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Staff Reviews for 5 Vegas Classic

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5 Vegas Classic

Posted by Steve R

Unless you’ve been asleep at the wheel the past few months, you know that SCHIP has hit home. This bill places a heavy tax on all cigars, and has resulted in higher prices starting 4/1. Some manufacturers are using this tax as a vehicle to introduce price increases that, in some cases, go above and beyond the level of the tax. In several cases, manufacturers have instituted multiple price increases on the same cigar, capitalizing even further. On top of this, some cigars are already quite expensive, and any new increases (whether it be additional costs or taxes) could possibly put them out of reach for the working man. In an effort to provide you with optimum value, I will be matching up two cigars each week. One expensive cigar and one lesser-expensive option, comparing them based on flavor, satisfaction, construction, and price.

– Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva and 5 Vegas Classic

Like previous SCHIP Buster reviews, this write-up will be difficult for many to stomach. Arturo Fuente has a diehard customer base, one that’s loyal to the core and swears by every cigar under the Fuente label. On the other hand, 5 Vegas Classic has quite the following as well, and it seems to be getting stronger by the second. The blends are very different, but both offer a solid, medium-bodied smoke that’s hella-consistent and of the highest quality.

Yes, I just said hella-consistent. Gonz, add that to your Gonzism list, I think it’s a winner. Anyway, let’s get into the cigars.

Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva – Everybody knows this name. And, like I said, many swear by it. In fact, folks walk into our shop asking for a particular vitola in a specific Fuente line. If we don’t have it, they simply walk away, despite having immediate access to every blend under the sun at comparable - if not better - prices. This Dominican brand as a whole is rated very highly....very often. The standard Gran Reserva line combines a toothy Cameroon wrapper with Dominican long-fillers to produce a consistent, well-made stick. I will be burning the 8-5-8, a popular, 6”x47 vitola.

5 Vegas Classic – This brand has become a monster. Hand-made in Nicaragua, the red label 5 Vegas is a 91-rated blend of dark Sumatra wrappers and Cuban-seed long-fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican. In fact, premium tobaccos from five different farms are utilized throughout this cigar, producing what is considered to be a complex and balanced, medium-bodied bang for the buck. To keep things as comparable as possible, I’ve chosen the Double Corona, an impressive 6”x48 parejo.

I’ve reviewed both of these blends several times in the past and am quite familiar with each, so a side-by-side comparison should be interesting. Without further ado, let’s dig deeper into the flavor and quality of these two popular cigars....

Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva – This cigar is already clipped and ready for my torch lighter. The pre-light aroma is that of cedar, with no hints of spice or pepper. The 8-9-8 is lit and away we go. The cigar begins with a heavy dose of cream which seems to magically disappear after each puff. A short finish. I am picking up notes of toast and cedar, with a crisp tobacco influence. Midway through, a new flavor enters the mix - a somewhat grassy note lingers on the aftertaste. This is pretty much how the story unfolds. Despite being delivered in a nice, toasty fashion, the tobacco and cedar flavors are crisp and sharp, only to be finished by a misplaced touch of grass. Definitely medium in body....but only by a hair. The all Dominican core resulted in a relatively straight-forwarded experience.

5 Vegas Classic – After cleansing my palate, it’s time for the 5 Vegas. The cigar is clipped and the pre-light aroma is that of baked bread. A slight tingling sensation hits my nostrils, hinting at a faint spice to come. Upon lighting, my palate is coated with a core of rich, creamy flavors. Early on, it’s difficult to pick out any one flavor, but the sensation is enjoyable. Shortly after, a strong backbone of coffee is clearly noticed, with softer notes of earth. The aroma is toasty with a little bit of zest. Midway through, I begin to pick up a little bit of peanut – it almost tastes like the toasty skin of a peanut. I also note a touch of pepper....a very faint touch. The cigar has been burning slow and smooth, and comes to a complex finish during the final inch without losing any balance along the way. The medium-bodied strength was apparent from the start and lasted through the burn. I think the Nicaraguan tobaccos helped add a pleasant level of complexity to this cigar.

Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva and 5 Vegas Classic. Different cigars from different countries. A true underdog, David and Goliath matchup....one would think. Both burned perfectly, with an effortless draw and razor sharp burn. Both seemed to be well filled from head to toe, and made with top-notch wrappers. However, one appealed to my finicky palate more than the other. Arturo Fuente, 86.

