Earlier this year I wrote about how for months I searched high and low for a Brick and Mortar that sold Fratello cigars (Fratello Smoke Break With Omar de Frias). After turning over every stone I could, I ended up in W.C. Draper Tobacconist in Washington, DC during the summer of 2015 and I found what I had been searching for…the original Fratello release.
Shortly after my return home…and a month after their second release (the Fratello Bianco) was announced at IPCPR ’15 and hit retail shelves, I learned that owner Omar de Frias had finally infiltrated Tennessee and the lines were available in Nashville. I was pleased and so were cigar consumers in the Mid South. Due to the popularity and rapid growth of the brand in the area, Omar came to visit UPtown’s Smoke Shop in Nashville during the Spring of 2016 to show his appreciation for the support of the Fratello brand. During the “Smoke Break” with the CigaHr staff and other patrons, de Frias dropped a few hints regarding his upcoming project and how excited he was about trying different things in regards to blending and marketing.
Fast forward to July 2016 at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. I had the opportunity to meet the entire Fratello team at their booth in the middle of the IPCPR ’16 trade show floor. In a small and attractive white and red booth there was a display that stood out in the midst of the setup…a metallic gold and glass case with a box of beautifully rolled, Connecticut looking cigar brandishing the diagonal Fratello band we’ve grown familiar with, but in gold. On the foot was a matching gold band with the word, “ Oro”. And there it was, de Frias’ new baby, his newest creation…with a different look, taste, feel and smoking experience than his first two. T’was even different down to the fact that he choose to have it created in a factory from his country of birth, the Dominican Republic.
The Fratello Oro
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
Vitola for Eval: 5 x 50, Robusto
Factory of Origin: La Aurora, Dominican Republic
When aficionados hear the word “Oro”, minds typically focus on the tobacco that bears the name Pelo de Oro, a potent Cuban cigar varietal. The word Oro in Spanish translates to “Golden”, which is fitting as the cigar is wrapped in a golden Connecticut leaf grown in South America. The branding takes it a step further and drives home the 24 Karat point.
Dry drawing and then smelling the foot of the cigar, the Fratello Oro smelled and tasted of sweet cream and woodiness. Looking stereotypically mild due to its light color, the Oro surprises with a good amount of spice and strength from the first light with notes of leather, toast, nuts and oak.
With a great smoke output and quality construction, the second third transitions to a less spicy, smooth and creamy smoke. One thing I’m cognizant of when partaking in Connecticut-wrapped cigars is the balance and whether or not the blend tries to overcompensate strength in the binder and filler to offset the mildness of the wrapper. I did not find this to be the case with the Oro. The longer I smoked, the more balanced the cigar became, ultimately being a mild to slightly medium strength cigar. The final third offered subtle floral notes and a slight spice that rested well on the back of the throat.
When entering a Fratello-carrying Brick and Mortar, the bright yellow Oro displays are hard to miss, so don’t pass it up! The Fratello Oro comes in the same sizes and the original and the Bianco (including the coveted Boxer version), and adds a new vitola to the mix in a NUB-like 4 x 58 Robusto Extra. A good option for the Connecticut lovers among us, the milder addition to the Fratello portfolio does not disappoint and rounds off the collection by offering consumers variety and balance.
The Fratello Oro cigars for this eval were purchased at UPtown’s Smoke Shop in Nashville, TN.