Launched simultaneously with CLE is the related brand, Asylum, founded by Kevin Baxter and Tom Lazuka. Both CLE and Asylum (and Wynwood) fall under the umbrella company Tabacaleras Unidas, but while CLE is a new outlet for Christian Eiroa’s creative flow and seems to mostly be about Honduran blends, Asylum is described as a “take no prisoners approach,” utilizing all Nicaraguan tobaccos, and delivering diverse blends at “approachable” prices. Unidas sent samples of just about everything to the Chattanooga Tweet-Up in August and I thought it would be a good chance to introduce myself and our readers to these cigars, which should start showing up in your local shops very soon if they haven’t already. Besides the two cigars I'm looking at today, Asylum also makes the Schizo, a mixed-filler, bundle-priced cigar.
Torpedo, 5” x 54 ring gauge / MSRP ~$6.00
The size of the cigar I’m smoking does not actually appear on the company’s website. They list a 6” x 54 Torpedo, but this is definitely 5” and we had quite a few of them on hand at the Tweet-Up. It is the “Asylum Premium” blend and all that is said about it on the website is “Nicaragua” for filler, binder, and wrapper. The logo and band is an interesting mix of comic-book-type art for the wings, with a bit of futuristic, deformed skull outlined under Asylum...oh, and the skull’s head forms an almost-heart with a red fade in it. Strange. Memorable. The wrapper leaf was dark and oily with a bit of leather and chocolate aroma to it. The foot had an earthy note with more chocolate sweetness. I clipped the pointy end and got a great draw that had a purely Nicaraguan flavor of earth, cocoa powder and black coffee.
Sixty, 6” x 60 ring gauge / MSRP ~$6
Asylum 13 serves as a “sibling” brand to the regular Asylum brand. It is also a Nicaraguan puro, but is meant to meet the demands of today’s market for large ring gauge full-bodied smokes. It comes in three 3 sizes: 5 x 50, 6 x 60, and 7 x 70. I thought the banding on this was a little subdued as compared with the regular Asylum. No wings and the heart-headed skulls were small in size. It’s not a bad look, but I wonder if it will stand out well on a crowded shelf. The dark chocolate-colored wrapper was oily and a little lumpy; it had a rich smell of leather, chocolate and coffee, while the foot was richly earthy. The cold draw was excellent and had flavor notes of cedar, chocolate and coffee.