So on a whim I decided to snag some JNV Cigars – a brand that’s been around a bit but that I was unaware of until recently. These are very much value-oriented sticks – every vitola in each of the four “core” blends are $5/stick. It sounds almost too good to be true, but as Jorge Nicholls (proprietor and blender) was running a special last month for 25 cigars (and continues into this month too – $110, including shipping) I just decided I had to make up a JNV sampler and take advantage of it.
As these are budget oriented sticks, I didn’t have high expectations at all. I was expecting them to be good but not stellar, but I’m dedicating a post to the couple I’ve tried so far because they exceeded expectations in every way.
This Maduro features Dominican tobacco and is a 7.5″ x 38 RG Lancero vitola.
First light revealed a sightly snug draw but producting very good smoke output. Thick textured, medium/full bodied smoke with a core flavor of a rich, creamy, sweet milk chocolate on the draw and a hint of pepper and nutmeg on the finish and retrohale.
Getting into the first third the draw opens slightly and features more of the same flavors. The 2nd third retains the chocolate and sweet spice but brings in a touch of caramel into the draw. The final third shifts to a dark roast coffee while retaining some creaminess and natural sweetness. The cigar started going warm at an hour, which is a very good burn time for a Lancero and brings in a mild/medium nicotine strength.
Perfect construction with a razor sharp burn. Ash drops off in short, quick bits but that’s to be expected with the small ring gauge.
This was a great stick, period. Not too complex or transitional but it did have very nice flavors, a lot of them and would be a perfect smoke for after dinner or later in the day. For best results, pair with a nice strong coffee, a stout beer or a full-bodied red wine. Rating: 4.5/5.
Barber Pole Solomon
This Barberpole features Dominican tobacco with a dual wrapper of Habano and Maduro in a 7″ x 56RG (widest point) Solomon vitola.
I took two snips with the Cuban Crafters Perfect Cutter but I was left wishing I had just taken one as the draw was absolutely perfect out of the gate. Lots of thick smoke output. Medium/full bodied flavors of an earthy, leathery pepper and a slight tinge of zingy wood at the first light.
As the foot opens up the draw becomes what I would call loose but still putting off good smoke. Getting into the really wide point the body dials down to a medium while getting much more complex – entering in a creamy nuttiness and a smooth, rich cocoa while retaining the leather and earth. Everything is just blended together so smoothly and beautifully and mixes well.
The Solomon vitola, as expected, produced some definite transitions with the changes in ring gauge. All the flavors were there start to finish, but the balance was different. The wider parts of the cigar definitely emphasized the cream and cocoa notes, while the balance shifted more toward the leather and nuts as the ring gauge narrowed again and brought the body flavors back to medium/full. Entering the last third the cocoa shifts more to a coffee and the pepper returns, but in the form of red pepper as opposed to black pepper. I ended the cigar at 1 hour and 30 minutes for a truly fantastic burn time, which also brought in a medium nicotine strength.
Construction was fantastic throughout. A slight waviness in the burn going from the tip to the widest point, but not needing any correction at all and which evened out to razor-sharp shortly thereafter and remaining that way to the end. Ash holds on about 1/4 of the cigar at a time.
I have to say, this one definitely blew me away. Lots of complexity, transitions and overall great construction. I can hardly believe this is a $5 cigar – you get so much bang for your buck. Due to the varying flavors, this would pair great with a number of different drinks. Given the value and what you get, I’m rating this one a 5/5.
If you are a cigar lover and you’re looking for something less expensive but high quality, definitely check out the JNV line. I’ll be reviewing more of the cigars as I smoke them, but wow, so far I am truly impressed. Take advantage of the offer while he’s got it going. Visit their website (www.jnvcigars.com) and make your own sampler. Get what you like, try them and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised for sure.