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Cigar Review: Ashton Cabinet Selection No. 4

19 Dec 2016


Few cigar retailers launch a house blend with aspirations of growing it into a highly visible, nationally distributed brand that’s recognizable to nearly every premium cigar enthusiast in the country. But that’s exactly what happened with Ashton, a successful brand made by the famed Fuente family exclusively for Holt’s Cigar Co., a Philadelphia-based retailer.

ashton-cabinetAshton debuted in 1985 and is now sold in over 60 countries. Aston’s two sister brands are well-known, too: La Aroma de Cuba and San Cristobal. These ubiquitous brands have helped promulgate Holt’s well beyond its stature at 1522 Walnut Street in downtown Philadelphia. Today, Holt’s is among the top five cigar retailers in the world, including a notable online and catalog presence.

The Ashton portfolio includes, but is not limited to, the Classic, Aged Maduro, Estate Sun Grown, Virgin Sun Grown, and Cabinet Selection blends. The latter sports a Connecticut Shade wrapper around Dominican tobaccos that are at least four years old. Ten vitolas are available. For this review, I sampled three Ashton Cabinet Selection No. 4s (5.75 x 46), each of which ran me $9.90.

While this is a regal-looking, handsome cigar, I find it disappointing that the back of the white, black, red, and gold band is often mis-adhered to itself (the two ends are rarely aligned properly). Aesthetics and presentation may not be the most important attributes when evaluating cigar, but I know many cigar factories go to great lengths to ensure the rings are applied evenly and tightly to leave no doubt in the consumer’s mind about the quality of the cigar.

That said, this is otherwise a very attractive presentation. The pale wrapper is clean with tight seams and a well-executed cap. The cold draw is smooth and there are no soft spots.

After establishing an even light, delicate pre-light aromas of sweet hay and sawdust transition into a mild- to medium-bodied profile of creamy butter, toast, almond, and white pepper. The smoke is dry and a little spicy with a cedar-like texture. A fleeting bitterness comes and goes throughout, though it never manifests into a central part of the profile—nor is it a major concern.

The physical properties are excellent from light to nub. The fact that this is a well-made, expertly constructed cigar is evident for the duration of the smoke, as is to be expected from the Fuente family. All of my samples exhibited even burn lines, clear draws, solid ashes, and above-average smoke production.

For one reason or another, the Ashton brand has never really been a regular in my cigar rotation. I’m not entirely sure why, and this Cabinet Selection No. 4 has me thinking I might have been missing out. This is an interesting, well-layered, tasty Connecticut Shade-wrapped smoke that’s easy to find and pleasing to the palate. For that, it earns an admirable rating of four stogies out of five.

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

–Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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