What happens over single malt and cigars? According to Akhil of Regius Cigars, a friendship with none other than Mitchell Orchant of CGarsLtd fame in the UK. Their business relation led to a collaboration that I was more than excited to sample at IPCPR. Those that follow my reviews know I have become quite a fan of the Regius Nicaraguan blend. When I heard these two wanted to blend a cigar that rivaled the PSD4, an international bestseller from Cuba, the Pavlov Dog in me came out. With only 200 boxes of 10 being produced for the USA market, this was a top priority for review. If you are not familiar with Orchant, he handles vintage cigar auctions in the UK, so to say he has a refined palate, is an understatement. This blend took six months and five blends to knock out, and I can say as a Habanos collector, nothing intrigued me more at IPCPR. Lastly, this is a Nicaraguan puro, and not much is known about the blend.
Prelight: I was too excited to dry draw
First Third: Initially, I felt that the Orchant had a tad more body then the normal Regius line, specifically in the retrohale, but never overpowering. Sharp earth notes, peanut undertones, no spice, and a creamy draw made for an incredible first third. The finish encompassed my entire mouth, with well-rounded notes encompassing mid tongue. This last week, I had a Peruvian bean cappuccino, real light roast bean, and this collection of flavors seemed to melt into the profile reminiscent of one of the more complex coffee’s I have experienced. You could walk inside, grab a drink and snack, come back five minutes later and the finish would still be painting a picture on your palate. The retrohale added a nice cedar note, and seemed to add the coffee bean notes, while the palate and tongue interacted with the nuts and earth. My final notes were exotic, depth, and delicacy. Word to the wise, smoke this slow.
Second Third: The main change that took place was a mellowing of the profile and subtle hints of spice and citrus. The finish was incredibly long and exquisite, offering up vanilla as well. Really, the depth of the tobacco profile is excellent, and the addition of citrus peel and vanilla seem to have kept my mind racing. The spice entered just for a second, and might have been a slight heating of the tobacco; thus, the slow smoke is imperative.
Final Third: More progression and development took place. Seemed like floral undertones picked up, and honestly my palate was full of flavor. Notes were all over the place, so much so that I feel reviewers will be all over the place. The earth and cedar notes had left, while the peanuts, floral, citrus, coffee bean, and vanilla notes still lingered with distinction. I had to stop taking notes at this point, start looking for a box, and break out the Havana Saver. Sometimes, the note taking gets in the way of enjoyment, and in this case, I wanted to savor the final inch. I found I spent more time enjoying then breaking this cigar down really.
Final Thoughts: I used to tell people I did not like Nicaraguan cigars, and I cannot say that anymore. As a Habanos fan, I am slowly being converted to a fan of some of the Nicaraguan blends that are coming out in a medium format. I know that some Habanos fans will not agree with this, but I believe if the right palates are blending, they can compete with their Cuban counterparts. I actually had a rule; never buy a box of non-Cuban cigars, only fivers. This will be the second time Akhil has made me break that rule, along with Nabil at Elogio. I can tell Orchant has an impeccable palate, because a cigar like this embodies the classic flavors of aged Habanos and classic cigars. I think people looking for powerful spicy Nicaraguan blends may not appreciate this blend, and if smoked to fast, may bitter up (Logan). However, if you take your time, slow down, and experience the rich flavors this blend has to offer, I see no reason why you will not enjoy this cigar. I am buying a box immediately, and possibly two if I can afford it.
*****Edit Final Final Thoughts: I smoked a PSD4 from MAR11 at the shop today. I'd buy the Orchant over it anyday.*****
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