1502 Cigars is a line of cigars from a company called Global Premium Cigars (GPC). Global Premium Cigars founded by Enrique Sanchez Icaza. The company is based in Nicaragua and focuses on primarily Nicaraguan-based blends. The 1502 is positioned as the company’s premium line and gets its name from the year that Christopher Columbus discovered Nicaragua. 1502 Cigars was put on the map earlier this year when it was announced that Emilio Cigars’ would be distributing the line of cigars. GPC became the fourth company to be distributed by Emilio. Recently, I’ve had an opportunity to sample the blends making up the 1502 line. In this assessment we will focus on the 1502 Emerald cigar. Overall, I found this to be a very good cigar that proves to me that 1502 will be a line of cigars that we will be hearing a lot of.
Prior to IPCPR, I had the opportunity to have a cigar conversation with Emilio Cigars’ brand developer Gary Griffith. While that conversation happened before the agreement with GPC was finalized, Griffith was already laying the foundation as he had announced two other distribution agreements already. Griffith mentioned how these agreements benefitted both companies as he had the warehouse space and he was looking to help other companies get off the ground like he did. This also allows the smaller companies entering these distribution agreements to focus on cigar production.
As for the 1502 brand here is some information posted on the GPC web-site:
In our Premium brand 1502, you will find three tobacco lines with the highest quality, where the sowing process, harvest, curing, aging and selection of each tobacco leaf is our major concern. It takes more than five years from the time of its sowing until the time you can enjoy one of our fine cigars; this is why patience is one of our greatest virtues in the art of tobacco production.
The 1502 Emerald is one of three blends offered in the line. It seems to be positioned as a “middle offering” in terms of strength. Here is how this information is positioned from the GPC web-site:
In our brand 1502, you will find three lines totally different from each other, being 1502 Emerald the “Fina Fuerte” (Fine Strong), 1502 Ruby of medium strength and 1502 Black Gold with strongest character.
Let’s take a closer look at the 1502 Emerald and see what the smoking experience will deliver.
There isn’t a detailed breakdown about the blend characteristics that has been published. We do know the blend is primarily Nicaraguan – including the use of Corojo tobacco. While there is filler from Esteli and Condega, we also know that San Andres (Mexican) tobacco plays a role in the fillers of this cigar.
There are three frontmarks currently available. The following dimensions are what we estimate to be the actual sizes. All of the cigars in the 1502 Emerald are offered in a box-press size.
Robusto: 5 x 50 (*)
Toro: 6 x 50 (*)
Torpedo: 6 1/2 x 52 (*)
For this cigar experience, I smoked the Toro vitola. The wrapper to the 1502 Emerald Toro is a medium brown wrapper with a touch of colorado red in the tint. There are also some dark spots on the wrapper. The wrapper does have some visible seams and visible veins. As for the box-press, the 1502 Emerald is well-packed with no soft spots.
Given the cigar is called the 1502 Emerald, the band is highlighted by its (primarily) emerald band. The band itself is surrounded by gold trim. The center of the band has a gold circle with a Columbus-era style cross embossed on it. The gold circle sits on the emerald green colored background. There are also some additional gold adornments on the band. Above the gold circle is the name “1502” in gold font. Below the gold circle is the text “Emerald” in gold cursive font”. Toward the lower left is the text “HANDMADE” in small gold font. Toward the lower right is the text “NICARAGUA” – also in small gold font. On the back is the GPC acronym in a shield.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the 1502 Emerald Toro, I went with my usual straight cut into the cap of the cigar. After the cap was clipped, it was time to commence with the pre-light draw. I was quite pleased with the dry draw notes this cigar produced. These notes included coffee, cedar, and wood. Given that this was a very good pre-light draw, I was excited to fire up the 1502 Emerald Toro and see what this cigar would bring to the table.
The start to the 1502 Emerald treated me to a pepper blast common to many Nicaraguan blends. The pepper subsided somewhat and was joined by notes of coffee. The pepper spice was a cross between black pepper and cedar spice. At the same time I could also detect some natural tobacco and cream notes in the background.
Later in the first third, the coffee notes became more chocolate-like. The chocolate notes took a slight edge over the pepper/cedar spice as the primary note. The natural tobacco and cream notes remained in the background.
As the cigar reached the midpoint, the chocolate notes became secondary and earth notes moved into the forefront. The earth and pepper notes were now in the forefront. The natural tobacco notes remained in the background and the cream dissipated.
In the last third, the earth and pepper spice notes were the main flavors. I found the earth notes balanced the spice nicely. The resulting nub was ideal as it was cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
The 1502 Emerald had some outstanding construction and this was reflected in the attributes of burn and draw. This cigar scored very well in these categories. I found the burn on the 1502 Emerald to be low maintenance and one that required minimal touch-ups to burn straight. The resulting ash was tight and produced a nice white color. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
As for the draw, this was outstanding as well. The 1502 Emerald was a low maintenance cigar to puff on.
Strength and Body
When the 1502 Emerald was positioned as the middle strength offering, I assumed the strength would be stronger than the 1502 Ruby (a medium offering) and 1502 Black Gold (the strong offering). In other words, I assumed it would be medium to full. This is exactly what I got from the 1502 Emerald. The flavors did have some nice depth to them. I found the flavors of the 1502 Emerald to be full-bodied. Overall, I gave the body a slight edge over the strength throughout the smoking experience.
I had the pleasure of meeting Sanchez Icara and found him to be very passionate and proud of his cigar brand. He has good reason to feel this way as the 1502 Emerald is one very good cigar. The nice thing about this cigar is that while Emilio Cigars has some Nicaraguan-centric focus, this cigar delivers a very different cigar than those core offerings. I think we will be hearing more from GPC and 1502 in the future.
While the 1502 Emerald is a medium to full strength cigar, I think this is a very nice cigar for a novice cigar enthusiast to “graduate” to something stronger and offering more flavor depth. I think experienced cigar enthusiasts will also appreciate the profile of this cigar as well. This is a cigar I certainly look forward to smoking again.
Strength: Medium to Full
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: Cigars from this assessment were received from both GPC and Emilio Cigars. An additional cigar was purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina. Samples were initiated by both GPC and Emilio Cigars for the purpose of providing feedback. Cigar Coop is appreciative for this samples, but this plays no role in the final assessment and score.