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Cigar Review: Juan Lopez Selección No. 2

25 Nov 2013

Altadis has been re-creating and re-branding some of its most popular brands, including Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta (check out my reviews of Monte and Romeo).

Juan Lopez No 2One development that received less attention was Altadis’ re-introduction of the once-discontinued Juan Lopez brand. Making its official debut at this year’s IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas, the new Juan Lopez recipe includes all Nicaraguan tobacco. “The Juan Lopez cigar perfectly captures the renowned boldness and richness of Nicaraguan tobacco,” reads the Altadis website. “Great care was taken to incorporate tobacco from each of Nicaragua’s three growing regions to create a complex blend that is sure to impress.”

Three vitolas are available: Selección No. 1 (5 x 54), Selección No. 2 (6 x 54), and Selección No. 3 (6 x 60). Boxes of 20 retail in the affordable $80-90 range, and singles run $5-6 apiece. This positions Juan Lopez towards the value end of the premium cigar market—which would make it a great deal if it lives up to its high Cigar Aficionado ratings.

The Selección No. 2 has a dark, slightly reddish Nicaraguan Habano wrapper that has minimal veins and very noticeable seams. The surface is characterized by tooth and lots of oils. At the foot you can see a cross-section of tightly packed filler tobaccos and smell musty, earthy pre-light notes. The double-cap clips to reveal a moderate draw.

Once lit, I find a thick, leathery texture with flavors of black pepper spice, damp earth, sweet cream, meat, and roasted nuts. Typically, I’m not a fan of the meaty flavor that can sometimes show up in cigars—whether it’s a chewy meat or a charred steak element. But here it’s balanced nicely by the creamy and nutty notes, and I find the overall impact quite pleasing. The resting smoke is very sweet and aromatic.

Throughout the slow-burning Selección No. 2, which takes me over 90 minutes to smoke, the flavors don’t change much at all, save for some increase in spice in the final third. All the while the physical properties are solid. The gray ash holds firmly off the foot. The smoke production is ample. And the burn line stays true. My preference would be for a somewhat easier draw, though.

I doubt Juan Lopez is the kind of blend that will wow many cigar enthusiasts, and I don’t anticipate it will make many best-of lists. But it’s a smooth, nicely balanced stick that will keep you company for a long time. And best of all, it won’t break the bank. You can’t argue with that. All this adds up to a nice rating of three stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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