I smoked my first Altar Q cigar by Oscar Valladares a couple of weeks ago at a whisky tasting at the Owl Shop in New Haven, Connecticut. It was my first cigar from Oscar Valladares, although I have been meaning to try their Leaf for some time. The Altar Q impressed me with a lot of flavor that evening and I noted that it paired particularly well with the Laphroaig Lore Scotch whisky that was being poured.
It is noontime New Year’s Eve 2018 and I stopped in at the Owl again today to try another Altar Q. after running some year-end errands.
The cigar comes boxed in a wooden box of 16 with the cigars separated by paper. The cigars do not have a cellophane wrapper but instead have a beautiful wide 3.5” paper foot band honoring Mayan tobacco. Currently Neptune Cigar offers the box of 16 for $168 which makes the cost of an individual stick $10.50 – a bit pricey for me, but really worth it.
Oscar Valladares Tobacco, is located in Danli, Honduras. It started operating on 2012, the Factory was founded by Oscar Valladares, Hector Valladares and Bayron Duarte, with experience in the tobacco industry; Oscar worked for more than 9 years with Rocky Patel and Bayron worked for more than 20 years for General Cigars and Oliva.
The Altar Q is a 52 ring gauge 6” cigar and features a Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, a Honduran Copan region binder and Honduran long fillers. The appearance is oily and smooth, seamless with very few visible veins. The cigar has a triple-cap and a pigtail. Construction is fairly firm, and just a bit squishy.
I cut the cigar with my notch cutter and found the pre-light draw to be flavorful – very spicy, leathery, earth and classic tobacco flavored.
Upon lighting, the Altar Q starts off with a big bite of spicy pepper – wow. Also notable from the get go are subtle citrus, slight honey notes and some nuttiness. The draw is very good and the burn is decent, a little uneven and required some slight touching up. The cigar produces good smoke and produces a nice solid salt and pepper ash.
The strong pepper flavor is yielding a bit to a nice nutty and citrus flavor at the start of the second third. The draw and burn both continue to be very good. Just beyond the mid-point the flavor is becoming nuttier and the creaminess begins, however, the cigar needed re-lighting at this point, just as my first Altar Q needed a couple of weeks ago.
The last third begins with more creaminess, some nuttiness and the ever-present pepper. The burn remained good and even and the draw was perfect. As I smoked my way through the last third, the flavor became more and more creamy – a very tasty and satisfying smoke.
I consider the Altar Q an instant classic and a new favorite. It pairs exceptionally well with a smoky peaty scotch such as Laphroaig Lore or a hot pot of Lapsong Souchong tea. I would rate it a 9 out of 10 and I look forward to picking up a full box before too long.
© 2019 James M. Surprenant