Zino Platinum – The Make of L.A.

Zino Platinum -The Make of L.A.”  is the second line released by the Zino brand paying homage to the culture of a city.  For this release, the city is Los Angeles, California.  Earlier this year, Zino had released the Zino Platinum Make of New York line.  A preview of the Make of L.A. cigar was showcased at the 2013 IPCPR trade show.  Like the New York series, the L.A. series is a single blend made in a single vitola.  In addition, like the New York series, the L.A. comes with four packaging options – in this case reflecting the culture of Los Angeles.  Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Zino Platinum Make of L.A.  While the New York release was an excellent cigar, I think the L.A. release is even better.  This might be a premium line offering that is flying under the radar of many cigar enthusiasts.

Zino Platinum line was established over ten years ago to go after the new, younger market that had resulted from the cigar boom of the 1990s.  The packaging of the Zino Platinum line is a big part of this marketing play.  This has been seen in the artwork of the packaging with 2012’s Zino Platinum Ten and both the Make of New York and Make of L.A. releases.

For the Make of L.A. Cigar,  artist Burton Machen has designed four collectible boxes – each with a theme to reflect the contemporary urban culture of Los Angeles.  While the same cigar is packaged in each of these boxes, the secondary band reflects the theme of the packaging.  The four packaging themes are listed below:

Expression in Ink: Tattoos
Road to Individuality: Car Culture
Disruption through Sound: Music
Innovation in Motion: Film

For this assessment, I smoked cigars from the music themed “Disruption through Sound” packaging.  Without further ado, let’s break down the Zino Platinum Make of L.A. cigar and see what it brings to the table.

Inner box cover of the Zino Platinum – The Make of L.A.
(2013 Cigar Coop IPCPR Photo)

Blend Profile

The blend of the Make of L.A. cigar is different than its Make of New York counterpart:

Wrapper: Habana Ecuador
Binder: Yamasá
Filler: San Vincente MejoradoVisus, Piloto Visus, Olor/Piloto Visus, San Vicente Mejorado Visus, San Vicente Mejorado Seco 

Vitolas Available

The Make of L.A.  is available in a single vitola – a 6 x 54.  This size is common to all of the packaging options of the Make of L.A..  Each box contains 10 cigars.  There are a total of 750 boxes per theme

The Make of L.A.’s vitola is different from the Make of New York’s vitola – which is a 6 1/8 x 53 perfecto

Appearance

While the wrapper to the Make of L.A. cigar is different from the Make of New York, it does have a burnt butterscotch color that is reminiscent of the New York wrapper.  Upon close examination there is some dark marbling.  I would not categorize the complexion of this wrapper as oily.  There are some visible veins and the wrapper seams can be seen upon close examination.

The primary band is common to all four packaging options of the Make of L.A. series and is also the same primary band found on the Make of New York series.  The primary band features a black, crystal, and yellow color scheme.  There is a crystal Zino Platinum “Z” prominently in the center of a black shield.  The shield has a crystal trim around it.  The shield sits on a gold background with black design trim around it.   Going clockwise (from the top) around the front of the band in a circular fashion is the text (in crystal font): “Zino Platinum”, “MADE” “COLLECTORS EDITION” “HAND”.  To the right of the gold field is a crystal-colored “2013”.

The secondary band differs on each of the packaging options.  As mentioned I smoked cigars from the Music series.  The art for this band is a mix of indigo and silver abstract art depicting sound.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience

Prior to lighting up my Zino Platinum – The Make of L.A., I went with a straight cut to remove the cap.  Once the cap was clipped, I proceeded with the pre-light draw ritual.  The dry draw provided a mix of light citrus and red pepper notes.  Overall I considered the pre-light draw to be satisfactory.  At this point I was ready to light up the Make of L.A. and see what the smoking phase would deliver.

Flavor Profile

The Make of L.A. started out with a mix of sweet cedar, pepper spice, and some background citrus.  The sweet cedar and pepper quickly moved into the forefront.  Some trademark Davidoff grass notes also mixed into the forefront.  The citrus soon became a secondary flavor.  These flavors were also joined by some tertiary walnut notes.  The pepper tended to linger on the tongue. While the pepper played a role during this smoking experience, I would not categorize the Make of L.A. a spice bomb.  As for the retro-hale, I picked up an herbal spice early on.  This transformed to a black pepper on the retro-hale by the midway point.

Toward the end of the first third, the cedar lost most of its sweetness and became more of a woody note.  The wood, grass, and pepper notes were still primary.  The citrus note was still a secondary note. There was an occasional walnut note, and an occasional sweet cedar note.

In the last third, the Make of L.A. remained similar.  The wood, grass, and pepper still were the primary flavors.  The sweetness was still very subtle and pretty much only came from the citrus note.  The cigar remained flavorful right until the end.  The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

For the most part, the burn of the Zino Platinum – Make of L.A. performed well.  The burn line had a slight bit of curviness, but pretty much was a straight burn from start to finish – requiring few touch-ups.  The resulting ash was tight with a salt and pepper color.  The burn rate was ideal.  The burn temperature was ideal except on one smoke where I did have one cigar have a very hot burn. This seemed to be an isolated case as the other two caused no problems.

Burn for Zino Platinum – The Make of L.A

The Zino Platinum Make of L.A. produced a lot of smoke.  However I did not find this to be a loose draw.  Overall, the Make of L.A. had an effortless draw making for a low maintenance smoking experience.

Strength and Body

Over I was surprised at how full a cigar this.  From a strength perspective, the Zino Platinum Make of L.A. was one of the stronger cigars I’ve had in the Zino line.  From start to finish, this cigar had just enough strength for me to assess as a full strength cigar.  As for the flavors, they had depth and you can feel the weight on the pallet.  I assessed this cigar as being a full-bodied cigar.  The Make of L.A. has a nice balance between strength and body with neither attribute overshadowing the other.

Final Thoughts

The Make of L.A. is the third limited cigar in the Zino line since 2012 joining the Zino Platinum Ten and Zino Platinum Make of New York releases.  I definitely found the Make of L.A. to be the best of the releases.  This cigar had some nice flavors and definitely delivered a complex flavor profile.  I’m going to chalk up the warm burn on one of the three cigars as an isolated case as no such problems happened on the others.  While this is not an overpowering cigar, it still is a cigar that is going to produce more strength and body than one might think.  This is a cigar I’d steer toward the more experienced cigar enthusiast.  As for myself, I found this a cigar I’d smoke again – and one certainly worthy of a box split.

Summary

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: High
Strength: Full
Body: Full
Finish: Good
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
Score: 92

References

Price: $18.00
Source: Purchased
Stogie Geeks Podcast: n/a
Stogie Feed: n/a