So a few weeks ago on Twitter the person who handles the account for Gran Habano Cigars reached out to me and asked if I would like to be on a tasting panel for the pre-release of the Azteca which is their new Maduro. Having liked the cigars produced by them in the past I jumped on board. I smoked one the day they arrived and this is the 3rd one I am smoking. The good news is that I have been reaching for these cigars not letting them sit and dreading reviewing them.
The following is the information that Gran Habano sent out to retailers, “From the Americas to your palate comes the Gran Habano Azteca. Nestled in the San Andres valley of Vera Cruz Mexico, kissed by the sun, lays the oily goodness of the Double Maduro wrapper and binder that forms the body of the Azteca. Continuing our journey further south to round out this taste explosion of richness are the countries of Panama and Nicaragua, who proudly supplied this cigar with its smooth burning fillers. As fierce as an Aztec warrior is the flavor of this complex cigar. So if you fancy a tasty journey down Mexico way, and have an itch for the exotic tobaccos of Central America, then light up this globetrotting stick today!”
Cigar: Gran Habano Azteca
Size: 6 x 54 (Toro)
Wrapper: Mexico (San Andres Maduro)
Binder: Mexico (San Andres)
Filler: Panama & Nicaragua
Appearance and Construction (18/20): Being that this product is not yet out the samples I have received are without a band. The wrapper of the cigar is sweating oils and to me that is always a sign of good things to come. There are very few veins present and this well packed cigar is rolled exquisitely right down to its perfectly placed flat cap. The foot of the cigar has a slight sponginess to it and looks well packed with a nice bunching.
Flavor & Notes (27/30): The foot of the cigar offers a distinct note that I associate with the Rico family. While it is chocolate-esque it has something else added to it that I just label as a Rico trademark. The draw has a sweetness to it that reminds me of apricot nectar. Once lit the cigar reminds me of a classic Maduro. The first third offers notes of chocolate and wood with some spice through the nose. As we get near the second third of the cigar there is a faint sweetness remaining but the dominant notes here is leather and a mild spice. The final third of the cigar the notes of chocolate return with some spices and some coffee thrown in on the finish.
Smoking Characteristics (23/25): I had a case of butterfingers when I lit this cigar. I dropped it and and my heavy crystal ashtray landed right on top of it. The wrapper didn’t even suffer a blemish. The medium color ash was very strong where I only ashed twice during the 5+ inches that I smoked. The draw was a little bit tough during the lighting process but it opened right up as I smoked it. The burn line was slightly jagged but never once showed signs of getting out of control. Lastly, there was a lot of volume when it came to the smoke which is something I like in a cigar.
Overall (22/25): I am not really a fan of Mexican tobacco. For me I identify the tobacco with Te-Amo which I know is unfair. So needless to say I was shocked that I have enjoyed these samples as much as I did. The cigar isn’t a strong knock you on your ass cigar that Maduro smokes have become lately. Instead this is a throwback of sorts to what a Maduro should be. For that I give props to Gran Habano cigars for having the courage not to succumb to the trend that has over-taken the Maduro market.
Disclaimer: This cigar may or may not be the finished product. Gran Habano Cigars may tweak it a bit based upon feedback others provide. If all positive, the cigar should be out in April or May.