|Asylum 13 6 x 80|
The Asylum 13 6 x 80 is exactly what the name indicates – this introduces a 6 inch by 80 mm ring gauge vitola to Asylum Cigars’ popular Asylum 13 line. Prior to last year’s IPCPR trade show, we commented on the trend of moving beyond the 60 ring gauge vitola. Asylum Cigars has already been a part of this trend as they have introduced several 70 ring gauge cigars. In fact, the idea of an 80 ring gauge really isn’t a total surprise as Christian Eiroa (who distributes Asylum through Fabricas Unicas) had mentioned last year that this was something being worked on. Today, we take a look at the 6 x 80 line extension to the Asylum 13 line. It is well-known that there are critics of the large ring gauge cigars, but in this case – this was a surprising smoke. It probably isn’t something for everyone, but it should find its niche in the market.
First up, this is not an assessment that is meant to go into a debate on the big ring cigars. The goal here was to smoke the Asylum 13 6 x 80 and go into it with a clean slate and share our thoughts and perspectives. In the end, everyone will have their own position on big ring gauge cigars – and like any cigar, we encourage everyone to make their own decisions.
Time will tell whether or not the Asylum 13 6 x 80 will set off a wave of 80 ring gauge smokes. Historically, it is not the first one to be released. For example, in 2011, boutique manufacturer Elogio released the Excepcionales. This is a limited production perfecto that has an 82 ring gauge at its largest point. Given the momentum of the Asylum 13 blend in the marketplace, the Asylum 13 6 x 80 is going to get much more attention.
Without further adieu, let’s break down the Asylum 13 6 x 80 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The Asylum 13 6 x 80 shares the same blend composition as the rest of the Asylum 13 line – namely it is an all-Nicaraguan puro:
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
The Asylum 13 6 x 80 (or called the Eighty) is the fourth vitola in the core Asylum 13 line.
Sixty: 6 x 60
There is also a special barberpole version of the Asylum 13 called the Ogre. This is also a 7 x 70 vitola and features a combination of candela and maduro wrappers. Asylum has also recently announced an Asylum 13 Authentic Corojo (Honduran puro) line (that also plans to have an 80 ring gauge).
The wrapper to the Asylum 13 6 x 80 is in line in terms of the other vitolas in the core line. The wrapper is thick with a milk chocolate color to it. There is some oil on the wrapper, but I would describe the complexion as more silky than oily. There are a few visible veins and a few wrapper seams.
The band to the Asylum 13 6 x 80 is a larger version of what is found on the core line. It is mostly black and white with some red. In white font is “Asylum 13″ on a black background. There is a thin red dotted design on the front of the band. There are what I would categorize as white skull/flower-like designs that adorn the band as well.
The footer of the cigar is covered with tissue paper. Given that this is a large cigar, this helps protect the footer as it is more prone to cracking.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
If you have read many of our assessments, you know that the straight cut is our preferred cut of choice. However given the huge size of this cap, we felt this wasn’t going to work. For the case of the Asylum 13 6 x 80, a decision was made to do things a little differently. We decided to place three punch cuts in the cap. The three punch cuts were put into a three-leaf clover like arrangement (see the photo below).
|For the Asylum 13 6 x 80, we went with an unorthodox
triple punch cut arranged in a clover pattern
Once the punch cuts were completed, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes provided a mix of cocoa, leather, cedar, and cherry sweetness. Overall, this was a very good pre-light draw. At this point, I was ready to light up the Asylum 13 6 x 80 and see what this cigar would bring to the table.
While there definitely are some parallels to the other cigars in the Asylum 13 line, the 6 x 80 does deliver its own spin on the blend’s flavor profile.
The start to the Asylum 13 6 x 80 produced a combination of chocolate, leather, and pepper. This was soon joined by some notes of cherry. The cherry had a bit of a sour cherry taste, but it actually worked quite well meshing with the other flavors (i.e. it wasn’t a harsh sourness). The chocolate and leather notes became primary early on. The pepper and cherry played more of a complementary role and were more present on the after-draw. The retro-hale took on more of a cedar flavor note.
Throughout the first ten percent, the chocolate and leather alternated as to which was the primary note early on. The pepper and cherry notes remained in the background. By the ten percent mark, the chocolate notes receded. Meanwhile the cherry notes transitioned to more of a classic citrus – joining the leather notes in the forefront. The pepper notes remained secondary.
The flavor profile took form for the remainder of the first half – the leather remained up-front taking on some occasional chocolate notes. The pepper notes slowly increased while the citrus notes moved into the background.
In the second half, the citrus notes moved increased once again and moved back into the forefront. These notes were joined by the pepper. The leather notes were now secondary and the chocolate had pretty much dissipated. By the last third, the pepper notes were left standing as the dominant flavor. I was amazed how this cigar finished up for two reasons: 1) The nub was not overly spicy; 2) The nub was both firm and cool (a big surprise considering the ring gauge).
|Asylum 13 6 x 80 nub – firm and cool|
Burn and Draw
As for the overall burn, it did require some work to burn straight. I wouldn’t say this was a lot of work, but it still required multiple touch-ups. While the cigar did not canoe, the burn line was jagged. Since there is a thick wrapper on this cigar, so I am sure that came into play with the burn. The ash was a nice white color, but it also was somewhat loose. The burn temperature was ideal. The cigar took about 2 hours and 20 minutes to smoke. While it did burn a little fast, I found this was a good thing – namely, it prevented the cigar from getting harsh.
|Burn of the Asylum 13 6 x 80|
|Looking at an Oliva O Robusto (50 ring gauge)
vs the Asylum 13 6 x 80
The draw was an interesting case study on ultra large ring gauge cigars. I found the 80 ring gauge cigar difficult to work with. I had thought about going with a V-cut to make it easier, but I personally have never been able to adjust to puffing on a V-cut. However the three punch cuts did seem to work. When I did puff, the draw was not loose or not tight. It just required a little work to get comfortable to puff on.
Strength and Body
The Asylum 13 line is known for its full strength cigars. The 80 ring gauge has a little less strength than the robusto, but I still categorize this as a cigar that is full strength. As for the depth of the flavors, I actually felt the 6 x 80 had more depth than the robusto I smoked. I assessed this to be a medium to full-bodied cigar for most of the cigar experience. When the pepper spice kicked in toward the last third, the flavors did progress to full-bodied. Like the Asylum 13 Robusto, I felt the strength had the edge, but the gap between strength and body on the 6 x 80 was much less than on the robusto.
There are a lot of good qualities with the Asylum 13 6 x 80. The cigar produces good flavor. There was also a better balance between strength and body than the smaller sizes. While the burn wasn’t perfect, it still wasn’t a bad burn. It’s easy to dismiss this cigar because of its size, but I do believe Asylum did a good job at making a cigar that seems to work in an 80 ring gauge. This is a cigar that was not built as a gimmick and is certainly meant to be smoked. Whether a big ring gauge works for you is a personal decision. If an 80 ring gauge will attract more cigar enthusiasts, then in my opinion this is a positive. This is a cigar geared more toward the experienced cigar enthusiast because of its size and strength and I would encourage the experienced cigar enthusiast to give it a try and make their own decision. As for myself, while I still would reach for the robusto or 60 ring gauge, I still might smoke this again for a change of pace.
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, NC.