21 Sep 2016
This is a cigar made to stand out.
At 8.5 inches in length, it’s an inch longer than the traditional Cuban lancero size. After removing the cedar sheath that covers about two-thirds of the Vintage Reserve, the unwrapped foot is pronounced. At the head, a small pigtail cap is easy to miss.
But where this version of MBombay’s annual limited edition—500 boxes of 25 shipped to retailers, according to company head Mel Shah—truly shines is with its flavors.
It begins with light, enticing spice before the Ecuadorian wrapper becomes engaged. At this point, with all components burning, the spice begins to be overshadowed by notes of wood.
About a third of the way down, there’s a rich taste of cinnamon that lasts throughout. It is most enjoyable, especially as it mixes with the wood, cedar, and tobacco sweetness along the way. Strength is in the medium range.
The filler is a mix of Dominican and Peruvian tobaccos, while the binder is Dominican. Like other cigars from MBombay, the Vintage Reserve is rolled in Costa Rica. The price tag is $13.50 a stick.
I smoked two of these and found them to perform excellently. The burn was straight, the draw smooth, and smoke production top-notch. As with all thin cigars—the ring gauge is 38—it’s necessary to smoke slowly to avoid overheating.
Perhaps as a backlash to the trend toward humongous ring gauges, some smokers have embraced lanceros. In fact, you’ll often see the vitola dubbed the “connoisseur’s size.”
I’m not sure that’s quite rational. Judging someone by the size of the cigars they smoke doesn’t make any more sense to me than judging cigars themselves based on size.
In the case of the Vintage Reserve, I think it’s a tasty cigar that any smoker would enjoy, from connoisseur to amateur. It scores four stogies out of five.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys