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Stogie Review: Graycliff Crystal PGX

31 Mar 2008

Graycliff is a brand I’d never tried until recently, for unfortunate but obvious reasons. From Profesionale to Château Grand Cru, these cigars are notoriously hard to find, and they’re offered at prices only the richest sheikhs in Qatar would find reasonable. I received my five-pack of Graycliff Crystal PGXs as a gift so, thankfully, I was spared the $22-per-unit sticker shock that would have accompanied an actual purchase.

Graycliff Crystal PGXNow, when I take possession of five exorbitantly pricey cigars, I leave nothing to chance. I go to great lengths to maintain them, and eventually to enjoy them at what I anticipate to be their peak condition. Such was the case for this review. When I finally pulled my Graycliffs out of the humidor, they’d been resting for about six months and were coated with a layer of fine, white plume.

Each six inch by 50 ring gauge stick is quite the sight to see: tightly wrapped, yet almost bulging at the seams. The light brown, sun-grown Ecuadorian wrapper is smooth and moderately oily. A few light veins run vertically down the length of the cigar, but in an unobtrusive and visually pleasing way. The gold and white label lends a very elegant and refined touch. A delicate nose of coffee, cloves, and aged tobacco drifts up from the foot. All in all, this thing practically oozes luxury.

“Looks are all well and good,” you’re probably thinking, “but how does this pretty little bastard smoke?”

Quite impressively, I’d say, albeit with minor kinks here and there. The initial flavor is quite mellow – sort of a thin, tantalizing wisp of graham, honey, vanilla, and spice. This delicate profile, borne on a very mild body, lasts for about the first third of the cigar. By the second third, the smoke picks up a medium strength, and a nutty flavor dominates the palate. Stronger spice and a longer finish make up the final third and, by that point, a very noticeable nicotine buzz kicks in. If you’re not the slightest bit lightheaded after nubbing one of these babies, you should donate your body to science.

Now, about those “minor kinks” I mentioned earlier. The burn has a real tendency to canoe. I had to make five or six significant corrections throughout the 90 minutes that I savored each stick. When you’re trying to enjoy a serene, meditative experience with a smoke of this caliber, the last thing you want to be doing is babysitting an unruly burn.

If I were judging this cigar on flavor and aesthetics alone, I might be tempted to give it a perfect score. But because of its burn problems, inexcusable as they are for a $22 stick, the Graycliff Crystal PGX receives four out of five stogies.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Jon N

photo credit: Stogie Guys

9 Responses to “Stogie Review: Graycliff Crystal PGX”

  1. Serengeti Monday, March 31, 2008 at 5:55 am #

    Sounds like a great flavor, but — in my book — a $22 cigar should have no fundamental construction flaws. Thanks for the review; I'll likely take a pass on this one.

  2. Jon N. Monday, March 31, 2008 at 6:24 am #

    "a $22 cigar should have no fundamental construction flaws"

    I couldn't agree more. And for the $22 you'd spend on one of these, you can probably find a cigar that won't burn ragged on you. That said, the flavor of these things is exceptional.

    I'd say it's worth smoking one or two over the course of your lifetime, but I certainly wouldn't waste $500 on a box anytime soon.

  3. Joe Holub Monday, March 31, 2008 at 4:44 pm #

    I can't believe you said it was tightly wrapper. The reason I don't like Graycliffs is how loose their draw is! That's their style actually. It's like sucking up air and I've found that on all of them fro the Cyrstal to the Espresso blend. They are totally light in the hand and are very lightly packed, which only pisses me off more when I've spent so much on them. It's funny, the two shops carrying them in MN are selling for crazy discounts now…like buy 2 get 1 free, etc because no one wants to spend that much. Same with that ripoff Stradavarius.

  4. Chris V Monday, March 31, 2008 at 6:03 pm #

    Well then I guess I should be glad that I just bought my 4 stradavarius' for $12 each 😛

  5. Jon N. Monday, March 31, 2008 at 6:21 pm #

    Joe: Very funny you should say that. I had the complete opposite experience with these. Very tight; tough but not overly tough draw. Admittedly these 5 are the only Graycliffs I've ever smoked, so I'll take your word for it that you probably know the brand better than I do. But loose would not be how I'd describe the Crystals I smoked. Your mileage may vary, I guess.

  6. Ironmeden Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 5:59 am #

    I got a box of these but the Pirate's which is a Torpedo when I was in the Bahama's last year. My price was $15 a stick.

    They have been aging nicely for 1 year and I plan on bringing a couple out soon. The Graycliff's in my opinion need aging, otherwise they have that young taste to them.

    Now the Crystal's are advertised as being their full flavored cigar. I don't find much full flavor from this stick when I've smoked in the past. Maybe after a year the tobacco will have matured enough to give it a zip.

    I have also noted the loose draws and spongy feeling to most of the Graycliff's i've smoked. They don't have that tight feel to them.

    I'm hoping they have some more complexity to them now from when I first opened the box.

  7. SocalBuckingBulls Friday, July 2, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

    Just smoked my first one a few minutes ago. True,, a bit pricey but hey,, it's only money. Nice cigar. Good flavor. Great nic buzzz… Mine burned perfect the whole way through..


  8. matrix8 Tuesday, December 7, 2010 at 8:09 pm #

    The construction appears to be back to its former glory! Viva "G" *****

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