Cigar Review: Red Lion

The band of the Red Lion denotes that this is the King of Cigars and that alone is enough to leave anyone intrigued. During a recent trip to Tobacco Plaza in Great Neck, NY I heard many of the customers rave about this stick in the 6 x 60 format and it had me curious enough to try. So at a recent visit I picked up a couple to try.

The cigars are made by Heavenly Cigars and to be honest this is a company I knew very little about. I knew they had made flavored cigars and that was about it. According to the press release, “It took several tries over the years, before I felt the blend was worthy of its title, ‘King of Cigars.’ Our master blender in Nicaragua met our strict standards for this important new product category from Heavenly Cigar. The fine-tuning of the complex five-nation blend and smoothing out its power was a real achievement. Two wrapper choices are available: a Connecticut broadleaf Maduro and an Ecuadorean-grown Habano Rosado.

Cigar connoisseurs will be especially pleased by the depth and harmony of the blends. The power is tamed, but not at the expense of its richness. I selected the Rosado wrapper for its character and spicy finish … it also has a lustrous, reddish sheen that reflects the Red Lion theme. A Brazilian binder, combined with a Nicaraguan, Honduran and Dominican filler, rounds out both cigars’ blends.”

Red Lion is available in a 4.5″ x 48 Robusto, a 5.5″ x 52 Torpedo, and a 6″ x 60 Toro Gordo. Manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing falls competitively into the mid-priced-cigar range. The oak-stained, split-top box presentation holds 20 Robustos or Torpedos, or 15 of the larger Toro Gordos.

Although the blends are all new, Red Lion has been in the company’s portfolio since Heavenly Cigars’ beginnings in 1999. “But, we offered it only as a special-order item,” reports Phillips, “ and didn’t actively promote it. Now, with a fresh, new blend and packaging, Red Lion is springing into the market, and we’re confident the product and timing are right.”

So now the question is, does this cigar deserve the title “King of Cigars”?

Cigar: Red Lion
Size: 6 x 60 (Toro Gordo)
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Brazillian
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran and Dominican
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Red Lion

Red Lion

Appearance and Construction: A hearty looking cigar that is loaded up with oils with some tooth to the wrapper draws the eye to the cigar. There is a nice weight to it, and it feels well balanced in the hand. There are no soft spots and the foot of the cigar is well packed. The wrapper has quite a few thin veins but none that take away from the beauty of the stick. The band which features a logo of a Red Lion and the words King of Cigars sets the bar high for expectations.

Flavor & Notes: The foot of the cigar serves up some notes of cedar and mocha while the draw offers some dark chocolate with a touch of caramel. The prelight of the cigar holds up well to the moniker King of Cigars so I eagerly light the stick with my single torch lighter. The first third of the cigar served up some quick bursts of notes that fade from the palate quickly failing to hold on. The notes were delicious but short lived and consisted of cedar earth and spice. As we enter the 2nd third of the cigar the notes begin to engulf the palate and linger. Other then the occasional moss like note the profile of this cigar is excellent and complex. Dark chocolate, cinnamon, cedar and earth all fight for dominance. The final third of the stick falls a little flat with notes of leather and earth. Sadly the cigar did not close out well, but the 2nd third was quite memorable.

Smoking Characteristics: The Red Lion featured an incredible cinnamon and cedar aroma and the burn line was although jagged never got out of hand. The cigar smoked incredibly slow and lasted me 2 and half hours. The ash was a light gray and was a tad flaky and very weak which I find unusual for a 60 ring gauge cigar. I wore a lot of the ash from this stick but thankfully I did not burn any holes into my shirt.

Conclusion: The cigar has tremendous potential and I think it needs some time to age. The 2nd third of the cigar was King of the stick, but in the cigar market there are other more worthy of the title. Don’t get me wrong, you can allow this stick into your Kingdom, and who knows maybe with some aging time it will rise to power.

Rating: 87
Price: $7.50