By Kevin Godbee
Villiger 1888 Fuerte Robusto Cigar Reviews

The Villiger 1888 Fuerte is handcrafted in the Dominican Republic under the strict Swiss quality guidelines of Villiger & Sons of Switzerland. Using a blend of tobaccos from several countries and known only to Mr. Heinrich Villiger and a few others, they have purposefully described one of the tobaccos as only "Country X" Ligeros. We actually applaud them for doing this while so many other manufacturers for years still refer to "Havana seed", and all kinds of "Tastes like a Cuban cigar" messages, Villiger takes a refreshingly opposite tact.

They say; "we have created a smoking experience which will transport you to a place and time unique to your mind – with no preconceived thoughts or expectations from (the) knowledge of the tobacco source" (emphasis added).

For decades, Villiger has been best known for producing small cigars, but the 1888 Fuerte has now solidly established them in the premium hand-rolled category. The 1888 Fuerte is without a doubt, an extremely high quality cigar all around. Our panelists gave it accolades in all areas – construction, burn and flavor.

Another refreshing aspect in these ratings is that it demonstrates that a cigar doesn’t have to be so strong as to punch you in the face and then kick you in the cojones to get a good review.

Let’s see what our cigar rating panel said.

 

Villiger 1888 Fuerte Robusto

Villiger 1888 Fuerte Robusto Average Rating: 90 High Rating: 93 Low Rating: 89
Dimensions:
5 x 50
Made in:
Dominican Republic
Wrapper:
Mexican Negro San Andreas Claro
Binder:
Peruvian Habana Seed
Filler:
Santo Domingo, Nicaraguan, & "Country X" Ligeros
Reviewer 1:
Nick Dwertman

Rating: 89
Construction Comments:
The wrapper is dark and the cigar is firm with no sponginess present. The bunching at the foot looks centered and is slightly veiny.
Pre-light Aroma and Flavor:
Strong tobacco smell, it is that pleasant smell I experience when walking into a humidor. The pre-light flavor was extremely doughy and the draw was perfect.
Burn:
The initial burn is even about 1/3 of an inch in which is producing a dark grey ash. Halfway through the burn is still perfect and more smoke is being produced per puff.
Drink:
Bottled Water
Smoking Notes:
The initial light brought a prominent sweetness to the pallet with a fair amount of smoke and a earthy flavor through the nose. After a few draws there are notes of cherries. Halfway through the cherry notes fade revealing a more earthy leather profile. Spice in this cigar is almost non-existent and is smoking extremely smooth. The final third of the cigar was similar to the second third but with a stronger leather profile with a slight bitterness.
Overall Experience and Rating:
Construction (13/15) – This was a great looking cigar. It was solid throughout the entire smoking experience and never became spongy. The draw was also perfect helping it make a great smoking experience.

Flavor and Aroma (44/50) – The flavor was consistent and has some complexity. The profile went from sweet, to slightly fruity to an earthy leathery profile. The body of the cigar was heavy which is what I personally prefer which helped the rating. The strength of the cigar would be medium-full. This is not surprising since it is filled with all ligero.

Burn (32/35) – The burn was almost flawless. Very few minor touchups were needed.

Total Score: 89

This cigar was truly a pleasure to smoke. Previously I have not had any products of Villiger so I had no preconceptions on how this review would pan out. If I had smoked one of these before I would have paired it with some whiskey, more specifically Jameson 12 year Special Reserve.

Reviewer 2:
Anthony Mozzo

Rating: 93
Construction Comments:
Very well constructed cigar. Noticed a few imperfections but other than that it was perfect.
Pre-light Aroma and Flavor:
Prelight aroma is a little sweet with notes of hay.
Burn:
Used a punch, which took a little work to penetrate so I was worried about the draw initially.
Drink:
None
Smoking Notes:
Light the cigar to find a nice draw. Flavors of nutmeg and some black pepper and floral notes seem to be present. The body is medium and overall is a very enjoyable cigar.

By the 2nd 3rd, the pepper died down and it seems to focus more on the nutmeg and floral flavors. A very pleasant medium bodied cigar with some sweetness.

