17 Dec 2009
Introduced in July 2008, the Soirée blend is among the newest from cigar traditionalist and pioneer Paul Garmirian. PG, after all, is a rarity among today’s manufacturers, resisting the pressure to constantly come out with something new.
Devoid of slick marketing and gimmickry, PG quietly blends and ages classic-tasting cigars from their headquarters in McLean, Virginia. They seem keenly interested in doing a few things right and less concerned about increasing their market share or expanding their operations. But every once in awhile PG debuts a new line.
Such was the case about 17 months ago when Paul and his son, Kevork, launched Soirée. Wrapped in a reddish Nicaraguan Colorado leaf with Dominican binder and filler tobaccos, Soirée is the result of Paul’s quest for “new blends reminiscent of the great Cuban cigars PG enjoyed in the 1950s and early 1960s.”
The blend sports four sizes, including the Connoisseur (6 x 50), which retails for $290 for a 25-count box. My dad, though, paid about $190 at his local hangout in the Chicago suburbs. He was nice enough to gift me a few for this review.
One thing becomes immediately clear when you remove the Connoisseur from its cellophane: This is one of those cigars that values substance over style. The red and toothy wrapper has some coarse veins and prominent seams, and the cap isn’t all that pretty. But the overall feel is one of quality and the pre-light notes of spicy cedar are mouth-watering.
The flavor of the Soirée Connoisseur can best be described as bold yet smooth. Rarely does a cigar come along with such a big taste and yet so much subtlety and nuance. The base flavor is one of dry wood, warm tobacco, and soft pepper—all of which is complemented by creamy caramel, earth, and even some floral notes.
This complex, well-balanced profile carries through to the midway point. As PG says on its website, it is a “full-bodied after dinner cigar with an exquisite aroma and smooth finish.” True, and it’s especially nice in the evening with a glass of rum. But it also works in the afternoon thanks to its smoothness.
I wish the construction were as delightful as the taste. The ash is unstable with a penchant for flowering, the draw is a tad tight, and the burn requires several touch-ups.
Still, the PG Soirée Connoisseur is a special smoke that will satisfy the most discriminating of cigar smokers. It earns four stogies out of five.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys