No. 2, Robusto, 5" x 50 ring gauge / approx. $7.50
In 2008, Ashton, commissioned Don Pepin Garcia to create a new cigar for the La Aroma de Cuba label: Edicion Especial. The blend utilizes Nicaraguan filler and binder along with an Ecuadorian wrapper. The blend was so well-received that Ashton asked Garcia to take over production of the regular La Aroma line, which he did, but only after reblending it to improve its flavor. I smoked a couple of these EE versions a while back shortly after they hit the shelves, but have not smoked any since then. I received this review sample as part of a "freebie" package for buying 10 cigars at a recent La Aroma event.
The Edicion Especial had a nice dark-caramel colored wrapper, very consistent in color with veins that were not too heavy. It had an overall "not too hard/not too soft" feel--just about perfect. The wrapper had a strong aroma of barnyard, while I got cocoa and coffee hints along with more barnyard on the foot. The wrapper had a rather dry look, but was fairly oily to the touch. The prelight draw was nice and open with a very sweet flavor of chocolate and caramel.
Initial puffs featured sweet hay on the palate and a fierce peppery retrohale. It is hard to believe how much the cigar world has changed in just the past 2 years. Then it was a very big deal when Pepin Garcia put together this blend for Ashton. At the time everyone was just starting to make reference to "that typical Pepin peppery blast" at the start of many of his cigars. It occurred to me, though, that this is one of the sticks that must have cemented that reputation--the first third of this stick was so completely overwhelmed with pepper and spice that I was a little surprised. Many of Pepin's cigars since this one have gone away from that peppery blast at first, so if you need to re-experience that feeling, this is a good choice.
The second third started out almost as spicy as the first, but the pepper diminished throughout to allow natural tobacco and leather flavors to emerge as well. So far the construction was great--nice burn line and awesome draw--and the body was in the medium-to-full range. Toward the end of this segment I also started to pick up on notes of cinnamon and caramel.
The last third was where this cigar really shone, in my opinion. All the sweet chocolate and caramel flavors hints in prelight were there along with the notes of cinnamon and some leftover pepper spice. I enjoyed this so much, I took it down to the nub. While too spicy for some palates, I think this cigar would be a delight for almost any experienced smoker. The "bordering on full" body may make it a little too much for beginning smokers, but I do not think it would take much time to build up to something like this stick because the nicotine hit was not bad at all. Beautiful cigar to look at and to smoke--the best in the La Aroma de Cuba line at this point...but "Mi Amor" hits the shelves very soon, so we'll definitely be looking at a review of that offering in the next month or so.
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