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Stogie Reviews: Onyx Vintage ’97 Epicure

21 Aug 2006

On Saturday night I found myself at Shelly’s Back Room, a cigar bar located a stone’s throw from the White House. The room’s luxurious furniture, impressive array of high definition plasma televisions, and wide selection of bourbons and rums make Shelly’s the ideal DC locale for a relaxing evening smoke.

While the bar wields an extensive assortment of cigars, I didn’t come empty-handed. After all, I had been meaning to try the Onyx Vintage ’97 Epicure ever since it became JR Cigar’s “Cherry Pick of the Month.”

This 4 and ½ by 50 ring gauge stogie is a medium-bodied maduro with a rich, dark brown Mexican wrapper and a Connecticut Broadleaf binder. And its smooth surface and two black bands make this box-pressed stick quite pleasing to the eye.

After puncturing the head with my fingernails and fumbling to establish a proper light, I quickly found that the flavors were anything but subtle. The well-aged blend of Nicaraguan, Peruvian, and Brazilian fillers coupled with a 1997 San Andreas leaf produced savory nut and wood notes – most noticeably toasted almond. While the tastes remained unchanged throughout the second and finishing phases, they were so complex and enjoyable I never lost interest in the cigar.

Unfortunately, the construction left much to be desired. Although the edges retained an even burn, the middle of the filler burned much too slowly during this hour-long smoke, leaving an awkward conical point protruding from the foot where a gentle curved end should be. Sadly, I found myself routinely working damage control with my matches. It’s also worth pointing out that the draw was not as easy as I would have liked – especially for such a thick stick.

Overall, this cigar hit a hole-in-one on flavor, but was not up to par on construction. I give the Onyx Vintage ’97 Epicure three and ½ out of five stogies.

Patrick A


5 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Onyx Vintage ’97 Epicure”

  1. Anonymous Monday, August 21, 2006 at 11:26 am #

    Thanks for letting us know about the Cherry Pick of the Month. I’ll be throwing my name in that hat every 30 days!

  2. Walt - Stogie Review Monday, August 21, 2006 at 4:01 pm #

    Nice review

    This cigar brings back memories. I bought two or three 5 packs of the Black Prince size from JR's over a year ago and remember liking them very much. Very oily and rich smoke.

    I think ive got one left, with over a year of age on it. I should start thinking about firing it up sometime soon.

  3. Patrick A Monday, August 21, 2006 at 10:12 pm #


    I’d be interested to get your impressions on construction, since it sounds like you’ve had a few. I agree that the cigar has a lot to offer flavor-wise, but, as you can see, found its physical attributes to be lacking.

  4. Matt -reviewcigars.b Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 7:11 am #

    sounds interesting…I'm always looking for a cigar with Brazilian tobacco in it. There aren't a lot out there it seems; and the ones I have tried – I've liked

    Shelly's is a nice place. Checked it last week while i was in DC

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