Coffee Break (Short Robusto), 4.5” x 50 ring gauge / ~$7, Burns
The story went something like this: “Nestor Miranda likes to light up a Special Selection Rosado in the afternoon, then a Special Selection Oscuro late in the evening, but he’s never had anything for the morning until now.” Maybe not precisely like that, but close...thus was introduced the Special Selection Connecticut in the Nestor Miranda Collection from Miami Cigar & Company. The latest addition to the Special Selection line is made alongside the originals at the My Father Cigar factory in Nicaragua. According to what is listed on the Miami Cigar website, they consist of Nicaraguan, Honduran and Dominican fillers, a Nicaraguan binder and an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. The same website is listing 3 available sizes of the NM SS Connecticut...as you might expect, I chose the smallest ring gauge version for my review; it also happened to be the shortest in length and probably has the most appropriate use of the vitola name “Coffee Break” to date. I bought this one at Burns in Chattanooga and the review is based on my first sampling of the blend.
First off, I have to say I like the color combination used on this new blend’s band better than the original Special Selection releases. In reality, they all use the same colors, but just in different proportions and I really like the way the “Special Selection” in brown looks against the white background. Also, I noticed the use of a “Miami Cigar & Company seal” where the band is glued. It’s not really an extra bit of paper, but part of the band and diecut to look as if a seal was applied over the overlapping portion. This is the second time I’ve seen this used, the first time being on the Añoranzas (after writing this review, I smoked a La Sirena Merlion and noticed that it also uses the logo in the same manner). I think this is a perfectly appropriate way for Miami Cigar to slip in some branding on each cigar...unobtrusive, but easily identifiable. The Ecuador-grown Connecticut Shade wrapper leaf was actually a bit darker and more reddish than I have found typical for this varietal, it was a little more oily to the touch, as well. Giving a good, long sniff to the wrapper, I picked up aromas of cedar and hay, while the foot was earthy with some barnyard notes. The cold draw was excellent after a straight cut and it had mostly hay with some earth and pepper spice.
Upon lighting, the Special Selection Connecticut actually had a flavor much different than I had expected, based on all the pre-light observations. There was a maple sweetness, a distinct earthiness and quite a bit of pepper spice, especially on the retrohale. There were also notes of cedar on the nose, but when I looked for "typical Connecticut" flavors of hay, honey, grass, or cream, I really didn't find much. There was a bit of a grassy hay finish and undertone, but it really was underplayed compared to the other flavors that presented themselves. Throughout the rest of the first third, that was the story that played out...very unlike a Connecticut in flavor profile in almost every way. Near the end of the first third, though, some more bitter, grassy flavors started to creep in, setting up a change for the middle third.
As I started that second third, I noticed that construction so far was excellent. I had no complaints whatsoever on the draw, saw a very solid ash that held on for more than half an inch, and though the burn line wasn't "razor straight" it did burn very evenly and required no touching up. The flavor did start getting more creamy during this third, a little more hay and sweetness to balance out some of the bitter notes. There were touches of sweet chocolate in there from time to time as well and the spice had taken a minor supporting role.
In the last third, the pepper spice came roaring back and I also had a minor issue with the cigar wanting to go out, but that could have been due to me writing a few Twitter DMs and not puffing as much as necessary. I got it burning correctly again with no problems. I did notice the flavors grow more earthy as it burned down to the nub, again with less of the Connecticut flavor profile. In all, I found the Nestor Miranda Special Selection Connecticut to be unique and pretty much totally unlike anything I can remember having in a Connecticut-wrapped cigar. It was medium-bodied from the outset and finished up at medium-plus in body. It did not have much nicotine punch, but there were more earthy Nicaraguan flavors than anything else, with just enough of the Connecticut influence to tone things down a bit at times. A very interesting addition to the Special Selection line, and sure to be a surprise to those looking for a milder smoke.