5 Vegas, 89.

Now let’s add price to the mix. Both of these cigars can be considered a good value. The Fuente 8-5-8 carries an MSRP of under $5 apiece, while the 5 Vegas Double Corona chimes in at under $3.50 apiece. What’s a buck and a half between friends, eh? However, the price for Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva has gone up due to SCHIP. 5 Vegas Classic is not. I think you know where this is going.

Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva: 86

5 Vegas Classic: 90

5 Vegas

Posted by Gonz
Yup, it's been a full month since my last pick and I can't possibly describe the details of the past 30 days. Here's the short of it: on Nov. 25 I became a Dad for the first time and on Nov. 25 my amount of sleep went from little to none. I have more respect than ever for the other Dads out there. I've heard you guys complaining for years now and I just figured you guys were soft, but now I know. I'm not sure why, but it causes me to reminisce a bit more about times of old - the good times, the memories. And those memories always seem to take me back to my favorite brand of all time - 5 Vegas. Yup, you read that right, my favorite brand!

5 Vegas, or "cinco vegas" as you spanish-speaking folks will quickly correct me, has been around for what seems like a cigar lifetime. Yup, circa 1992. That's about when my cigar life began, so it seems like forever to me. I ponied up 8 bucks at my little corner cigar shop in Summit, New Jersey in 1996 for my first. I had been smoking for about 2 years, and it was about this time that I began moving from milder Dominicans to venture into the vast wide world of Nicaraguans. Oooh! We all heard about those scary Nicaraguans that knocked the laces out of your shoes, and I just started scratching the surface.

Rolled in Nicaragua, I soon learned that 5 Vegas was different. But, it was one of those brands that was hyped so much that you had to try it. There were advertisements, bulletin boards, writeups in Cigar Aficionado and a 90 rating for the Torpedo, banners and reviews on every internet bulletin board, and even cigar dinners featuring this cigar. Unfortunately, those 8 bucks were the best spent 8 bucks I ever spent on cigars. I say "unfortunately" b/c my wallet emptied every time I had an opportunity to buy a few. It was the best friggin' cigar I'd ever smoked. Since I didn't know a whole helluva lot about cigars, I really didn't know what just happened. In hindsight, I now know - this was the epiphany that happens to the best of us in our elite little group. I found my favorite, my go-to cigar, that one cigar that I can turn to time and time again and get that "oh, it's good to be home" feeling. Like riding that banana-seat Schwinn with your friends, or driving Mom's paneled Buick station wagon by yourself for the first time after passing your driver's test, or cozying up in that recliner with a cold brew and your crusty toes twinkling happily in the air while watching the Dallas Cowboys rout the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's a great feeling and many of you have had it. I found mine on that memorable day in 1996.

And to this day, every major event I've ever had is not complete until I smoke that 5 Vegas. My wedding, landing this job, the birth of my child - man, I'm getting a little teary now, what is wrong with me?

Just the other day, our inventory manager Carmen came by my office with some Costa Rican unbanded samples to try. I politely declined as I held up the 5 Vegas I reserved for my ride home that night. Why is it so special? Well, let's talk about that. My favorite size is the Torpedo, it seems a little more robust and complex, but that's me and I'm pretty intimate with my 5 Vegas. It's fairly simple looking, but the blend is nothing short of genius. Tobaccos from 5 different plantations (or vegas, get it?) are used for the blend. It's a mix of Nicaraguan and Dominican long leaves with a Sumatra wrapper. This cigar is blended one at a time with incredible precision and care that you'll find very little variation from cigar to cigar, even with the complexity of the blend.

Light one up and you'll immediately recognize an easy but firm draw. The wrapper is slightly veiny, but the cigar is stiff and evenly filled with no loose spots anywhere. It will light up with ease and you'll quickly be encassed with a volumous smoke that has an outdoorsy smell of cedar. The flavor is medium-bodied, smooth, and non-intrusive with a soft hint of peanuts. Yet, there is a nice bold body that holds your attention and seems to rattle my middle tongue just enough. It's not an overly complex flavor, but always seems to hit my sweet spot. It relaxes me much like I imagine a tree-hugger meditating in an empty room with nothing but 15 vanilla-flavored candles burning around the room. This cigar is constructed so solidly that you'll get 2 inches and longer before the chalky white ash falls off. And please don't knock it off prematurely, at least not when you're around me. Start to finish, the flavor holds solid and barely changes, right down to the last inch.

