This brand needs no introduction. Many of you know how I feel about the 5 Vegas Original Series "Red Label". It's been a favorite of mine since my adolescent cigar smoking days. I was hesitant to pick up another 5 Vegas and potentially tear down the pedestal that I put 5 Vegas on years ago. And what I've found most intriguing, after smoking dozens and dozens of the 5 Vegas Gold series is that it is a very different cigar. Lit up by a Connecticut-shade wrapper with Dominican and Honduran tobaccos, this is in a league of its own - not to be compared to the 5 Vegas Original except in quality. Let me take you through the drama.
The wrapper is a fragile, delicate, hold it with your pinky flying Connecticut-shade that only my well-to-do friends puff on with their fancy Macanudos and brands they can't pronounce. It's a firmly-filled cigar rolled to perfection from head to toe. Not a seam or flaw in the wrapper. Light one up to find a burst of flavor that fills your senses - I can't pinpoint the undertones, but a dry mild aroma bites some mild spices at the back of your tongue. Ample tobaccos form a superb body of smoke around you, but dissipates quickly and doesn't linger to offend your shag-covered seat covers and steering wheel in your car. The finish is equally smooth, almost buttery. A nice mild lager beer would go perfectly, this cigar pairs well with almost any dinner menu, but particularly a pasta primavera. The beauty of this smoke is that it's a smoke-me-anytime cigar that you could spark up before any meeting, short drive, long drive, or safari through a Brazilian jungle.
A white, slightly gray-checkered ash forms instantly and burns evenly. I've been fascinated lately by some quick-to-market cigars that burst out good flavor early only to fade or change significantly as you get past the half-way mark. That doesn't happen here. I also am fascinated by some of the the drag-all-day, get no return, headaches that some cigars give me. You know me, a common cheapskate looking for the million-dollar cigar on a paper boys budget. When I get a great $2-$3 cigar that fulfills my yearning (this is starting to sound like a cheap paperback novel) I jump on it.
I want to share a little story of an adventure I had recently with 5 Vegas Gold. I had to make a number of stops driving between Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa a few weeks back. A solid 6 total driving hours in a Ford Focus rental car with a box of 5 Vegas Gold and good 'ol Country on the radio blasted with the windows down (amazing how spoiled you get with power windows and a cd player in your car). I figured with the windows down, I might have a good chance the rental company wouldn't notice that I had smoked a dozen plus cigars in their precious Ford Focus. Nevertheless, I got lost about 8 times driving back and forth on Route 4, 275, 75, and every other major highway in Florida. After about my 3rd cigar, I drove about 35 miles past my destination on Route 19 near Clearwater. Luckily, the flexibility of my schedule gave me the opportunity to stop for lunch at the finest dining establishment in Florida - Hooters! of course. I couldn't resist, they seem to be on every street corner. As I pulled up and the smoke wafted out of my car like a Cheech & Chong movie, some dude said "you know this is Florida and you can't smoke inside". I was about to slap him upside the head when he offered, "hey, there's this outdoor patio in the back and bunch of us are smoking there, you're welcome to join us." Here I am some stranger in a strange land and a fellow brother-of-the-leaf asks me to join them. I brought my box of 5 Vegas Gold and joined a group of about 8 guys puffin' on this little wooden bridge they called a patio. Wouldn't you know that half of them were customers and 2 of them said "you're Gonz?" like I was a circus-clown exhibit. Nevertheless, these guys were top-notch and after throwing back a few lagers, I was off and running to my next appointment. Whatever the occasion or venue, grab a few buddies, a box of 5 Vegas Golds, and light'em up.