|VegaFina Master 2012
Several weeks ago, Altadis USA quietly rolled out their latest cigar to the VegaFina line, the VegaFina Master 2012. This is the fourth major release in the last 12 months to the U.S. market under the VegaFina line – joining the VegaFina Jose Seijas 2011, VegaFina Sumum Edicion Especial 2010, and VegaFina Fortaleza 2. The Master 2012 is a limited production cigar that was done in a single size (Robusto). The Jose Seijas 2011 and Sumum Especial 2010 were also limited production releases; however like the Seijas 2011, the Master 2012 is a new blend (the Sumum was a European blend that was released to the American market). After sampling the Master 2012, it appears that Altadis has delivered a yet another solid blend in 2012.
Altadis has definitely invested in the VegaFina brand in 2012. The VegaFina line is one of Altadis’ many lines that come out of the famous Tabacalera de Garcia factory in the Dominican Republic. This line has done especially well in Europe- especially in Spain. The line made its way to the United States a few years ago, and has provided a value-priced milder smoke for cigar enthusiasts. The trend with each of the three VegaFina cigars that have been launched is to provide more in terms of strength and/or body.
The VegaFina Master 2012 derives its name from the producion team “Grupo de Maestros”. This is a skilled team that was involved in the production of the Montecristo Epic Vintage 2007 that was released earlier this year. There will be a total of 50,000 cigars produced and the cigars will be packaged 10 per box (for a total of 5,000 boxes).
Let’s break down the VegaFina Master 2012 and see what this cigar brings to the table:
The VegaFina Master 2012 consists of an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over Dominican binder and filler.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Dominican Olor
Filler: Dominican Piloto
As mentioned above, the VegaFina Master 2012 will be produced in a single vitola – a 5 x 52 robusto.
The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper to the VegaFina Master 2012 is a light coffee bean color. There is some oil to the wrapper, but I would not categorize the wrapper as being overly oily. There are some visible veins, but the wrapper seams are well hidden.
The band of the VegaFina Master 2012 features a gray, black, and silver color scheme. On the center of the band is a VegaFina logo. This features “VF” in gray font. The “VF” sits on a black circular background. A silver wreath surrounds the “VF”. There is black and gray striping toward the outer part of the circle. The rest of the band features a thick black stripe with a thinner gray stripe above and below it. The black stripe features smaller “VF”s outlined in gray in wallpaper fashion. On the left side of the band is the text “VEGAFINA” in gray font. On the right side of the band is the text “VEGAFINA” in gray font
The footer band is gray in color – featuring thin black pinstripes across top and bottom. The text “MASTER” is displayed in black font on the gray background. Below that text is “2012” – also in black font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my VegaFina Master 2012, I went with my usual straight cut into the cap of the cigar. It was now time to begin the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes were very satisfying as it provided a mix of leather and cocoa. There also were some background notes of citrus and spice in the background. Overall, I found this to be a very satisfactory pre-light draw. It was now time to remove the footer band from the VegaFina Master 2012, toast the foot, and see what the cigar experience would have in store.
The start to the VegaFina Master 2012 started with a combination of pepper and cocoa. The pepper could also be detected through the nostrils. Notes of cocoa and natural tobacco surfaced in the forefront. The pepper quickly settled into the background, but could still be detected through the nostrils.
As the smoking experience progressed through the first third, the cocoa and natural tobacco flavors remained in the forefront. Some citrus notes joined the pepper in the background. When the Master 2012 moved into the second half, the natural tobacco flavors took over as the primary flavor. The cocoa notes moved into the background joining the citrus and pepper.
As the Master 2012 moved into the final stages of the smoking experience, the cocoa and citrus notes dissipated leaving the natural tobacco and pepper notes as main flavors. There also were some earth notes mixed in. While the finish of the cigar was not harsh, the cigar did lose some of its flavor in these last stages. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The high quality work of Grupo de Maestros is reflected in the construction of the VegaFina Master 2012. This translates to the burn and draw of this cigar. From a burn standpoint, the burn line remained relatively straight from start to finish – requiring minimal touch-ups along the way. The resulting ash was white in color and very tight. There was very little flaking from the ash. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw to the VegaFina Master 2012 was flawless. This made for a very enjoyable smoking experience.
Strength and Body
As mentioned above, the releases under VegaFina over the past year have been offering more in terms of strength and body from the traditional milder releases in the line. From a strength perspective, I assessed the Master 2012 as having enough kick to qualify as a medium strength cigar. As for the depth of the flavors, the Master 2012 starts out with more subtle notes. I assessed these notes to be mild to medium. By the time the Master 2012 reaches the second third, these notes had built some additional depth to qualify as medium-bodied. For the most part, the strength and the body were balanced throughout the cigar experience – even though the flavors were subtle at the beginning.
Overall, I found the VegaFina Master 2012 to be solid cigar. This is definitely a cigar I would position for the novice cigar enthusiast. As for experienced cigar enthusiasts; those who can appreciate a medium strength, medium-bodied smoke will enjoy this smoke. As for myself, this is a cigar I will smoke again.
Body: Mild to Medium (1st third), Medium (Last two thirds)
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Tobacco World in Marietta, Georgia.