Today we take a look at the Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve Maduro cigar. This is a cigar sold by Island Lifestyle Importers LLC. The company is run by Rick Louis and Ryan Fralling. Island Lifestyle Importers LLC has the distinction of being the exclusive manufacturer and distributor of Tommy Bahama branded accessories. In 2016, the company sought to create a line of premium cigars to complement its line of accessories, and thus the Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve line was born. The Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve has three blends in its collection: Connecticut, Maduro, and Sungrown. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve Maduro in the Toro size. Overall I had been impressed when I smoked the Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve Sungrown Toro. I was equally impressed with the maduro offering.
Island Lifestyle Importers has chosen not to disclose the factory making these new blends. The company has invested significant time in the development of these blends, and as a result, wants the cigars to stand on their own. The company felt by taking this approach, it would not be viewed as a cigar that some factory made and had a band slapped on it – which in this case, it is not.
Now let’s move on and take a look at the Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve Maduro Toro.
The Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve Maduro is a 100% Nicaraguan puro. It contains tobaccos aged five years.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Maduro
Country of Origin: Not Disclosed
Toro: 6 x 54
Robusto: 5 x 54 (*)
Gordo: 6 x 60 (*)
Churchill: 7 x 54 (*)
* At press time, the Toro is available in widespread national distribution with the three other sizes planned for a launch at the 2017 IPCPR Trade Show.
Currently, each of the three Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve Toros is packaged in 25-count ceramic jars.
The Nicaraguan maduro wrapper of the Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve Maduro Toro had a very “natural” looking dark brown wrapper. Upon closer examination, some darker mottling can be seen on the surface. The surface of the wrapper also had a thin amount of oil on in. There were some thin visible veins, but the darker color of the wrapper does a good job at hiding the wrapper seams.
The band is highlighted by a tropical image on the center of the band. Above and below the image is a beige background with a “chain link” design. Above the image and sitting on that background is the text “ISLAND” in white font. Meanwhile below the image on the beige chain-link background is the text “LIFESTYLE” – also in white font. The lower portion of the band has a solid beige background with the text “Aged Reserve” in gold cursive font. The left and right center of the band have a red background protruding from the tropical image. Sitting on the black background are the text “Premium” and “Handmade” – both in white cursive font. Finally, the band is finished with black and gold trim.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Before I commenced the smoking experience of the Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve Maduro Toro, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap was clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw delivered a combination of classic wood, cedar, and a malted chocolate note. Overall I considered this to be an excellent pre-light draw. At this point, I was ready to light up the Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve Maduro Toro and await what the smoking experience would deliver.
The Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve Maduro Toro started out with notes of oak, creamy malted chocolate, natural maduro sweetness (what I consider to be a cross between natural tobacco and dried fruit) and white pepper. The oak and creamy malt chocolate notes moved into the forefront early on. The white pepper and natural maduro tobacco notes became secondary. At the same time, there was an additional layer of white pepper through the retro-hale.
As the Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve Maduro moved through the second third, the natural maduro sweetness emerged as a primary flavor. The creamy malted chocolate notes floated in and out of the forefront. During this stage, the oak notes settled into the background with the white pepper notes.
By the last third, the oak notes returned to the forefront. The natural maduro sweetness receded into the background joining the pepper, and malted chocolate notes (which saw some of the creaminess). At this point of the smoking experience, there was more spice than there was in the first two thirds, but it was not overpowering. This is the way the smoking experience of the Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve Maduro Toro came to a close. The resulting nub was cool in temperature, but soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
The Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve Maduro Toro maintained a straight burn path from start to finish. There was a slight amount of jaggedness on the actual burn line, and at times this warranted some additional touch-ups. The resulting ash was light gray with some darker spots. This was an ash that was quite firm and it came off the cigar in clean chunks. Meanwhile, the cigar maintained an ideal burn rate and ideal burn temperature.
The draw to the Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve Maduro Toro performed very nicely. This was a draw that was not too tight, nor too loose. This cigar produced an ample amount of smoke. It was also a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve Maduro Toro was a dead center medium strength, medium-bodied smoke. Throughout the smoking experience, I didn’t find much variance in the intensity of the strength and body. I also found the strength and body to be ideal for the flavors produced.
In terms of strength versus body, I found both attributes balanced each other nicely – with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
The Maduro was the second blend of the three Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve cigars. Back when I assessed the Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve Sungrown Toro, I commented that often when an accessory company has gotten into the cigar production side of things, this has usually not been a success from either a blend or business perspective. However, the Sungrown surprised me as being a good blend with Island Lifestyle LLC having a sound marketing strategy behind it. The good news is the Island Lifestyle Aged Reserve Maduro follows suit. I found this maduro had some nice intangibles – most notably the creamy malted chocolate note that was delivered. There also was enough complexity that kept me interested in this cigar from start to finish.
This is a cigar I could recommend to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke again, and it’s worthy of a box split.
Flavor Profile: Malted Chocolate, Cream, “Natural Maduro Sweetness”, White Pepper, Oak
Burn: Very Good
Complexity: Medium to High
Assessment: 3.5-Box Split
Source: Island Lifestyle Importers
Brand Reference: Island Lifestyle Importers
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted