This is a great time of the year. New products are rolling in from the annual trade show, showcasing new brands, new line extensions, and exciting new blends. I love this time of the year....and it’s easy for us to get caught up with blogs, advertisements, and ratings....driving our decisions and setting our expectations. However, plenty of new items are flying in well beneath the radar, and El Mejor is a perfect example.
At first glance, El Mejor looks very familiar. Simple yet charming packaging, classically-themed color tones, and a comfortable, nostalgic appearance that exudes trustworthy and dependable. Then there’s the blend. Handmade in Honduras using pristine Corojo wrappers and a vintage recipe of Nicaraguan, Cuban-seed long-fillers, each El Mejor offers a soft, well-aged aroma with a touch of barnyard mixed with baked bread and a dash of pepper. Indeed, it feels like I’ve been here before, setting the stage for – hopefully – a reminiscent experience.
My first impression of El Mejor is well-made. Each cigar is beautifully rolled using leathery wrapper leaves boasting nice oils and a (very) consistent color from head to toe. Each is firmly packed, leaving no soft spots and an easy draw with the slightest bit of resistance. The cap is flawlessly applied with care, and veins are at a minimum. Yeah....this cigar screams dependable.
The first few puffs are spicy and stout. A warm, feisty opening that awakens my taste buds and ignites my nose on the exhale. After a couple minutes this spice subsides, allowing a rich core of tobacco flavors to dominate, with softer hints of toast and wood hanging in the background. The first third is somewhat soft and elegant, setting the stage for more complexity as I approach the midway point. This is where things become more interesting. There’s a warm spice that enters the fray, along with a deliciously raw earthiness typically found in aged Honduran tobaccos. I’m even getting a little bit of semisweet cocoa from time to time, which quickly fades as the peppery, woodsy finish completes each puff. These flavors keep me occupied, hiding the underlying strength of the tobaccos at play.
Note: this is not the strongest cigar by any means, but it’s easily a medium, medium to full-bodied smoke with ample flavor. The flavors never overpower or overwhelm, but they certainly satisfy as the cigar evolves and becomes more eventful.
Describing the final third is a bit difficult. It’s a culmination of sorts. A balanced culmination of ‘soft’ yet apparent flavors with equal representation on the palate. No one flavor dominates, and each is vital in completing a well-made, medium to full-bodied array of familiar yet interesting flavors.
The bottom line: if you’re looking for a cigar to blow you away, look elsewhere. But, if you’re looking for a cigar you can depend on when it comes to quality, flavor and strength....at a very appealing price point, I’ll be shocked if El Mejor lets you down.