Ventura Project 805 Andullo
As I mentioned at the beginning, I do not know a lot about Ventura Cigar Co. other than what I’ve read on their website. I have had a couple of their other cigars and thought they were okay. I know they made the + cigar that was in honor of the r/cigars sub on Reddit that I was pretty active on at one point.
Reading over the information on the Ventura site, I suddenly realized that by smoking the Project 805 Andullo, I was a part of the “disruption”. What does that mean, you ask? Apparently, them using Andullo in this blend is a disruption to the traditional cigar industry. By their claim (and I have no idea if it is true or not) this is the first time that tobacco has been used in a premium cigar.
So what is Andullo? In short, it is a hardened pipe tobacco that is famous in the Dominican Republic. The name refers to the curing process rather than the type of plant used. It is essentially cured for two years while tied together like a pod. In fact, some people actually petrify the Andullo and carve a pipe out of it. They then cut pieces of Andullo and smoke it in that pipe. Pretty interesting I would say. If you’d like more information on this, please visit their site http://venturacigar.com/brands/project805
The Project 805 was released in 2013 and comes in five vitolas: Figurado, Churchill, Toro, Robusto, and this year a Corona. Ventura Cigar Co. sent us this sample. As usual, we are grateful for it but that will not affect the rating.
The Ventura Project 805 is not the most attractive cigar. It sports a natural brown wrapper that has quite a few veins and raised seams. The cap is a little jagged and the foot is slightly misshapen. The wrapper looks to be quite thin.
There are two bands on the cigar. The main band is black and gray, much like newspaper print. The print is white and orange with a red V on the back of the band. The second band is a light gray with “Andullo” written in orange script.
The Project 805 did not feel like a very solid cigar. It was pretty spongy and also had a few soft spots. Though there was a powdery smoothness to the surface, the bumps and soft spots made it feel rough at the same time.
Fortunately, there are some great aromas on this stick. The foot has a pleasant molasses and cherry pipe tobacco scent to it. The barrel is molasses and cocoa. Very tasty aromas!
I clip the cap and have an issue right away. Part of the cap wrapper tore when I cut it. I realize this could mean my cutter is getting dull, but I did have to reattach part of the wrapper before continuing. The airflow was great and I picked up molasses and a faint hint of the cherry tobacco from the foot.
The Project 805 is difficult to light evenly. I end up singeing one side of the wrapper trying to light it. For the rest of the smoke, the burn is pretty wavy, requiring at least one touch-up per third. Though it is a minor annoyance, it does not substantially interfere with my ability to smoke the cigar.
The ash starts out looking pretty nice. It looks solid with mostly gray and white coloring. After about a 1⁄2” it starts to get loose. It does last to about 1” but gets pretty flaky by then. It stays that way the rest of the time.
So far, I have not been very impressed with the Ventura Project 805 except for the draw and aromas. Since it has the unique feature of adding Andullo to the blend, I am interested to see if it has a noticeable impact on the flavor. Let’s find out.
The first third begins with some dry white pepper spice. It quickly gets a slight tang to it. Soon after, some grass and nut flavors develop. The finish is pretty spicy as is the retrohale. I start to get floral notes on both near the end of the section as well.
The next third continues with the same notes but also adds some graham cracker sweetness. The sweetness is also tangy at times. This section does get a little harsh near the end. It may have something to do with the touch-ups but I am not positive.
The final third is more of the same but less harsh. There is a touch of butter that shows up, which is good because the cigar has a slightly dry finish overall. Near the end, the harshness shows back up so I let it go out.
The Ventura Project 805 Andullo Robusto was medium full flavored, medium in strength. While it had some nice flavors, it was not very complex or as interesting as I hoped it would be. Total smoke time was 1 hour 25 minutes.
Would I Buy It Again?
Probably not, but it’s pretty good for the price.
Is It An Everyday Smoke?
Not for me.
Would I Buy a Box?
I like to see cigar makers experimenting with new varieties of tobacco, including what is traditionally used for pipe or chewing. However, I am not sure that it always translates well to cigars. In the case of the Project 805, I think it works because it gives the cigar just a touch of tangy sweetness without taking over the other notes in the cigar. At the same time, I don’t feel that it made a significant enough difference for me to seek out a cigar that has Andullo in it. Still, it was good enough to be worth a try as long as you can overlook some of the performance issues it may have.