In the past 18 months, Elogio Cigars has been an Indie cigar company that has really been getting a lot of attention of cigar enthusiasts. Elogio is the true definition of an Indie cigar company. The cigars are made in Nicaragua and are blended by Carlos Pereda Robaina. If you recognize the Robaina name – it is the same one. Carlos is the grandson of renowned grower and blender Alejandro Robaina. The unique thing about Elogio is that they are involved in the entire cigar lifecycle – from seed to store. As a result, their cigars are limited in availability and only made available to select retailers. This is done to meet demand while delivering a high quality product. Earlier this year, Elogio released a true limited edition cigar – the Elogio Excepcionales. As you can see from the picture, this is an unusual shaped cigar, and as a result only 3000 cigars were rolled. These cigars were made available to only a select few Elogio retailers. I recently had a chance to sample this cigar, and it provided a very interesting cigar experience.
Because of the unusual shape of the Elogio, I’m going to start reverse the sections of “Blend Profile” and “Vitolas Available” as I think some discussion of the vitola is important.
It’s one size – a very chubby perfecto. This cigar’s shape resembles a compressed version of the Drew Estate Egg. At it’s widest point, this cigar has an 82 ring gauge. Yes, an 82 ring gauge! I’m a large ring gauge cigar enthusiast, but even this one blew me away. The official size of the cigar is 5 5/8 x 82.
The cigar contains Nicaraguan binder and filler with an Ecuadorian binder. Note the use of Esteli Habano on the binder.
Wrapper; Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Esteli Habano
Filler: Esteli Ligero, Jalapa Habano Viso, Jalapa Habano Seca
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
On the advice of others who smoked the Excepcionales, I clipped a very small part of the tip of the perfecto. I proceeded with the pre-light draw. I immediately detected a combination of cocoa and wood notes on the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes were satisfactory, so it was on to fire up my Elogio Excepcionales.
I admit, I was thrown for a loop once I lit up the Elogio Excepcionales. I was treated to a pretty strong pepper blast. In a lot of ways, this reminded me of a classic Don Pepin Garcia pepper blast. Eventually the pepper settled rather quickly and notes of wood and leather would emerge.
In the first 15 percent, the leather notes transformed to more of a classic chocolate flavor. At the same time, there was a hint of orange citrus present. This orange and chocolate would complement the wood notes as the cigar reached the center of the perfecto. By the middle of the perfecto, the pepper spice returned and moved to the forefront. As it reaches the wide point of the Excepcionales, the pepper spice is in control and present for the remainder of the smoking experience.
Burn and Draw
I’m going to spend a little more time on these attributes as it plays a role in smoking a cigar with such a big ring gauge. With the Elogio Excepcionales, the challenge is going to be to try to keep this cigar from burning hot in the center. If it burns hot in the center, it is going to ruin the smoking experience. The key to doing this is to slowly draw this cigar.
I can’t say I was 100 percent successful with keeping the Elogio Excepcionales from burning too hot. In the smoking experience I got about 60 percent through the smoke – including past the wide section. The draw was excellent, so it was not too hard to draw this cigar slowly. For the most part, the burn was sharp and required few touch-ups. The burn remained straight even through the widest part of the perfecto. While I managed a slow draw, the burn still got hot once the perfecto reached that middle part. It was a challenge and around the 60 percent point, the cigar was too soft to continue smoking. I will also say the ash got flaky as I got toward the wide part of the perfecto.
Still I was surprised I got to the 60 percent point with this cigar and the flavors I got in the first half still gave me an enjoyable experience.
I don’t have pictures later of my burn, but here is an indication of how straight the burn was:
|Burn of the Elogio Excepcionales|
Strength and Body
The Elogio Excepcionales is not going to overpower you with nicotine. This cigar is a classic medium strength cigar. As for the flavors, they had some depth. The body can definitely be assessed as medium to full. Overall, I was pleased with the balance between strength and body by this cigar.
It’s very easy to look at the Elogio Excepcionales and say it’s a gimmicky cigar. However, given that there were only 3000 cigars, I look at it from a different way. I look at it as an experimental vitola and one to offer a challenge to cigar enthusiasts. Someone in the industry recently said that cigar smoking should get back to being fun – and I think this is exactly what the Elogio Excepcionales brings to the table. Would this cigar have been better with something thinner than a 82 ring gauge? It’s fair to answer this question as “yes”, however I still enjoyed the flavors I did get through the 60 percent I smoked. I would love for an experienced cigar enthusiast to take the challenge and see what they think of the Excepcionales. A novice enthusiast might have more difficulty in smoking this. If I’m lucky enough to find another one of these, I would certainly smoke it.
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: This cigar was purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.