VegaFina Year of the Ox. One of the many brands that create a cigar commemorating the Chinese zodiac calendar. And a fitting review for today as the Year of the Ox starts today. VegaFina joined the brands that celebrate Chinese New Year a few years ago. Last year, Ministry of Cigars reviewed the VegaFina Year of the Rat.
This cigar is big, 6¼x56. Just like Davidoff, who started the Chinese zodiac theme cigars, the people behind VegaFina picked a big ring cigar. Maybe because the Ox stands for strength, and because it’s a big animal? The filler comes from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. The binder and wrapper are Nicaraguan as well. As the wrapper, a Habano 2000 tobacco was chosen. Tabacalera de Garcia takes care of the production of the cigars.
I received the samples naked due to plain packaging regulations. But we know that the cigars have the normal VegaFina ring and the second ring in red. With an ox and Chinese characters in golden print. The cigar looks impressive, not only due to its size. But also due to a nice, chestnut brown and oily wrapper with a few thin veins. The triple cap is a nice bonus. The cigar feels well constructed, with no soft spots at all. The medium-strong smell is a mixture of hay and a little ammonia.
The cold draw is great. There are raw tobacco and sultana flavors. After lighting, the first puffs are a little harsh. Wood, leather, coffee, and pepper. But after a few puffs, the cigar mellows out. Salty, herbal with leather, soil, and wood. Evilution moves on to a herbal, spicy, and salty milk chocolate. The mouthfeel is a bit creamy, and cedar is noticeable in the retrohale. The flavor then becomes spicy with young, wet leather as the base flavor. There is some sweetness. It comes close to agave syrup, the vegan alternative to honey. The sweetness becomes a little stronger. The cigar then moves to licorice, sweetness, leather, and herbs. A little salt ties it all together. The flavors are balanced, smooth yet bold. There are more leather and pepper starts to show up as well. The final third starts with wood and dark spices. There is plenty of cedar as well, although pepper becomes the dominant flavor at the end.
The draw is fantastic, open yet with the right amount of resistance. The ash is light-colored. The light-colored ash is decent yet not very firm. The burn is quite straight. The smoke is okay, but not too thick and plentiful. The cigar starts medium in body but turns to full later on. The flavor is full. The smoke time is three hours and thirty minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? Even though it is a ring gauge too thick for me, yes I will.