|Federal Cigar 93rd Anniversary Reserve No. 2 by Oliva|
In what has become a mid-March tradition, New Hampshire-based retailer Federal Cigar is releasing a retail exclusive cigar to commemorate their anniversary. In 2014, the retailer is celebrating their 93rd anniversary in business. This time they team up with Oliva to release the Federal Cigar 93rd Anniversary Reserve No. 2. In past years, companies such as Tatuaje, My Father, and E.P. Carrillo have teamed up with Federal to produce a special blend. For this year’s edition, it turns out a blend that was made back in the 2002-2003 timeframe was pulled out of the Tabacalera Oliva Tabolisa’s aging room and was selected to be the 93rd Anniversary cigar. Recently, I was given the opportunity to sample the Federal Cigar 93rd Anniversary release. Federal Cigar has certainly established an impressive track record with these anniversary releases. Not a beat is missed here. In fact this cigar might be one of the all-time hidden gems from Oliva.
When we previewed the Federal Cigar 93rd Anniversary Reserve No. 2, we told the background about this particular cigar:
The story around this cigar is about 18 months ago ago at Tabacalera Oliva Tabolisa, the factory was doing some re-arranging in their aging rooms and came across a bunch of mismatched Master Blend 1s and Master Blends 2s. At the same time, they came across a few thousand torpedoes that were rolled sometime in the 2003/early 2004 timeframe, but had been sitting in the aging room stored in paper wrapped quarter wheels. Some of the cigars were sent to Federal Cigar owner Rick Gadway, who felt it was an amazing smoke. The decision was made to make this the 93rd Anniversary Cigar.
According to Gadway, these cigars that were uncovered in Tabolisa’s aging room were for a follow-up to Oliva Master Blends 1, but did not become the Oliva Master Blends 2 release. It is unclear why these cigars never materialized for a release. Gadway says cigar smokes very different from any of the Master Blends releases.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Federal Cigar 93rd Anniversary Reserve No. 2 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
We were also told that while these cigars were rolled nearly 10 or 11 years ago, the tobaccos are even older – possibly from 2001.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sun Grown
The cigar has a similar shape to the other Master Blends. It is a semi-pressed torpedo at 6 x 52.
The Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper definitely has a aged quality about it. The color is a lighter coffee bean color with a touch of colorado red mixed in. Upon closer examination there is some darker marbling that can be seen. There is a slight sheen to the wrapper, but I would not say it is a oily by any means. There are a few visible wrapper seams, and there are some visible veins.
In terms of the band, a decision was made to use the Federal Cigar logo. The cigars are packaged in plain cellophane bundles of 10 and a total of 200 bundles were produced. A decision was made not to wait for special bands and boxes to be produced since the cigars were smoking at their peak.
The Federal Cigar logo features an American Eagle with a red, white, and blue shield at the center. A gold wreath surrounds the eagle. Above the eagle is a blue ribbon with the text “FEDERAL CIGAR” sitting on it in white font with gold trim. Toward the bottom of the band is another blue ribbon with the text “Est 1921” – also in white font with gold trim. To the left and right of the logo is a series of gold medallions going toward the back of the band sitting on a red background. Gold trim also surrounds the top and bottom of the band.
Preparaton for the Cigar Experience
Given this is a box-press torpedo, in this case my decision to use a straight cut was pretty much by default. After clipping the tip, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. The cold draw provided a mix of earth, mild spice, and natural tobacco. Overall I considered this to be a solid pre-light draw experience. At this I was ready to light up the Federal Cigar 93rd Anniversary Reserve No. 2 and see what this cigar would deliver.
The start to the Federal Cigar 93rd Anniversary Reserve No. 2 provided a mix of coffee, natural tobacco, and a tangy pepper. As the cigar moved through the early stages, the coffee and natural tobacco notes moved to the forefront. I detected some pepper in the background with a slight tangy quality. There also was a touch of chocolate on the finish. Meanwhile on the retro-hale, I picked up an herbal spice. The cigar delivered a smooth profile and it stayed this way until the final puffs.
Somewhere in the middle of the first third is when the flavors really opened up. The chocolate notes moved to the forefront pretty much displacing the coffee flavors from earlier on. The natural tobacco notes moved to the background joining the pepper notes that still had some tanginess to them.
In the second third, the flavors switch up and the natural tobacco notes moved to the forefront with the chocolate/coffee notes joining the tangy spice in the background. As the cigar moved through the second half, I noticed an increase in the spice – which still had some tanginess.
By the last third, most of chocolate notes had diminished. The natural tobacco notes became more of an earthy flavor. The earth notes and pepper (still with some tanginess) were the primary flavors in the last stages of the cigar. The cigar was still smooth and flavorful at the end. The resulting nub was ideal – firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The Federal Cigar 93rd gets some high scores for both the burn and draw attributes. While normally I am critical of many torpedoes when it comes to these attributes, this cigar shines in both areas. The burn line to the Federal 93rd remained straight from start to finish – requiring very little maintenance to keep it on track. The resulting ash was white in color in the first half, but got more salt and pepper colored in the second half. The ash itself was firm throughout the smoking experience. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the Federal Cigar 93rd Anniversary Reserve No. 2|
I found the draw to be outstanding. It had a slight touch of resistance – which is something I like. On each of the samples I smoked, the torpedo tip remained firm and did not get overly soft.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I found that the Federal Cigar 93rd stayed in the medium range from start to finish. The strength does kick up a little toward the end, but I still assessed the strength to be medium. In terms of the flavors, they also started out in the medium-bodied range. The depth of these flavors increases gradually and in the second half they progressed to medium to full-bodied. When looking at strength versus body, I found the Federal 93rd to be a cigar that emphasizes body over strength.
Based on how smooth this cigar is, there is no doubt that this is some well-aged tobacco. This is one of those cigars that I call “the total cigar experience”. Namely, it has great flavor, nice complexity, and excellent construction. While I have no way of knowing if this was a better cigar “then or now”, I can tell you this is an excellent cigar right now and I have every reason to believe it is smoking at peak status. This is a cigar I would not hesitate to recommend to either the novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is easily a cigar I’d reach or save for a special occasion cigar. It’s a cigar worth fighting Chuck Norris for.
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Assessment: 4.5 – Fight Chuck Norris for Them
Source: Cigars provided by Federal Cigar (*)
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* The cigar for this assessment was given to Cigar Coop by Federal Cigar. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the sample, but this does not influence the review.