At the 2017 IPCPR Trade Show, Altadis U.S.A. showed off a cigar under its VegaFina brand known as the VegaFina Añejado 7 Años Robusto Extra Pigtail. VegaFina is one of many brands in Altadis U.S.A.’s portfolio. When it comes to the VegaFina brand, while it is seen in the U.S. market, it has been one that has been more successful in Europe – particularly in Spain. In addition to the VegaFina brand being known for its popularity in Europe, it is also one that has positioned as a value-priced brand. Finally, VegaFina is also a brand that is best known for its milder blends. Today we take a closer look at the VegaFina Añejado 7 Años Robusto Extra Pigtail. This is a cigar that falls into the category of value-priced (coming in at under $6.00), but one that is somewhat of a change of pace cigar when it comes to the VegaFina brand.
The blend for the VegaFina was originally released in 2016 with the VegaFina Edición Limitada Conde Pigtail. This was a 5 1/2 x 48 vitola that was a limited release for Europe only. Earlier in 2017 came word that a second size of the blend known as the VegaFina Añejado 7 Años Robusto Extra Pigtail was being released – again for the European market only. However come IPCPR time, Altadis U.S.A. decided to bring the Robusto Extra Pigtail to the U.S. market – describing it as a limited production release. The name “Añejado 7 Años” stands for “aged seven years”, but really the only thing the company will say about the aging is that the cigar undergoes a long aging process. The “Pigtail” is for the reference to that pigtail that exists on the cap of the cigar.
Without further ado, let’s break down the VegaFina Añejado 7 Años Robusto Extra Pigtail.
The VegaFina Añejado 7 Años Robusto Extra Pigtail consists of a five-country multi-national blend highlighted by an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. The cigar is produced at the famed Tabacalera de Garcia in the Dominican Republic.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Filler: Colombian, Nicaraguan, Dominican
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (Tabacalera de Garcia)
As mentioned, the Conde Pigtail blend was only released to the European market. The Robusto Extra Pigtail; size is a classic 6 x 50 vitola – one that we typically call in the U.S. market a “Toro”. The cigars are packaged in 25-count boxes.
Robusto Extra Pigtail: 6 x 50
Conde Pigtail: 5 1/2 x 48 (European Release)
The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper of the VegaFina Añejado 7 Años Robusto Extra Pigtail has a medium brown color with a Colorado red tint to it. The surface of the wrapper had a light coating of oil on it. This was a slightly bumpy wrapper with some visible veins. Most of the wrapper seams were well hidden. As for the pigtail cap, it is attached in a spiral-style to the cap of the cigar.
The band of the VegaFina Añejado 7 Años Robusto Extra Pigtail is mostly white in color with red trim on the upper portion of the band. On the white background is a red “VF” surrounded by a silver leaf which in turn is surrounded by two silver concentric circles. To the left and right of the wreath is the text “VEGAFINA”. Just below the “VF” is the text “ANEJADO 7 AÑOS”. The lower portion of the band has a thick black stripe. On the stripe is the text “EDICÍON LIMITADA” in silver font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As opposed to pulling off the spiral pigtail cap, I opted to place a straight cut to remove both the cap and pig-tail simultaneously. Once the cap was removed, I proceeded with the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw delivered a mix of natural tobacco and cedar notes and, to a lesser extent, some floral and mint notes. This draw definitely had some sweetness to it, but it wasn’t overpowering. I considered this to be an excellent pre-light draw. At this point, I was ready to light up the VegaFina Añejado 7 Años Robusto Extra Pigtail and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The VegaFina Añejado 7 Años Robusto Extra Pigtail started out with notes of natural tobacco sweetness, cedar, and red pepper. Early on the natural tobacco and cedar notes developed a nice fusion and emerged as the primary flavors. The red pepper on the tongue receded into the background where it was joined by a caramel apple sweetness. Meanwhile, the red pepper was also present on the retro-hale.
During the second third, the caramel apple sweetness increases in intensity and by the midway point, it is pretty much on par with the natural tobacco and cedar fusion. The red pepper notes were now a distant secondary note.
As the VegaFina Añejado 7 Años Robusto Extra Pigtail moved into the second half, the caramel apple sweetness now started to decrease. Simultaneously, a combination of earth and wheat surfaced in the forefront. The red pepper notes remained distant on the tongue.
The last third of the VegaFina Añejado 7 Años Robusto Extra Pigtail didn’t see much changes in the forefront. The natural tobacco/cedar fusion along with the combination of earth and wheat notes remained in the forefront. There still was some caramel apple sweetness in the background. The pepper notes switched from a red pepper to a black pepper varietal and had a slight increase in intensity. This is the way the cigar experience of the VegaFina Añejado 7 Años Robusto Extra Pigtail finished up. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Each VegaFina Añejado 7 Años Robusto Extra Pigtail performed excellently when it came to the burn. For the most part, this cigar maintained a straight burn path and had a straight burn line. The resulting ash was tight and firm with a light gray color. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw of the VegaFina Añejado 7 Años Robusto Extra Pigtail performed equally well. The cigar had a touch of resistance – which is something that I like. At the same time, this is a cigar that was easy to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
As I mentioned, normally many VegaFina cigars have a reputation for being milder. In the case of the VegaFina Añejado 7 Años Robusto Extra Pigtail, while it’s not going to overpower you with strength and body, it is bolder compared to other cigars by the brand. This is a cigar that had just enough strength to cross into medium territory. For the most part, I found the Añejado 7 Años Robusto Extra Pigtail maintained a constant strength level from start to finish. As for the flavors, there started out medium-bodied, but by the second half, they progressed into medium to full territory.
In terms of strength versus body, I found the body maintained an edge throughout the smoking experience.
The VegaFina Añejado 7 Años Robusto Extra Pigtail was a surprise to me. I would expect a cigar branded as a VegaFina with an Indonesian binder and Colombian tobacco in the filler to be quite dialed back. With the Añejado 7 Años Robusto Extra Pigtail, it was nearly the opposite. This blend was on the medium/medium plus side. On top of that, this cigar is a home run for Altadis U.S.A. It was the perfect storm of great flavor, a nice amount of complexity, and excellent construction. The final bonus, this is a cigar that comes in just under $6.00 per cigar – making it one of the best values I have seen in a cigar in a long time. It’s a cigar that I’d easily recommend to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, it’s one I would smoke again, buy a box of, and yes – fight Chuck Norris for it.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Cedar, Apple/Caramel, Pepper, Earth, Wheat
Complexity: Medium to High
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Value: Fight Chuck Norris for Them
News: VegaFina Añejado 7 Años Robusto Extra Launched for U.S. Market at 2017 IPCPR
Source: Altadis U.S.A.
Brand Reference: VegaFina
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop