Posts Tagged With: Altadis

VegaFina 1998 VF52

VegaFina 1998 VF52. Tabacalera, the Spanish tobacco monopoly, founded VegaFina in 1998. Later Tabacalera merged with the French tobacco monopoly SEITA and formed Altadis. And last year, Altadis released the VegaFina 1998 in three sizes to commemorate the fact. The cigars are available on International markets only, and not in the USA. VegaFina has always focussed more on Europe than on the American market anyway. This blend was created by the master blenders with tobacco from five different countries. All the tobacco is aged for at least three years. The VegaFina 1998 is marketed as a premium offering from VegaFina, yet the prices are mid-range.


The complex blend of the cigar forced the blenders to bring their A-game. A dark Ecuadorian wrapper combined with an Indonesian binder from Java. For those that don’t know Indonesia that well, Java is the most populated of the 16.000 islands that make Indonesia what it is. For the last 400 years, tobacco is cultivated after the Dutch colonists brought tobacco seeds from their travels to the Caribbean. Sumatra, about 3 ½ times bigger than Java, is also a well-known tobacco-growing island. The filler comes from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Colombia. For this review, we selected the 5½x52 VF52


The wrapper is dark and oily. It does not have a smooth appearance, but the darkness and oil make up for it. The ring is different than the current VegaFina offerings. No slick logo with the silver VegaFina uses nowadays. This ring looks older. It’s probably the same design as VegaFina used in 1998. A throwback, going with the theme of commemorating the first VegaFina release. The slick black secondary ring with the white 1998 numbers looks good. The cigar has a nice bounce when gently squeezed. The aroma is mild woody.


The cold draw is great. There isn’t much flavor in the cold draw, just peppery wood, but mild. The cigar starts with coffee, green herbs, salt, and wood. The flavors evolve to coffee, wood, leather, and pepper. The mouthfeel is dry. Softwood pepper, spices, coffee, and earthiness. More pepper and some grassy flavors show up, and the cigar tastes a little burned. Halfway there is a mixture of green herbs, pepper, and nuts. The final third has wood, soil, and pepper. For a while, there was some faint vanilla flavor as well. The finale is earthy with pepper, wood, and sweetness.


The draw is a bit on the loose side, yet still acceptable. The ash is frayed. The burn had to be corrected a few times. The smoke is good. This is a medium-bodied, medium flavored cigar. It’s not smooth and the balance is a little off as well. The smoke time is two hours thirty-five.

Would I buy this cigar again? Meh

number89

Categories: 89, Casa de Garcia, Dominican cigars, VegaFina | Tags: , , , ,

VegaFina Year of the Rat Toro

VegaFina Year of the Rat Toro. In the last few years, more and more cigar brands are using the Chinese Zodiac Calendar as a reason to release a limited edition cigar. VegaFina is one of those brands. The Dominican cigars started releasing cigars for the Year Of series with the Year of the Dog. After the Year of the Pig, it’s time for the Year of the Rat. Altadis is part of Imperial Brands, although not for long anymore. Imperial Brands is selling its premium cigar division, which includes the Tabacalera de Garcia factory in the Dominican Republic, their portfolio of brands and their 50% stake in Habanos. According to rumors, a Chinese company acquired the premium cigar division yet by the time of writing this review, nothing has been confirmed.

The cigar measures 5⁹⁄₁₀x52 and it comes with a pigtail. The cigar is made in the Dominican Republic, at Altadis’s Tabacalera de Garcia. Tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic are used for the filler. The binder comes from Nicaragua. Altadis did not reveal from which country the wrapper came. But they did mention it’s a Habano 2000 wrapper.

The cigar looks good. A nice Colorado colored wrapper, oily and smooth. There is one thin, yet very noticeable vein on the back. The regular silver and white ring is used, with the glossy metallic red VegaFina logo. Then there is a secondary ring, red with gold, which represents prosperity and wealth in the Chinese culture. The ring says ‘year of the rat’ and a rat is pictured on the ring as well. The cigar feels a bit hard. The foot of the cigar is cut in a slight angle, making the cigar a leaning tower of Pisa. Now even though that’s an imperfection, we have seen it before with several different brands. The aroma is that of manure and oak. It’s medium-strong.

 

Even though the cigar felt a bit hard, the cold draw is fine. With a flavor of spicy raisins. Once lit, the cigar releases a lot of sweetness, sugar water sweetness. With pepper, green herbs and some coffee. Slowly the cigar gets wood in the flavor palate too. The flavor evolves to nutty toast with soil, leather, pepper, and sweetness. These flavors continue through the first third, with a nice sweet and white pepper aftertaste. The mouthfeel is buttery, creamy. The pepper is very mild and distinct. Halfway the pepper gets more pronounced and a little stronger. The sweetness turns into milk chocolate. The final third is sweet and peppery, with leather, wood, milk chocolate, and grass.

