|Partagas Benji Homage 62 (Robusto Gordo)|
The Partagas Benji Homage 62 pays tribute to former General Cigar Senior Vice President Benjamin “Benji” Menendez’s tenure in the premium cigar industry. Back in December, Menendez announced he was retiring after nearly 62 years in the premium cigar business. On the eve of Cigar Aficionado’s Big Smoke in New York City, a private gala was held at Club Macanudo and at that cigar guests received a special cigar. That cigar turned out to be a pre-release of the Partagas Benji Homage 62. The Partagas Benji Homage 62 has now surfaced at retailers. We have recently had an opportunity to smoke one of these cigars. This cigar represents some of the best work done in General Cigar Company’s Partagas brand in a long time.
Benji Menendez has a long history in the premium cigar industry. Benji is the son of legendary Cuban Cigar Maker Alonso Menendez. Both Benji and his brother Felix learned their craft in Cuba as they were heavily involved in the family business which created the Montecristo brand and was majority owner of the H Upmann factory in Pre-Castro era Cuba. Post-Castro the brothers left Cuba with father Alonso and opened up shop in the Canary Islands. Later in the early 1970’s Benji and Felix settled in Brazil and formed Menendez Amerino with the Amerino family. In the early 80’s Benji left Brazil to later work with General Cigar.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Partagas Benji Homage 62 and see what this cigar brings to the table. As a disclaimer, this cigar assessment is based on a single cigar smoking experience.
The Partagas Benji Homage 62 will feature a multinational blend of tobaccos from four countries.
Wrapper: Honduran Olancho San Agustin (OSA)
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Dominican, Mexican, and Honduran
The Partagas Benji Homage 62 will be produced in two sizes.
Robusto Gordo: 5 1/2 x 52
Toro: 6 1/2 x 54
For this cigar experience, I smoked the Robusto Gordo size of the Partagas Benji Homage 62. This cigar has a milk chocolate wrapper. The complexion of the wrapper can definitely be considered on the oily side. There are some visible veins and visible wrapper seams.
The cigar features two bands. The primary band has a gold, brown, and white. Toward the top of the band is the text “PARTAGAS” in white font on an oval background surrounded by gold trim. Below that is the text “HOMAGE” in large gold font on a brown background – and below that text is “BENJI” in a smaller white font on a brown background. There is a gold “62” on a brown circular background with gold trim below all the text”. The remainder of the band has brown, gold, and white adornments.
There is a thin secondary band below the primary band. It is in gold with the text “2013” imprinted on it.
Each Partagas Benji Homage 62 cigar is individually wrapped with white tissue paper. The banding that is on each cigar also is layered over the tissue paper.
|Wrapped version of the Partagas Benji Homage 62
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
After removing the Partagas Benji Homage 62 from its tissue wrap, I immediately proceeded with the pre-light draw ritual. The first step was to place a straight cut into the cap of my Homage 62 Robusto Gordo. After clipping the cap, I moved on to the cold draw. The cold draw yielded notes of floral, cedar, and some chocolate. Overall I was quite pleased with the pre-light draw experience from this cigar. At this point, it was time to fire up my Partagas Benji Homage 62 and see what this cigar would bring to the table.
The Partagas Benji Homage 62 started off with a mix of oak, exotic pepper spice, and a tangy sweetness. The tangy sweetness had both sweet and sour notes to it. The exotic spice was something that was also quite prominent on the retro-hale.
By the five percent point, the tangy sweetness remained in the forefront. The oak notes had morphed to more of a natural tobacco flavor. Meanwhile the exotic spice notes had receded into the background.
I found the tangy sweetness was the story of the first half. By the midway point, I noticed the tangy sweetness start to dial back. The natural tobacco notes had flipped to more of an earth note. The exotic spice still remained a secondary note.
As this cigar moved deeper into the second half, it got even better. By the 60 percent point, the cigar had evolved into a rich coffee flavor with some earth notes. The tangy sweetness was now more of a smoother orange sweetness. The exotic spice still remained distant.
In the last third, there was stlll coffee and earth notes in the forefront. The orange sweetness diminished and moved into the background with the exotic spice. This cigar ended quite smoothly – very flavorful and no harshness. The resulting nub was excellent – firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Overall, I found the Partagas Benji Homage 62 to be a well-constructed cigar and this was reflected in the burn and draw. The Benji Homage 62 maintained a straight burn line from start to finish – requiring minimal touch-ups along the way. The resulting ash was on the firm side – with a light gray color. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the Partagas Benji Homage 62|
I also found the draw to be low maintenance as well. It was not loose and not tight. The end result was a cigar that was very easy to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The Partagas Benji Homage 62 was one of those cigars that I term a “medium/medium” smoke. In other words, the strength is going to fall right in the middle of the spectrum at medium strength. This is also going to be a medium-bodied cigar where the flavors will have just enough depth – and just enough weight on the pallet. The strength and body balanced each other nicely – with neither attribute overshadowing the other. I found that for this flavor profile, the “medium / medium” format worked perfectly.
The Partagas Benji Homage 62 was a tale of two cigars in my book. First up, I thought the first half of the cigar was very good. However it was the “back nine” in the second half where this cigar really shined – and became an excellent cigar. Overall this is a unique blend that is going to deliver a unique smoking experience. If this truly is the final project with Menendez’s name on it, he certainly is going out with a bang. I also think there is some real aging potential for this cigar to get even better – so its worth keeping an eye on it. This is a cigar I would recommend to either a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, it is one I would certainly smoke again. It’s worth a box split now – and it could become box worthy in the future.
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