Cigar Review: Azan White Premium Line
The first time I ever heard of Azan was when I was gifted one by Rene Castaneda at an event in Miami. We recently reviewed the Burgundy Line, and today we look at the Azan White Premium Line. According to Cigar Aficionado, “Azan, an old, privately owned Cuban brand started by a Chinese immigrant before Fidel Castro nationalized the industry. It disappeared after the Revolution, but is now back as a Nicaraguan brand, restarted this year by Roberto Pelayo Duran. Azan officially debuted at the 2013 IPCPR.
“This must have been the only Cuban cigar brand started by a Chinese immigrant,” said Pelayo Duran, whose wife is a descendant of Azan’s original founder. The new Azan line was first launched in Hong Kong last April but now has distribution in the United States. Pelayo Duran was formerly employed by Pacific Cigar Ltd. and Havana House, both of which are major Habanos S.A. distribution hubs, bringing Cuban cigars to the Asia Pacific and Canadian regions.”
Cigar: Azan White Premium Line
Size: Campana (Belicoso 5.25 x 52)
Wrapper: Ecuador Corojo
Filler: Nicaragua (Jalapa & Esteli), Brazil (Mata Fina)
Number Smoked; 4
Appearance & Construction: The Corojo wrapper from Ecuador that covers the Azan White Premium Line has an evenly colored hue to it with a lot of thin veins throughout. The cigar has a firm roll and a nice weight to it. Looking at the cigar there is a nice sheen to it from the oils of the leaf. The foot reveals a well packed cigar where the Mata Fina is visible to the eye. The band denotes Azan in gold, over white with the words “Est. Cuba 1928″ and the back denotes Made in Nicaragua.
Flavors & Notes: The cold draw is meaty with a hint of fig while the foot of the cigar serves up the aroma of fig to the nose. There is almost no spice present when taking in the aromatic qualities of the leaf.
On first light one is aware that is not your typical Nicaraguan cigar. While there is some spice present the cigar takes on an almost Cuban like profile. There is some earth present, and nuts with an underlying sweetness.
As we work into the first third of the cigar the sweetness takes on almost a bing like quality to it, but this is not the primary not which remains nutty, with some wood (cedar) and earth.
In the second third of the cigar the aroma of warm baking spices begins to take hold which compliments a similar profile on the smoke itself. The cigar has a wonderful bread like note, with some cedar and nuts remaining in the background.
The last third loses some of the sweetness from the warm baking spices, but the bread (toasty) note remain with continued cedar and nuts. Making this a very enjoyable cigar from first light to last puff.
Smoking Characteristics: While the cigar did burn uneven on the sample used for review the others did not, and this one did not need a touch up. Around the mid way point the cigar began to burn in an iconic way. Razor sharp, ultra thin carbon line with a perfect draw. The ash held for half the cigar and then I ashes one more time before setting it down for good at the nub.
Conclusion: I notice on a lot of the cigar forums and Instagram that a lot of people buy Cuban cigars thinking they are the real thing. I notice a lot of them are fakes just from looking at them. The band is wrong, the cap is wrong, and it makes me scratch my head. I estimate 90% of the Cuban cigars in the USA even those ordered from Europe aren’t the real deal. Having been overseas, I’ve smoked my fair share of Cuban cigars at authorized Habano shops. This cigar is the closest I’ve come to an actual Cuban cigars. And while I don’t think Cubans are the best on the market this might be one of the best cigars out there under the radar of most cigar smokers.