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Staff Reviews

Plasencia 1865 Alma Fuerte Generación V Staff Review

Zack D. D's picture

Zack D.

I’m smoking a Plasencia 1865 Alma Fuerte in a large 7 by 58 box-pressed Salomon called the Generación V. This cigar looks impressive and requires a time commitment. If you haven’t smoked it, I’m not surprised. But chances are nearly certain you’ve smoked a cigar from the Plasencia family before. The Plasencia brand has been gaining traction in recent years, but the family is better known for producing cigars for a wide variety of major brands, including Rocky Patel, Romeo y Julieta, and Alec Bradley.


The Plasencias are fifth generation cigar-makers whose forefathers began growing tobacco in Cuba’s famous Pinar del Rio province in 1865. Today, the Plasencias farm roughly 1,400 acres of tobacco in Nicaragua and 1,600 in Honduras. They employ more than 6,000 workers, including 700 cigar rollers in four factories. Nestor Plasencia Sr. and his sons, Nestor Jr., Gustavo, and José Luis Plasencia run the operation. Nestor Jr. uses his background as an agronomist to oversee crop management and production and is considered the face of the Plasencia brand.

When the Placensias debuted their own line of cigars in 2016, they made a statement with 1865 Alma Fuerte, a high-end, small-batch release, priced over $20 per cigar. They wanted to show off what kind of cigars they could make with their finest and oldest tobaccos, and 1865 Alma Fuerte is meant to leave an impression. The critics in Cigar Aficionado included Alma Fuerte in their ‘Top 10 Cigars of the Year’ for 2017. I waited over a month to smoke this cigar until I knew my wife and kids would be out of the house for a few hours, so I could enjoy the whole thing on my front porch without a single interruption.

The Generación V is attractive and intimidating. It reminds of an Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado, another box-pressed Perfecto, but Generación V is bigger, bolder, and darker. An oily, reddish-brown Criollo wrapper leaf conceals a complex blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos from Estelí, Condega, Jalapa, and Ometepe, a volcanic island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua where the Plasencias grow tobacco on the limited area suitable for crops. Alma Fuerte cigars come in black 10-count boxes, and a trio of black and gold cigar bands adorns each smoke.

The Generación V comes to a perfect point at the head, and the cigar swells to a generous thickness before a rugged nipple closes the foot. The wrapper is perfectly smooth and shows no veins or noticeable seams. A close inspection before lighting up reveals a peppery aroma of raisins, hickory, and soy sauce. When I snip the tip off, I can taste notes of wood, mesquite, and black pepper in the cold draw.

Right away, 1865 Alma Fuerte is zesty and dark when I fire up the nipple and start puffing. Strong flavors of cayenne pepper, coffee bean, and smoked pork shoulder burst across my palate and into my nasal cavity. The Generación V is not a cigar you’ll smoke passively. It commands your attention with its taste as much as its shape.

After fifteen to twenty minutes, I’m still engaged with the fattest part of the cigar, and a nice, sweet wave of leather and coffee bean flavor begins to unfold. The cigar’s woody undertones increase in intensity with its spice, but an unexpected floral quality develops in the background as I near the middle portion. Alma Fuerte is an ideal cigar to smoke after a thick steak fresh off the fire. It’s got plenty of oomph to power its way over your palate after a hearty meal or while you’re sipping on whiskey, but it remains smooth.

My only criticism is an occasionally wavy burn. I think the cigar is a complicated shape to make, and the ash gets off track in a few places, but each time, it self-corrects without the aide of my torch lighter. By the time I remove the lower cigar bands to start in on the nub, one and a half hours have passed. I can feel the nicotine sweats kick in. I’m not a slow smoker, and I haven’t had any trouble stretching this cigar into a two-hour extravaganza.

The finish is big and peppery and lands at the fuller end of a medium to full-bodied profile. My advice is to smoke the Alma Fuerte Generación V slowly, or it will creep up on you by the time you’re into the final third. A long and chewy finish of oak, coffee, and spices closes out 1865 Alma Fuerte in this over-the-top format. If you’re into smoking unusual shapes, the Plasencias also make the Alma Fuerte in the Sixto II, a 6 by 60 Gordo pressed into a hexagon. If you haven’t smoked one of the Plasencias’ signature cigars yet, start at the top shelf if you’ve got the money to burn. 


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