BACKGROUND: The La Vérité Vintage line of cigars was conceived in late 2007 when Pete Johnson first saw the spectacular tobacco growing on the Pepin-Garcia-owned La Estrella farm in Nicaragua. After being harvested in early 2008 and while the tobacco was still undergoing fermentation, Pete decided that this tobacco would make a great single farm vintage cigar.
This new line, which includes two different blends, essentially takes a vintner’s approach to cigarmaking by creating a brand using tobacco from a single vintage and a single farm. The 2008 Vintage consists of 100% Criollo tobacco grown from Habano seed.
In a decidedly unorthodox approach, Johnson decided to construct this brand, not only with tobacco from one year and from only one farm, but also with tobacco that has skipped the traditional aging process. Rather than aging the tobacco in bales, as is traditionally the case, he has bypassed this aging phase and rolled the cigars right after fermentation, thereby letting the tobacco age in the form of a completed cigar.
Pete said that his love for great Bordeaux wine inspired him to create his own vintage cigar line. He was also challenged by the fact that there has never been a true vintage cigar in the cigar business, as all the other so-called vintage cigars are not really true vintage cigars at all.
The La Vérité Vintage cigars come from one farm and one vintage. And will use only one crop year for each release.
Today's featured cigar is the 7-inch by 47 ring gauge 2008 La Vérité Churchill.
TASTING NOTES: This smoke starts with a mouthful of earth. It's smoky and peaty, with a good dose of bittersweet espresso. Retrohaling brings pepper spice and more woody notes. Nothing tame about this stick, from the get-go.
The most interesting thing that I noted about this stick during the first half, was that it reminded me of some of my favorite Davidoff's. I don't know if anybody thinks that is a good thing or a bad thing, but to me it's great. There is an earthy, musty tang to Davidoff's that tastes great to me. So there you have it.
Anyway, the performance on this stick was rock solid. It had an awesome-smooth draw that channeled loads of smoke. The light gray ash was very firm and the burn line was as thin as my wife's mascara. I couldn't have asked for a better performing stick.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I voted the 2008 La Vérité my favorite new cigar of 2010. This is a great tasting smoke that performs well and has great aging potential. The price, for reasons that I can't fathom, is $20 per stick. As a result, it may not be in the best interest of a family budget to enjoy this stick. Nevertheless, if you consider this a special occasion smoke and can fork out the cash for 1 or 2, you will be treated to an excellent smoke.
These cigars came in a box of 10 cigars that were wrapped inside a wax paper sleeve inside their wooden box. I have left the wax paper sleeve intact. The cigars are stored in my Aristocrat M+ cabinet humidor with RH set at 68% and temperatures between 66° and 70°F.
This is the first of 2 podcast reviews of this stick. These sticks have been aging for 1 year, 6.4 months. To calculate the age of these cigars, I have used the "finished production" date found on the box. In most cases, consumers are forced to use the purchase date of a cigar to calculate its age, but when manufacturers use box dates, which is an indication of when cigars were packaged in boxes, or better, the production date, the consumer can get a much more accurate idea of the age of the finished cigars. Many thanks to Pete Johnson for including this information about the La Vérité.