|Cigar Federation – The Collective|
A couple of weeks ago, we learned that Cigar Federation, the social media hub dedicated to everything about cigars would be releasing their own cigar called The Collective. We soon learned over the past week that the cigar would be made by Ezra Zion Cigar Company. The Collective would become Ezra Zion’s first retail exclusive cigar as it would be sold exclusively through Cigar Federation. The cigar has recently been made available for pre-order on 2/10/14. On 2/18/14, Cigar Federation is planning on hosting a virtual online cigar herf where the cigar will go on-sale to the general public. Today we are able to provide a detailed assessment on what to expect with this cigar. In a nutshell, we found this to be a unique cigar that is smoking quite well – and one that has a ton of potential in terms of aging potential.
In the announcement of The Collective, Ezra Zion co-owner Kyle Hoover gave some insights into the project: “New media has changed the cigar industry dramatically in the last few years. We feel it has started a second cigar-boom, especially in the boutique arena. We wanted to make a cigar that would pay tribute to that and The Collective project was born.”
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at The Collective and see what this cigar brings to the table. As we do with all cigars that have not been distributed to the general public, we default to our pre-review format to provide our thoughts and perspectives on the cigar. After the cigar is officially released to the general public, we will revisit this cigar and provide and assessment rating and score.
There is a lot going on in this particular blend at every level which makes this a very different cigar. For starters, the San Andres Cafe Claro is a wrapper that Ezra Zion has said has not never been used before on a cigar. The Collective also features a double binder. Finally, the cigar incorporates medio tiempo primings in the tobacco. Medio tiempo is a high priming leaf that is found on only a small amount of cigar crops. It is a leaf that gets the most sunlight and nutrients, so it tends to produce a fuller strength, fuller-bodied cigar.
Wrapper: San Andres Cafe Claro (Mexican)
Double Binder: Nicaraguan (Criollo and Corojo)
Filler: Nicaraguan featuring Medio Tiempo
The Collective comes in a single size – a 6 1/4 x 52 prensado box-press. It will be packaged in boxes of 20 with a total of 250 boxes produced. The cigar is available in packs of five or boxes of 20.
The Collective’s San Andres Claro wrapper definitely has an impressive look to him. It mostly has a milk chocolate color, but it also has a slight colorado red tint to it. There is a slight amount of oil on the surface of the wrapper. It has some visible wrapper seams and visible veins. The presando box-press has more of a soft-press slightly ovaled look to it, but the box-press itself is firm when touched.
There are two bands on the cigar.
The primary band of The Collective has a black background with white font on it. The Cigar Federation logo featuring an eagle is displayed prominently on the center of the band. Above the eagle is a ribbon with the text “CIGAR FEDERATION” on it. The rear side of the band has a QR Code which when scanned takes you to the Cigar Federation store. When you take band off and flip it to its backside, it has text on it. It is in black font with a white background. The text includes: “Join the Premium Cigar Social Network!” in cursive font. Below that it says “CONNECT WITH CIGAR AFICIONADOS FROM AROUND THE WORLD” in a slightly larger print font. A third line of text says “CIGARFEDERATION.COM” in even a larger font.
There is a thin footer band on the cigar. Like the primary band it has a black background with white font. The text “COLLECTIVE” is prominently displayed on it. Above that text is the text “the” in a slight cursive-like font – surrounded by a white pinstripe on each side. There also is a white pinstripe toward the bottom of the band.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I normally do, I selected a straight cut to start things off. Once the cap was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw provided a mix of earth and cedar along with a touch of floral spice and a touch of chocolate notes. Overall, I considered the pre-light draw of The Collective to be satisfactory. At this point, I removed the footer band, lit up the cigar, and await what the smoking experience would have in store.
The start to The Collective provided a mix of red pepper, sweet cedar, and earth. There was a slight chocolate note in the background. While the red pepper was not overpowering on the tongue, I did pick it up on the retro-hale.
As the cigar moved through the early stages, a tea note emerged in the forefront. The tea note also had a slightly sweet quality to it. The tea notes were joined by the red pepper notes as primary flavors. The earth notes moved to the background while the chocolate note had dissipated by the time the cigar was ten percent into the smoke. There also was a nice cream note not he finish.
By the time the second third was reached, the tea notes were still primary. The tea notes still had a sweet quality to it. The red pepper was now a close second, but still could be considered a primary flavor. The earth notes continued to be secondary and there still was some cream on the finish.
By the last third, the red pepper returned as a primary note. The tea notes lost a little bit of its sweetness but were a close secondary note. The earth notes remained distant and the cream had dissipated off the finish. There was a bit of a smoky quality that surfaced in the background from time to time. I found the end of the cigar to have some spice and be a little rough. The resulting nub was excellent – firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
With The Collective, I found the burn to start out excellent in each case – requiring little in the way of touch-ups and having a firm ash. In the second half it, I did find the burn needed a little more TLC in terms of touch-ups to burn straight – and the ash was a little looser. The ash itself was a salt and pepper color. The burn temperature remained ideal. I did find The Collective to be a slower burning cigar, but this had no adverse effects in terms of the flavor profile.
|Burn of Cigar Federation – The Collective|
The draw was excellent. It had a touch of resistance, but was not overly tight – and did not require much in the way of touch-ups. This made for a very enjoyable cigar experience.
Strength and Body
In terms of the strength of this cigar, The Collective starts out in the medium to full strength range. It is around the midway point where I felt the medio tiempo kick in and The Collective moved to full strength. In terms of the depth of the flavors, I found they had some decent weight on the pallet. I assessed The Collective as being medium to full-bodied throughout the cigar experience. When looking at strength versus body, the first half of The Collective has a good equilibrium between the two attributes. It is in the second half where I felt the strength maintained a slight edge over the body.
In terms of this blend, there is no doubt The Collective is going to deliver a unique flavor profile. The flavors produced were very good. The one thing I was clear to me is that the best is still yet to come with this cigar. The Collective has an intangible quality where my gut tells me there is still some aging potential over the next few months with this cigar. I think this aging will even mature the flavors some more – and it could quell some of the strength in the second half. Given this cigar has some kick in the second half, I’d recommend this more to a seasoned cigar enthusiast who likes a cigar with some strength to it. As for myself, this was an enjoyable smoke – and there certainly is enough for me to pick up some more of these and smoke them again.
Source: Samples provided by Manufacturer (*)
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* The cigar for this assessment was provided by Cigar Federation. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the samples, but in no way does this influence this write-up