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Old 05-16-2005, 01:37 PM   #1
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El Rico Habano Habano Club - 1995

El Rico Habano Habano Club - 1995
4 7/8 x 48
Filler - Nic Dom, Binder - Nic, Wrapper - Ecu

In the ten years that this cigar has rested in my humidor the wrapper faded to a dull papery brown with scattered sparkles of long evaporated oils, but the red and gold band still caught the light as I lifted the stick from the box. Some small tears and blemishes were apparent, due to its unprotected nap, but the construction was solid and the cigar has maintained its integrity well. After a quick clip of the well-formed cap, the first dry draw on the cigar resulted in a puff of very peppery dust that tingled in the mouth and throat and revealed a perfect draw. The flame from my match quickly leapt the gap to the foot of the cigar, and the first taste of silvery smoke was delightfully smooth.

Ten years has transformed this cigar from a youthful, powerful, and brash aggressor into a more contemplative yet still muscular intellectual. Instead of the frontal attack of raw tobacco strength and peppery impudence which was the hallmark of this brand in the mid-nineties, this more refined El Rico led with a pleasing flavor of dry papyrus and mellow sage and proffered a muted yet piquant bite. The understated power crept in slowly as the cigar progressed and demonstrated that while the edge might have been blunted by time, the original fortitude of the blend remained. A very light colored ash showed the esses of booked tobacco at the foot, and a chevron pattern followed the one moderately sized vein up the side as the cigar burned.

I accompanied the cigar with a relatively young Bourgogne Pinot Noir and the fruity and lightly oaked wine offered a surprisingly delightful counterpoint to the lovely astringent qualities of the savory aged tobacco. The cigar's genial smooth finish bore the slight mustiness of a library archive and was backed by mellifluous spices which settled on the palate to linger luxuriously. One unexpected pleasure was the hedonistic aroma of the smoke; the refined scent had a mysterious and uniquely satisfying tingle to it and possessed an almost hypnotic quality.

While the experience of a youthful early blend El Rico Habano might never be recaptured, flashes of that precocious vitola can be glimpsed in the elegant memories of the last of these mature cigars. Definitely recommended.

Appearance: 8/10
Construction: 9/10
Flavor: 19/20
Finish: 9/10
Smoking experience: 19/20
Aroma: 10/10
Overall impression: 19/20

Total: 93/100
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