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.
5 Vegas Gold
Posted by Keith
In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you I've always enjoyed 5 Vegas, the original red label made in Esteli, Nicaragua. In fact the original 5 Vegas has consistently been among CI's top 3 selling brands for the past five years running. The very reasonable price, great ratings and rich medium-bodied flavor all join together here in one happy union, making 5 Vegas a crowd pleaser and everyday go-to cigar for many. So my disclaimer is as follows: my 5 Vegas Gold series review might be "biased reporting" because I'll admit from the moment the it was being plotted and planned and before I even laid eyes on it, I was prepared to love it. And not to give away the punch line, I did and do love it now after having smoked about 30 of them over the past few weeks. But after all, this is an editorial. Hell, every newspaper you read and every chucklehead you run into isn't embarrassed to offer their schlocky, half-witted views on things....why can't I offer my own schlocky, half-witted views too?
Keep in mind this is a very different cigar from the original series, the new Gold series is. Apples and oranges. Indeed, it's not at all comparable in flavor profile. For one, it's made in Honduras, not Nicaragua. It's crafted with a silken, satiny Connecticut wrapper - not so much a classically golden color, but a really appealing tawny color with a super-smooth texture and lustrous sheen. Looks so good I want to roll it between forefinger and thumb for a few minutes before ruining the moment and cutting the head. In fact, looking at it I get the same sensation as seeing super-oily espresso beans - ooooh, I want to chew 'em up like peanuts instead of grinding them. The long-fillers have been aged 5 years, a blend of Habano-seed Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos. When lit, it starts off with an undeniable, pleasant spiciness tricking you into putting your guard up to prepare for a heady smoke. It then lulls you into submission with a very consistent smoothness and a vigorous dose of creamy flavors. The smoke clouds are voluminous - dark gray and thick. Overall it's somewhat mild in body but with ample flavor. What can I say - I love it.
For the past 5 days we’ve seen nothing but rain here in Bath, PA. Flash flood warnings bombard the airwaves, while local residents can be seen paddling down the streets on the evening news. Craziness. Yesterday, there was a break in the rain and a few rays of foggy sunshine before the day came to an end. This was my chance to go outside and enjoy a cigar, and I’ll be damned if I wasn’t going to make it last. I reached into my desktop here at the office and pulled out the biggest cigar I could find (5 Vegas Gold No. 1) and went on home.
The No. 1 is a new size within the Gold series that measures 7.5” x 54. The fine folks at 5 Vegas were kind enough to send us a sample box of 20, which was quickly ravaged by our merchandising team. And so, here is my review, just days before our shipment hits the dock.
Characteristic of the more traditional sizes, the No. 1 opens with a creamy, nutty burst of flavor. Almost like cashews. There’s some pepper on the aftertaste, but not much. Just enough to keep me interested in between puffs. Throughout the burn, the cigar is notably smooth and balanced, offering a refined bouquet of flavor that’s far from overwhelming, yet hardly one-dimensional. Once the peppery note subsides, a natural sweetness kicks in, complementing the cashew-like flavors quite well. The smoke is cool and slow, providing a long-lasting, enjoyable break from reality. I find myself studying the cigar and clouds of smoke around me, forgetting about the creamy flavors that coat my palate. To me, this indicates that I am enjoying the cigar (if you find yourself thinking about a cigar too much, chances are you’re probably not enjoying it). Even the charcoal ash impresses me, requiring a few taps every 2 inches. Roughly 90 minutes later - about 30 minutes after my second Weyerbacher Quad was finished - I place the nub in the ashtray one last time, completing a perfect smoke on a not-so-perfect night.