Origin : Cuba
Format : Piramide
Size : 156 x 20.64 mm (6 1/8 x 52)
Year : 2009
Price : $6.60 each (Cuba)
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I am a huge fan of robusto size cigars of late. Before that, however, I was predominantly a smoker of figurado cigars. I am quite familiar with the old go-to cigar in this vitola, the Montecristo No. 2, but there are many other figurado cigars that rank just as high if not better. Among this particular vitola, I have preferences and they are the H. Upmann No. 2 and the Partagas Series P. No. 2. After having focused on smoking some of the Upmann No. 2s lately, I thought I would reach into my humidor and pull out a Partagas from my 2009 box given that I had not had one in a while. I remember smoking this cigar when it was young. It wasn’t bad but it could have used some additional age. With over 3 years of age on it now, I feel the time is right to start enjoying these. So how did the Series P No. 2 score?
Appearance : (4.25)
The cigar had a nice dark wrapper with an elegant rustic look. There were some reddish spots over the wrapper. It had a nice oily sheen to it with no visible seams or distracting veins. There was some spotting visible on the cigar as noted in the image. I was greeted with a pre-light aroma of sweet tobacco, cedar and cocoa. The foot offered up some great tobacco and cedar aromas.
Construction : (4.25)
Construction of this cigar was good. While the draw was good, the cigar did need to be touched up on occasion. The burn did get out of control now and then and did not appear to start self-correcting, requiring me to put flame to cigar on a couple of occasions. The draw was perhaps a tad loose for me but it wasn’t completely wide open as to force the cigar to burn too fast. The ash was firm, never flakey and the cigar was very well balanced in my hands. The Series P No 2 is not as firmly packed as the aforementioned robusto. Despite being bigger than the Series D No. 4, the cigar actually felt lighter in my hand and given that the D No. 4 is one of my favorite cigars, I am quite familiar with its feel.
The cigar itself was very "Partagas" but not as strong in body or nicotine content as say for instance the Series D No. 4. It is less peppery than most Partagas but still has that distinctive peppery zest combined with a perfect salty-sweet balanced tobacco flavour.
The first third reminded me why I love this vitola. Super thick clouds of cool smoke loaded with obvious Cuban tobacco flavors. The smoke was thick and velvety and had a caramel nectar texture to it. The finish had some faint pepper and some very pleasing cocoa and leather notes. That distinctive Cuban saltiness on the palate greeted me immediately and stayed with me for the duration of the cigar. For an extra peppery blast I exhaled through my nose.
As I approached the second third some notes of dried fruit with a hint of citrus appeared on the front of the palate with some light cedar and pepper lingering on the back of the tongue and throat. As I noted earlier, the pepper was there but not distracting. It seemed that each puff offered something different with instances of leather and coffee creeping into the flavour profile. The smoke remained lush and creamy.
The cigar continued to burn flawlessly as I started the final third of the cigar. The ash remained thick, firm and had a nice aged grey color to it. I would help it off every two inches or so but it would have probably held longer. The final third offered up hints of sweet coffee, citrus with cedar and leather notes. The smoke volume was still there but it wasn’t as creamy or velvety as it was during the first half of the cigar. The cigar did take on a little more pepper than the first half of the cigar but again, it was relatively mild compared to some other cigars in this vitola, namely the Montecristo No. 2. The flavors did start to take on slight bitterness shortly after removing the band and it was at that stage where I put the cigar to rest not wanting to ruin the experience. All in all, age did this cigar wonders.
If purchased in Cuba, you can’t go wrong with this cigar. The current Cuban price of $6.60 for singles is a steal for such a flavourful and long lasting cigar. When you buy outside of Cuba is where the value slips a bit as these cigars here in Canada can retail between $16.00 to as high as $20.00. This is simply because of the taxes. For that money, one can buy cheaper cigars that offer up similar flavors but in all honesty, won’t give you the complexity that this cigar did. Still cheaper than the Monte No. 2, I would say that this cigar offers great value when compared to that cigar. As I have written before, I am somewhat lucky in the sense that I have many friends that often vacation to Cuba that bring my cigars back for me. If you have the opportunity, pick up a 10 count box in Cuba or have someone bring them back for you. Every humidor should have a few of these, even if you have to pay the out of Cuba prices. Ask to see the box codes and search out ones that already have a year or two of age to them.
Overall Rating :
In my own personal opinion, I rank these cigars better than the Montecristo No. 2 but my personal favourite in this vitola is still the Upmann No. 2, a cigar I will review here for CigarInspector.com in the coming days (update: here is the review of H. Upmann No. 2). While this cigar was utterly enjoyable, it did have some sections that exhibited very little flavour which kept it from scoring a 5 in the flavour category. The complexity of the cigar was nice, the burn was a tad erratic but the overall flavour profile is extremely pleasing. The fact that it had 3 years of age to it helped it dramatically. A touch more pepper would have been nice but this is subjective and depends on your own personal preferences. Overall the cigar offered a great buffet of flavors and I never came across any bitterness until after removing the band. The salt on the palate remained constant and helped to balance the sweetness of the overall cigar with the mild pepper offering up just enough spice. The cigar wasn’t a woodsy/grassy cigar. It was more of a cocoa, sweet cigar with only occasional hints of wood and leather. All in all, notwithstanding the few glitches here and there as noted above, this is a very fine cigar and one that I will always ensure to have some supply of in my humidor. This cigar would pair nicely with a scotch or a nice beer. I wouldn’t smoke it with a sweet beverage because I found the cigar offered up plenty of sweetness on its own. As for the nicotine, I highly recommend smoking this on a full stomach.