Saturday, July 14, 2007

Up until a few months ago, I never tried a Victor Sinclair cigar. Then I won a 20-cigar sampler on CBid featuring 10 Series '55', 10 Bohemians, and 5 Primeros -- all for about $2 each. Also, Shaun bought a box of Victor Sinclair Vintages around the same time. So, I've been immersed in Victor Sinclair for the last three or four months and I thought I'd post all my reviews at once.

Victor Sinclair cigars I like:

  • Bohemian Black
  • Vintage
Victor Sinclair cigars I don't like:
  • Primeros
  • Series '55' maduro
  • Series '55' corojo
  • Bohemian Red

Victor Sinclair Primeros
Size: 6.5 x 52
Tobacco: Grade 1 Connecticut shade wrapper;
Filler: Dominican Seco
Price: $2.50

This cigar is all tease, with no payoff. It starts with a complex savory pre-light aroma, like you find when you enter a good cigar and pipe shop, where all smells of many different kind of tobaccos mingle together. It has a pleasing golden brown appearance, although I have noticed on at least one stick splotches of green which indicates the wrapper has not been dried properly. Usually the first few puffs on the cigar reward me with a mild, nuanced flavor.

And, then, poof, it's gone... and all I'm left with is a stick of tobacco that tastes as bland as scented paper, just nice-smelling air. I've tried them with whisky, with rum, and with red wine. Nothing brings out any flavor. It's not just that they're mild, because I like CAO Golds and Padilla Cedros and Macanudo Crystal Cafes-- but the Primeros are just a waste of time.

Victor Sinclair Vintage Select
Size: 6 x 50 (Toro)
Wrapper: Brazilian maduro
Filler: Cuban-seed Dominican
Price: $2.25 (box purchase)

Shaun gave me a VS Vintage to enjoy with two glasses of Blanton's Whisky on a hot summer day. I don't know if it was the stogie, the spirits, or both, but it made for a great afternoon. The cigar was box pressed, medium bodied, mild-to-medium taste, and (like all Victor Sinclairs I've tried) a very slow even burn that was good for at least 90 minutes.

Note: This line is only available from Cigars International

Victor Sinclair 55 Blue Label (Maduro)
Size: 6.5 x 52
Tobacco: 5 country blend (includes Brazil, Dominican, Nicaraguan)
Price: $5.00 (box price)

The Series 55 line gets its name because each cigar uses a blend of tobacco aged 5 years from 5 countries. This is obviously supposed to be a premium, or even super-premium, smoke. They come packaged in 3-tray humidor boxes and have a gold tassel wrapped around the foot, as well as an ornate colored label at the head. The Blue Label cigar does indeed look impressive. I obtained a 5-pack off CBid a few months ago, and all of them had flawless, deep black maduro wrappers with a heavy pre-light aroma that promises explosions of spice and flavor. Frankly, it's hard to keep from drooling.

There are many things to like about this cigar: (1) I've never had the slightest burn problem, (2) They last about two hours each, perfect with a glass of wine watching my daughter chase the dog around the backyard as the sun sets, (3) The taste is consistent with every cigar.

Unfortunately, consistent taste is not the same thing as good taste. None of my cigars have lived up to expectation. While it doesn't exactly taste bad--perhaps somewhat vaguely similar to a 5 Vegas Series 'A', only much much milder-- "Mild", "Bland", and "Boring" are the adjectives that immediately spring to mind. If you think about it long enough, it boggles the intellect that you can blend tobacco from five separate countries and end up with a cigar that tastes so ordinary it could have come from any tobacco plantation anywhere in the world.

To sum up: It's not a cigar I would turn down if offered, but also not something I would ever purchase again.

Victor Sinclair Series 55 Red Label (Corojo)
Size: 6.5 x 52
Tobacco: 5 country blend (includes Brazil, Dominican, Nicaraguan)
Price: $5.00 (box price)

Another disappointing entry in the Series 55 line.

Like the maduro version, this cigar has great construction and tantalizing pre-light aroma, but it is too mild and just doesn't leave any lasting impression at all. I can't believe people pay $7 or more at retail stores for this smoke.

Victor Sinclair Bohemian Black (oscuro)
Size: 6 x 50
Tobacco: Dominican Republic
Price: $4.17 (box price)

I smoked my first Bohemian Black at Swig's martini bar downtime when Misty and Roger Potter came to visit. Roger didn't like his, but then he's a fireman and he says "Cigars just smell like a burning house to me." I thought this was a very good cigar. It has a pitch black, shiny, oily wrapper, with a pig-tail curl at the head. On first light, you notice a pronounced heavy maduro taste, which softens and then picks up more spice as you smoke it. The draw is easy and this cigar will last about an hour. Pairs equally well with Glennkitchie and Glennfiddich 15-Year Old scotch.

Victor Sinclair Bohemian Red (corojo)
Size: 6 x 50
Tobacco: Nicaragua, Brazil and the Dominican Republic
Price: $4.45 (box price)

This cigar is advertised as being fuller flavored and heavier bodied than the Bohemian Black. I've only smoked one of them so far--with 4 left in the humidor--but I thought it was milder than the black. It definitely lacked that spiciness that I enjoyed in the black. The Bohemian Red seemed mild and uneventful in comparison.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Completely agree with your assessment of the two Bohemians. Black good, red not. I really like the Primeros, however. Think you got that one wrong....