My favorite part about reviewing is coming across new blends I have never heard of, because you never know when you will find a new favorite. I love doing trades for oddball boutiques, specifically when they get tossed in and you look at them wondering what is this? Enter the Terroir from Chinnock Cellars. Without doing much research, I had seen them on CigFedStore for sale (#BuyNow) and had often wondered, but am normally hesitant at buying stuff I am not familiar with. At first glance, the wrapper reminded me of Habanos cigars with unpressed veins and a slight box press reminiscent of a Cuban dress box. No surprise, these are made at El Titan De Bronze with a double binder entubado style and Willy Herrera did the blend. For me, that normally translates into a winning combination. One unique addition is the aging of the cigars for three months in French Oak barrels, which I cannot say in hindsight I noted oak, but whatever it is, works. I must note, I did this review on a burned out nose still recovering from a sinus infection, so my taste buds from the retrohale were not spot on, and I may revisit to see if more depth is present I could not denote. On to the review…
Filler: Dominican & Nicaraguan
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Deflorada
Dry Draw: very subtle flavors, nothing defined, reminds me of a cookie
First Third: The Terroir began like a fine latte, blended with a light roast reminiscent of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans. The retrohale was phenomenal, adding hints of brown sugar and cocoa powder. The draw had a creamy texture, and while the flavor was not extreme in depth, it was rather defined in the notes. Love at first puff? For this Habanos freak, that would be a resounding yessireebobber.
Second Third: And now we began the vanilla love nugget phase, as in the Terroir added vanilla notes to the draw and retrohale as well. These nuggets were subtle, like everything else in the cigar, and really needs to be smoked slowly on a clean palate. Towards the end, the finish became a bit stiffer, but left nothing but the essence of awesome on my palate. I swore I got hints of mint at times as well, which is very rare and unique.
Final Third: The richness of the blend picked up, and I started to get this nutty liqueur note I have been finding in Nicaraguan blends as of late. At times it reminds me of vanilla extract, then amaretto, or just the finish of classic vanilla mixed in a milkshake. My notepad said, “sweet cream latte, daaaaayyyum,” at this point. I swear it reminded me of an Upmann No 2, or possibly an aged Diplo at times as well. Not so much the blend, but those notes specifically. Unfortunately, the band ruined the majority of the final third, as I will note in the construction. Right at the end, the pesky mint note hit me again, which blew my mind relly, but only after the tear had burned out and the wrapper came back into play. As you can see, I nubbed it till my lips burned.
As noted by the owner of Brian Chinnock, the band of the cigar i smoked was from the original run, which has since been changed due to the construction issues I experienced here. Therefore, please take the following statements as the reflection of an objective experience. At this point, I would say I am more then comfortable buyign a box of these given the issue has been resolved. Here is Brian's post you can see below:
Thank so much for this wonderful review. You nailed every flavor it was designed to produce. I'm so sorry you had problems with the band. I can see from the darker band color that you have one of the original Terroir from over 2 years ago. We had fixed the band issue you had after this first run 2 years ago. The band is designed to be slid off, not unwrapped. The problem back then was training the bander on how to put on this unique band design. She was cutting back too much of the paper insert which exposed the glue to the wrapper, which caused all the problems you experienced. Please rest assured this problem is fixed. You can tell a new Terroir by the more shinny Pewter band color. Please try another with the shinny band color and you will see the band slid right off without unwrapping it. Enjoy!
Chinnock Cellars Cigars"
Construction: Normally I do not complain much about bands sticking to the wrapper because I understand mistakes happen with hand rolled products, but this was a terrible experience. There was so much glue on the band, it destroyed the wrapper and the final third. The band itself has adhesive all the way around and must be protected from the wrapper with a yellow insert/sheath of sorts. The amount of glue was beyond anything I have ever seen on a cigar, and I could see where this would be a common problem as the entire band has adhesive on it under the yellow insert. One slip, and it sticks to the wrapper, which can cause an explosion, and in my case, it did and gave me a huge case of blue balls. With so much attention to detail in the blend, this was one detail I could do without.
Final Thoughts: First off, let me say this will make my top list for 2014. I loved this cigar, and to me, the folks at Chinnock Cellars understand what a Habanos smoker is looking for in a domestic blend. I was impressed by the wrapper, and you could have fooled me blindly by appearance and taste that this was a Habanos. The only thing that would give it away as not being a Habanos, was the ash in color and texture. At times, it may have been a bit too mild, so fuller bodied fans may not appreciate the Terroir unless smoked first thing. For me, I could smoke this all day, any time, with any pair, and immediately started telling fellow Habanos collectors to check Chinnock Cellars and the Terroir out. My main concern is the band, and in that regard, I am hesitant to buy a box. I will be buying a fiver for sure, to see if this issue is common, as I had heard it from others whom have smoked it. My two cents, ditch the damn band. Looks do not mean a thing if the experience is destroyed as a result. This is an amazing cigar, and I hope my band issue is not common, because I will be buying more. I cannot wait to smoke one when my nose heals really, and I will be buying fivers of their other blends as well based on the excellence of this blend. This is a company to look out for if you have not heard of them. Big thanks to Matt Ross for sending this as part of a trade, you nailed it bro.
****Due to the comments of Brian Chinnock referenced in the EDIT, I will be buying a box soon ;)****
P.S. I knew Logan wouldn’t like this ;)
P.P.S. You can buy them here: #BuyNow