Monday, August 25, 2008

My weekend cigar: Arganese CL3 Robusto and ML3 Torpedo

This past Saturday (August 23), we had a phenomenal turn-out for the Arganese Cigars in-store tasting at Famous Smoke Shop. Gene Arganese was there featuring his new Arganese CL3 cigars and Arganese ML3 cigars. Gene also brought his friend Joe Gannascoli with him. You may know Mr. Gannascoli as "Vito Spatafore" from HBO's The Sopranos. While Gene was promoting his cigars, Joe was promoting his new cigar, "Cugine," which is also being made by Arganese, and is scheduled for release in October.

I had already sampled the CL3 and ML3 in the Robusto sizes at the IPCPR show in Las Vegas last month, and they really live up to their advertising. (See video of Gene Araganese talking about them at the show.) These cigars are definitely not for beginners. Both cigars were well made, drew easily and remained consistently full-bodied from end to end. During the event, I tried another CL3 Robusto and switched to the ML3 Torpedo to compare it against the ML3 Robusto.

Made with all Dominican wrapper, filler and binder, the CL3 is rolled in a dark brown Corojo wrapper, whereas the ML3 has an even darker Ecuadorian-grown Maduro leaf wrapper with an oily patina. The cigars are well-packed and get their name by having three times more Ligero tobaccos than normally found in premium cigars. IOW, no Seco, Viso, or Volado. Just Ligero, Ligero, Ligero.

The Corojo wrapper on CL3 has a nice silky feel to it. My Robusto sample was slightly mottled, but I thought it added a little character to the appearance. The pre-light flavor was very leathery and I didn't detect much of anything spicy. Due to the large amount of Ligero used, it did present some difficulty lighting, but once lit, this cigar gets right to the point. This is a spicy, "no nonsense" cigar. The smoke rounded out somewhat in the second half but continued to chug along with dark, woody, red pepper flavors on a long, but dry finish. The smoke was consistently peppery all the way through and I found the aroma very appealing. According to Gene, he was going for the flavor and strength found in the 1992-vintage Cuban Montecristos. Unfortunately, I couldn't make a personal comparison, but to that end, this cigar does have a more "traditional Cuban" flavor profile.

The Arganese ML3 Torpedo had a very distinctive hazelnut flavor on the pre-light. It started out smoother and more medium-bodied than the CL3, but didn't waste much time building into a full-bodied, peppery smoke with dark, earthy-woody flavors, a hearty aroma, and a long finish. This cigar was creamier, not as overpowering, and offered a little more complexity than the CL3. What's interesting was that some of the guests thought the ML3 was stronger.

I paired the cigars with a bottle of Victory Brewing Co.'s "Hop Devil" beer. This IPA is extremely "hoppy," so much so, that it actually overpowered the flavor of the cigars. (Several others agreed with me.) Fortunately, the ML3 Torpedo lasted longer than the beer, which gave me a chance to pair it up with something else.

That something else was a small glass of Matusalem Gran Reserva Rum. I had been sent a complementary bottle for review from the distributor and thought this event would be a great occasion to sample it. Needless to say, the Matusalem really complimented the flavors in the ML3. Others who were lucky enough to sample the rum agreed. It was very smooth, and had sort of a single malt scotch element to it, too. Look for a more detailed review of Matusalem Gran Reserva rum with some video I shot at the event in the near future.

In conclusion, if you've grown an appreciation for full-bodied, spicy cigars like Camacho and Don Pepin-made cigars, then I strongly recommend the Arganese CL3 and ML3.

~ Gary Korb

For more information, visit ArganeseCigars.com.

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