In 2021, VegaFina would release a regional cigar to France known as the VegaFina Emperadores 56 Exclusivo Francia. VegaFina is a brand sold by Tabacalera S.L.U. group, which is a sister operation to Tabacalera USA, the group that owns the brands under Altadis USA. While VegaFina is a brand that has been primarily distributed in the European market, there have been several VegaFina releases that have been distributed by Altadis USA. Still VegaFina has been a brand that has been more popular in the European market. Today we will look at the VegaFina Emperadores 56 Exclusivo Francia
At press time, there have been six regional “Exclusivo” releases from VegaFina. Each has been unique for the region. There have been variations of the blend along the way.
- VegaFina Magnificos Exclusivo Magnificos Exclusivo Benelux (2018)
- VegaFina Romanenses Exclusivo Republica Dominicana (2020)
- Vegafina Conquistadores Exclusivo Portugal (2020)
- VegaFina Tudescos Exclusivo Alemania (Germany) (2021)
- VegaFina Vindobona Exclusivo Austria (2021)
- VegaFina Emperadores 56 Francia (2021)
A note on this review: The cigars used for this assessment were sent by Tabacalera USA. After completing the assessment and working on the write-up, we discovered the cigars smoked did not have the usual footer bands the others released into the market have. Typically we do not review cigars unless the final packaging is used. Our decision was still to publish the review with the assessed score, but this will not be registered as an official score on Cigar Coop.
Without further ado, let’s break down the VegaFina Emperadores 56 Exclusivo Francia and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The blend to the VegaFina Emperadores 56 Exclusivo Francia features a common VegaFina recipe for an Ecuadorian wrapper over a blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican Tobaccos. Production for the Emperadores 56 Exclusivo Francia comes from Tabacalera de Garcia in the Dominican Republic.
Filler: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic
Country of Origin: Dominican
Factory: Tabacalera de Garcia
The “56” in Emperadores 56 refers to the ring gauge of this cigar. The cigar has a length of 150mm or about 5.9 inches. This 56 x 5.9″ cigar is the only vitola being offered under the Exclusivo Francia. The cigars were presented in ten-count boxes with a total allocation of 3,000 boxes.
The Ecuadorian wrapper of the VegaFina Emperadores 56 Exclusivo Francia had a medium to dark brown color to it. There was a light coating of oil on the surface of the wrapper. There were some thin visible veins as well as some thin visible wrapper seams.
Prior to lighting up the VegaFina Emperadores 56 Exclusivo Francia, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw experience. The pre-light draw wasn’t the most exciting, but I still would assess it as a satisfying one. It delivered notes of earth, cedar, and a slight amount of fruit sweetness. With the pre-light draw of the VegaFina Emperadores 56 Exclusivo Francia complete, it was time to toast the footer of the cigar and move on to the smoking phase.
The VegaFina Emperadores 56 Exclusivo Francia opened up with notes of cedar, fruit, natural tobacco, and earth. Early on the cedar briefly moved into the forefront, but eventually, the combination of natural tobacco and fruit sweetness displaced the cedar. The cedar receded into the background and joined the earth. The retro-hale also started out cedar-centric. As the Exclusivo Francia moved through the first third, some black pepper surfaced on the tongue and on the retro-hale.
As the VegaFina Emperadores 56 Exclusivo Francia moved into the second third, natural tobacco took over as the sole primary note. The fruit joined the pepper, earth, and cedar in the background. The cedar remained a relatively close secondary note. Around the midway point, the cedar from time to time crept into the forefront. Just past the midway point, the pepper notes increased in intensity.
By the final third, the cedar regained its position in the forefront, displacing the natural tobacco notes. The natural tobacco receded into the background. The pepper was a close secondary note. There still were notes of fruit and earth present. Despite a more spice-forward flavor profile, this cigar was not overly aggressive when it came to spice. This is the way the VegaFina Emperadores 56 Exclusivo Francia came to a close. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Construction-wise, the VegaFina Emperadores 56 Exclusivo Francia is well-constructed and this reflected nicely on the score of the burn. Overall the VegaFina Emperadores 56 Exclusivo Francia maintained a straight burn path and straight burn line requiring minimal touch-ups. The resulting ash was light gray with some darker spots mixed in. This wasn’t an overly firm ash, but it wasn’t a loose or flaky ash either. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The excellent construction of the VegaFina Emperadores 56 Exclusivo Francia also reflected nicely on the draw. This was a cigar with a touch of resistance, but this was an ideal thing in my book as I normally like working a draw a bit. This was also a low-maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
When it comes to the VegaFina Emperadores 56 Exclusivo Francia, don’t let the darker wrapper and larger ring fool you. One might think this is a powerhouse smoke, but this is not the case. The VegaFina Emperadores 56 Exclusivo Francia is a cigar that started out in the mild to medium range for both attributes. The intensity level increases slightly by the second third where it crosses into medium territory for both attributes. In terms of strength versus body, I give a slight edge to the body
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
The VegaFina Emperadores 56 Exclusivo Francia features the standard gray, white, and red VegaFina band. This is complemented by a secondary band indicating “EXCLUSIVO FRANCIA” that also contains the colors of the French flag. As mentioned above, the footer band was missing from the samples we got. I did like the fact the footer band identified the cigar as an Emperadores 56. While I didn’t find any shortcomings with the footer band missing from my samples, I still think it added a nice touch to the packaging of the cigar as a whole.
This was an excellent installment into the VegaFina regional release collection and the VegaFina portfolio as a whole. If you are looking for the VegaFina experience as a whole with a 56-ring gauge cigar, the VegaFina Emperadores 56 Exclusivo Francia is certainly the cigar for you. The milder profile works well – especially when some of the spices increase in the final third. As mentioned, while this won’t count as an official score because it didn’t have the final packaging, from what we smoked – this is a winner. This is a cigar I would recommend to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I would buy multiples to keep in my humidor.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Earth, Fruit, Baker’s Spice, Black Pepper
Complexity: Medium Plus
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st Third), Medium (Remainder)
Body: Mild to Medium (1st Third), Medium (Remainder)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy Multiples
Score: 90 (*)
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted
(*) Unofficial score due to the fact the cigar assessed did not have finalized package/banding