Unfortunately, we’re experiencing an extended manufacturer’s delay on Graycliff G2 boxes. Oddly enough, it’s the packaging that’s holding up the process. So in the interim, we’re offering bundles of 20 to hold you over.
Graycliff is well-versed at creating bold, complex blends - cigars that earn top honors and top ratings. But a mellow, mild-bodied blend was never an arrow in the Graycliff quiver....(cue dramatic music, release doves).....until now! Behold, Graycliff G2. This lovely little Graycliff has it all: it’s got substance (not just a pretty face you see) and it’s an astonishingly cheap date to boot (more on that later). The G2 begins with a seamless, Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut wrapper, silky-smooth and an oily sheen. The aged mixture of long-fillers from Nicaragua are carefully blended with Cuban-seed Dominican tobaccos to promote a rich bouquet finished by creamy nuances. Notes of nuts and toast are noticeable along with a pleasant touch of leather and sweet elements plus a unique doughy aroma. Its richness becomes more present as it burns, bringing this mellow array of flavor builds from mild to medium in body toward the nub. Complex, yet sophisticated and well-balanced, the G2 is Graycliff’s ultimate anytime cigar. Topped off with an absolutely killer price point with CI’s discounted introductory offer - this cigar is the gateway to Graycliff if ever there was one.
Thank goodness for cheapskates like us, yeah, that means you and me there kid-o. The chieftains at Graycliff rarely feast on our hard-earned dollars. $300 for a box of cigars...whoa sonny....that just ain't in my appetite of daily cigar pleasures. I think they finally realized that the bargain barrel, odd-lot shoppers just won't shell out that kind of mortgage payment on cigars. Enter the everyman's Graycliff, the new 'G2'. OK, it's not exactly new, but I finally ponied up the guts to try what many have termed "Graycliff's lower-end cigar". Call me a sissy, worse things have touched my lips, but I simply didn't want to tempt my delicate palate with a potential atrocity that would scar me for life.
I picked up a 5-er of the Toros, and they look pretty darn scrumptious. A beautiful Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut wrapper (but to the less-than-skilled master-magician hairy Gonz eyeball, sure looks like a true Connecticut to me). Firm in the fingertips, a quick clip and light jumpstarted my newest carnival ride. Immediately, I'm intrigued by a peppery and lingering finish which exploded on the front tongue, very surprising from what I thought would be an uber-mild powder puff. I then expected it to disappear within a few draws, but it didn't. I'm two full ash-drops in (each about 3/4" - not bad, eh?) and the finish continues to linger. The smoke is mild, no doubt, and with a firm draw there's very little smoke to infect my precious new office space. No doubt it's chock full of mild Dominican tobaccos, a touch of seco thrown in perhaps, and a sliver of Nicaraguan richness to provide a little extra body. Overall though, a touch above uber-mild, but not much, thanks to the spice that keeps it interesting for a solid 45 minutes....a perfect anytime cigar.
The chalky white ash and perfectly even burn are pluses, while the draw is indeed firm, not vein-popping, I like smoke surrounding me and I need to draw pretty hard to get that smoke ring around my noggin. I think these would be better served if a touch on the under-humidified side. Completely unintrusive, this could be smoked in nearly any company. My Graycliff budget may indeed be established, a definite inclusion in my bursting humidor of cheapskate favorites. At $2.50 to $3.00 per stick, these qualify as a new fixture.
Finding a mild-bodied cigar with substance can be tough. Tougher still is finding a mild-bodied handmade with enough gusto to rival the likes of Ashton and Davidoff, without the hefty price tag. Well, one has arrived from the most unlikely of sources: Graycliff.
