Alma Fuerte kicks off with big bursts of flavor on each puff. Spice is often the most noticeable component on a cigar’s first few puffs, but it’s only a minor player here. There are lots of creams and light, milky chocolate notes, as well as heavily sweetened coffee. The draw is a little tighter than anticipated from the pre-light experience (great, but slightly tighter than perfect—would be nice to have a little more smoke as well).
Interestingly, Alma Fuerte showcases fairly different flavor notes when using small or large puffs. This is due to the cigar heating up more with larger puffs, though the differences aren’t normally so unique. On shorter, smaller puffs, you’ll get smooth flavors of cream, coffee, light mineral, and a long sweetness on the finish. On larger puffs, flavors shift to pine, peppermint, anise, menthol, and white pepper.
The experience hovers around medium strength and medium-plus body, but it is the full flavor that really stands out. Another pleasantry is the freshly cut tobacco against the tongue—giving a bright and citrusy sensation. The construction is good, having a slightly wavy burn but not requiring touchups of any kind. This produces solid ash, with a dusty texture and light gray shade—holding in two to three-inch chunks.
Throughout the cigar’s midsection, any lingering nuances of spice have disappeared, leaving a retrohale that can be fully exhaled without a touch of nostril-tingling zest. It is smooth as butter, allowing for long, slow, and creamy exhales through the nostrils. Flavors are centered around mineral qualities, reminiscent of rain, the smell of a wet basement, and other musty nuances.
Nearing the band, a slight spice returns, giving a zesty, white pepper that is a welcomed change of pace. The spice balances creamy notes of Nutella, hot cocoa powder, and anise. These flavors manage to stray from the off-putting tendencies of dark, charred, and tarry notes that far too many cigars fall prey to in their final puffs—generally around the band. The profile is uncharacteristic as well, with full flavor, medium-plus strength, and full body. It’s a smoking experience that can be nubbed as far as you’re willing to take it.