This week’s cigar is one I’ve really been looking forward to smoking for some time. I was lucky enough to pick one of these high MSRP smokes at last years RTDA, but I’ve been putting off smoking it until I could pick up another and give it a proper review. Finally, after looking around for a deal for nearly a year, I’ve finally been able to acquire a few more without completely demolishing my wallet.
As the story goes, Daniel Nunez stashed around 100 bales of tobacco leaf about 15 years ago without a clear plan in mind for the tobacco. Sometime between 1992 and 2007 he determined to that this geriatric tobacco was destined to wrap a new cigar called Stradivarius de los Maestros. Around 100,000 of these cigars will be produced each year, with a new 15 year old leaf being used in each following year.
Well that just about covers it. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get down to business.
Size: 5 1/2 x 50
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Price: MSRP $32 ($323 per box of 10)
No expense was spared in terms of the visual presentation of these smokes. Each cigar comes in it’s own cedar, slip-apart coffin complete with a wax seal and a ribbon. Sliding the coffin apart, I was a little disappointed to find the cigar sheathed in cellophane. If ever there was a cigar that should be protected in some sort of ornamental paper, this was the cigar. From a visual perspective, I’d have to say I less impressed with this cigar than, say, the similarly entombed Camacho Liberty. It just seems like it’s trying too hard.
With the many layers of decoration removed, the cigar is visually nice to look at. The elderly wrapper is very light in color (Colorado Claro as it’s often referred to) and free of large veins, patches and smooth. The cigars were hard to the touch, however one did have a noticeably softer to the touch. The wrapper scent was a very mild, slightly sweet compost. The cold taste was a little hard to read, it seemed to be a little creamy with a slight sweet berry flavor.
The burn was the first place that I realized the ornate appearance of the unlit cigar wasn’t necessarily going to translate to a superior smoking experience. Right off the bat, both cigars had an pretty uneven burn. In one case, the ash split and flaked a bit. Hoping that it was just a lighting mistake, I continued to monitor the burn. The burn line did improve some, but continued to be uneven for the remainder of both smokes.
Aside from the initial instability of one cigar, the draw was good and the ash was generally solid, though not stable enough to hold more than about a 3/4 inch ash. Both cigars went out in the second third, and the second cigar refused to remain lit in the final third.
Here again is another cigar that’s creamy from start to finish. (I seem to be finding a lot of these cigars recently.) The first couple of puffs presented me with a nice combination of creaminess, nuts, a little bit of aromatic cedar an just a bit of cinnamon. The creamy, nutty flavors continued throughout the first third. But in one cigar, the creaminess had a dustiness to it, in the other, it took on a more savory, buttery flavor. At the end of the first third, I noticed a light coffee sweetness to the the flavor.
The second third saw an appearance of a flavor I could do without: ash. Unfortunately, this ashy flavor wasn’t a momentary visitor, it was there to stay. The unusual flavor had me looking at the cigar several times to make sure I had not accidentally set the head of the cigar down a stray pile of ash. Aside from the unpleasant ash flavor, I also noticed some earthiness and cinnamon an a little bit of wood.
I wasn’t able to get much of a read of the final third for one cigar, as it wouldn’t remain lit, however in one cigar I did get another bit of sweet raisiny sweetness in addition the the creamy, ashy flavor. Just before the end, I did get a little bit of spice also.
Lunacy! I can appreciate the expense of maintaining tobacco in ideal conditions for 15 years, but it was only the wrapper that was maintained for such a long duration of time. Compare the price of this to the Rocky Patel Vintage 1990, which boasts of a comparatively youthful 12 year old wrapper. The difference in prices between these cigars is more than $20! Admittedly, the Vintage 1990 doesn’t travel in the same cedar-boxed style as the Stradivarius, but does that first class ticket equate to a paper portrait of Andrew Jackson? In my opinion no.
I’ve seen a few reviews around the net while I’ve been awaiting my turn to weigh in on the cigar. The verdict seems to be mixed. I’ve seen some good and some bad thoughts on the cigar. But the general consensus seems to be that it’s way over priced. I withheld judgment until I had a chance to check out the cigar. Hey, you never know, it could have been such an outstanding smoke that it overwhelmed my generally frugal nature and had me thinking about buying a box. (I cant really claim to be all that frugal when it comes to cigars, but you know what I mean.) It’s safe to say I wasn’t in any way overwhelmed.
But as you’ve probably guessed, I wasn’t wowed by the flavor or the burn of this cigar. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t find it very enjoyable either. I really could have done without that ashy flavor that seemed to dominate both cigars. And I gotta say, that this did not have the burn of a $30 cigar. It may be a little nit-picky, but a super premium cigar should have a super premium burn. I’ve seen better on a cigar a sixth of the price. So as a result, I can say I don’t plan on buying any more, and I can’t recommend it.
Liked It: Not very much
Buy It Again: No
Recommend It: No
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.