With this year’s IPCPR trade show looming on the horizon, details on new cigars and sample pre-release sticks have been making the rounds. One of the early release cigars that has been spotted online a lot recently is the El Primer Mundo Liga Miami. And thanks to Sean Williams, owner of the brand, and fellow Atlanta resident, I’ve been given the opportunity to check it out a little early.
The Liga Miami stands apart from El Primer Mundos other lines in several ways. The most significant of these is that it’s made by Willy Herrera of El Titan de Bronze on Calle Ocho in Miami. But it’s not just different tobacco and a different set of hands rolling the cigars, they are actually constructed differently as well. The filler is bunched using the entubado method (also referred to as “entubar”), meaning that every filler leaf is painstakingly rolled into a tube. The point of all the extra time and effort is to ensure the finished cigar has a good draw. Additionally, to hold the filler in place, two binder leaves are used, which an unusual step that I’m told makes rolling the cigar easier.
There are cosmetic differences to the Liga Miami as well. One of the most obvious is that these cigars do not feature the gentle box press that the El Primer Mundo smokes are known for. I asked Sean why that was, and he told it was because he was trying to go with a more traditional Cuban theme with the Liga Miami. This approach influenced some other differences, including the unvarnished cigar boxes, and uncellophaned sticks.
At the moment, only the toro vitola (6 x 52) have been produced and these are actually available at a limited number of shops around the country already, even though the line’s official release is at IPCPR. Sean and Willy are in the process of extending the line to include robustos (5 x 52) and churchills (7 x 49). As previously mentioned, the cigars will come uncellophaned and in unvarnished boxes of 20.
Before we get into the review, I should point out that these cigars are samples, and as such may have have suffered a bit as result of their travel. And to complicate things further, I’ve given them very little time to recover. Additionally, I consider Sean and Willy friends, and while I hope these high-rises of humanity have a another hit on their hands, (these guys are seriously the tallest two in any room) I’ll do my best to remain objectively subjective with this review. Disclaimer done, now let’s burn the Miami Line.
Size: 6 x 52
Wrapper: Ecuadoran Sungrown
Binder: Nicaragua (2 Binders)
Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua (3 Ligeros)
Smoking Time: 2 hours
Source: Samples from El Primer Mundo
Price: MSRP $9.50
When Sean changed the picture associated with his twitter account a while back, I was puzzled. The colors were all wrong. A band with a brown background instead of black or red, and silver borders. But now that I see the Liga Miami, it makes sense. The brown background is almost exactly same shade as the Ecuadoran Sungrown leaf, and silver adds a little flash without being over the top. Taken together with the finely veined wrapper and the well-applied triple cap, it’s a pretty good looking stick.
They weren’t obvious, but there were a few small surface flaws on a couple of the cigars. A little hole near the second band on one, and a small tear peaking out from under the spiraling edge of the wrapper on another.
The sticks ranged from firm to rock solid to the touch and had a pronounced compost wrapper aroma. The cold taste was a complete surprise. It was a combination of light cream and woody caramel sweetness. I’ve heard it described as tasting like “cotton candy”, which might be a stretch, but it’s less far-fetched than it sounds.
Even without taking into consideration the less than ideal sample storage conditions, the cigars burned very well. The most significant issue I experienced was the need to correct a few uneven burns. Otherwise, the draw was good, the ash was attractive and solid, and the cigar produced a good volume of smoke.
The liga Miami did have one impressive characteristic that bears mention, it burns very slowly. Ordinarily I’d finish a cigar of this size in around two hours. These consistently lasted longer than that, generally clocking in at around two and a half hours at my normal review-smoking speed.
My initial impression of the Liga Miami was one of roasted nuts, a vegetal component and caramel sweetness. As the third progressed, roasted nut with a subtle woody finish became the dominant flavor, and the vegetal component faded early pretty quickly. Sweetness and creaminess made occasional appearances as well.
In the second third, the cigar took on a more prominently woody characteristic that was often slightly creamy. Sometimes it was a very pronounced cedar, and at others it was a more general wood with a little of the roasted nut flavor. A little later, a slight cherry sweetness began to accompany the wood.
Cedar continued to be a major flavor player in the final third, with a little chocolate and more of the roasted nuts appearing from time to time.
I’ll admit to being momentarily disappointed the Liga Miami isn’t in line price-wise with the other El Primer Mundo lines. It has them beat by a few dollars a stick. However, it isn’t unreasonable, when you consider that it’s made in Miami (which is more expensive than Nicaragua) and that the entubado bunching process requires more time and effort than other methods.
The Liga Miami is a slow burning, great tasting cigar that was a pleasure to smoke each time I lit it up. I definitely look forward to seeing these on the shelves soon. And really, there isn’t much more to say than that. I recommend giving it shot when you have a chance. If you happen to be attending the Twitter BOTL Cocktail Hour in New Orleans, your chance will come next Wednesday. But a word of warning to people who like their cigars mild, there are three ligero leaves in this stick.
Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.