Ando Guttierez AZUL Vintage 2008 by Epicurean Cigars
Epicurean Cigars, the brainchild of Steve Ysidron, released the AG Azul brand of smokes last July at IPCPR. This is the first time I’m having the opportunity to smoke anything of the line, so I’m a bit excited. I love that these smokes a) were rolled at the Oliva family’s TABOLISA factory. Made with a sungrown Habano wrapper, Honduran Binder and Nicaraguan filler from 2008 crops in Jalapa Valley and Esteli.
I am smoking the Toro (6×50) which retails for $9.50, but these are also available in Trabajador (5×54), Justus (6 x 60), and Petit Corona (5 1/2 x 48).
First 1/3: Despite the crack at the base, this is a nice flavorful smoke with medium thick plumes of milky grey smoke. Spicy notes are highlighted with lots of sweet tobacco taste, sort of a chocolate/cocoa flavor. A nice, easy burn coupled with a flavorful wrapper make the beginning of this a very pleasant smoke. I was surprised at the short amount of cling time my ash held, I expected a little longer from a quality stick.
There is a hint of cognac flavor in the aftertaste, one that I really enjoy. The spice is beginning to fade as I near the end of the first 1/3. If I were into assigning strengths and flavor ratings, I would say this smoke is a medium strength, medium body.
Second 2/3: During the second third the spice is a nice subtle accent to what I can only describe as a sweet leather. Kind of like when you smell a brand new saddle, or cowboy boots. It’s sweet instead of old or aged. That flavor, coupled with the sweet cognac aftertaste make this a very leisurely smoke experience.
Sweet, soft and smooth is how I would describe the second 2/3.
Final 2/3: As with most sticks, you will notice the warmth and spice pick up as you finish out the smoke. Usually I don’t like this part as much, the warmth becomes a little much. In this case, however, I actually like it.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this smoke. I was able to sit and relax while enjoying a flavorful, even burning, smooth cigar, and that’s what life is about. I guess when you pair the passion that Steve Ysidron has for tobacco and cigars with the experts at the Oliva plantation, you get a very solid, quality product. I do tend to think that nearly $10 may be a bit pricey for an average smoke, but for a little nicer stick, this may do the trick. Job well done, I would recommend this to almost any one who appreciates quality.