Posted by Jack | in Epicurean Cigars | on 25 Jul 2013 | at 1:59 PM | 2285 views
Jordan at The Wharf handed me another of Steven Ysidron's Epicurean samples today.  This one is the vintage 2008 Azul.  After the killer smoke that the Vintage 2007 provided, I was excited beyond words.  I will admit that I wasn't expecting it to be as good as the 2007.  So, how did it compare?  Let's see....
Construction: The Azul is another well presented cigar.  Wrapped in cedar with a black ribbon at the foot and a silver version of the AG label, this cigar begs to be looked at as well as to be smoked.  The wrapper is dark brown with light colored veins and a slightly dry appearance which makes it feel rustic.
Pre-light Aroma and Draw: Out of the cellophane and cedar, I get whiffs of cedar (obviously), cocoa, and something that reminds me of red wine.  The draw is perfect and a cold pull gives off a nice raisin flavor with a touch of peat.  Being a scotch drinker, I find that exciting.
Light and Burn: As you can imagine, lighting is a snap and the burn is almost laser perfect from start to finish.  The ash is white and quite clingy too.  No laptop ash this time either - always a good thing.
Tasting: Starting off, the Azul is powerful with black, white, and red pepper.  I like a cigar that announces what you are getting into and this one is a wake-up call.
The first third keeps loads of pepper from the start and adds cocoa and a nice creamy smooth floral flavor that smacks of a nice mint tea.
The middle third drops off the black pepper a notch and adds leather and earth with a hint of black cherry.  It is a very well balanced and expertly blended cigar.  The strength is quite powerful in the middle too.  I picked up a huge taste of something like burnt earth that reminded me of a toasted bagel,  It's a little more raw than the 2007 AG, but that is not something I can fault it one iota.
The final third is a bit more mellow but the flavors are still superb.  As the cigar finishes to a nub, I get the added flavor of milk chocolate.  Totally delicious.
Value: At around $9 or $10 the Azul is well priced for something so good.
Final Thoughts: Yet again, Steven Ysidron shows his prodigious skill as a cigar maker and Gary Griffith shows that he knows top quality cigars to add to his stables.  The AG series is masterful.  I would smoke these any time if I had a box.  While both cigars in the lineup are amazing, I think the Azul would be my normal pick given the choice.  I enjoyed every second during the smoke and look forward to the next Emilio order at The Wharf to hopefully include these amazing cigars.  Highly recommended!
Wrapper: Sun grown habano
Size: 6 x 50
The silver band has a nice old school feel....something like art deco or art nouveau
The sunlight gleam off of that band looks awesome....just as good as the cigar itself.
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