Origin : Ecuador
Format : Prominentes
Size : 7 x 49
Wrapper : Ecuador
Filler : Ecuador
Binder : Ecuador
Price : ~$15-16
Gary Heathcott, the sales director at Buena Vista, contacted me in August to allow me to sample and review two vitolas from the new Buena Vista brand of cigars. He sent over a nice package of sticks that contained a Cuban music CD along with a bevy of other publication material. In one of the largest releases of new cigars in recent pasts at IPCPR, this cigar was the one that spoke out the most to me. The sheer extent of detail orientation it took to make this cigar was quite amazing.
We start with 100% Cuban seeds and raise our tobacco in what we consider the only place on earth that literally replicates the famous Pinar del Rio tobacco-growing region of Cuba. Our research resulted in a small valley located in Ecuador, where the soil content, the daily temperatures, and the atmospheric conditions all combine to deliver a tobacco leaf that we feel mirrors identically (to Cuban tobacco). Additionally, our entire production process is being overseen and managed by highly skilled Cuban tobacco professionals. Even our rollers are Cubans, who are on special visas from Cuba, working in our own factory located only an hour-long plane ride from Cuba. Each has been trained in the great tobacco factories of Havana, to be the finest torcedores in the industry, and now they roll cigars exclusively for us.
These cigars are packaged in beautiful boxes that rival no other on the market. The bright red boxes are felt bottomed and produced by the same box makers that make the Behike boxes for Cohiba. So far there are two different blends of Buena Vista cigars: the Edicion Limitada 2008 (Ecuadorian puro), and Reserva (Ecuadorian and Dominican blend). I’ve heard the Reserva is the lighter of the two blends. There are 9 different vitolas for the different blends. That is unheard of for a new cigar company. I received the Short Churchill and Prominentes vitolas in my package coming from Gary. I smoked the Short Churchill one day off the delivery truck, then the other about a week afterwards. I smoked the Prominentes approximately a month later for this review. I want to say thank you to Gary for providing these beautiful cigars for us to review.
Hell, Cubans don’t even have this kind of appearance (except for the Behikes). The EL 2008 is one beautiful cigar with a sueded, matte like reddish brown wrapper. Very little oil present on the outer leaf and the cigar has a nice spring back to it when squeezed. The veins remind me of high end Cuban cigars in the fact that what veins are there are very small and what I call “suture-like.” It has very tight seams and a perfect silhouette. I swear I counted 4 caps too. The wrapper almost has no smell to it whatsoever and the foot has a soapy smell.
At first glance, you would be hard pressed to find a fault with the construction of this cigar. After cutting it with my Xikar cutter the dry draws were pretty firm. I immediately was concerned but not wholeheartedly surprised since these were rolled by Cubans (not the greatest rolled cigars in the world). But once lit, the draw problems caused me no ill and the burn was unlike most Cuban rolled cigars I ever had. The long Prominentes only required 1 touch up during its lifeline. The short churchills didn’t require any at all. The salt and pepper ash holds on firmly for 2-3 inches at a time.
The post-light flavors are very inviting and familiar to any Cuban cigar smoker. Marzipan, sweet hay, vanilla, and a touch of leather characterize much of the 1st third of the cigar. A citrus-like twang is also noticeable in this 1st third. Not really any kind of spice noted. A medium minus is my feeling of where the body of the cigar lies.
The flavors do not hit you in the face but are somewhat subdued. The balance within the smoking experience is remarkable though, but I wish that the flavors would explode more. Into the 2nd third the flavor profile transitions to a more creamy nut and cedar flavor.
The last third sees an elevation in the body of the cigar to a solid medium. Chocolate and graham mix in with creamy nuttiness to start off the last part of the cigar. Finishes with a waxy/marzipan/butter flavor.
Now this is the category that will most likely pose problems for most smokers. The cigar is expensive at around $16 for the Prominentes size and around $10 for the Short Churchill. This puts the Buena Vista out of the realm of most smokers’ rotations, but one has to remember that this is a super premium cigar of the highest order. There are plenty of cigars that are priced higher than this one from other big name producers but a lot of them don’t share the balance that this stick embodies. I just wished the body of the cigar delivered more for this price tag.
Overall Rating :
One word, impressed! When is it that you see a new brand of cigars really go all out in every aspect of marketing, sourcing, production, and quality control? I loved the Edicion Limitada and am pretty excited to try out the Reserva line eventually. I am not quite sure where all these can be found but I know for sure that Jack Schwartz is carrying them. Though my personal preference for cigars is a little stronger than this particular stick, the Buena Vista delivers a great product for those smokers that are used to medium bodied Cuban smokes. The Short Churchill had more body to it than the Prominentes in my opinion, so I would definitely lean more towards smoking those again.
Any person that is curious to see what a Cuban flavor profile is all about but doesn’t want to go out of their way to source them should be directed to buy these cigars. This cigar is the perfect morning coffee smoke for those trying to start off that perfect day.