At the 2015 IPCPR Trade Show, Asylum Cigars, the brand under CLE that is a partnership between Christian Eiroa and Tom Lazuka launched a new line called Asylum 33. This new line will produce blends utilizing some of the best aged tobaccos in that Eiroa and Lazuka can procure. For all practical purposes, this becomes Asylum Cigars’ first limited cigar line. The plan is for subsequent releases under the Asylum 33 brand to feature different tobaccos. For 2015, the first Asylum 33 release is a Honduran puro being produced at the El Aladino factory in Honduras. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Asylum 33 in a Corona Gorda (5 1/2 x 46) size. Overall I found this to be an outstanding cigar and one that is a cigar definitely worth checking out.
Since its launch in 2012, Asylum Cigars has become one of the most successful brands in the CLE Cigar Company portfolio. Perhaps it is best known for its Asylum 13 line – which has gained notoriety for being very successful with 70 and 80 ring gauge offerings. However, the big ring gauges have really become one component for positioning Asylum as a “deviate from the norm” brand. Recently launches such the Asylum Dragon’s Milk (aging full cigars in bourbon barrels that were previously used to age beer), Insidious (sweet tipped cigars), and now the limited Asylum 33 are prime examples of that positioning.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the Asylum 33 5 1/2 x 46 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
As mentioned, the 2015 edition is a Honduran puro produced in Honduras.
Country of Origin: Honduras (El Aladino)
Thee are four sizes of Asylum 33. Each is packaged in 25 count boxes. Specific production totals have not been disclosed.
5 1/2 x 46
4 1/2 x 50
6 x 52
6 x 70
The Honduran Wrapper of the Asylum 33 5 1/2 x 46 has a caramel color to it. There is some oil on the surface of the wrapper. The wrapper has some visible veins and each I smoked seemed to have at least one larger vein. There are also some visible wrapper seams. Despite the presence of the visible veins and seams, I wouldn’t categorize this as a toothy or bumpy wrapper. In fact, I’d still say this wrapper is on the smoother side.
The band on the Asylum 33 is very different than anything seen by Asylum before. The band is mostly silver. On the front of the band is the Eye of Providence pyramid in black font. Just below the “eye” is the text “ASYLUM” in modern-looking black-colored font. Below that text is a large “33” in a holographic chrome font. There is a thick horizontal holographic chrome stripe protruding from each side of the pyramid. On the left stripe is the text “THIRTY THREE” in black font. Just above that text is the text “ASYLUM” in small black font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting my Asylum 33 5 1/2 x 46, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut. After the cap was successfully clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw provided more in the way of sweetness, than spice. This sweetness was in the form of caramel and natural tobacco notes. I also picked up some generic wood. Overall I was quite pleased with the pre-light draw of the Asylum 33. At this point I was ready to light up this cigar and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The start of the Asylum 33 5 1/2 x 46 delivered notes of cedar, black pepper, and caramel. As the cigar burned through the early stages, the caramel note morphed into a sweet natural tobacco note that settled in the forefront. The cedar and pepper moved into the background where the cedar was more prominent. I also detected a bready note in the background. This is a cigar that I highly recommend retro-haling as there were plenty of nuances. Early on there was a subtle cedar/pepper combo was present on the retro-hale.
Early in the second third, the sweet natural tobacco remained in the forefront. The cedar / pepper note slightly increased, but remained a secondary note with the bread notes. Meanwhile, the retro-hale was now more peppery, than cedar.
Later in the second third, the cedar and pepper notes seemed to split. The cedar notes increased and fused with the natural tobacco notes in the forefront. The pepper spice along with the bread notes still were secondary. The retro-hale changed up again, now producing a combination of toast and pepper.
By the last third, the pepper notes rejoined the cedar notes in the forefront. The natural tobacco sweetness diminished somewhat and joined the bread notes. This is the way the Asylum 33 came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Overall I found the Asylum 33 5 1/2 x 46 to be a well-constructed cigar and this resulted in some nice scoring for the burn and draw. The Asylum 33 took a relatively straight burn path from start to finish. There was a slight amount of jaggedness on the burn line, so most of the touch-ups were cosmetic in nature. The resulting ash was on the firm side with a nice white color. The combustion of the Asylum 33 5 1/2 x 46 was outstanding and the cigar had an ideal burn rate and ideal burn temperature.
The draw performed quite well. I found this to be a draw that was not too tight, nor too loose. This was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavors and was quite enjoyable to smoke.
Strength and Body
While Asylum has milder offerings with Insidious, and many medium plus to full offerings with Asylum 13 and Straight Jacket, the Asylum 33 5 1/2 x 46 delivers a classic medium strength, medium-bodied smoke. I did find both the strength and body increased along the way, but didn’t quite move into medium to full for either attribute. Overall, I found the strength and body of the Asylum 33 5 1/2 x 46 to balance each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
The Asylum 33 5 1/2 x 46 was a very enjoyable cigar. It delivered nice flavor and a healthy dose of complexity. I also found that this blend worked quite well with the Corona Gorda format. As for the “aged tobaccos”, this was a cigar that exhibited no signs of youngness. As I mentioned earlier, the medium strength, medium-bodied profile fills a nice niche in the Asylum portfolio – even though this cigar is going to have a limited production. Finally, I am curious to see how long-term aging impacts the experience of this cigar. As for now, this is a cigar I could really recommend to any cigar enthusiast – novice or experienced. As for myself, this was an excellent offering and one worthy of a box split.
Assessment: 3.5-Box Split