Byron Siglo XX Londinenses by Selected Tobacco
(Humitube packaging) 

The Byron Siglo XX Londinenses is one of several cigars that is a part of Selected Tobacco’s Byron brand of cigars. Selected Tobacco is run by Nelson Alfonso. Alfonso is a graphic artist who is most famous for doing the artwork and packaging of the Cohiba Behike. In 2012, he launched Selected Tobacco and has now launched three brands – Atabey, Byron, and Bandolero – all of which are positioned to the ultra-premium cigar market. These cigars have previously been limited in distribution due to tobacco constraints, but recently Selected Tobacco’s U.S. Distributor United Cigar Retailers announced the produce would be more widespread available. Today we dive deeper into the Byron Siglo XX Londinenses. This past June, Cigar Coop named Selected Tobacco one of our 2014 “Five Boutiques to Watch” going into the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show. While I once said, Selected Tobacco might be one of the best kept secrets in the industry, word is now starting to get out. The Byron Londinenses is a fantastic cigar and shows this company is doing some of the best work in the industry.

As with all of Alfonso’s cigars, there is a historical story tied to it and the Byron brand is no exception.  Back in 1848, a cigar brand was created in Cuba called “Lord Byron” by Jose and Eusebio Alfonso, one of which was Alfonso’s great great great grandfather.  The original cigar was made in a small factory in Santiago de las Vegas in the Havana province of Cuba.  The name Byron honors George Gordon Byron – who was better known as “Lord Byron” – a renowned English poet.  The brand lasted for over 80 years before it folded during the Great Depression of the 1930s.  One piece of historical significance is that there are some claims the original Lord Byron had a lithographed cigar band and label with a name on it.  The brand also might have been the first to use cardboard pack boxes.  The brand would be dormant until 1998 when Nelson Alfonso would recover the Byron brand name.

As mentioned, the Byron brand is positioned as an ultra-premium brand by Selected Tobacco. Pricing for cigars in the line fall within the $20.00 to $30.00 range depending on blend, size, and packaging option.

Without further ado, let’s break down the Byron Siglo XX Londinenses and see what this cigar brings to the table.

Blend Profile and Vitolas Available

There are three blends in the Byron line – Siglo XIX, Siglo XX, and Siglo XXI.  Siglo stands for “century” and the blend names pay homage to the three centuries for which the Byron brand has been active.  Each of the blends are unique and as with all of Alfonso’s blend, the tobacco components are not disclosed. As with all three brands of Selected Tobacco, the Byron brand is manufactured in Costa Rica.  This assessment focuses on the Siglo XX blend in the Londinenses frontmark – which is basically a robusto extra.

Siglo XIX

Wrapper: Not disclosed
Binder: Not disclosed
Filler: Not disclosed

Petit Poemas: 4 x 50
Poemas: 4 7/8 x 52
Grand Poemas: 6 x 56

Siglo XX

Wrapper: Not disclosed
Binder: Not disclosed
Filler: Not disclosed

Londinenses: 5 1/2 x 54
Habaneros: 6 1/4 x 56

Siglo XXI

Wrapper: Not disclosed
Binder: Not disclosed
Filler: Not disclosed

Aristocratas: 6 x 60
Elegantes: 6 1/8 x 55
Distinguidos: 6 x 55

The Byron line is available in various packaging options – from porcelain jars, humidors, to individually humidified tubes called “humitubes”.  According to the company, the cigars sit in an aging room for one year before being transported to another facility where they are packaged.

Packaging for Byron Siglo XX Londinenses
(Photo provided by Selected Tobacco)

Appearance

The Cigar

As mentioned, this assessment focuses on the Byron Siglo XX Londinenses.  The wrapper has a dark brown color that is a combination of a dark caramel and wood.  There is a fair amount of oil on the surface of the wrapper.  There are some visible veins while most visible wrapper seams are well hidden.

There are two bands on the Byron Siglo XX Londinenses. The primary band features an antique style portrait of Lord Byron. Below the portrait is a red ribbon with the text “BYRON” in gold. Surrounding the portrait is a tropical scene consisting of green, hello, and blue colors. There is gold trim around the band.

There is a secondary band that is black in color.  The text “RESERVA” is in large gold font with the text “5 AÑOS” just below it in a smaller gold font.  The text is surrounded by gold medallions and there is gold trim across the top and bottom.

Byron Siglo XX Londinenses by Selected Tobacco

The lower portion of the cigar features a cedar sleeve covering the lower half of the cigar. Over the sleeve is a black band with the text “Selected Tobacco” in large gold font. Below that is the text “Totally Handmade Cigars” in white. There is gold and red prinstriping across the top and bottom.

Byron Siglo XX Londinenses by Selected Tobacco (Cedar Sleeve)

The Humitube (Sampler) Packaging

This particular  Byron Siglo XX Londinenses was part of a three pack sampler called Selección de Marcas that also includes the Atabey Ritos and Bandolero Bravos.

