Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Artesano del Tobacco Cigars Viva la Vida | Cigar Review by Kaplowitz

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

Viva la Vida
WRAPPER: Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro 2000
BINDER: Nicaraguan Corojo 99
FILLER: Nicaraguan Criollo 98

FORMAT: Torpedo 6.5x54
ORIGIN: Esteli, Nicaragua
BLENDER: AJ Fernandez

NOTES: Pepper. Thick black over-top a thinner red/cayenne and lingering bit. Body is a match for that front-loaded pepper-spice which features cumin & smoked paprika attachments. Meaning it is not an onslaught, but a smoothly fashioned 'flavor bomb' fresh off the light. As that dials back some, a Death by Chocolate myriad of notes dial-up to meet in the braced-by-cedar overtones.

There is a roasted savory leathery, beefy & syrupy-sweet top to the undertones which steers the direction of this Viva la Vida. The rest is a bulging deep earthiness highlighted with glimpses of espresso, citrus, & tropical floral bits. Well-rounded and presented as an over-flowing plate of well-prepared dessert food. Decadent, really -- yet never a bombardment. Finishes quite cleanly given its height of flavor, in a spiced citrus manner w/ that sweet driving force chugging along.

Final-third is a circling-back replay of the pepper-spice opening.

Burns straight and at a moderate pace. Ash builds till I roll it off at 1-1 1/2" at a time. Draws smoothly, evenly. Smoke out-put slows quickly 'tween puffs but each puff explodes into cumulus clouds which culminate into a heavy room-note of sweetly spiced well-aged dark tobacco.

In short, a forceful and purposeful contender for Cigar of the Year.

A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

"They [Billy and Gus Fakih] started in the cigar business 25 years ago in New York as New York Cigar Inn which housed the only Cigar Aficionado humidor and lounge in the world. They eventually sold the lounge to Casa de Montecristo and reached out to A.J. Fernandez to form a collaboration to make their cigars. The result of that relationship was the creation of the Viva La Vida (Live the Life) cigar. I received a couple of pre-release samples of this cigar last month, which was described by the company as "Ready to smoke.""

"Fast forward a few years, and Billy and Gus Fakih have reinvented themselves as the masterminds behind Artesano Del Tobacco, their new cigar brand. Their first blend: Viva La Vida, a Nicaraguan puro blended by AJ Fernandez. I had the privilege of helping to launch this cigar in New York City at The Carnegie Club, and was impressed by the early pre-release blends I smoked."


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