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.