Matilde Serena Maduro Toro Bravo Cigar Review
Today, we review the Matilde Serena Maduro Toro Bravo cigar. The Matilde Serena Maduro is the fifth regular production cigar line to be offered by Matilde Cigars. Matilde Cigars was founded by industry legend José Seijas and his family. Today, José’s son Enrique runs the company’s operations. Matilde Cigars seems not to have felt it necessary to come out with a new cigar every year. When the Matilde Serena Maduro was released earlier this year, this was the company’s first new cigar since 2016. It would also become the company’s second regular production offering.
Since launching in 2014, Matilde Cigars has released five regular production lines:
The “Serena” brand is now the first in the Matilde portfolio to have multiple blends. As we will soon see, the Matilde Serena and Matilde Serena Maduro are different blends. Without further ado, let’s review the Matilde Serena Maduro Toro Bravo and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The Matilde Serena Maduro features filler tobaccos from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. According to Matilde Cigars, the Serena Maduro shares the same filler tobaccos as the original (Connecticut Shade) Matilde Serena. The difference is in the wrapper and binder: The Serena Maduro features a Mexican San Andres wrapper and a Dominican C98 binder. The Matilde Serena Maduro production comes from Jochy Blanca’s Tabacalera Palma factory.
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres
Binder: Dominican C98
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera Palma
The Matilde Serena Maduro is currently offered in two sizes. Each is presented in 20-count cabinet-style boxes.
Robusto: 50 x 5 1/4
Toro Bravo: 54 x 6 1/2
The San Andres Maduro wrapper of the Matilde Serena Maduro Toro Bravo was not overly dark. It had a medium roasted coffee bean color. There wasn’t much in the way of oils on this wrapper. The surface of the wrapper had some visible veins. In addition, there were minimally visible wrapper seams.
Before lighting up the Matilde Serena Maduro Toro Bravo, a straight cut was used to remove the cigar cap. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw delivered a mix of coffee, cedar, and floral notes. Unfortunately, outside of the coffee note I picked up, the other flavors of this pre-light draw did not do it for me. Because the pre-light draw is not factored into our numerical score or value assessment ratings, there was no loss of points here. At this point, it was time to toast up the foot of the Matilde Serena Maduro Toro Bravo and await what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Matilde Serena Maduro Toro Bravo opened up with coffee, mineral, earth, and mixed pepper notes. Early on, the coffee and mineral notes became primary. Meanwhile, the earth and pepper notes settled in the background. During the first third, some cocoa notes also settled into the background. There was also an additional layer of pepper on the retro-hale.
The coffee and mineral notes remained at the forefront during the second third of the Matilde Serena Maduro Toro Bravo. The earth and pepper notes settled in the background. The cocoa notes present during the first third dissipated and were replaced by a cedar note. The coffee notes developed some bitterness as the cigar moved through the second third. Bitterness is not necessarily bad, but as the cigar moved past the midway point, the bitterness started to throw off the balance of the whole flavor profile.
As the cigar experience moved into the final third, the coffee and mineral notes were still the primary notes. By this time, the flavor profile leaned toward the bitter side, and these bitter notes had become harsh. The background flavors from the cedar, earth, and pepper notes didn’t offset the harshness and were quite muddled at the end. When the Matilde Serena Maduro Toro Bravo came to a close, the resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
While the Matilde Serena Maduro Toro Bravo could keep a straight burn path and a straight burn line, frequent touch-ups were needed. The resulting ash was skewed toward the firmer side. This was an ash that had a gray color to it. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both maintained ideal levels.
The draw of the Matilde Serena Maduro Toro Bravo performed exceptionally well. It had a touch of resistance, something I have preference for. At the same time, this was still a low-maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The Matilde Serena Maduro Toro Bravo started out with medium strength and medium body. Along the way, there was a slight increase in the strength level, but the cigar stayed in the medium range of the strength spectrum from start to finish.
As for the body, this increased more in a gradual linear fashion. By the second third, the flavors were now hitting the medium to full-bodied mark. The body still had a gradual increase for the remainder of the smoking experience, but remained medium to full.
The body maintained the edge throughout the smoking experience in terms of strength versus body. The edge the body had grew as the flavors increased in body.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
The Matilde Serena Maduro shares the same banding and box color scheme as the original Matilde Serena Connecticut Shade release. The one difference in the banding is that the secondary band references Serena Maduro. I’m a little torn on this. I like the blue color, and I don’t think there is a chance of confusing both Serena blends in the humidor because of the wrapper color. At the same time, I would have rather had the Serena Maduro have its own color identity.
One thing that does not factor into the rating is the positioning of the Matilde Serena Maduro. Because of the common fillers, I understand why this cigar was positioned as an extension to the Matilde Serena (Shade offering). However, this cigar is nothing like the original Serena flavorwise, and the Serena Maduro is bolder.
The story of the Matilde Serena Maduro Toro Bravo is this. It started out with ordinary flavors, then the bitterness developed, the bitterness threw off the flavor profile, and then the cigar became harsh. This is never a good thing. If I am looking at Matilde’s five regular production cigar lines, something has to be at the bottom when they are ranked. The Matilde Serena Maduro is that cigar. The Matilde Serena Maduro Toro Bravo is a cigar I don’t see myself returning to.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Mineral, Cocoa, Cedar, Earth, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Body: Medium (1st third), Medium to Full (Remainder)
Value: Not Recommended
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted