Cigar Review: El Gueguense Macho Raton by Foundation Cigars

The El Gueguense line was one of the first cigars I had from Foundation. I instantly fell in love with the medium-bodied blend and the company. If there was one cigar I would tell people to buy if they are just starting to smoke cigars, it is the El Gueguense in Corona. It is balanced, just a tad spicy, and smooth. The Perfecto vitola is one of the harder shapes to roll, but if it is rolled right, it offers more pronounced transitions and the ability to taste more of the wrapper in the beginning/end and more of the filler in the middle. When the Macho Raton was released I was instantly excited and could not wait to get my hands on some. 

OVERVIEW

VITOLA:   Perfecto
SIZE:   4.75″ x 60

ORIGIN:   Nicaragua
FACTORY:  Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (Aganorsa)

WRAPPER:   Nicaraguan Corojo 99
BINDER:   Mexican San Andres
FILLER:   Nicaraguan

STRENGTH:   Medium

SOURCE:   
Retailer

ENVIRONMENT

WHERE:   
Back porch

WHEN:   
22 September 2023

DRINKS:   
Black coffee

WEATHER:   
Sunny and warm

HOW MANY CIGARS SMOKED:   
5

PRODUCTION

RELEASE TYPE  Limited Release

ORIGINALLY RELEASE DATE  Summer 2022

TOTAL PRODUCTION
Typical Box Size:     Boxes of 12
Production Totals:  Unknown

VITOLA BREAKDOWN
o Perfecto  (4-3/4″ x 60)
o Lancero (7-1/2″ x 40)
Churchill (7″ x 48)
Torpedo (6-1/4″ x 52)
Toro Huaco (6″ x 56)
Robusto (5-1/2″ x 50)
Corona Gorda (5 5/8″ x 46)

BAND DESIGN

Foundation always has great design in their bands. This particular cigar is no different, you have the standard El Gueguense band with gold and light blue colors really catching your eye with the addition of the limited edition Macho Raton band. I will say that the blue in the Macho Raton band does not match the main band and it is annoying.

PRE-LIGHT OBSERVATIONS

CONSTRUCTION

The cap on the cigar is kind of sloppy, and there are some parts that are raised and wrinkled. The foot is kind of the same way and when looking at the Tobacco inside, it is so tightly bunched that it almost looks like one solid piece of tobacco. Moving up from the foot, the pack is very hard and very dense. When squeezing more towards the head of the cigar it gets a little looser, and I wouldn’t say that there is a soft spot, but it’s a little more spongy to the touch.

AROMA

The aroma on the body of the cigar smells like the hippo house at the zoo. A very pungent barnyard mixed with a worn leather. The foot and the leather note are amped up a little with a little pepper coming in on the back end.

COLD DRAW

The draw is crazy tight, I am getting all the resistance. The notes on the cold draw are hard to point out but I am getting a feint prune mixed with cayenne and sweet tobacco.

SMOKING EXPERIENCE

LIGHT & DRAW
Cut:  Straight
Fire:  Three-burner torch

Right off the light up the draw is still tight. I am triple puffing just to get very little smoke but it is starting to open up little by little. There were some very bitter ashy notes when the draw was really tight. As it opens up in under a minute there is a bitter chocolate note with some semi sweet cream. The retro has a chalkiness that lingers until the next draw. The finish is like a numbing pepper mixed with a leather note.

SMOKE

Since the draw is so tight, it is hard to say what the smoke output will be like but this has happened for nearly all of the samples. There is better smoke output later on but the Macho Raton really makes you work for it. 

FIRST THIRD
>> Dry Earth, Leather, Chalky Tobacco

For most of the first third, the draw remained tight, and just when it started to piss me off it opened up. The burn is by no means straight but I am really just hyper-focused on the draw. I’ve had this issue with all of the samples and some were worse than this and did not correct until almost the last third. Luckily, this is not the case for the review Stick. The burn is correcting itself and I’m getting large plumes of smoke. The ash is kind of flaky with big chunks of unburnt wrapper flying off here and there. The main flavors are milk chocolate and light leather. The leather amplifies the finish by mixing with dry earth. The retro stings the nostrils just a bit and smooths out to a chalky tobacco note. By the end of the first third, the draw becomes something I expect from foundation cigars. Possibly leaving this cigar out for 10 to 15 min may help the draw in the beginning.

SECOND THIRD
>> Chocolate, Leather, Cherry

The burn remains wavy but no need for touch-ups. The ash is just as flaky as the first third. The base of chocolate and leather are still present. The chocolate note is like milk chocolate with very little sweetness and not-so-creamy milk. Like a skim milk chocolate. The leather keeps me interested as it morphs into a black pepper mixed with a bitter cherry on the finish. The chalkiness is still present on the finish leaving my mouth dry. The retro is turned up a notch with a peppery, leather and earth combo. The Macho Raton is definitely a medium-bodied cigar.

FINAL THIRD
>> Cayenne, Chocolate Cream, Marzipan

Heading into the last the draw opens way up as expected from the spongy feel before light up. Big plumes of smoke, and a slightly straighter burn appear. The flakiness continues, but the flavors get better. The milk chocolate note gets sweeter and creamier. The leather takes a back seat and makes room for a peppery sweet cream. The leather note slaps your palate on the finish with the help of a sharp cayenne pepper. Also on the finish is a feint sweet marzipan mixed with pepper and earth.

RATING & FINAL THOUGHTS

FLAVOR PROGRESSION

This cigar opened up at the end. All of the flavors remained similar throughout the smoking experience and the last third offered the most variety and interesting flavors. I wish there was more of the last third.

BURN EXPERIENCE

The construction of this cigar was just ok. While I did not have to touch it up, the burn was wavy for most of the smoking experience. I didn’t like the tightness of the draw and the flakiness of the ash in nearly all the samples. I expected more from this cigar, and maybe that was wrong of me to do, but I prefer the corona vitola over this any day of the week.

RATING BREAKDOWN
0.60 / 0.80 … Craft & Aesthetic
0.40 / 0.50 … Pre-Light Characteristics
0.45 / 0.50 … Lighting Process
6.30 / 7.70 … Smoking Experience
0.25 / 0.50 … Personal Enjoyment

COMPLIMENTS & CRITIQUES

Good, Not Great.

I liked this cigar but did not love it. I remember the first time I smoked an El Gueguense; it was my favorite next to the Tabernacle. I had high hopes for this Vitola as other cigars like the Tabernacle David and Goliath or the Liga Privada Feral Flying Pig are similar cigars that I really enjoy. Having smoked 5 of these I can’t say that I will ever smoke this cigar again.

SIMPLY STOGIES RATING:  8.0 / 10.0

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