Final 3rd, the burn is still perfect and needed no touchups, despite walking away a few times. Flavors have been consistent and while one dimensional, the well balanced flavoring makes up for it.

Overall Experience and Rating:
Overall, I found it to be a very good smoking experience. Burn was perfect, flavors were very tasty and smooth. Not at all an overpowering cigar that so many seem to be these days.

Recommendation – I would easily recommend this cigar

Overall Score = 93
Look And Feel 13 +
Flavor And Aroma 46 +
Burn 34

Reviewer 3:
Gregory L. Pease

Rating: 89
Construction Comments:
The cigar is beautifully made, with a smooth, medium brown wrapper showing a light sheen. It’s dense, and firm without being hard. The foot shows a very even bunch, and the end cap is beautiful, extending far enough along the head to eliminate any cutting issues.
Pre-light Aroma and Flavor:
Dominant fermented tobacco notes, with hints of wood and belt leather. The pre-light taste is softer than I expected, with a toasty character, a little brightness, subdued cedar. The wrapper leaves a nice, slightly cocoa-like sweetness on the lips.
Burn:
In my sample, the burn was as close to flawless as you can expect, once it got cruising. It did take a couple minutes to get it going, but once well established, it burned without issue, showing about a 1mm shadow behind a dense salt-and-pepper ash.
Drink:
Darjeeling tea with a little milk.
Smoking Notes:
The perfectly applied end-cap yielded to a crossed-V cut without difficulty. A densely rolled, relatively large ring cigar made from dark tobaccos can be expected to take a few matches to get going. These may have been shipped just a bit on the moist side, which adds to the challenge. It took three long matches to get it fully established, but once going, the effort was well rewarded. Early on, the Peruvian binder brings its unique character to the smoke, with a smoky, slightly floral taste. The Mexican wrapper quickly catches up with an earthy spice. At first light, the overall impression is of deeper flavors. Well into the first third, the brighter notes add interest without being dominant. A slight citrus peel character occasionally noticed, along with hints of cardamom. The ash clings to the cigar like it’s been glued on, and when finally coaxed off, well over an inch long, the 3/8" cone is symmetrical and even. At the half-way point, the smoke is really coming into its own, building in both intensity and depth of flavor. Into the final third, the cigar responds best to slow, gentle puffs, and tends towards sharpness if rushed. Interesting tastes of ginger or turmeric in the background. I rarely am enticed to smoke a cigar much past the 2/3 point, but this one kept me happy well past the band point. Very nice!
Overall Experience and Rating:
Construction (14/15 points) – Simply put, this cigar couldn’t have been built any better. The roll is consistent, at just the right density for a spot on draw, and the end cap is beautifully applied. My only (very minor) gripe here is that the tight fitting bands on my sample were a little challenging to remove.

Flavor and Aroma (43/50 points) – As I noted with the Libertad, this isn’t quite as full-bodied as I expected, nor as strong I’d expect from the high-percentage of ligero filler. The flavors and the development are wonderful, my only minor criticism being that I’d like just a little "more" in a cigar advertised as full-bodied.

Burn (33/35 points) – A little effort required to get it lit, so a couple points knocked off, but once going, it was as close to perfect as I could ask for in a cigar at any price.

Total Score: 89 points

Final Notes:
The simple yet tasteful 1888 band is augmented by a second, equally tasteful, thin gold "FUERTEā€¯ band, which is tightly and perfectly fitted (a plus), but I found it a little tough to remove (a minus), and you definitely want to remove this one, or you’ll miss too much of the cigar! As a medium- to full-bodied cigar, this is an absolutely delightful smoke, especially at the moderate price. If you’re after a palate bruiser, or something that will make your head spin, look elsewhere. On the other hand, this is one that the average smoker doesn’t need to approach with fear; one that can be enjoyed without first having a belly full of pasta. There’s a lot of complexity here, and a lot to hold your interest if you take some time to savor the smoke. The unique flavors offered by this blend put in in a class of its own. Highly recommended.

 

Have you smoked this cigar? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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