23-year salute (Toro), 6.25 x 52
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Dominican Republic
|Cigar age||1 yr. 10.4 mo.|
BACKGROUND: The ESG series was launched in 2007 to celebrate twenty consecutive years of business for the Ashton brand. ESG stands for Estate Sun Grown and is a cigar line that boasts of being one of just a handful of super premium Domincan puros. The company intended to release a new size every year for five consecutive years, but according to my calculations, they missed a year or three. Nevertheless, they eventually did release all 5 sizes.
This cigar is blended and manufactured by Carlos Fuente Jr. and the Dominican wrapper is grown on the Chateau de la Fuente farm in the Dominican Republic.
TASTING NOTES: The ESG 23-year salute started off with spicy cedar and chili pepper and had a hint of vanilla sweetness to tie it all together. Retrohaling added mesquite-smoked wood and a pepper spice that was somewhere in the middle of the continuum between white and black pepper.
At the one-third mark this cigar amped up in body, flavor and strength. It went from medium to medium-full in a hurry. Along with that came notes of barnyard, peat and espresso bean.
The burn line on this stick started out blistered and a bit raggedy. The draw was fine, if a bit north of ideal and the ash, though mottled and inconsistent, was firm enough for me to drop off in one-inch chunks. Interestingly, the performance got better as the cigar progressed. The burn line evened out, the draw became smoother and I ended up enjoying this Toro right down to the nub.
One thing I always do with cigars that have more than a year of age on them is to flame purge the foot at about the one-third point. I do this to burn off any byproducts of micro-fermented tobacco and to freshen up the flavors. In this case, it worked as expected.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The Ashton ESG 23-year salute still had plenty of horsepower. With the extra aging, it still finished at medium-full in body, flavor and strength. The cigar also displayed plenty of complexity; I experienced everything from wood notes to earthy and vegetal flavors.
I have no problem recommending this smoke highly and I believe that these cigars will easily continue to successfully age for at least the first 5-6 years. This was essentially my prediction in my first review of the ESG Toro. Fortunately for me, I still have another half dozen of these to rest up for future smoking.
The price point for the ESG falls in line with other ultra premium smokes like the Fuente Opus X, top shelf Padrón’s and Davidoff limited editions. At close to $20 per stick, I would relegate the ESG to a special occasion smoke, but this is clearly a cigar with a great pedigree and it is a fine smoke.
Final verdict: Buy as a special occasion smoke and hold some for future enjoyment.
These cigars are being stored in their original box within my Aristocrat M+ cabinet humidor. I have left their cellophane sleeves intact. The cigar bands on these sticks are some of the most beautiful in the industry and, overall, the packaging is slick. You can't help but be impressed with the overall look of the Ashton ESG from the outer wrapper leaf to the outer packaging.
This is the second and final review. These cigars have 1 year, 10 months and 8 days of age in my humidor prior to this review.
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