|262 Allegiance (Pre-Release)|
The 262 Allegiance is the soon to be released fifth blend by Clint Aaron‘s 262 Cigars. For the past four + years, 262 Cigars has garnered a very loyal following in the boutique cigar market. The Allegiance marks the first new blend released by 262 since 2012. This time, Aaron turns to a different factory – Tabacalera Carreras (Esteban Carreras) to make his cigar. Recently, I’ve had an opportunity to smoke a couple of pre-release samples of the 262 Allegiance. Since its inception, 262 Cigars has done very well on Cigar Coop. The good news is that the Allegiance does not miss a beat here. This proves to be another excellent release by Aaron and company.
In addition to making cigars that have been well-received by consumers, there is an underlying theme with 262 Cigars. The name “262” is symbolic of February, 1962 – when Kennedy signed the embargo against Cuba. There is a story that Kennedy had his press secretary, Pierre Salinger secure him some Cuban cigar before signing the decree. There is a hypocrisy involved in these actions, and 262 Cigars looks at the on-going hypocrisy 50 years later especially in light of many government regulations in the cigar industry. The name “Allegiance” fits in with the company’s mantra of taking a stand on what is right against such factions (the company uses the theme of “a line in the sand”). The other 262 Cigars (Paradigm, Ideology, Manifesto, and Revere) have also fit that theme.
The Allegiance was previously being referred to as a limited production “Seasonal Blend”. Last month, the company announced the name of this cigar would be the Allegiance. While production numbers have not officially been announced, Aaron told the Blowin Smoke Podcast on 12/28/13 to expect 750 boxes of each size produced.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the 262 Allegiance and see what this cigar brings to the table. As we do with all pre-release samples, we will default to our “pre-review” format to share our thoughts and perspectives. Once the Allegiance makes its way to retailers, we will revisit this cigar and provide an assessment rating and score.
For the 262 Allegiance, the cigar uses a Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper. This was the wrapper type used on Aaron’s first cigar – the 262 Paradigm.
Wrapper: Brazilian Mata-Fina
Filler” Nicaraguan, Honduran
The 262 Allegiance will be available in two vitolas. The cigars will be packaged in ten count boxes.
Robusto: 5 x 50
Box Pressed Toro: 6 x 54
For this cigar experience I smoked the robusto vitola. The 262 Allegiance Robusto’s Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper has a nice caramel brown color to it. The complexion of the wrapper does have a fair amount of oil on it. The surface of the wrapper has somewhat of a bumpy feel to it, but I wouldn’t describe the surface as rugged. There are some visible wrapper seams and some veins.
This pre-release sample smoked was unbanded, but the final product will be banded. Below is a photo from the 262 Cigars web-site showing what the band looks like:
|Photo Credit: 262 Cigars|
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I normally do, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut to start of the cigar experience. Once the cap of my 262 Allegiance was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw phase. The cold draw provided a nice mix of flavors to start with as I detected notes of natural tobacco, light spice, and light fruit notes. Overall the 262 Allegiance provided a very nice pre-light draw. At this point, I was ready to light up the 262 Allegiance and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The start of the 262 Allegiance provided a mix of exotic spice and what I would term a subtle fruit/citrus note. Both the spice and fruit notes melded together very nicely. The retro-hale also delivered a mix of exotic and black pepper through the nasal passages. By the five percent mark, the flavor profile saw some chocolate notes enter the equation. The exotic pepper also took on more of a classic black pepper form.
In the second third, the primary notes became a mix of the earth and citrus notes. The pepper notes were close behind. Meanwhile the chocolate flavors floated back and forth between the forefront and background.
By the final third, much of the chocolate and citrus notes had dissipated. At this point, the 262 Allegiance took on a mostly earth and pepper profile. This is the way the cigar experience remained until the end. The cigar remained flavorful and there was no harshness. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and slightly soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
I found the 262 Allegiance to be a well-constructed cigar and this was reflected very nicely with both the burn and draw attributes. The burn to the 262 Allegiance scored very high. I found the burn line remained sharp throughout the smoking experience requiring minimal touch-ups. The resulting ash was a tight with a bright white color. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
|Burn of the 262 Allegiance|
The draw to the 262 Allegiance was near perfect. It had what I term a “subtle resistance” – something that I consider ideal. This made for an enjoyable experience from start to finish.
Strength and Body
When the 262 Allegiance was announced, it was positioned as a mild to medium cigar. In terms of strength and body, I found this cigar to be little higher than how this was positioned. The strength to the Allegiance seemed to fall right in the medium range for the duration of the smoke. As for the body, I found this started out as medium-bodied and progressed to medium to full by the start of the second third – where it remained. I also found the Allegiance is a cigar where the body has the advantage over strength. My gut tells me that aging could bring this cigar down a bit to the mild to medium strength / medium-bodied range over time.
The 262 Allegiance is another outstanding entry into the 262 portfolio. While it has been since 2012 since there has been a new 262 blend released, this one was definitely worth the wait. I also give the company a lot of props for taking their time between releases. The Allegiance is a well constructed cigar that delivers some outstanding flavor. This wasn’t quite what I was expecting from a Brazilian Mata Fina wrapped cigar, but that’s not a negative as I liked what the end result of the blend produced. This is also think this cigar can appeal to a wide range of cigar enthusiasts’ pallets. This is definitely a cigar I would recommend to either the novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is definitely a cigar I plan on smoking again – and it’s one I look forward to when it hits the market.
Body: Medium to Full
News: 262 Cigars to Release 262 Allegiance
Source: Sample Provided by Manufacturer (*)
Stogie Geeks Podcast: n/a
Stogie Feed: n/a