When you're inside CI headquarters, even if you're not looking for cigars, boy, cigars sure do find you. This place is a 49,000 square foot playground chock full of handmades, and resistance is just about futile. That's the position I found myself this past Sunday. I ran to the office with a plan to get a few things done and a promise to my wife to speed back home without delay. But on my desk was a box of 5 Vegas Series 'A', the Archetype size. Ooooooh. This toro is gorgeous. A pitch black Costa Rican wrapper, oils beading off, individually wrapped in cedar sleeves. Rolling it between my forefinger and thumb, my thoughts were racing. Risk the scorn of wife and family by not coming home, or stick around and light one up? This ethical dilemma continued for a moment before I succumbed to the inevitable charms of the 5 Vegas 'A'. After all, I asked myself, am I not human....do I not bleed? Having justified it in my mind, I lit it up. Oooooh. 3 cigars later, not only did I spend a productive afternoon at the office but I enjoyed every second of it.
This is a cigar that you could smoke all day: after one is done you just want to light up the next ....and it continues like that, it's like having one long cigar. The most distinctive thing about the 5 Vegas Series 'A' blend is the undeniable smoky, charred character - so appealing. The interplay of the Costa Rican maduro wrapper with the complex long leaf filler blend creates an almost decadent cigar. In body it's somewhat heavy, and it offers a very rich and dense flavor profile, including dark chocolate, almost espresso-like notes. The charred character and toasty aroma imbeds itself in your nostrils and by the end, you're ready to spark another....and another. To me, this blend is cigar heaven.
Oh, and how about this: looks as though we'll be receiving two new special sizes in the next couple months, the Apocalypse (6"x58) and the Atomic (4.5"x54). Dream the impossible dream!
Fortunately for me, my every day brand has just what I need and it's called the Anomaly. I always thought Anomaly was a funny name, since I see the word in a negative light. But, ironically enough, it fits perfectly. Within the 5 Vegas Series 'A' line you will find five sizes. Four are standard, 50+ ring parejos. And then, there's the Anomaly: a small, 4.5” x 44 petite corona – when putting this cigar next to the rest one might think it'll have the least amount of flavor. But the amazing part is, after reviewing each size over and over, I constantly find this size to be the spiciest, and fullest (in both flavor and strength) of the bunch. Instantly upon lighting one up, a fiery assault of pepper hits the palate leaving your taste buds tingling after each puff. Although enjoyable, this assault tones down a bit, giving way to a rich toastiness, reminding me of the seared edges of a well-done steak. Weird, I know, but it's good nonetheless. Especially considering I like my steak as red as possibly. About midway through, an unexpected nicotine buzz relaxes me and fills my belly, leading into a robust (but oh-so smooth) finish filled with an explosion of rich, toasty notes and spice. A delicious and satisfying 20-minute investment of your time.
Bottom line, good things come in little packages and this Anomaly has become the ultimate bang for the buck this winter.
a·nom·a·ly, n., deviation or departure from the normal or common order, form, or rule.
Let me get it out of the way 'geez Gonz, back to back 5 Vegas reviews???' Well, after my incredible string of good fortune in furthering the supremacy of 5 Vegas (in my mind at least) with my last review of 5 Vegas Gold, I couldn't resist picking up the recently released Series 'A'. I ripped open a bundle as soon as they came off the dock (at the time of this writing, the boxes aren't even ready yet). I was so anxious that I even picked up a size I'm least likely to smoke...a 4.5 x 44 petite corona called Anomaly.
It's a sporty looking, dark maduro wrapped cigar individually dressed in cedar from below the band down to the foot. Peel back the cedar to find an impeccably rolled firm cigar with one of the finest maduro wrappers I've ever seen. Kinda like Homer Simpson's infatuation with the rare gummi Venus de Milo, the front of my shirt was soon covered in drool as I nervously fumbled for a cutter and lighter, as I began grunting softly "must light 5 Vegas 'A'....must light 5 Vegas 'A'" I soon fell into a trance-like state. Heart-racing, taste buds singing, I couldn't light this cigar fast enough.
Holy cow, a leathery burst of intoxicating deep body quickly lights up your senses. Call this the 5 Vegas 'Wild Side" b/c even on the small size I picked up, the raw full-bodied richness starts with the initial draw and finishes strong with a lingering note of black pepper. Whoa, is it hot in here or is it just me? The surprisingly cool burn of this impressively stuffed cigar proves this is no fly-by-night, I just need a quick cigar fix, cigar. While it'll satisfy any crave and then some, I'm finding myself wanting to enjoy and analyze every puff. Featuring a Costa Rican maduro wrapper that leaves off the occasional sweetness you often get from a Broadleaf Maduro, yet the fullness of body won't overwhelm. I didn't find one speckle of flat flavor here, and in case I haven't hinted at this already, this borders on powerhouse in my book, but thanks to a smooth character that keeps me puffing for more, I've smoked two back-to-back and can still stand up straight in my chair. A beautiful chalky-white ash holds firm and furthers the perfect construction. An inch or so in, the flavor levels and then picks up again about midway through.
So back to my definition at the top - the true anomaly is that even this petite corona (code-named Anomaly) I'm smoking feels more like a 50-ring toro than 44 ring petite. After smoking a 1/2 dozen of these, I'm afraid to smoke anything else for my palate has been tainted toward the wild-side, and dammit, I like the wild side. The 5 Vegas Trio is complete in my book - Original, Gold, and 'A'. The 'A' very well could be the best one that was saved for last. Doh, almost forgot to mention that they start at about $2.50 per stick, you betcha, that's no joke.