Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Graycliff 1666
Size: 7.0 x 48 (Presidente), 6.0 x 52 (Pirate-torpedo)
Wrapper: Japaltec, Mexico
Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Peruvian, Columbian, Brazilian, and Mexican
Price: $10

1666 is Graycliff's newest line, named to commemorate the year a church was built on the land that now holds the Graycliff Hotel.

Other than Casa Magna, I can't think of another cigar in the last two years that has generated as much debate as this one. A cursory internet search yields all kinds of opinions all over the map. I've seen several "best cigar I've ever had" reviews. One of my favorite cigar sites StogieGuys.com rated the Pirate (torpedo) at 4/5 stogies, comparing it to OpusX. On the other hand, I've also seen several complaints about construction. A lot of people seem to label all Graycliff cigars "chump sticks" because of their ridiculously high prices. Others point to the 1666 as proof that Graycliff has finally "sold out", primarily because it's the first cigar not rolled at the Graycliff resort in Naussau.

So what did I think?

I'm not usually very fond of maduros. First, they have an oddly bittersweet, almost chemical taste that I don't enjoy. Second, they veer towards coffee flavors rather than spicy flavors. The 1666 is no exception, although I must note, in its favor, that the unpleasant maduro tastes faded quickly after the first inch and the cigar assumes a very rich, creamy profile with a unique taste of raisins.

I enjoyed several of these floating my new swimming pool. They burned slow. I never encountered a significant construction issue. They pair well with either Yuengling lager or Willet's single-barrel Kentucky bourbon.

They're not worth MSRP, obviously, but I've been lucky enough to to buy about 10 of them for around $2/stick in various CigarBid samplers.

I still prefer a more rough-and-tumble, peppery, full-bodied Nicaraguan puro wrapped in a corojo or criollo leaf. But as far as maduros go, these were top-notch.

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