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Staff Reviews

Don Lino Dark Horse Robusto Staff Review

Grant T. Thompson's picture

Grant T.

Today’s review showcases the appropriately named Don Lino Dark Horse Robusto. This svelte 5 x 50 specimen is no slouch. Quite the contrary. It’s a bona fide, perennial favorite among frugal aficionados who routinely sing the praises of this budget-friendly brand like a canary basking in the sunlight. I can’t sing and, truth be told, I couldn’t carry a note in a paper bag. But, I can tell you about cigars that fight well-above their weight class. The Don Lino Dark Horse Robusto I’ve selected for this staff review is a case in point.

My first encounter with Don Lino cigars coincided with the Cigar Boom of the 1990s. It was one of the few brands that was stacked deep and sold cheap. Because they were readily available, Don Lino cigars were the ideal way to stretch my budget and quell my gluttonous consumption. Pour yourself a few fat fingers of your favorite adult beverage and join me once again for a no-holds-barred analysis of a nostalgic brand.

After procuring a 20-count factory-fresh bundle of Dark Horse direct from the Bundle Heaven annex in our giant humidified warehouse, I expediently retreat to my office to chronicle my smoking experience which kicks off with a ritual pre-light inspection.

At first glance, Don Lino Dark Horse is quite the looker. An unctuous gingerbread-hued Ecuador Habano wrapper swaddles a well-aged assemblage of vintage Dominican and Nicaraguan long-fillers. The cigar has a few visible veins and a nearly seamless cap. It offers the perfect resistance with no detectable soft spots from head to foot. The pre-light aroma reveals appealing notes of cedar and earth with a fleeting, nose-tingling spice. The cold draw ushers in a trilogy of earth, raisin, and citrus notes.

Complete combustion occurs instantaneously courtesy of my double-flame torch lighter. The smoke is voluminous with a sweet room note reminiscent of an old-time tobacco shop. The Initial profile transitions from earthy and sweet notes of alfalfa to dark impressions of Dutch cocoa and pepper.

After about fifteen minutes, I tap off the cigar’s steadfast ash to perform a minor touch-up with my lighter. Dark Horse burns fairly quick for such a densely packed, well-humidified Robusto. No noticeable changes in flavor take place over the next twenty minutes, at which point I let the cigar extinguish itself in the ashtray.

Although I generally prefer pepper-laden, full-bodied cigars, Don Lino Dark Horse delivers a solid medium-bodied profile at its peak. I often say cash is king, but consistency comes in second with a close photo-finish. For less than $2 per cigar – and frequently eligible for free shipping on your entire order – you won’t find a better long-filler Dominican cigar to add to your stable than Dark Horse. Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, and tweet at your cyber cronies – Don Lino Dark Horse is a sure-fire bet!

Until next time, long ashes to you!

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