SIZE: 7-1/2" X 38
Generous trade with The Chef
Back Patio at Home
September 21, 2017 @ 8:30 AM
French-pressed Community Coffee Dark Roast
Beautiful morning - low 70s and no humidity yet
WGR 550 - trying to figure out the Bills' woes on offense
RELEASE TYPE: Previously Regular Production (now discontinued)
ORIGINALLY RELEASED: Unknown
Totals produced undisclosed
CIGAR BACKGROUND INFO
- This is from the original Vegueros line that began in the early 1960s.
- Habanos dedicated the Vegueros line to the hardworking farmers of the Pinar del Rio region who year in and year out typically produced some of the highest quality tobacco in Cuba. The story goes that they would farm-roll these to smoke and the blend was too good not to sell.
- ‘Vegueros’ is Spanish for ‘farmer’.
- The brand was discontinued is 2012, but production seems to have stopped around 2001.
- The Vegueros line was rebranded and relaunched in 2013 following an announcement at the 2013 Habanos Festival.
- There is a rumor that the Vegueros Especiales No. 1 is a farm-rolled version of the Cohiba lancero - which would explain the draw issues a bit since the Cohiba lanceros from that timeframe were chronically plugged.
This is my first time seeing the old design Vegueros band in person and I love it. When I think of Cuba, I envision the streets filled with classic cars and trucks and, to me, the band is reminiscent of that.
The "V" on the band is interrupted by a white, silhouetted tobacco leaf that was carried into Alfonso's new band as well. The band is simple and classic for sure - I kind of wish the new line would have maintained more of the older band. The homage to the farmers of the PDR region is prominent with the words "Pinar del Rio" representing the only text on the band outside of the brand identification. As far as I know, the secondary "vintage" band was applied by a second party since all the original images I found did not contain it.
For a 16-year old cigar, the Vegueros Especiales No. 1 is in fantastic condition. The wrapper is a shade darker than brown paper bag with a great bit of oiliness left in it. There's a small amount of tooth to the wrapper as well as some moderate veining. There's no real discoloration or blemishes marring the wrapper.
The cigar has a pleasant density to it. A light inspection doesn't reveal any soft spots but it definitely gets harder as you get closer to the cap.
The No. 1 features a superb triple cap with a small pigtail detail. For what it's worth, I love when cigar's use a pigtail. It just seems like an homage to the past. The foot, again, is in excellent condition and looks very densely packed.
Vegueros Especiales No. 1 is very light on the nose - mostly picking up some lighter tobacco notes, maybe some light chocolate and cinnamon as well.
The cold draw is very tight and a little concerning. If you look at it, there's almost no room for air to pass through. I'll grab my Perfect Draw and give it a try lighting without modifying first.
LIGHT & DRAW
Cutter: Xikar XO Straight-Cut Lighter: Vertigo Triple-Flame
The immediate flavors are very soft and muted - excellent in the morning. There's some very light cinnamon, cedar and vanilla that stand out.
The draw is terrible. I used my Perfect Draw tool to auger out some filler and honestly, may need to go back in with it. This is like trying to suck ice cream through a straw. Hopefully as the cigar burns down it opens up a bit.
The burn is a little ugly but not unmanageable yet. The burn line is very "thick" - meaning the black burned portion looks like it was drawn on with a fat-tip Sharpie.
The ash is very dark - bordering on black. I've found Cuban cigars tend to either have a very light ash or a super dark ash. In theory, this all depends on the nutrients in the soil and the growing conditions that produced the tobacco leaves.
Smoke output is on the lower end - this definitely is not a chimney. The No. 1 pushes out a decent amount of white/light grey smoke on each puff and then disappears when resting.
> Cedar, pepper, coffee
The first third brings some cedar and minor pepper notes. The retrohale reinforces the pepperiness and brings in some ground coffee. The flavors are quite muted, but given the cigar's age, certainly not past their prime.
I ended up going back in with the Perfect Draw and between some additional auguring and the burn progressing, the draw has opened up to a more appropriate level of resistance. I can't give it a perfect score on the draw since some heavy lifting was needing to get it there.
The burn line has really cleaned itself up and is very sharp and crisp now. The ash has lightened slightly but still very dark. Retention is excellent and I'm tending to ash it a little early to avoid it falling inevitably in my lap.
> More pepper
At about the midpoint, pepper is more prominent than any other flavor. To me, this is a bit of a surprise given it's lack of presence on the newer blends. The cigar is also smoking fairly hot - which could be a result of the filler I've removed, creating a heat tunnel to my tongue basically.
The draw continues to ebb and flow - the second third brings back a super tight, unsmokeable draw. I auger out some additional filler in an attempt open it up and massage the cigar a bit to keep it loose but the draw continues to be tight.
Just like the draw, the burn is frustratingly great then horrible. The burn line itself remains razor-thin but at about the midpoint a couple relights were needed to get the No. 1 going again. Ash continues to build well, but I'm intentionally ashing to try and keep as much air as possible moving through the stogie.
> Pepper, mint, cocoa
The pepper notes continue in a lessened role but there are some welcomed meatiness and vegetal tones entering the palate. The vegetal notes are leaning more herbal - like mint and grass. Again, the cigar is burning fairly hot so that may be altering the flavor profile somewhat. There is just a hint of cocoa and slight creaminess as well.
The draw is meh - It's ok but at this point I'm just happy to be getting smoke into my mouth ... not perfect by any stretch. The burn has moved past its issues to be burning well - no touch ups or relights needed since the halfway mark.
Vegueros' Especial No. 1 didn't have an overt flavor progression to speak of. Instead, flavors seemed concentrated on pepper with other flavors creeping in as supporting roles - some meat, cedar, mint and cocoa all making appearances. The pepper comes and goes in varying prominence but is always present. This is not an overly complex smoke - which can be expected with the age on the stick.
The burn rate has been good throughout and the burn line has been great since the initial light but the draw is the real death of this stogie. While the draw isn't necessarily tied to the burn, it did affect the experience in that I believe a better, easier draw would have allowed the cigar to progress a little better and burn better overall.
RATING & FINAL THOUGHTS
COMPLIMENTS & CRITIQUES
👍 Gorgeous cigar
👍 Nice flavors given the age
👎 Horrific draw
👎 Minor burn issues
Construction & Appearance ....... 0.77 / 0.80
Pre-Light Characteristics ............. 0.29 / 0.50
Lighting Process ............................. 0.28 / 0.50
Smoking Experience ..................... 4.64 / 7.70
Personal Enjoyment ....................... 0.33 / 0.50
Smoke 'em if you've got 'em. like right now ...
Rating: 6.3 / 10.0
The Vegueros Especiales No. 1 was a frustrating cigar to smoke. The draw impaired the flavors in that I needed to remove a significant amount of filler to make the cigar smokeable. In the final third, it really started to shine and the flavors popped.
Initally I thought the No. 1 was not past its prime, but I have to reconsider given the burn and draw issues encountered - I think the cigar's structure may be DIMINISHING and if you've got one, I'd light it up. The flavors are holding up but the cigar may not be.
MORE PICTURES FROM THE REVIEW:
HOW WE COMPARE:
I love reading other reviewers' thoughts on the cigars I'm smoking and reviewing. Here's how my review stacks up compared to some other, probably better reviews:
|Site||Vitola Reviewed||Rating||Normalized Rating||Link|
|Dirty Ashes||Especiales No. 1||Not Rated||Not Rated||https://thedirtyashes.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/2001-vegueros-lancero/|
No big surprise that there is not much out there for a cigar from almost 20 years ago. Here's hoping the remaining No. 1s perform better than this one!