First some info on Graycliff. This Bahamas-based factory is tiny, housing a mere dozen Cuban-born rollers that – combined – craft just a couple thousand cigars each day. A drop in the bucket compared to a brand like Macanudo, where daily production is well over 100,000 cigars. These rollers were trained by none other than the late Avelino Lara, the Cuban-born cigar legend known best for creating the original Cuban Cohiba. To this day, Graycliff utilizes the rarest, aged tobaccos in uber-small-batch fashion to craft some of the world’s most prestigious blends and priciest cigars. A veritable breeding ground for luxury, including award-winning cigars ranked among the world’s finest.
Enter Graycliff ‘G2,’ the factory’s pioneer blend into the realm of mild-bodied boutique handmades. Each cigar is seamless in appearance with a light, chocolate brown hue. The blend is comprised of Connecticut wrappers grown under the natural valley mists of Ecuador and aged, Cuban-seed long-fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican. The aroma is soft but pleasant – some barnyard, but mostly sweet tobacco and cedar.
Off the bat, the smoke is notably rich and creamy in nature. Very creamy, in fact. The smoke is thick and heavy, leaving a velvety texture on the palate with each puff. The aroma is toasty and woodsy, enjoyable. After a few minutes I get into the meat of the cigar, and pick up a distinct doughiness, like baked bread....something I have only found in one other cigar – that I can recall. I love this nuance, and if you read through my past reviews you’ll know what I am talking about. It’s coupled with a toasty, nutty note from the Ecuadorian wrapper and a rich, leathery flavor from the Nicaraguan tobaccos. The Dominican tobaccos lend a sweet tobacco flavor that complements these unique flavors quite nicely. For a mild-bodied cigar, the ‘G2’ is complex....these flavors are not subtle, nor are they overpowering. And the best part is, they are presented throughout the entire smoke in a balanced and soothing fashion. This truly is a full-flavored, mild-bodied cigar with rich, satisfying qualities....but one that’s mellow enough for anytime enjoyment. The bouquet does not get harsh or grow more intense at any point during the burn. There are no twists or turns....just a solid, straightforward cigar that’s flavorful from start to finish.
I am impressed and – to be honest – surprised. Many mild-bodied cigars are just that: mild airballs with nothing more than tobacco flavors going on, which is why I lean more towards medium and full-bodied blends. This is not one of them, and considering the price per box I can easily find myself adding Graycliff to my regular rotation – something I never thought I’d say.
I’ve burned through most of the regular Graycliff lines (Professionale, Original, Crystal, Espresso, et al) and after each one, I kicked my self for dropping upwards of $20 on just one cigar (I know - I should have learned my lesson after the first one, but I’m an optimist). Don’t get me wrong, their stuff is not bad, and if I paid $5-8 I would be thrilled…but $20+, c’mon! So while I’m not normally a huge supporter of Graycliff, the new and improved Graycliff G2 definitely piqued my interest. Dude…a $3 Graycliff, that’s what I’m talking about! Yes, you read that right; we’re rolling them out here at CI for just $59.99 per box of 20. So at a price I can actually stomach, I figured I would give Graycliff’s newest offering a whirl.
Graycliff G2 features a Connecticut-seed wrapper grown in the fertile soils of Ecuador. The wrapper is slightly spotty, but it has an attractive, golden tan color with a smooth appearance and a nice sheen of oil. And unlike some of the other Graycliffs I’ve dealt with, G2 is firm and well filled. Inside, lies an aged two-country filler blend from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Pre-light, this thing looks decent and has an enjoyably mellow smell, enticing enough for me.
After lighting, I’m pleasantly surprised. This cigar is smooth. It’s fairly mild, but the smoke just rolls off the tongue. The flavor is crisp, with notes of cream, cedar and a nice sweetness completed by an extraordinarily clean finish. And there’s some richness in the aroma, which adds to the experience. As it burned it didn’t change much, straightforward and satisfying all the way down. Throughout, it burned straight, but a bit quicker than I prefer.
Overall, Graycliff G2 was enjoyable. I can’t see it winning any awards, but I could see myself burning one fairly often. A well-made, milder offering at a solid price. And if you’re into this sort of thing…your friends will probably think you spent top dollar on them.