Pound for pound, in my opinion, this is the best cigar out there right now! At just under $3 per stick, it's a far cry from the $8 I paid years ago. And, if anything, the quality has improved. Go get one, and let me know if it becomes your day-in day-out favorite.

5 Vegas Classic Vertical Tasting

Posted by Steve R

Ever since I did the Nub vertical tasting, I have been receiving a relatively steady stream of emails requesting similar reviews on other brands. Of these emails, one of the most requested brands was 5 Vegas Classic, a brand that we showcase often and sell a ton of. Some made this request because they have yet to try it. Others have tried it, but have yet to try all the sizes. And, since I am always open to burning as many cigars as possible while I work, I’ll be more than happy to meet these requests. Let’s get right to it, I’ve got a lot of tasting to do....here’s some info on 5 Vegas.

5 Vegas is an old brand that has been around for decades. The Classic represents the original, otherwise known as the ‘red label,’ and is the recipient of a 90-point rating from Cigar Aficionado. 5 Vegas Classic is handmade in Nicaragua using a dark Sumatra wrapper and a long-leaf mixture of Cuban-seed tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican. The brand is known for both consistency and value, and has become an everyday favorite among our customers.

 


5 Vegas Classic Vertical

 

5 Vegas Classic Robusto: Dark, oily cigar with a solid feel. The initial few puffs are loaded with spice and cedar. Smoke soon mellows a tad to release a rich core of coffee complemented by a long, creamy aftertaste. The aroma is toasty and pleasant. Midway through, the strength begins to build a bit, flirting with the lower-end of full-bodied, but never quite making the hurdle. No worries, the Robusto is complex and satisfying nonetheless.

Rating: 90

5 Vegas Classic Corona: A classic Corona shape. This cigar looks tasty with a great pre-light aroma. The burn is cool and surprisingly slow, while the flavors seem to be a great display of properly proportioned fillers to wrapper. No one flavor dominates. Notes of wood, nuts, earth, white pepper, and coffee bean are present. Surprisingly strong compared to the other sizes.

Rating: 89

5 Vegas Classic Fifty Five: A dense, 5.5”x55 box-pressed vitola that feels heavy in the hand and solid from head to toe. Lots of pepper up front, which is quickly mellowed by a rich and creamy series of black coffee and cashew. The pepper becomes an afterthought, only hitting the palate on the tailend of each puff in a very gentle way. Size seems significantly stronger than the rest. I’d call it medium to full, but sometimes full from start to finish. My second favorite in the line.

Rating: 91

5 Vegas Classic Panatela: A skinny Corona with a nice, oily sheen. The Sumatra wrapper really shines through with this one. Subtle spices and nutty undertones. Not nearly as rich or creamy as the rest, but a smooth, straightforward smoke nonetheless. Not a preferred size, but good for the car or a short walk.

Rating: 88

5 Vegas Classic Double Corona: Nice looking Toro. Lots of rich coffee flavors throughout this medium-bodied smoke. Flavors are delivered in a very smooth fashion. They’re mellow, but pleasant. The smoke promoted by this vitola seems to be the creamiest and richest, however the flavors come into play gradually, making it a slow-burning, relaxing cigar with little twists and turns. Some coffee, some earth, and a light, toasty element on the finish and aroma.

Rating: 90

5 Vegas Classic Torpedo: Love the look of this sharply tapering Torpedo. Be careful not to lose an eye. The smoke starts out mellow and rich, then gradually builds into a medium-bodied experience that gains complexity during the burn. I pick up coffee bean, cream, nuts, and toasted cedar. Every now and then subtle spices break through, completing a flavorful bouquet with a warm, toasty aroma. Preferred size.

Rating: 92

5 Vegas Classic Churchill: A bit long for my tastes, but a good substitute for the Double Corona. Flavors are quite comparable: medium in body with a tame, balanced bouquet noting coffee, earth, and toast. Best of all, the price doesn’t make you cringe (too hard) if you have to end the experience 10-15 minutes early - bonus points - even though you probably won’t want to.

Rating: 89

Overall, 5 Vegas Classic offers a wide variety of sizes that vary ever-so-slightly in flavor and strength, but maintain a common theme: flavorful, balanced, and consistent. Quality is a non-issue. Each one burned perfect, creating a nice, white ash and offering a cool, easy draw. For the money, it’s hard to beat a cigar like this.

