Not too long ago, the Onyx Reserve Mini Belicoso blew up the cigar scene with an astonishing ‘94’ rating from Cigar Aficionado. It quickly became all the rave, causing backorders lasting too many months to count. Never before have I seen such demand on a cigar, so naturally, I had to see what all the fuss was about. I remember my first Mini Belicoso like it was yesterday. I was still in college, and I was really looking forward to it. Yes, it’s true, my purchase was a product of the hype revolving around the almost unheard of rating. Unfortunately, my experience wasn’t as astonishing as Cigar Aficionado’s – the cigar fell short of my high expectations.
Like any true cigar enthusiast, I decided to give this cigar a second try. I mean, I take ratings with a grain of salt, but do notice that most cigars manage to ‘walk the walk’ when it comes to a score from Aficionado. I will admit, the cigar is pretty to look at. Coal-black wrappers with a nice bumpy texture and oily sheen sharply pressed into a square. Heavy in the hand, this little cigar has an inviting aroma. Maybe I was too critical the first time around? As I sit here smoking my second Mini Belicoso from the 5-pack I purchased just last week, I am starting to think that my first impression was not a fluke. When I look at this cigar I think to myself, “buttery smooth”, “super rich” and “powerful”. Maybe it’s because most cigars of this form) maintain these characteristics (Torano Exodus, IT Super Fuerte, Astral TVS). Unfortunately, these thoughts are not running through my head as I smoke it. Indeed, it’s incredibly well-made and consistent, and offers an enjoyable, smooth flavor. However, its alluring appearance hints at what it lacks: deep, dark, rich flavors that shift my taste buds into 5th gear. While I would recommend this cigar to those wanting to enter the darker realm of maduro wrappers or bigger name brands, I cannot see myself giving it a ‘94’. It walks well, but not that well.