Several weeks ago, completely out of the blue, a box arrived in the mail with a General Cigar mailing label. Inside were three Punch Upper Cuts (which I reviewed recently), and three La Escepción 2009 Batets. Ordinarily I don’t review cigars sent to me without warning, but I was looking at a week without a specific plan, and well, they did send me enough of the same vitola to arrive at some sort of verdict. And as the newest addition to the humidor, they were literally on top of the cigar stack. So why not?
Part of the reason the package included both Punch Upper Cuts and La Escepción 2009’s is that they have a few things in common. Both are relatively new offerings by General Cigar, and each features that exclusive tobacco leaf from the volcanic Ometepe island in Lake Nicaragua. In the Upper Cut, the leaf is used in the filler. In La Escepción 2009, it’s the binder.
As indicated by the footband with the red “2009” on it, La Escepción is a limited annual release. And based on my research, this release differs in available sizes and blends from one year to another. The last time we had a look at the La Escepción line was way back in 2006 when Walt and Jerry reviewed 2005’s Connecticut Broadleaf-heavy “Serie V” edition. Since those early days of Stogie Review, the La Escepción VI was released, and then the line appears to have gone on haitus until last year. Now let’s see if it’s a comeback worth noting, or a familiar name just passing through.
Size: 5 x 54
Wrapper: Honduran Habano Talanga
Binder: Ometepe Nicaragua
Smoking Time: 1 1/4 hours
Source: Sample or Gift
Price: MSRP $5.39
The La Escepción Batet has a really stubby appearance, which I’m sure is due to it’s blunted torpedo cap and hefty 54 ring gauge. Looking the rustic reddish wrapper over, I noticed it had some dark dots and a kind of brushed-looking dark splotching in places. Aside from missing section of leaf along the spiraling end of the wrapper the cigars appeared to be free from superficial imperfections.
The Batets were also without significant veins and very smooth. The wrapper scent was a little unusual. Along with the standard compost element I usually detect, there was a smell that reminded me of something coastal. The kind of funky aroma you notice while collecting seashells. The cold draw tasted like sugary cedar.
It’s hard to find anything about the burning properties of the La Escepción Batet to complain about. The ash was an attractive, uniform, light gray and had surprising strength. With no special treatment, the ash held on the to end of one cigars until the beginning of the final third. Aside from a tight draw in one stick (which was corrected with a slightly deeper cut), the burn was about as close to perfect as you can get.
There was a great deal of caramel and fruit sweetness in the initial third of the La Escepción Batet. It wasn’t long before cedar and a touch of spice began to make an appearance and then a little later, a bit of white pepper.
The second third saw the cedar become more aromatic and prominent, and the fruity caramel flavors start to recede. By the halfway point, caramel was still a significant contributor, but the fruit element was completely gone. And by the end of this third the caramel was also a thing of the past.
As the cigar burned to its conclusion, spicy white pepper was the major component of the flavor and the cedar element was not much more than a hint in the finish.
You know how I love a quality cigar with a budget-friendly price tag. $5.39? That’s what I’m talking about!
How much I enjoyed the La Escepción Batet surprised me, which is no doubt partly due to my lukewarm reception of it’s Ometepe cousin, the Punch Upper Cut. The impressive burn and pleasant flavors made it easy to nub it every time, and there was a little sadness in watching the remnants slowly go out in the ash tray. The cigar seemed to be finished before it’s time. On the hand, the flavors, while enjoyable, weren’t particularly complex, so it is possible that a longer smoke may have lost some of my interest.
While I do see myself smoking more of these cigars in the future, I don’t see that happening in the evening. The La Escepción Batet clocks in as a medium bodied cigar, but some of the flavor elements seem too light to stand up to the heavier food, drink and smoke traffic of the day. I’d recommend trying this cigar, but be sure to do so when you have a clean palate.
Welcome back, La Escepción, it’s nice to see you again.
Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.