Last week when I said that the upcoming Montecristo Epic 2007 marked the beginning of a push by Altadis into the boutique cigar market, I may have gotten that wrong. That push probably started with the cigar I’m reviewing this week, the new (or new-ish) limited edition VegaFina Sumum Edicion Especial 2010.
A name and a logo are just about all this cigar shares with the mild VegaFinas that have been around for years. The Sumum features a stronger, fuller blend with a completely different flavor profile. And it’s single available size (5 x 54) has a considerably larger ring gauge than it’s namesake. You add it up, the thicker vitola, the darker Ecuadoran Cubano wrapper, and the medium plus body, and you have a cigar that may just grab the attention of today’s boutique smoker. But question is, will it keep that attention once they try it? I have no doubt the Sumum will, as the name implies, take the title of the greatest VegaFina, but will that translate into grabbing significant space boutique lovers’ humidors? Let’s find out.
Size: 5 x 54
Wrapper: Ecuadoran Cubano
Binder: Santa Domingo
Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Peru
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Source: Purchased by reviewer*
Price: MSRP $6.75
* The sticks I smoked for this review were purchased, but Altadis also sent me samples.
The VegaFina Sumum certainly has a promising appearance. Under dual silver bands lies a dark, oily chocolate brown wrapper, often with fine tooth, mostly finer veins and topped with a large triple cap. There were no flaws on my review sticks, they were firm, consistent, and seemed a little heavy for the size. The wrapper had a compost and chocolate aroma with a touch of molasses sweetness, and there was even more molasses in the cold draw, which at times seemed a little snug.
I had to be cautious during the first half inch of the Sumum. No matter how well it was lit to start, if I didn’t keep a close eye on it, it would burn crookedly or go out. After that sometimes shaky start, the Sumum burned well and evenly, produced attractive long ashes. And though cold test foreshadowed possible draw issues, I wouldn’t describe it tight. In all, it burned well.
The Sumum began with a rich earth and molasses sweetness, a combination that held court for the entire initial third, with chocolate in a supporting role. The almost gritty mouth feel during this portion of the cigar reminded me a little of a T52. Along the way I picked up occasional smoky notes of coffee.
Gone was the heavy, gritty mouth feel, as the earth scaled back considerably in the second third. The rich molasses gave way to lighter, coffee, syrup and nougat flavors. The body seemed to lighten for a while, but began to build again a little way in.
The earthy grittiness made a bit of a comeback as the Sumum entered the final third, but it was overshadowed by a new toasty-woody flavor combination. The sweetness also vanished after a few sharp tart notes, and there was a slight musty quality to the remainder.
The price is right. No complaints here.
As I said at the beginning, there’s no doubt this is best VegaFina your money can buy right now. (I missed the VegaFina Jose Seijas 2011 edition, so I can’t speak to that.) But that’s hardly a fair fight. Speaking more generally, the VegaFina is a solid medium-bodied cigar, with an enjoyable flavor profile at a very comfortable price. I don’t see it making any top ten lists or becoming a go-to smoke, but I’ve smoked through half a dozen of them, and will probably continue to pick up a stick from time to time until they run out. And there’s nothing wrong with that. If you like what you hear and haven’t tried one yet, you should still be able to find them without too much difficulty.
Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes
Not long after I bought a handful of Sumums for this review, Altadis surprised me with a three-pack box in the mail. I could smoke them, I thought, but they’d also be perfect for a giveaway. To win the three pack, all you have to do is leave a comment below. In a week or so, I’ll pick a winner. Make sure you use a valid email address so I can contact you.
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.