I need to start this review with a story. Last Friday I was smoking at Baxter’s Cigars (@Baxtercigars) when Matt Bitter (@matthewbitter) and Jose Blanco walked in and sat down next me. I had met Matt a few other times at different cigar events around town. Matt represents 8 different cigar brands in Phoenix and Las Vegas. I was completely caught off guard when I realized Jose Blanco was with him, I almost couldn’t believe it. Knowing I would probably never get another chance to talk to an industry legend I struck up a conversation with Matt and he introduced me to Mr. Blanco. The conversation was great and Jose is one the nicest people I have ever met. Jose and Matt were on their way to a dinner and Blending Seminar at Fine Ash Cigars (@fineashcigars) on the west side of Phoenix and were gracious enough to invite me. I simply couldn’t pass up the invite even though it meant fighting rush hour traffic on a Friday night.
Cigar with four different wrappers used in blending seminar
When I arrived at Fine Ash, Sam the owner welcomed me and was happy to have me at the event. The dinner was simply amazing consisting of roasted chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes and a delicious salad. After dinner Jose started the Blending Seminar. He passed out a cigar that had four different wrappers with Dominican binder and filler to each of us. As we smoked the cigar he talked about what it takes to make a good cigar, and went around the room asking what flavors we were tasting. Then he went around the room and asked what type of wrapper we thought we were smoking. As the cigars burned down, Jose talked more about the art of blending a great cigar and answered questions from the crowd. I wanted to take more notes during the blending session,but Jose really captured my attention. I wanted to hear and learn everything he had to say. After the session was done, Jose signed boxes and took pictures with everyone. This was the most interesting and informative cigar event I have attended. Overall just a great experience.
I have to thank Jose Blanco, Joe from Baxter’s Cigars, Matt Bitter and Sam from Fine Ash Cigars for an amazing day.
Brand: Señorial by Jose Blanco
Size: Belacoso No. 2 6.25×52
Wrapper: Habano Ecuador
Binder: Nicaragua Esteli
Filler: Dominican Piloto and Dominican Corojo
As you may know, Jose Blanco has been in the cigar industry for many years. His grandfather and farther worked in the industry and Jose has made his life about tobacco since he was 16. He has previously worked at La Aurora and retried from there in 2011. Most recently he was the Senior Vice President of Joya de Nicaragua. Early in 2014, Jose started his latest venture, Las Cumbres Tobacco. The Señorial is the first offering from this company and was announced back in June. The Señorial is offered in 5 sizes and features a beautiful band with intricate detailing and gold foil boarder. From the cold draw I am getting sweet and earthy tobacco taste.
First puffs- Just a hint of spice, mostly earthy with some cedar.
First third- More pepper to start, but by the end of this section the pepper had completely disappeared. A subtle sweetness takes over the flavor profile. There is a nice earthy undertone as well.
Second third- The sweetness has changed to more of a raisin flavor. The spice is back again in more of a light, white pepper flavor. The cigar is producing a fair amount of smoke and the draw is a tad tight.
Final Third– The pepper is now the dominate flavor. I am getting a nice mix of black and white peppers. The sweet raisin flavor still there but has definitely taken the backseat for the rest of the ride. As I puff on the nub I am picking up a hint of cedar.
I have to say this cigar was very well built. This stick burned evenly and produced the perfect amount of smoke. Overall, I enjoyed this cigar and feel it is a must try. To sum it up, I would have to say this a traditional tasting cigar, but with a more complexity in its flavors. I can easily see myself buying a box of these.