IMG 2133 - La Flor Dominicana Air BenderLitto Gomez has had some wonderful success in making quality cigars and numerous blends.  He started in 1994 and has developed a reputation for creating bold, robust, and powerful blends with excellent flavor and complexity.  This blend is no different in taste, construction, value, or overall experience.  The Air Bender line was originally a blend exclusive to La Flor Dominicana in-store events.  It was exclusive due to the limited availability of the wrapper, but enough of it was produced and collected that it could go into production as its own line.  This particular vitola is the Matatan, a 5×50 robusto with an Ecuadoran Habano wrapper and Dominican binder and filler leaves grown on Litto’s farm.

IMG 2053 300x139 - La Flor Dominicana Air BenderThe cigar has a wonderful chocolate brown wrapper with medium veins.  The tone of the wrapper hides the veins, and gives the cigar a more bold appearance that’s quite pleasing to the eye.  The leaf has some tooth to it, giving the otherwise velvety wrapper a rough texture similar to parchment paper that’s been worn down from age.  There is an oily sheen to the wrapper, looking rich and flavorful.  What I found surprising is how heavy and solid the cigar felt despite its relatively small size.  The thing is packed with tobacco, having no soft spots and giving very little when squeezed between my fingers.  Removing the band is easy and a close slow inspection shows no flaws in the wrapper and a solid construction.  The scent is… amazing.  It’s neither too strong nor too subtle, and it’s quite pleasant.  It’s sweet and spicy at the same time, with undertones of earth and a very slight chocolaty tone.  It ignites the senses and draws a smile across my lips.

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IMG 2110 300x200 - La Flor Dominicana Air BenderI take an initial puff and am greeted with a mild-medium bodied dash of red and black pepper that fades into a woody and nutty taste.  It’s like a very mellow roasted chestnut, with a nice fire going in the background.  There’s a bit of earth and leather in the mix as well, giving the cigar a very pleasant and warm feel.  As the cigar progressed the body started to build, and by the first inch it was a medium bodied smoke.  The pepper builds up slowly as well, greeting me with every puff and making my tongue tingle a little and taste buds come to full attention.   Despite the dense packing of the tobacco leaves, the draw is quite smooth and easy, giving copious amounts of smoke with each puff.

IMG 2107 300x200 - La Flor Dominicana Air BenderAfter the first inch the cigar comes fully into its own.  The red and black pepper mixes with a nice splash of hot spices that lights up the tongue and grabs your attention.  The pepper and spice gives way to a nice toasty oak and cedar, mixed in with nuttiness.  It brings to mind cashews and chestnuts that have been roasted and have a smoky tone to them.  Tying it all together is a nice undertone of dark roasted coffee that lingers in the aftertaste and blends nicely with all the other flavors.  Finally there’s a nice herbal tone in the finish that I find refreshing.

IMG 2125 300x200 - La Flor Dominicana Air BenderLFD has a unique taste that is its own.  There’s always a burst of pepper and spice in their cigars that leads into the other flavors.  There’s a pleasant herbal note in the finish that’s refreshing and cool.  The entire experience brings to mind a number of memories and thoughts.  The beginning of the cigar has a nice burst of spice and pepper that reminds me of a flavorful Latin dish.  The flavor is crisp and bold, without being overbearing and intrusive, and is especially noticeable in the exhale.  The main flavors of the cigar are warm and hearty, but keep at a pleasant medium body, sometimes a little more but never getting full.  I feel like I’ve moved into the den and I’m sitting by the fireplace, sharing roasted nuts with my father and sipping coffee.  The finish has an herbal tone, as though I’m walking by my grandmother’s garden on a cool spring evening.

IMG 2130 300x200 - La Flor Dominicana Air BenderLFD’s Air Bender is a very nice cigar in my opinion, as are all of LFD’s lines.  The cigar had a nice complexity to it that kept me interested the entire time, and had a pleasant blend of flavors and tones.  The flavors were bold, but without being overpowering and still let me sit back and enjoy the evening at my local tobacconist.  I could pick out the flavors I tasted while talking to the shop owner, Eddy, and the other patrons around me.  It made for an excellent after dinner cigar that was able to clear my palate and let me taste the flavors even after a hearty dinner.

IMG 2143 300x200 - La Flor Dominicana Air BenderThis is a cigar that I thoroughly enjoyed and have already bought a few more of.  I wouldn’t smoke one of these as my first cigar of the day, but I’d gladly enjoy it after a good filling meal.  The nicotine content is relatively high, something that every LFD I’ve smoked seems to have.  The flavors mingle and blend together very nicely, and the construction is excellent.  I saw no flaws in any of the cigars on display on the shelves and the burn was quite even.  There were a few moments where I thought it may canoe, but patience and turning the cigar over for the next couple puffs easily corrected that.  I would say that’s more from my inattention than the cigar’s fault, and it required no touch ups.  The only flaw, if it can even be considered one, is that the ash tends to fray slightly and flake away.  That doesn’t mean that the ash crumbles away and drops at inopportune times; only that small flakes fall away sometimes.

IMG 2160 300x200 - La Flor Dominicana Air BenderCombine all these things and you have a solid line from LFD that I’d have no issue buying more of and suggesting to friends, which is a sentiment that’s echoed by two other tobacconists I’ve visited in the past week.  I bought one of these cigars for $6.50 a piece, which is on par for what many online retailers sell them for as well.  Given the price and quality of the cigar I’d consider it to be a steal and well worth every penny.   I highly suggest picking up an Air Bender from a local brick and mortar if you can since it’s a mellower LFD and gives a good introduction to what the maker has to offer in terms of flavor and quality.

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