Humitubes: Bandelero Bravos (Top); Byron Siglo XX Londinenses
(Middle); Atabey Rios (Bottom) – part of Selección de Marcas sampler

The humidified tube is clear plastic at the top. The lower portion has a similar design to the primary band above, but with a larger percentage of space having the yellow background. Instead of the red ribbon with the Byron text, the text “Byron” is in large scripted font above the portrait surrounded by medallions. Below the portrait is the text “Londinenses” in black cursive font. Below that text, is a simulated secondary band. Below the simulated band is the text “SERIE SIGLO XX”.

There is a gold separator between the clear plastic and lower part of the tube. The top and bottom of the tube also have gold caps. The lower cap opens the humidification chamber.

Empty humitube of Byron Siglo XX Londinenses 

Preparation for Cigar Experience

Prior to lighting up my Byron Siglo XX Londinenses, I first removed the cedar sleeve.  I then moved on to removing the cap by placing a thin, straight cut into the cigar.  After the cap was successfully clipped, I commenced with the pre-light draw.  On the dry draw, I detected a natural tobacco flavor that had some sweet and tart notes.  There was also a slight spice note.  Overall I was quite pleased with the pre-light draw of the Byron Siglo XX Londinenses.  At this point I was ready to light up the cigar and see what the smoking phase would have in store.

Flavor Profile

The start to the Byron Siglo Londinenses provided a mix of sweet natural tobacco, white pepper, and a slight molasses note in the background. There almost is a sugar-cane like component to the natural tobacco flavors.  Meanwhile the white pepper is also present on the retro-hale.

As the cigar moved through the first third, the natural tobacco still is the primary flavor.  I picked up more sweetness on the draw and less sweetness on the after-draw. The white pepper notes were now secondary and the molasses flavor was more tertiary.

The sweetness changed up on the second third of the Byron Londinenses as it had more of a fruit flavor.  Like the first third, it was less present on the after-draw.  The pepper also started to move toward the forefront.  The pepper notes now seemed to be a mix of red and white pepper and did have that “tingling effect” on the tongue.

While there was a increase in pepper, there also was an increase in sweetness at the end of this cigar.  This is a cigar that closed as well as any cigar has on the “back nine”.  It remained flavorful right until the end with no harshness.  The resulting nub was ideal – firm to the touch and cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

From a burn perspective, the Byron Siglo XX Londinenses scored nicely. The burn itself remained relatively straight from start to finish. The burn had a slight curviness along the way, but was never in danger of gettting off track. There wasn’t much in the way of touch-ups required for this cigar. The resulting ash was a dark gray. It wasn’t an overly firm ash, but it wasn’t a loose one either. There was some minor flaking along the way, but nothing that was problemsome. The burn temperature was ideal. I found the burn rate to be a little slow, yet this cigar did not need re-lights, nor did it cause the cigar to burn hot.

Burn of the Byron Siglo XX Londinenses

The draw also scored nicely.  The Byron Londinenses did not have a loose draw, nor did it have a tight draw.  The cigar did produce quite a bit of smoke along the way.  Overall this still was a great cigar to derive flavors from.

Strength and Body

In terms of strength, the Byron Siglo XX Londinenses is going to start out medium.  There is an increase of strength along the way.  By the second half, I found the strength to have increased just enough to push this cigar into medium to full territory.   I also found the Byron Londinenses to start out medium-bodied.  By the mid-way point, I found the depth of the flavors to increased to medium to full-bodied.  In the early part of the second half, there was a rapid increase in the body as this cigar hits full-bodied by the start of the last third.  Along the way,  in terms of strength versus body, I found the body to have the edge.

Final Thoughts

With the Byron Siglo XX Londinenses, I found this filled the perfect niché in the Selected Tobacco portfolio.  The Atabey is a cigar that is geared for someone who wants a unique milder smoke while the Bandolero provides a very different spicier profile.  With the Byron, I think this is the most wide-reaching cigar in the line as it a cigar that can appeal those who like mild or full, and those cigar enthusiasts who are novice or experienced.  While for me, I found Atabey and Bandolero to be change of pace cigars, I did not find Byron to be the case.  This is a more traditional profile, but what it delivers is nothing short of a home run.  This is one amazing cigar.  As mentioned this is an ultra-premium cigar that carries a higher price point, but it’s worth every cent.  It’s a cigar I would easily smoke again – and one would fight Chuck Norris for.

Summary

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium (1st  Half), Medium to Full (2nd  Half)
Body Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (Start of 2nd Half), Full (Start of last third)
Finish: Excellent
Assessment: 4.5 – Fight Chuck Norris for Them
Score: 94

References

News: Selected Tobacco’s Atabey, Byron, and Bandolero to be Opened for Wider Distribution
Price: $30.00
Source: Sample Provided by Manufacturer
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