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Stogie Reviews: Vartan Zoravar Belicoso

20 Oct 2009

If you haven’t heard of the Vartan Zoravar, you’re not alone. I was sent these cigars as part of a blind tasting and, as of now, they are only available in one shop in the country: Ambassador Fine Cigars in Scottsdale, Arizona.

VartanBut Ambassador owner Vartan Seferian has plans to change that, as a national distribution rollout is underway. The Zoravar (named after an Armenian hero, which translates as “Iron Man”) is a most unusual house blend.

Instead of going the traditional route of simply reselling a low-priced bundle cigar, Seferian employed Henke Kelner, head blender for Davidoff, to make his cigars.

Kelner’s blend uses a deep brown Nicaraguan Cuban-seed corojo wrapper around an Ecuadorian sungrown binder (a Connecticut/Cuban-seed hybrid), and Dominican piloto, olor, and San Vicente filler. It’s lumpy with a sharp taper at its head.

Pre-light, the Vartan is aromatic with a combination of barnyard, cinnamon, and notes of rum. The belicoso starts out with a balanced woody flavor that ends in a long, peppery, toasty finish.

As the cigar evolves, cocoa and cedar appear around the midway point. Then it becomes a bit creamy. Throughout, it’s medium-bodied with an abundance of sweet, aromatic smoke.

Surprisingly for a Henke Kelner creation, I noticed some construction issues in two of the three samples I smoked for this review. While the draw was perfect, an uneven burn and unstable ash distracted from the smoking experience.

Not surprisingly, though, the Vartan carries a price more like a Davidoff than like most discount house brands. But for $17 you get a cigar far more interesting than the average “house blend”—even if that makes it less likely to be your daily smoke.

That complexity earns this unique house blend a most respectable rating of four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

2 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Vartan Zoravar Belicoso”

  1. Jackson Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 3:33 pm #

    Given how much I enjoy PGs, Davidoffs, and othe Henke smokes, I'll certainly be looking for these when they hit stores. Any idea when they will be more widely available?

  2. John Brooke - The We Friday, October 23, 2009 at 7:56 am #

    This is a very nice cigar. I agree with the review though, in that it's not worth $17.