze I’m experiencing, the ash did hold on for more than an inch-and-a-half.

P: You were at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival yesterday, yes? How’d that turn out?

D: It was fine. The weather was perfect for Kansas, and the crowds turned out in appropriate number. Many people approached me thinking I was one of the volunteers, which is flattering that my costume is so complete. I didn’t get to enjoy any shows by the musicians I enjoy each year. However, I did get to say hello to John “Ozzy” of Osborne Leather, and I commissioned a pen-and-parchment carrier from a craftsman at the IHEA exhibit, to complete my “merchant” persona from.

P: And while you were out cavorting with merry men, I visited the Fox Cigar Bar in Gilbert, Arizona, for the first time. The Studio Tobac rep was there offering great deals on box purchases of his Cain and Nub lines. I elected to go for a J. Fuego Origen single instead, which I purchased on-scene and enjoyed while getting to know a couple of new friends.

D: Excellent. Nothing like burning tobacco to bring people together. Speaking of that, how’s your Project 805?

P: Well, it seems like the flavors are blending a bit here in the last third. That turnip flavor has either blended in or diminished and is not so much present on the finish. And a touch of cedar is starting to appear in the middle. As I removed the band, I noted how they cut the paper at the V‑logo, which is really kinda cool.

D: I agree, the flavors have melanged somewhat. I’m getting pretty much only leather on the front and chili powder on the finish, with – as you identified – a touch of cedar in the middle. Maybe some coffee… still smokable entirely. My burn line has been pretty irregular at times, but also self-correcting.

P: While I’m approaching the point where I might otherwise let it go out, I figure I’ll keep at it a while longer just so I don’t miss something to report to you, our stalwart reader.

D: I’m down to around two-fingers total length. The flavor profile is consistent, but waning in intensity. Meanwhile, I’m beginning to gain physical heat. I keep thinking I’ll put this down, and then I take another puff.

Burn it or Spurn it?

P: That is a tough question. Personally, I’ll probably have another of these from my collection – after ageing it a while – just to confirm or challenge my impressions. The flavor, while different, wasn’t particularly appealing to me – if it wasn’t harsh it is at least “rugged” tasting – and just not my style. I do want to point out that the construction, draw and burn were excellent, and I only need to touch up the burn once where it appeared a vein was resisting combustion and creating a small peninsula.

D: For me, I do not often find a flavor profile like this one. One-hundred percent, this Project 805 has a different flavor, which I must attribute to the Andullo leaf. I would easily try another, after aging as you suggested. But as this is a one-off for the Andullo, it will remain a one-off in my humi. This is a cigar I’ll go to when different is the order of the day – I just can’t say how often that will be. Others, though, may really enjoy the flavor it offers. If a mild-body and medium strength cigar is your fancy, there’s nothing to not like about this smoke.

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