The cigar up for review this week is probably one you’ve never seen before. Well, unless you happen to enjoy puffing your evenings away at the Velvet Cigar Lounge in New York City. That’s because the Medium Bodied Selection is a house cigar. But before you write this review off or start looking for cheap tickets to New York, have no fear, they do accept orders online. This isn’t me just saying nyah-nyah, look what I smoked. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.
When the folks at Velvet Cigar asked me if I wanted to try out their house cigars, it goes without saying I was interested. My favorite cigar to smoke is always the one I’ve never had before. (Second favorite, the one I’m smoking now.) But I was still curious to know a little more about these smokes before I lit them up. Here’s what they told me:
Our cigars are handrolled by a vertically integrated Dominican family that has been in the business for over 3 generations, owning and cultivating the same tobacco farm over the years.
So not a lot of background, but enough to tell us that this isn’t yet another new creation of the prolific Don Pepin Garcia. And since the farm all comes from a single family farm, it could be pretty interesting. Let’s check it out.
Size: 6 1/2 x 52*
Wrapper: Cuban-seed Dominican
Binder: Cuban-seed Dominican
Filler: Cuban-seed Dominican
Smoking Time: 1 3/4 hours
Price: $11.00 in store, $9.35 online
* Sticks actually measured 6 1/4 x 52
The Medium Bodied Selection is a substantial, rustic looking cigar with a classy, if a little understated band bearing the Velvet name in gold script. I noticed as picked up the first uncellophaned smoke that the wrapper between the prominent veins had a great feel to it, like soft fabric. I picked up another to look it over and I noticed it was a little rougher, caused by a considerable amount of tooth in the wrapper.
As I mentioned, these cigars have prominent veins, with a twisted appearance, which contributed to their rustic appearance. Additionally each cigar had minor, superficial quirks, a small tear here a few tiny water spots there, but no significant imperfections or patches.
To the touch, they were fairly firm, but I noticed a softer spot in the middle of one cigar. The scent on the wrapper was a reminiscent of a smoky beef jerky and compost, and the cold taste as chocolaty.
These cigars burned very nicely. While I watched the solid, light gray ash evenly grow longer and longer I was reminded of the Krisoff Maduro’s burn in a review about a year ago. Though the burn line wasn’t quite as razor straight as that burn (it was unnatural, I tell ya!), this cigar had the benefit of a better (meaning looser) draw.
And I have to say, setting your torch down once the cigar is lit and forgetting about it is refreshing. No touch ups, no relights, just smoke.
The cigars opened with a great rich, creamy chocolate flavor that stuck around for a few puffs, and was quickly replaced with a very clear, prominent sweet almond flavor. As the burn progressed the almond flavor seemed to fade and was overtaken by chocolate, caramel and even some raisin-like sweetness just before the second third.
The flavor remained sweeter in the second third, often simply syrupy, but at one point there was the clear taste of honey in the finish. The chocolate flavors from the previous third evolved into a darker flavor (occasionally like bitter chocolate) and was joined by wood and just a bit of coffee here and there.
The biggest difference between the second and final thirds is that the sweetness was gone, leaving wood and chalky and bitter chocolate notes to bring the show to a close.
You probably had a look at the cigar stats above and are wondering, is it $11 or $9.35 a stick? That depends. If you walk into the Velvet Cigar Lounge to buy one they’re $11, if you order them online (which involves emailing them) there is a 15% discount. (Though I don’t see that noted on the website.)
Yes, it is a little on the pricey side, especially for people watching their money closely. I can say that the Medium Bodied Selection Torpedo definitely has quality befitting a cigar in the ten dollar plus price range. At $9.35 (or less depending on how many you buy) I’m on the fence. It’s less than ten which puts it in my “occasional buy” range, but higher than my “heavy rotation smoke” price. The upside is the smaller, easier to make vitolas fall in price significantly. (And I do like coronas when time is limited!)
One of the downsides to smoking new cigars from unknown manufacturers is that you never know what you’re in for. You hope to discover a great new cigar, and pray you avoid the proverbial dog rocket. I’m happy to say that this is one of those times you hope for. The Velvet Cigar Lounge’s Medium Bodied Selection Torpedo was a pleasure to smoke, and a cigar I look forward to smoking again. (I should have asked for more samples for a super thorough review!) Though it might not be potent enough for folks who enjoy a good kick from their evening smoke, I could see myself enjoying this smoke any time of the day.
Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Very likely
Recommend It: Yes, try a six pack on for size
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.