I have seen Don Bienve cigars featured on on line retailer sites, but never in tobacco stores. This changed during my recent trip to Puerto Rico, where these stogies are manufactured, and they are in every store regardless of what merchandise is being sold. Puerto Ricans love them, and along with the other main brand of Don Collins, are quite happy to puff away on them. A couple of locals told me that the island used to be known for its cigar exports, but have been eclipsed by Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Apparently Puerto Rico is trying to bring cigars back into mass production after years of minimal amounts, and I wish them the best of luck. The island is full of wonderful people, and it would help with other industries that they have. Unfortunately, they have a long ways to go if Don Bienve is going to be considered a “serious contender.”
The Don Bienve robusto I had, wasn’t the worst cigar ever. However, at $5 it should at the very least be a decent product. The biggest problem with it, is its poor construction. Its almost laughable how the wrapper barely held together, and don’t think it will allow you over an inch of ash. The cigar almost disappeared magically, and fell apart even further as I completed smoking it. Its loose filler came out on each end, and cutting it was a royal pain. There was some muscle required to get rid of the cap, although to its credit, at least the lighting was straightforward enough. That only took thirty seconds, with some rather low quality matches, so a butane lighter isn’t necessary.
Although the flavor could be described as medium to full, it lacks the complexity associated with a cigar of this strength. I want my “fuerte” stogies to have a kick, but also notes that my palate will appreciate. This one did have some initial hints of chocolate, but I noticed quickly that the tobacco used wasn’t aged properly. It was an acidic cigar, and while there were still some parts that this seemed not to be an issue, it dampened my experience with it. The smoke volume was impressive, but the taste lingered for awhile, and I cannot recommend this stogie for anyone to try. Perhaps its time for the folks at Don Bienve, to “go back to the drawing board.”
Its a shame that this Puerto Rican cigar, couldn’t measure up to other commodities on the island, such as their world famous rums. The warm and tropical island, has the perfect climate for excellent tobacco cultivation, so there are possibilities for future success. However quality is an important aspect, and if you can’t even age the leaves properly, a cigar is destined for failure. Also, if they are hand rolled with standards far below anyone else’s, your product is not going to become popular. Its a shame, as I was hoping that this cigar would be a tasty treat. Unfortunately, it will be my last cigar from Puerto Rico, until they can somehow prove to me that they’ve made theirs with quality controls.