The Graycliff Resort in Nassau, Bahamas is a wonderful old place. I've stayed there a couple of times when visiting Enrico and Paolo Garzaroli - the father/son duo that runs the resort and the cigar-making operation. This place is full of charm. The hotel is historic and old, featuring huge rooms, peaceful scenery, numerous cigar-smoking spots. Also, its guest list is utterly remarkable....it's not just celebrities and athletes like Michael Jordan and Oprah Winfrey who frequent the resort. Past guests have included heavyweights such as Winston Churchill, Colin Powell and numerous heads of state. As far as food, the cuisine is positively unmatched - even for a six-pack and burger guy like me, the menu, wine list, and execution is remarkable.
Of course all this luxury ain't cheap, but if you've seen prices on Graycliff cigars that should come as no surprise. Like the resort itself, its cigars embody the same spirit: high quality, little regard for price.
Graycliff's cigar making operation is attached to the resort featuring about a dozen rollers. Over the past 10-15 years, this small little factory has built a reputation as a fine boutique maker. Originally blended by Cuban expatriate Avelino Lara, the "original" red label was Graycliff's first commercial blend, followed by the blue label "Profesionale" series, and furthered by the advent of the full-bodied white label Crystal and even more potent black label "Espresso" series.
That brings me to the subject of the review: a new spin on the Graycliff Espresso called 'Double Espresso'. Made in just one size, Double Espresso differs from the regular Espresso in that additional Ligero tobaccos have been added to amp up the blend's body and flavor. To the eye the Double Espresso is totally enticing. Its wrapper is dark and mottled, very compelling. Like the sacred cheese, slide the unlit cigar lustily under your nostrils and inhale....oh yes. Let's see what happens.
Indeed, its stout, dark 4.5"x54 frame braces you for a potent smoke packed with flavor, and does not disappoint. Upon lighting, a toasty, cedary aroma fills the nose. Despite its strength, it remains smooth and well balanced, booming out lavish volumes of smoke....thick gray clouds aplenty! Full but far from overpowering in body, Double Espresso is complex, including notes of leather, coffee bean and mocha. Its finish is long and lingering. Despite the 10 bucks per stick price tag - remember that is cheap by Graycliff standards - these gems are a recommended addition to your humidor. Pick up a mazo or two and stash them away.
Keep your eye out for a new Graycliff blend coming soon: Graycliff 1666, a blend to commemmorate the year the historic Graycliff hotel was built.