January 12, 2012

Cigar Review: Gran Habano STK Zulu Zulu Habano

STK Zulu Zulu Habano
When you first look at the boxes for the new cigar by Gran Habano Cigars, the STK Zulu Zulu, you might wonder why they put pictures of children soldiers on the boxes and individual bands of the cigars, and the answer is that the cigar is meant to bring awareness to the fact that there are children being used as soldiers in Africa, and throughout the world. George Rico of Gran Habano Cigars has always felt compelled to be an active member of the Invisible Children Charity Fund, and with this cigar he is donating proceeds to the fund. The boxes are graphic and are hard to see, but they are not doing it because it looks cool, but because they are trying to deliver a message. The S.T.K. stands for "save the kids" I believe, and I am glad in purchasing this cigar that I am donating some to a noble cause. I must say on an unrelated note that I tend to find cigar manufacturers being more open about their donations to causes then any other companies, and at the same time it is them that are being attacked by the government. Thank you George for recognizing issues on this planet, and being part of the solution. Visit the Invisible Children Charity Foundation and get involved and make a donation! Or, buy the cigars at Smoke Inn and make a donation that way!

I have always been a fan of the Gran Habano brand, and I have always loved how boutique of a company they have remained. Every line they have made has always been a favorite of mine, and I can say that each line, no matter how long they have been in production, has remained just as great as it was when it was initially launched. One of my favorites was the 3 Siglos, and now I have found my second favorite cigar by them, the Gran Habano STK Zulul Zulu Habano. In fact, after reviewing this cigar I am going to re-review the 3 Siglos, since it was one of my first reviews back in February, and because I still have a handful left of them. This new line, the STK Zulu Zulu is available in one size, a Lancero, and it is available in two wrapper shades, an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade and a Nicaraguan Habano leaf. The cigar is limited to 2,000 boxes of each wrapper, and is limited as a one time production.

Made in Gran Habano's Factory, GR Tabacalera Unidas, the cigar is rolled by only the best of their rollers, and features some of their best tobacco. For this review I chose the Habano version, which it turns out is a Nicaraguan puro having a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper, and Nicaraguan binder and fillers. The cigar measures 7.5" and has a 40 ring gauge. The Lancero is finished with your standard pigtail cap, and is very firm. The wrapper is very smooth in hand, and has some veins throughout as well. The color is that of dark khaki, hay bales, and is light Colorado in coloring. Holding the foot and wrapper to my nose I get aromas of wood, leather and heavy spice.
Children Soldiers Band
The Lancero begins out wonderfully, and is burning great. I am getting a wonderful burn line to the cigar, and it is showing an ash that is dark gray in coloring. I am picking up a lot of wood flavors, and there is definitely a spice level present as well. Along with the wood and spices I am getting a wonderful bit of leather, and it has a slight bit of stone fruit flavors present. It is not overly strong, but it is present and enjoyable. I would say the cigar is smoking around medium in terms of strength, and possibly even towards the medium-full side. It is producing a great amount of smoke that is thick and great for rings, and I am sitting back making some great rings. 

When I get into the second third of the cigar I begin to get a lot more full bodied flavors and strength. There is a nice change from the first third, and I am enjoying this second third. There are still some wood notes present, but it is in this third that I pick up tons of leather, spice and barnyard notes. The cigar is definitely close to full in body in this third, and it is smoking at my preferred pace. There is a nice burn line with the cigar, and like the first third it is providing an ash that is very dark gray in coloring. I have been ashing the cigar, but I am sure the ash could hold on much longer given on how well this cigar is made. Overall, I am loving this cigar so far, and looking forward to how it will end. 

I am in the final third now, and it is ending wonderfully. This cigar has been blended so well, and has been constructed with such great tobacco, that it has not carried on some of those typical characteristics of a Lancero, and has shown a nice fluctuation in flavors and strength. The strength has diminished in this third, and I am thinking it is now around a medium-full in terms of strength. Flavor wise this cigar is kicking, and it really shows those great flavors from the first two thirds. I am getting a good amount of stone fruit and leather up front, and it also shows some wood with that. The finish is that of spices and barnyard, and it is absolutely enjoyable. It burns well all the way to the end, and even given the thin ring gauge it burns cool as well all the way to the nub. What a great Lancero!   

I loved this Lancero, and was thoroughly impressed with the cigar. From beginning to end the cigar showed nothing but great and wonderful flavors and smoked perfectly. The flavors changed some from beginning to end, but each third was showing amazing flavors that I could not get enough. I would be interested to see how this cigar would smoke in a robusto vitola, but at the same time I truly enjoy a cigar when it is meant for only one viotla. I always enjoy smoking the cigar as it was intended to be smoked, and what a great size this cigar was. I have been smoking some great Lanceros this year, and I hope that is a rise in them coming back. If you have the opportunity to purchase this cigar I strongly urge you to do so for the great smoke, and for the great cause. If you are a fan of Lanceros then you will definitely love this, and you will love that it is a limited cigar. I couldn't get enough of these cigar, and that is why I am still smoking a lot of them. This cigar gets a 93 in my books, and I am sure I will be smoking this cigar again when it goes in the running for my Top 25 Cigars of 2012.  
Zulu Zulu Habano