 

The draw is great. And the ash is firm, dense, and white as can be. The smoke is thin too and lacks a bit in volume as well. The burn is pretty straight. This is a medium-bodied, medium flavored cigar. The balance of this cigar is spot on. This cigar would be a good match with a nice smooth sipping rum.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

number91

Categories: 91, Casa de Garcia, Dominican cigars, VegaFina | Tags: , , , , ,

Montecristo Monte Gordo

Montecristo is a household name in the cigar industry and the Montecristo #2 is one of the best known cigars around the world. But that’s the Cuban Montecristo! There’s also a non Cuban Montecristo, like a lot of Cuban brands with non Cuban copycats, although calling them copycats might not be fair as some of the brands were started by the owners of the Cuban counterparts after they had to flee the island when the Castro regime took over. By now all those brands are in the hands of the big players Altadis and General Cigars, which is a part of STG.


This Monte by Montecristo is made in the Dominican Republic for Altadis, owner of the brand. The wrapper is an Ecuadorean Habano, the cigar has a double binder coming from both the Dominican and Nicaragua and Dominican filler tobacco. I don’t know where I got this cigar, it must have been a gift as I would never buy a 6×60 and would stay away from non Cuban counterparts as my experience with those isn’t too favorable, except for the Partagas Spanish Rosado.


The cigar looks good, the size is impressive, intimidating and the medium brown, mild glossy wrapper has a beautiful structure, it looks great. The cigar feels evenly packed and well rolled. The aroma is strong and its like standing in a haystack, dried grass, straw, hay. The ring is glossy brown with a golden line and a flor de lis in the middle, a white circle around it and the letters Montecristo. It looks like the Cuban ring but on glossy paper, a little bigger and the Habana is changed for a curly MC. There is a second ring, glossy black with golden outlines and a red font with golden shadow saying Monte. I feel that the black and the brown don’t match, if I was the designer I would have turned the black into the same brown as the regular Montecristo ring.


Due to the big ring gauge I opted for a punch and the cold draw is fine. I taste a dull sultana flavor with a hint of white pepper. After lighting I taste a honey dipped oak with some fresh chili. The flavors are a bit weak and flat. The honey is the strongest flavor and that’s still mild and muted. After a third the still muted flavors are oak, some pepper, some toast all with a tiny honey twist to it. After a third the pepper grows a bit, the oak is still there with a little bit of lemon.


The draw is fine, a little loose like expected with this 60 ring gauge. I still don’t like this size, anything over 54 is too thick for me. The ash is beautiful, dense, firm and white. The smoke is on the thin side of medium. The burn is a bit off. The cigar is flat, not dynamic but that’s expected of a big ring cigar. I would call this cigar medium bodied and medium flavored. After two hours and ten minutes I still have over an inch left but I’m so bored with this cigar that I tossed it.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, no dynamic, muted flavors. I’d try a smaller ring of the same blend though.

Score: 79
number79

Categories: 79, Dominican cigars, La Romana, Montecristo | Tags: , , ,

VegaFina Sumum 2013

VegaFina, a brand owned by Altadis and made on the Dominican Republic at Casa de Garcia. Now I did smoke a few of the regular VegaFina cigars and was totally unimpressed by those mild and boring Connecticut Shade wrapped cigars that had nothing to offer for me so when someone handed me this 6×55 Sumum 2013 limited edition it ended up in my humidor as I steered away from it just because of the brand name. But now that I’m smoking from my humidor, assorted box by assorted box, for review purposes I ended up with this VegaFina Sumum 2013 as one of the last cigars from the box I wanted to be empty. So here it goes.


While googling the cigar for some information I read something that sparked my interest, the wrapper of the cigar is Cameroon and that is probably my favorite wrapper on the market. I just love the spiciness of it. The binder comes from Nicaragua and the filler is from both Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos. Only 20.000 of these cigars were made, 2000 boxes of 10 cigars, so on hindsight it was a very nice gift that I didn’t appreciate as much as I should have. I’m sorry for that.


The cigar has a medium brown wrapper with very fine tooth and a few veins. Like all Cameroon wrappers it is quite thin. The construction feels good but the head isn’t perfectly round and the cap is a bit sloppy. The aroma is quite strong and all I can say is: manure. The cigar has two rings and they don’t match, the main ring is silver gray with a black lane and gray letters on the side. The front has a black circle with VegaFina logo in silver. The second rind has the same gray outlines with a black line added but the rest of the ring is a dark orange with black letters and doesn’t fit the main ring. The print quality is high though.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is fine without a real flavor. After lighting I taste coffee with some pepper and sugar. After half an inch I taste a nice mild nutty flavor with spices and a faint vanilla. After an inch I taste the herbal spice that the Cameroon wrapper is known for with some wood. Halfway it’s cedar with a lot of pepper. The final third starts with nuts and pepper.


The draw is is great. The ash is amazing, light colored and very dense, also firm. The smoke is medium thick, could be thicker. The draw is fantastic. This cigar is mild to medium bodied and flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, even a Cameroon wrapper can save a VegaFina.

Score: 87
number87

Categories: 87, Casa de Garcia, Dominican cigars, VegaFina | Tags: , , , , ,

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