Finding a mellow-bodied cigar with substance can be tough. Tougher still is finding a mellow-bodied handmade with enough gusto to rival the likes of Ashton and Davidoff, without the hefty price tag. Well, one has arrived from the most unlikely of sources: Graycliff.
First some info on Graycliff. This Bahamas-based factory is tiny, housing a mere dozen Cuban-born rollers that – combined – craft just a couple thousand cigars each day. A drop in the bucket compared to a brand like Macanudo, where daily production is well over 100,000 cigars. These rollers were trained by none other than the late Avelino Lara, the Cuban-born cigar legend known best for creating the original Cuban Cohiba. To this day, Graycliff utilizes the rarest, aged tobaccos in uber-small-batch fashion to craft some of the world’s most prestigious blends and priciest cigars. A veritable breeding ground for luxury, including award-winning cigars ranked among the world’s finest.
Enter Graycliff ‘G2,’ the factory’s pioneer blend into the realm of mellow-bodied boutique handmades. Each cigar is seamless in appearance with a chestnut, chocolate brown hue. The blend is comprised of Connecticut wrappers grown under the natural valley mists of Ecuador and aged, Cuban-seed long-fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican. The aroma is soft but pleasant – some barnyard, but mostly sweet tobacco and cedar.
Off the bat, the smoke is notably rich and creamy in nature. Very creamy, in fact. The smoke is thick and heavy, leaving a velvety texture on the palate with each puff. The aroma is toasty and woodsy, enjoyable. After a few minutes I get into the meat of the cigar, and pick up a distinct doughiness, like baked bread....something I have only found in one other cigar – that I can recall. I love this nuance, and if you read through my past reviews you’ll know what I am talking about. It’s coupled with a toasty, nutty note from the Ecuadorian wrapper and a rich, leathery flavor from the Nicaraguan tobaccos. The Dominican tobaccos lend a sweet tobacco flavor that complements these unique flavors quite nicely. For a mellow-bodied cigar, the ‘G2’ is complex....these flavors are not subtle, nor are they overpowering. And the best part is, they are presented throughout the entire smoke in a balanced and soothing fashion. This truly is a full-flavored, mellow-bodied cigar with rich, satisfying qualities....but one that’s mellow enough for anytime enjoyment. The bouquet does not get harsh or grow more intense at any point during the burn. There are no twists or turns....just a solid, straightforward cigar that’s flavorful from start to finish.
I am impressed and – to be honest – surprised. Many mellow-bodied cigars are just that: mellow airballs with nothing more than tobacco flavors going on, which is why I lean more towards medium and full-bodied blends. This is not one of them, and considering the price per box I can easily find myself adding Graycliff to my regular rotation – something I never thought I’d say.