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Stogie Reviews: La Escepción Excepcionales

12 Jan 2010

In the mid-nineteenth century, about 15 years before founding Hoyo de Monterrey, Don José Gener y Batet opened a factory in Havana and began producing a line of cigars called La Escepción. The brand was ultimately confiscated by the Cuban government and discontinued in 1989 due to falling demand for strong, full-bodied cigars.

This summer, however, General Cigar introduced a new, Honduran-made incarnation of La Escepción in New Orleans. General, after all, is no stranger to naming their non-Cuban creations after brands from the embargoed communist isle. Examples include Bolivar, Cohiba, La Gloria Cubana, Partagas, Punch, and—yes—Hoyo de Monterrey.

The new La Escepción sports the world’s first binder from Ometepe, a volcanic island rising out of Lake Nicaragua with a tobacco production exclusive to General (the Macanudo 1968 also features Ometepe leaves). La Escepción is finished off with Nicaraguan tobaccos and a Honduran habano Talanga wrapper.

“To capitalize on such a classic entity as La Escepción, we chose to develop a cigar that speaks of balanced spiciness and complexity,” said Debo Mukherjee, vice president of marketing for General Cigar, in a press release. “Our intent was to provide consumers with an extremely flavorful cigar, with a sophisticated taste that honors the brand’s lineage, and I believe that we have delivered that in spades.”

Three sizes are available: Gran Gener (6.25 x 54), a figurado called Batet (5 x 54), and Excepcionales (5.5 x 52). The latter has an MSRP of $5.99.

My two Excepcionales aren’t the prettiest cigars in the world. They’re both crooked and lumpy with at least one large vein running the length of the cigar. The feel is firm, the draw slightly tight with some sweetness on the lips, and the pre-light notes of earth are muted.

Once underway, the smoke is thick and chalky with a heavy dampness. The taste—akin to walnuts, black coffee, and leather—is full-bodied yet smooth with little bite on the finish. Settling at the midway point, the toned down flavor becomes nuttier and creamier before taking a bitter turn at the final third.

It’s here I realize that La Escepción, while satisfying and well-built, lacks any distinguishing characteristics.

So even though I mostly enjoyed this cigar’s taste, burn, draw, and ash, and even though I could see myself lighting up another at a herf or on the golf course, I won’t go out of my way to seek this new blend out. It just isn’t as memorable, craveable, or complex as I’d like, resulting in a rating of three stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

8 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: La Escepción Excepcionales”

  1. beezer Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 12:50 am #

    The Punch Uppercut also features an Ometepe binder as well, correct?

  2. Dan Reeve Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 3:45 am #

    nice review. I didn't know anything about this smoke.

  3. Patrick A Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 9:44 am #

    Yes, the new Punch Uppercut blend features an Ometepe binder (along with an Ecuador Sumatra wrapper and Nicaraguan long-filler). I’ll review it soon.

  4. cj Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 10:49 am #

    I tried these on a recommendation from a huge online place, where the guy had been to the show, and tried everything! He really liked them, I did not. It was different, but not so much of anything memorable in the flavor category. I think this is a perfect review here, and even though they are very inexpensive, I'd go La Traviata anytime over this, and I'd pick the Uppercut as well.

  5. Ed Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

    Actually, the Upper Cut features a Nicaraguan binder, but not an Nicaraguan Ometepe binder. Currently, La Escepcion is the only cigar featuring the Ometepe binder.

  6. Patrick A Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    Ed,

    If you’re right, then there’s some conflicting information on the web. I have General Cigar’s press releases from this summer’s IPCPR Trade Show at home; I check those for a definitive answer later today or tomorrow.

  7. dmjones Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

    CI’s website is stating that the Uppercut features Ometepe binder, but General’s site says Nicaraguan binder with Nicaraguan Ometepe, Nicaraguan Esteli, and Dominican filler. Since they make it, I’d default to General’s statement.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Upper Cut by Punch | The Velvet Cigar - Sunday, February 28, 2010

    […] didn’t take long to find a discussion going on at The Stogie Guys regarding their review of the La Escepcion. Looks like some of the ‘confusion’ was […]