By Kevin Godbee
Villiger 1888 Robusto Cigar Reviews

La Libertad is a wonderful new cigar from Villiger that just recently hit the U.S. market. Although it has been available overseas for some time, as you’ll read in Greg’s review the American-market version is different than the European La Libertad. I had the pleasure to smoke La Libertad Robusto while sitting and talking to the actual makers of the cigar, José Gabriel Maragoto G. and Adaberto Ruizcalderon at Villiger’s party in Las Vegas. It was immensely enjoyable talking to the actual factory guys while smoking the cigar they helped design and manufacture. We talked about the different tobaccos used, growing, harvesting and curing the leaf, and the aging of the cigars.

It’s been said that a cigar will always taste better if you are smoking it in the presence of the master blender, and there is some truth to that. Señor Ruizcalderon even brought that up. When I told him that I loved the cigar, he humbly replied (in Spanish and translated for me) that it was only because he was there.

The fact is that there can be many variables that affect your smoking experience. I was in Las Vegas, which I love, at a party with all the free cigars, food and booze you can consume with all like-minded people. So I wondered if I loved La Libertad just because of this great setting I was in. However, I took a few home and have smoked three more, and I still greatly enjoy La Libertad. Our panelists’ high rating was 89, but I would personally give it an 90.

Here’s what our cigar rating panel said.

 

La Libertad Grand Robusto

La Libertad Grand Robusto Average Rating: 85 High Rating: 89 Low Rating: 81
Dimensions:
5 x 56
Made in:
Dominican Republic
Wrapper:
Peruvian (Habana Seed)
Binder:
Peruvian (Nicaraguan Seed)
Filler:
Santo Domingo & Nicaraguan Ligeros
Reviewer 1:
Nick Dwertman

Rating: 87
Construction Comments:
The wrapper is a nice colorado claro shade with few veins. There are a few soft spots and the bunching isn’t centered perfectly.
Pre-light Aroma and Flavor:
The burn was decent and yielded a solid light gray ash. At times it became uneven where I noticed the soft spots in the cigar before setting a torch to it.
Burn:
The burn was decent and yielded a solid light gray ash. At times it became uneven where I noticed the soft spots in the cigar before setting a torch to it.
Drink:
Bottled Water
Smoking Notes:
The cigar starts with a burst of caramel sweetness with a slight hint of leather through the nose. Quickly the leather gains dominance of the flavor profile and the sweetness takes a back seat for now. The softness is in the construction has yielded uneven burning. The body of this cigar is heavy… very heavy. At the halfway point the flavor has not changed much if at all. It is still being dominated by leather. The last third stayed consistent of the rest of the cigar with a strong presence of leather.
Overall Experience and Rating:
Construction
(11/15) – The cigar was nicely constructed but had a few soft spots that caused burn issues but the draw was perfect.

Flavor and Aroma (45/50) – The cigar was one dimensional, but it was one of my favorite profiles consisting of molasses and leather.

Burn (31/35) – The burn was iffy at times requiring a few touch ups. The ash was pretty solid though.

Total Score: 87

This was the last of three Villiger cigars that I had reviewed. Before I had the opportunity for these reviews I had never smoked a Villiger blend. All blends that I sampled were well above average and were an absolute pleasure to smoke.

Reviewer 2:
Anthony Mozzo

Rating: 81
Construction Comments:
Construction looked a little rough in spots.
Pre-light Aroma and Flavor:
Prelight aroma a bit leathery with hints of cedar. Used a Xikar cutter. Cut was smooth and pre draw was good.
Burn:
Drink:
Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA.
Smoking Notes:
Lit the cigar, another nice draw, felt the flavors were very "earthy" with a hay or barnyard taste. By the 2nd 3rd, flavors diminished a bit, but essentially stayed unchanged. Final 3rd, became pretty flavorless. Eventually gave up on it.
Overall Experience and Rating:
Initially I enjoyed the flavors, but the stick just died on me. Could be a bad stick.
Recommendation – I would not recommend based on the one I had.

Overall Score = 81
Look & Feel 10+
Flavor and Aroma 36 +
Burn 35

Reviewer 3:
Gregory L. Pease

Rating: 89
Construction Comments:
Near perfect appearance, and very good construction. Feels heavy and substantial. Dense but yielding to a gentle squeeze. Delicate, slightly oily wrapper without pronounced veining. The view of the foot shows a consistent, even bunch. Nicely finished cap.
Pre-light Aroma and Flavor:
A bit of sharpness along the wrapper, with a pleasant earthy aroma. Hints of smoky/floral character.
Burn:
A little tough to get it lit, which can be expected from a dense cigar with 100% ligero filler, but once going, the rest of the burn was excellent. Required a single touchup light.. Solid ash holds on tightly, and when finally tapped off, leaves an even, symmetrical cone.
Drink:
Black tea with milk.
Smoking Notes:
The head took the crossed v-cut perfectly. Some effort needed to get this one going, requiring a couple of long matches to toast the foot, and another to establish a good light. Subtle sweetness, followed by subdued black pepper spice. Fleeting hints of exquisite cigarette tobacco. Custard/cream, nutmeg, bright coffee. Second third brings traces of cedar and more earthiness. Nice complexity without being hard to understand. Not a long finish, but a refreshing one.
Overall Experience and Rating:
Construction (13/15 points) – This just feels like a high-quality cigar, and delivers what’s promised. It did require a touch-up light at about the 1/3 point. The ash remained solidly attached, requiring a sharp tap to dislodge at well past the 1" point.

Flavor and Aroma (43/50 points) – The Peruvian wrapper and binder offer a unique character, somehow reminiscent of Kentucky dark-fired leaf.

Burn (32/35 points) – Points lost for slightly uneven burn and being a little hard to light. If not for needing a touchup light half-way through, this would have been perfect.

Total Score: 89 points

Final Notes:A very enjoyable smoke, with some interesting aromas and some unusual characteristics, possibly from the Peruvian filler/binder leaf. Doesn’t stand up well to stronger drinks, but tea or sherry seem ideal. A wonderful new cigar from Villiger.

Read Associate Editor, Gregory L. Pease’s full review of both the Robusto and the the Torpedo La Libertad.

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

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