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Stogie Reviews: Velvet Cigars Bowery Robusto

29 Nov 2010

At 80 East 7th Street, in Manhattan’s trendy East Village, you’ll find the Velvet Cigar Lounge, a self-described “comfortable, welcoming place to relax, unwind, and share a story.” It’s also a place to find a house brand called Velvet Cigars.

Launched four years ago, the brand has sold over 50,000 cigars online and in the Lounge. Each blend within the brand—including Tompkins, Astor, and Cooper—is named for locations in the East Village.

Released in September, the Bowery “is named after the New York City thoroughfare of the same name, just a few short blocks from the Velvet Cigar Lounge,” according to a press release. “Once considered New York’s Skid Row, the Bowery has gone through an incredible transformation, becoming a center for culture and nightlife.”

“For our newest release, we wanted to offer something very different and spent ten months on the development of the blend and manufacturing of the cigar,” said Dan Bsharat, managing partner of Velvet Cigars. Dan and his colleagues came up a recipe of four-year-old Nicaraguan and Honduran filler tobaccos beneath a dark Ecuadorian wrapper.

The Bowery is offered in four box-pressed vitolas: Robusto (5 x 50), Toro (6.5 x 52), Torpedo (6 x 52), and Churchill (7 x 52). Boxes of 20 retail for $195 to $230.

The Robusto is a smooth, oily specimen with a soft box press and a slightly spongy feel. It boasts a pre-light aroma of sweet chocolate and a clear cold draw that imparts spice to the lips.

Once lit, powerful notes of dry wood, black cherry, and powdery cocoa emerge. The smoke is voluminous and chalky—the sort of texture that pairs well with coffee, or cabernet sauvignon. Spice is evident in the aftertaste.

Moving into the second third, the profile transitions from medium to full as a bold taste of leather takes the forefront. A nicotine kick surfaces. This segment of the Robusto has undeniable heft, requiring patience between puffs to keep the foot from overheating and becoming harsh.

As it progresses with a near-perfect burn, this cigar rewards patience and punishes eagerness. A delightful flavor of caramelized walnut is only apparent when smoked slowly. Conversely, if smoked too quickly, the taste gets stale.

That makes this a nice cigar if you can give it the time it deserves. After smoking three samples for this review, the Bowery Robusto, which retails a bit out of its league at just under $10, is worthy of three and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

2 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Velvet Cigars Bowery Robusto”

  1. Travis Monday, November 29, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

    Always stop by Nat Sherman, Cigar Inn or Barclay Rex when in NYC. May have to make my way to the Village to check out Velvet Cigars next time.

  2. st Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 5:27 am #

    The place is small, but very laid back. Not the place for yourself and ten guests (the whole place seats like 8 people, tops), but a great spot for a hang with one or two friends. Bring a sixpack and they will stick it in the fridge for you. I haven't tried the Bowery, but I can testify that the Astor (medium) line is phenomenal.