Cigars are one of the few vices I have that I make no apologies for. They smell, they fill the room with smoke, they waste countless hours, but since I'm not an avid fisherman it is one of the few things I can waste hours doing and call it "therapy" or "me time". In the last two decades I've had enough "therapy" to maintain a happy balance between going broke from enjoying too many cigars or going to jail for not enjoying them often enough.
Since 2011 one of the "silver bullet" cigars for keeping me calm and out of clock towers has been the LFD "Digger". Basically a larger version of their phenomenal DL700 cigar, this stick requires time....lots of time...to sit back and enjoy. With a burn time in the 2-3 hour range its not something that is "Bogarted" in a hurry after dealing with machining issues or other maladies common in the manufacturing/firearms industry. It is a stogie that you set aside a couple hours to decompress and think about things in life that don't chap your ass like a 60 grit G-string, pretty much some time to think about things besides life.
LFD has a loyal following of people that appreciate full strength cigars and the powerful yet complex flavor and body that go with them. Sort of like a boutique espresso bar in a Starbucks kind of neighborhood it definitely has a niche instead of mainstream sort of clientele.
At 8.5" and 60-ring diameter it is LARGE, not freakish like a Puros Indios "Chief" but definitely on the larger end of the stogie spectrum. Although it is big and imposing, it is truly a work of art and a classic example of the quality that people expect from La Flor Dominicana. Seeing this monster sitting in the humidor tends to get that same sort of concerned look that Tom Hanks had seeing Michael Clarke Duncan (RIP to a fellow cigar connoisseur) in a cell in "Green Mile". Seems like a nice guy but with that immense size and strength you know that if you open that door and you're wrong you'll probably end up half-dead on the floor.
Much like MCD's character, the LFD is a gentle giant but not one to be taken lightly. The strength of the cigar is not for the newbs or those with a weak tolerance for massive amounts of nicotine and flavor. Being hurried with it is a quick way to end up crippled, definitely a cigar to ease into with complete willingness to step away for awhile to regain your bearings. Having two decades of stogie enjoyment under my belt there are few cigars that I let call the shots, the "Digger" is one of them. Don't rush it, take a couple puffs at your leisure and just enjoy the time spent enjoying it.
Initial smell of the unlit stogie belays any initial opinions you had in buying it. A deep rich aroma ripe with oily Dominican tobaccos and hidden ligero goodness. Subtle pepper notes give way to complex earthiness.
Upon lighting there is about 5 minutes of unique chaos and changing tastes as the cigar warms up. After a decent burn has been achieved there is a consistency in flavor and note that tends to be consistent through 90% of the burn with a final crescendo in pepper and potency towards the end. The overall taste is a bit peppery but with deep dark chocolate and chicory notes. The finish is much like eating a small piece of semi-sweet chocolate and chasing it down with a café au lait, absolutely divine.
I would recommend that folks start with an LFD 700 or smaller and work up to this cigar, its a lot of smoke for the unexperienced. It would not take much for someone to get halfway though this stick without being able to finish it. Is this a "daily smoke"? Not really, the time and cost are a bit prohibitive in that regard, but its definitely one that any maduro/ligero cigar connoisseur should have a couple of in their humidor for days when a little extra "therapy" is needed.
Pricing: (8.5/10) LFD's aren't cheap, but they're not exactly expensive for what you're getting. I've paid far more for Davidoffs and other high-end sticks and not been nearly as happy about my purchase as I am with most LFD products. At a street price of about $10/stick and a box price of around $9/each its a very fair price for the quality, and probably a steal if you priced it by the pound.
Flavor: (9.5/10) The flavor from this cigar is as immense as its size, there isn't the heavy aftertaste that requires Scotch or other solvents to clean the palate. As a matter of fact, I usually choose a Pepsi as the beverage to accompany this smoke. The flavors are strong but not overpowering, if you like strong coffee or dark chocolate, you'll have no problem with this cigar. The chocolate/pepper/chicory combination is extremely well blended.
Construction: (10/10) Very well rolled, the detail put into rolling these cigars is definitely top notch. No voids, "canoeing", or any other issues common with poorly rolled stogies. With the length, diameter, and density, it takes a moment or two to get the initial burn even, but that is to be expected with a cigar of that length. Once warmed up, it will burn very evenly until you singe your fingertips or tap out.
"Wheelchair Weed" Factor: (10/10) As with most LFD cigars, it is better to err on the side of caution when smoking this. I spent just under 3 hours smoking this one and when I got out of my desk chair, my first couple steps were probably about as unstable and comical as a drunk chick in high heels. Its been almost eight hours since I finished the Digger and I feel no desire to fire up another stogie today, still "comfortably numb" and relaxed. Of all the cigars I've smoked over the years, this is one of the few that I still am very cautious with. The potency of this cigar is such that you really want to take your time and not rush it. Anything less that 2-1/2 hours is asking for punishment.