5 Vegas Miami is a gem of a cigar. Carefully crafted by the talented hands of Jose 'Don Pepin' Garcia, maker of the industry’s most sought after cigars, this rare blend takes the 5 Vegas brand – already a fan favorite – to a whole new level of cigar superiority. It features an ultra-dark, Cuban-seed Corojo wrapper grown in Nicaragua and an aged, yet bold blend of Cuban-seed, Nicaraguan-grown ligero long-fillers. Expertly balanced, the Miami offers a charismatic experience loaded with hearty flavors. Expect a spicy opening, followed by a luxurious array of earthy, leathery flavors with pleasant notes of pepper through the nose. As the cigar burns, the flavors become more intense, while the strength reaches well into the full-bodied realm. A savory spice finishes each puff, completing a more than satisfying handmade from one of the most reliable names in the business, 5 Vegas.
I’ve gotten a few requests recently to review this chunky new addition to the 5 Vegas Miami lineup so without further adieu….let’s get to it shall we?
Having reviewed this blend just this past March one might question the need to review it again so soon however, take note of the new size….a chunkified vitola called the “Knuckle” and it weighs in at a stout 4.5” x 60. Now understandably you might be saying to yourself “What the hell do I want with a cigar that damn big?!?” but, bear with me on this one because I’m about to drop some knowledge on you and show you the light. You see, not all cigars are created equally and while blenders and manufacturers try their best to maintain a basic flavor profile across sizes within a given blend, you’ve no doubt noticed that a Corona can taste vastly different than a Toro or a Churchill. Smaller and/or thinner cigars tend to burn a bit hotter and should be drawn on less frequently but the real reason for the change in flavor can most often be attributed to the ratio of wrapper to filler tobaccos. Think about it, a 38-ring Corona will have a higher ratio of wrapper to filler whereas the opposite is true of a 60-ring smoke where there is substantially more filler tobacco involved. Therefore, when smoking a Corona or Lonsdale one should experience much more flavor from the wrapper than they would from a larger ring cigar. It’s also worth noting that a larger ring cigar will burn cooler and this too will have an impact on the flavor.
Ok…school is out. Let’s fire this baby up!
Off the start the Knuckle is fairly smooth….much more so than its brethren anyway. A slight peppery note tingles the back of the throat but the smoke is rich in flavor with a distinct leathery quality to it. A few more draws in and that peppery note is a little more pronounced but otherwise subdued in comparison to the other sizes in the lineup. It’s worth mentioning that this cigar is downright purdy…the wrapper is deep brown in color with just a bit of a marbleized black color swirled in and as oily as one could hope for. At the half-way point I find the flavor tapering off a bit in favor of a stronger and spicier profile that is more in line with what I would expect from a Pepin Garcia-made cigar. Still though, the ample girth of the Knuckle affords plenty of richness without sacrificing too much of the flavor that the wrapper imparts to the cigar. Nearing the ¾ mark the Knuckle is heating up a tad but still quite enjoyable and again, that large ring really helps the smoke stay cool and pleasant right up to the end. Although I am not a regular enjoyer of large ring cigars, the 5 Vegas Miami is without question worth a shot. If you’ve tried some of the other sizes in the line and found them to be a bit much, I would definitely recommend giving this size a whirl!
5 Vegas Miami emerged just over a year ago as a result of a trip to Miami, FL that I and some of my fellow CI colleagues were on. Miami, Florida is a great place if you are a cigar-fanatic and is home to just about every manufacturer’s U.S. offices. Among these is the now famous El Rey de los Habanos factory where Pepin Garcia first set up a small shop shortly after arriving in America in 2002. After gaining popularity among cigar-geeks as a man obsessed with quality, Don Pepin Garcia broke into the mainstream boutique cigar market and quickly set a new standard against which others are now judged. From triple-caps, to box-dating, to the endless pursuit of blends that yielded flavor and strength profiles reminiscent of the finest Cuban cigars, Pepin Garcia is regarded as one of the best makers in the industry. As I mentioned, 5 Vegas Miami was born out of a visit to Pepin’s small Miami factory in early 2007 when we had an opportunity to spend some quality time with he and his family. Pepin had already been working on some blends and ideas for us and it wasn’t very long at all into our visit when we came across a blend that piqued our interest. A few changes were made in the way of wrapper combinations and the stage was set for the newest and most complex addition to the 5 Vegas lineup to take shape.
So here it is, a year later and the final product is everything that I wanted it to be. It’s medium-bodied off the start with a burst of flavor and a pleasant spice noticeable on the front and sides of the tongue. Almost immediately the cigar begins to change and gain strength and the sensation of spice now has shifted to the back of the palate and top of my mouth. The draw is firm but not too loose and the cigar well-packed lending to it that “heavy in the hand” feel that I’ve come to appreciate in a well-constructed cigar. The burn, while a little uneven at times, never grew to be a big problem and always corrected itself within a few draws.
Recently we (the “editors” of Editor’s Picks) received some feedback from readers asking why we don’t talk more about pairing beverages with cigars. That’s a good question and I suppose the answer lies in the fact that booze + work = not always good things! Seriously though, I gave this one some thought and personally I’ve found that the fuller and more robust a cigar is the more I crave an accompanying beverage that is equally as strong and robust. For example, for me a full-bodied cigar pairs best with a full-bodied Cabernet or a peaty and spicy highland Scotch. Conversely, a mild to medium-bodied cigar is one I enjoy most with lowland malt or a light-bodied red wine. I’ll admit that I’m more of a Scotch guy than I am a wine guy and if you’re looking for a recommendation, I’ve been enjoying the new Glenlivet Nadurra lately which is a 16-yr non-chill filtered cask-strength Scotch. It’s excellent and pairs extremely well with the 5 Vegas Miami Churchill.