The Asylum 13 is one of three blends that was a part of the launch of Asylum Cigars. Asylum Cigars made its debut around the time of the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show. The company was started by Tom Lazuka and Kevin Baxter. In addition, Asylum Cigars is partnering with Christian Eiroa and his Tabacaleras Unidas company for this venture. As far as the Asylum 13 cigar itself, this cigar blend is positioned as the “fullest” in terms of all of the Asylum Cigar releases. I have recently been sampling some Asylum 13 cigars. There is no doubt that Lazuka and Baxter are on to something special and this is an outstanding cigar.
We recently highlighted Christian Eiroa’s return to the cigar business as one of the big stories in the cigar industry in 2012. The work that Lazuka and Baxter are doing at Asylum is a big part of this story. In a December 1, 2012 interview with Kiss My Ash Radio, Eiroa mentioned he had formed a “business incubator” to provide other people with good ideas with the infrastructure to produce cigars. Asylum Cighars represents one of these entities – and it provides Eiroa with a Nicaraguan arm to his company. This is because Asylum Cigars heavily focuses on Nicaraguan tobacco.
Without further adieu, let’s break down the Asylum 13 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The Asylum 13 is an all-Nicaraguan puro:
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
The Asylum 13 has been launched in three frontmarks. While we will explore the robusto, this line is skewed toward bigger ring gauges.
Sixty: 6 x 60
There is also a special barberpole version of the Asylum 13 called the Ogre that is scheduled to be released (following this article). This is also a 7 x 70 vitola and features a combination of candela and maduro wrappers.
As mentioned, for this cigar experience, I sampled the robusto size. The wrapper to the Asylum 13 has a milk chocolate color to it. I would describe the wrapper as more silky than oily – although there is some oil on the wrapper. There are a few visible veins and a few wrapper seams. From the footer there is a nice cocoa/cedar aroma that can be detected.
The band to the Asylum 13 is mostly black and white with some red. In white font is “Asylum 13” on a black background. There is a thin red dotted design on the front of the band. There are what I would categorize as white skull/flower-like designs that adorn the band as well.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
I as usually do, I opted for a straight cut to remove the cap of the Asylum 13. Once the cap was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes provided a mix of cocoa, leather, cedar, and pepper. Overall there was a nice mix of flavors on the pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to light the foot of my Asylum 13 and see what the smoking experience would deliver.
The start to the Asylum 13 started with with a strong blast of pepper. Once the pepper subsided, I detected notes of cocoa, leather, and pepper. The cocoa notes eventually became the primary notes. The pepper and leather notes were secondary. Some floral notes also joined on as secondary notes. The floral notes merged with the pepper creating (for lack of a better term) a “floral spice”.
As the cigar experience of the Asylum 13 moved through the first half, the leather notes became primary while the cocoa notes became more of a chocolate flavor in the background. The spice remained in the background, but reverted back to a traditional pepper flavor. The pepper notes were subtle, yet effective in playing a role in the flavor profile.
In the second half, the pepper notes joined the leather notes in the forefront. The chocolate notes then became a primary flavor as well. The pepper, leather, and chocolate notes remained present right until the end of the smoke. The Asylum 13 had no harshness at the close of the smoking experience. The resulting nub was cool in temperature. I was able to get a nice “finger burner” nub on this cigar. While the nub was also a little soft, this didn’t occur until the very end.
Burn and Draw
The construction to the Asylum 13 was top-notch and this was reflected in the burn and draw attributes. From a burn perspective, the burn line remained straight from start to finish – requiring only a few touch-ups along the way. The resulting ash was tight with a salt and pepper color. There was virtually no flaking with this ash from start to finish. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
The draw to the Asylum 13 was also excellent. This made this cigar a joy to smoke from start to finish.
Strength and Body
There is no question the Asylum 13 is a strong cigar. I assessed this to be a full strength cigar from start to finish. As for the body, the best way to describe the flavors is they are subtle yet effective. Overall I assessed this cigar to be on the upper end of medium-bodied.
There is no doubt that the strength has the upper hand over the body when looking at these two attributes. For the Asylum 13, I didn’t find the strength over body advantage to be a problem here. The subtle qualities of the flavor profile gave this cigar a unique identity while providing some “pop”.
Overall, the Asylum Cigar is a well constructed cigar that does deliver a nice smoking experience. As I mentioned, this is a case where strength has an advantage over body. While there is a gap between these two attributes, things actually work quite well with this blend. I also still enjoyed the flavors this cigar did produce. This cigar has a price point in the $6.00 – $7.00 range. While we don’t factor price into our assessments, it is worth noting that this has an attractive price point. Overall, given this is a stronger cigar, I’d recommend this to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast who enjoys a full strength smoking experience. As for myself, this is a cigar I will definitely smoke again.
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.