5 Vegas Classic Fifty Five

Posted by Steve R

Over the past few months I’ve been receiving emails asking me if I had something magical up my sleeve for my 100th review. Even customers of our Super-Store are expecting something big. Truth is, this is actually my 110th review, but 10 older reviews have been removed, as the brands have since been discontinued by its maker. So, I guess you can say this is, unofficially, my 100th review. And, since I am hitting the century mark (again), why not review a brand with a century’s worth of tradition, and then some.

That brand is 5 Vegas. Fittingly enough, a new size has joined the ranks of the Classic line. It’s a 5.5” x 55 box-pressed beauty called the ‘Fifty Five.’ This size has become increasingly popular over the past year, as evidenced by the CAO ‘VR’ Full-Fathom-Five, CAO Brazilia Box-Press, Cuba Libre Magnum, and Felipe Power Triple R (not box-pressed)...to name a few. Today’s enthusiasts are not only leaning towards more sophisticated and complex blends, but also larger ring gauges and slightly box-pressed formats.

The Fifty Five is pretty. It’s heavy in the hand with a nice, chunk-a-fied appearance. Looking at the foot, the barrel appears to be a perfect square with slightly pressed, slightly rounded corners. Pleasing. The pre-light aroma is that of freshly baked bread with a faint spice that tickles the nostrils, while the smooth Sumatra wrapper lends a milk chocolate hue with minimal veins.

The smoothness of this cigar is impressive right from the start. Buttery. There’s a rich tobacco flavor that dominates the center of the palate, coupled with touch of toast and nuts. Through the nose, there’s a unique dry and smokey component that reminds me of a not-so-peaty single malt. The aroma is that of toast and cedar. The burn is slow and even, producing thick clouds of white smoke and a strong white ash with black striations. A result of the Nicaraguan tobaccos (white ash) burning with Dominican leaves (black ash). After the initial third, the cigar becomes notably stronger, going slightly above medium, and develops a peppery element that lingers on the sides of the tongue and back of the palate. The rich tobacco flavor mellows a tad, further accentuating the smoothness of the cigar. It actually becomes creamy. Midway through, my head is swimming a bit. There’s no doubt the Fifty Five is stronger than the typical 5 Vegas Classic. By now, this cigar is flirting with the full-bodied realm. Probably due to the additional tobaccos required to craft this chunky vitola. The final third is a bit more peppery than the rest of the smoke, and the aroma is intensified. However, the smoothness remains well past the band.

I’ve long been a fan of 5 Vegas Classic. Especially over the past few years, as I firmly believe this old brand has only gotten better. The Fifty Five is a welcome addition, being a fuller-bodied variety of the same recipe of tobaccos. The mouth feel is fantastic, and the shape seems to be molded specifically for my hand.

5 Vegas Classic

Posted by Keith

I noticed Rocky Patel received a 95 rating the other day from a cigar magazine. That got me to thinking. There's a positively resplendent blend called 5 Vegas Classic that sells like mad and many folks are enamored with....one that costs, oh, around 3 or 4 bucks and less....and it was only rated 90. Based on the aforementioned 95 rating, 5 Vegas Classic should be rated 115 for crying out loud. You betcha. In fact if you haven't tried the original 5 Vegas Classic blend recently, the flavor will arrest you....like a perp on Cops, shirtless and screaming. Currently my favorite sizes are the Torpedo and the new 'Fifty Five'. The Fifty Five size is new and I've been smoking them like an automoton, you will too. It's a box-pressed 5.5"x55 beauty of a size that's medium-bodied, bordering on medium-full, and boasting a supremely creamy flavor. In fact this is the epitome of creaminess. But this is no one-trick pony: it's complex, evolving as it burns. After the smooth and creamy opening it develops a spiciness after the first inch, then issues a robust and heavier-bodied headiness into the midpoint of the cigar that's more pronounced than most other 5 Vegas sizes. Into the home stretch the flavor profile mellows a bit offering a touch of nuttiness (nuttiness!!!), yet retains a core of crisp tobacco flavor and that bedrock of smooth creaminess. Man, I tell you - this cigar is shaq diesel. Run, don't walk and add a box of Fifty Five to your cart stat lest I outfit you with dunce cap later.