Dapper Cigar Co. "La Madrina Shade" Review: A Sophisticated Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

The first time I smoked the Connecticut Shade-wrapped version of the cigar we will be discussing today, it didn't floor me with intensity. 

Perhaps it was the fact that I was chiefing damn near a dozen sticks a day due to it being the annual PCA Trade Show. Maybe it was the asinine amount of alcohol still swimming in my system from the night prior. Hell, it may have been the fact that I started my day with this stick and my taste buds were still snoozing.

Whatever it was, I found the "La Madrina Shade" by Dapper Cigar Co. to be delicious, but anything but an ass-kicker. It packed some strength, sure, but it wasn't rocking me with anything beyond mid-medium potency.

And then I smoked another one a few weeks back, and HOLY $#*% did this blend bury me in bold flavors. Strong enough to make an impact, yet smoother than a sheep-suited wolf on a Saturday night, this shady smoke scored a slew of winning marks upon review. 

But was it enough to surpass the kick-ass "Cubo Sumatra" from Dapper Cigar Co. that I reviewed a few weeks prior? Guess ya'll are just going to have to find out...


[Buy 5 Pack]

Unlit Impressions

Dapper Cigar Co. La Madrina Shade

Skeletal hand outreached, with grasped rose toward the center, and gold embossing surrounding it all, Dapper lives up to its name once again in the quality of the banding and branding portion.

Construction is meticulous and free from flaws, the structure is solid yet just supple enough, and hot damn do the aromas from the foot tempt you from the first whiff. There's a bold spiciness there that is much darker than average, with just a twinge of sweet depth to finish things out.

Is that dark dried fruits and candied almonds? Or perhaps a bit of mulled wine spice with a touch of doughy biscuit? There's something brewing deep within the foot of this cigar, and it demands to be released.

Initial Smoke 

Dapper Cigar Co. La Madrina Shade

Don't worry folks. This cigar won't knock your dachshund in the dirt at first puff. The weenie-punching part comes later.

Instead, there's a traditional Connecticut Shade beginning to the cigar that touches your palate with glancing blows of white pepper and a medium-minus Nicaraguan tobacco earthiness. A tasty start that is still considered tame by most standards. 

1st Half 

Dapper Cigar Co. La Madrina Shade

By the time the stark-white ash strikes the first centimeter or so, this smoke bumps everything up a good bit. The mouth becomes slathered with mellow graham cracker crust pie spice flavors, followed by a yeasty, artisanal bread-like taste that is tart and very doughy. The latter which I found to be strikingly similar to a well-balanced slice of sourdough with a dab of sweet cream butter spread on top. 

Strength increases as the blend burns too, with peppery retrohales and a darker undertow of rich, sun-grown tobacco spurning it onward. 

2nd Half    

Dapper Cigar Co. La Madrina Shade

Pushing complexity in a slightly different direction, the second half of this blend brings about bits of vanilla bean, some saltine cracker crunch and dry salinity, and the bittersweet taste of melon rind. 

Gone is the graham cracker crust taste, leaving the sourdough starter yeastiness and sweet butter notes to do their job as the foundation for these new flavors. Another upward tick in strength sends this blend into Medium+ territory, while flavor and body maintain a medium profile.

Well-built would be the best way to describe this section of the cigar.

Parting Puffs   

Dapper Cigar Co. La Madrina Shade

At the start of parting puffs, a dark, almost burnt toast taste develops. Luckily, the resins within the filler blend and binder leaf create this mellow, caramelized sugar note to offset this bitterness and char.

Wood tannin tastes from every angle roll in as well, along with a certain spiciness that is bordering on red pepper heat, but still keeps within the familiar black & white peppercorn wheelhouse.

Flavor and intensity are almost full-strength by this point, but still extremely smooth, so the "La Madrina Shade" receives a Medium+ rating in my book as it crosses the finish line.

Ash / Burn / Smoke / Draw   

Dapper Cigar Co. La Madrina Shade

A half-dozen sticks in, and I have yet to encounter a single smoke from Dapper Cigar Co. that needs a touch-up. The "La Madrina Shade" is no different, with impeccable burn lines, slow combustion rates, and an ash that is worthy of applause being its most impressive physical components. 

Sadly, the wrapper began to fray after the band was discarded, even though it appeared intact upon removal. The blend still burned well but became quite unsightly in parting puffs.

Smoke levels were also a bit on the tepid end, even with a guillotine cut. Remember, every cigar that rocks a Dapper cigar band is draw-tested at the factory, so my review stick must have been borderline passable.

Final Thoughts 

Dapper Cigar Co. La Madrina Shade

I have to give a massive amount of praise to Dapper Cigar Co. for pulling off this blend.

It's strong, but not too strong. Doughy and tart where it needs to be, buttery at times, and almost completely caramelized at others. Rolling in complexity one minute, while keeping things straightforward and familiarly Connecticut Shade the next. 

Even though I would have liked to have received more of those nutty, caramel sub-notes from the start, and that surprisingly tight draw was frustrating at first, I can't complain much.

This is yet another outstanding premium cigar blend from Dapper that does not disappoint, and it demands to be on every Connecticut Shade fan's must-smoke list. Just be sure that you are down with a bit of potency to go with that silky Connecticut Shade Ecuadorian wrapper before you begin.


Dapper Cigar Co. La Madrina Shade

Cigar Stats 


Dapper Cigar Co. "La Madrina Shade"


Connecticut Shade (Ecuador)


Super-Duper Top Secret


Nicaragua/Dominican Republic/USA




5" x 50 "Robusto"



Pairing Drink

Spiked Sun Tea w/ Lemon



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