Alright, here’s the deal. A couple of months ago I got curious about the quality of some of the private label cigars that are out there. Thanks to their easy and mostly color coded naming system my sights quickly acquired Cigar.com’s stable of cheap private label cigars. After smoking all of the different varieties that Cigar.com has to offer I realized that none of the cigars were really excellent and by that I mean something that I would give 90+ points to. But some of them are definitely passable cigars.
That is why I am going to change the format here a little and either give the Cigar.com house blends a PASS or FAIL. To keep things fair, all the cigars sampled are in the 5″ x 50 robusto vitola. Now onto the cigar.
Here’s a little snippet about the Cigar.com Sun Grown Label from their website:
Cigar.com Sun Grown Label hails from Nicaragua and features a zesty blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos, all balanced by one of AJ Fernandez’s best tasting premium Sun Grown wrappers grown in Ecuador. The result is a full-bodied, hearty cigar with natural sweet flavors on the finish that are masked by bold, robust characters ranging from spice to black pepper. Expect a leathery aroma that exudes toasty wood notes as the blend burns slow and even from head to foot.
These cigars come in four different sizes: churchill (7.5″ x 50), corona (6.5″ x 42), robusto (5″ x 50) and torpedo (6″ x 52). As of the publishing of this post, they cost less than $3.00 when individually purchased and can cost less than $2.50 when purchased in a box of 20. The wrapper is Ecuadorian Sun Grown.
Looks are sometimes deceiving and in this case I’m hoping that holds true. The wrapper looks fine: it is light brown, has a couple of discolored patches and has some oils on it. It feels a little loosely packed to the touch but what is really getting me about this cigar is that I do not have much excitement about smoking it. Sure, it looks fine, but it just seems to be missing something. Well, anyway, the real test is tasting this cigar, which I’m about ready to do.
With cheap cigars I have this fear that the second I cut the cap the whole cigar is just going to explode. While no cigar has ever exploded on me (or on anyone else, even Castro, for that matter) wrappers have come undone and ruined what otherwise should have been happy smoking experiences. As it turns out, this cigar is well made and doesn’t break: score one for Mr. Fernandez and Cigar.com.
The first flavors present in this cigar are definitely on the sweet and savory side of things. It’s a rosy sweetness along with a nearly hidden streak of cherry that is enjoyable. Before the first third is over the flavor profile begins to shift towards being spicy.
Spiciness is the best way to describe the second third as well since it is still the main flavor. In addition to the spice there is a dry wheat flavor that is pretty good. No sweetness left in this Cigar.com Sun Grown Label cigar and when I say “spice” I mean pretty damn spicy. But it’s actually a quite good cigar so far (I like spice, so shoot me).
During the last throes of the final third the flavor profile begins to become a little harsh. The spice has run off the tracks and has become a marginally negative flavor. The wheat is still there and it is responsible for making this cigar still worth smoking at this point.
For such a cheap cigar the technical aspects were great: bun and draw were both good. I would peg this cigar in the medium-full bodied range.
Overall, this was a pretty enjoyable cigar. The flavors kept me interested and they should keep you interested as well – as long as you like spice. If you don’t like spicy cigars then maybe this isn’t the cigar for you. But don’t fret, Cigar.com probably has a cheap cigar for you named Magenta Label or something like that.