Date Reviewed: March 6th, 2011
Cigar Date: November 2001
Vegas Robaina fan that I am, I must admit I haven’t just had these cigars waiting in an aging humidor… but purchased them, from a vendor, with almost a decade of age already on them! Typically, a slight premium is paid for cigars with this much age… partly due to desireability… but mostly just due to rarity, given that fewer folks are able to age their stock this long. In any case, I was glad to receive these puppies and started smoking through the box after giving them some time to rest in the conditions I prefer.
To start off, a buddy and I met up for some morning coffee and a most-of-the-day road trip adventure around our own city. For a late Sunday lunch, we stopped in to a place called the Armadillo Grille… a bar-and-grill that’s known for it’s good food and cheap stiff drinks. For us, there is one thing of particular note about this place: its very well kept and covered cigar-friendly patio!
Remember the old “two-drink-lunch” addage that measured both the length of time your lunch should be… and the maximum amount of alcohol you should consume? Well… us habanophiles sometimes describe time that way, too. “It was a 4-smoke drive,” or “I had a 3 stick-dinner,” right? Well…… we made it a two-cigar lunch!
My buddy started off with a Romeo y Julieta something-or-other and I started with a Bolivar Belicoso Fino from 2008. Those we smoked with our meals…. and then toned it down into this Vegas Robana Familiar, from 2001, for a couple more drinks and some extra relaxing time before hitting the road again!
Pre-light, we both agreed that these cigars still carried a lot of earthy aromas and I thought it almost smelled nutty at the foot. The wrappers were less rough that some of the more recent VR stuff I’ve been smoking… and were very silky and rich looking. I dunno what it is… but something about a VR band makes me want to be more delicate with my smoke and treat it like royalty, ya know? Seriously… to give my buddy a Partagas Serie D No.4, you might fine me toss it across the room to him…… this one I gently hand across the table and explain the age… haha! I might just be insane…
In any case, lighting up brought some instant honey and nut flavors… and that earthiness we smelled was definitely all over the place, particularly when retrohaling.
The draw was suprisingly smooth (this is from an era where I was worried we may end on with a plugged smoke or two in the few we brought along with us) and the burn was extremely even the entire way down! The flavors didn’t really change much throughout the entire stick, but we both noticed a period just past halfway where you almost got… nothing… coming through. The whole cigar was very well balanced with sweet honey, nuts and earthiness tingling the senses the entire ride…… but it was very, very mild and had that one spot of muted emptiness that lasted for maybe an inch or less.
The very back end was a little bit more of an explosion of the same flavors already described, but still nothing overpowering. I would have had to say that this was mild strength… and just medium flavors… nothing full about this cigar at all…… at least not anymore. I know I’m mentioning it for the second time in two paragraohs now (shrug)…… but I was extremely impressed at the draw and burn. As you can see, it was absolutely perfect the whole way down!
Final Thoughts: I certainly enjoyed this smoke, but probably should have started, instead of finished, with it. Sweet honey, nut and earthy flavors were all present and consistent… and the draw/burn was fantastic! The wrapper condition was suprisingly smooth and regal looking, but hardy for sure. I wouldn’t put this up there with the greatest VR stuff I’ve ever smoked, but it was a great smooth and flavorful experience I’m glad I had!
Aging Thoughts: These are ready to smoke right NOW! In fact… they’re probably just now on the downward slope and I wish I would’ve picked them up maybe 2 years ago or so. The flavors are starting to get milder and there was one vacant spot that was disappointing to the overall experience… which means this entire box will be gone VERY soon…… two are loaded up in the traveldor for today!