Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cigar Review: Juan López Seleccion No. 2


Recently I picked up some Juan López Seleccion No. 2s, and I was eager to smoke them but recognized that they would need some age before they smoked great. I sent some to Catfish to smoke as well, and he was on the same page as me. It is a brand that I am a big fan of, the Seleccion No. 1 is terrific, but like most Habanos, it does better with age. I let them get settled in my humidor for a period of time, and lit one up eagerly. I was thoroughly impressed with the smoke that I told Catfish he needed to smoke them soon as well. He was impressed with them as well, and was shocked that given their age they were as good as they were. I recently realized that we had not even reviewed the smoke so today I am here to review this hidden gem of a robusto.

Seleccion No. 2 is one of three vitolas in current production for the brand and it is a fairly new vitola to me as I mostly have smoked the Seleccion No. 1. It is your standard Habano robusto and measures 124 mm (4.9") with a 50 ring gauge. It is composed of all Vuelta Abajo tobacco, and is being rolled in Habana. The robusto is rolled well and it is finished with a nice triple cap. There is a nice silkiness present to the wrapper and it has a coloring that is right at the Colorado level. There are few veins present in the wrapper and this is a high quality Juan López. I have had some robustos in the past, but never to this quality. This particular robusto is from 2013, and while it is young, Catfish and I have been incredibly pleased with the results. There is an aroma of spices, tobacco and earth on the foot, and the wrapper is showing some aromas of berries, tobacco, leather and spices.

The first third of the Habano begins by showing some terrific spice notes, and I am picking up some cinnamon and black pepper notes. There are some strong wood notes present as well, and it is showing a combination of oak and cedar. There are some bits of dark chocolate and espresso beans present as well, and this blend is smoking great for being so young. I have had some terrific young smokes, but this is top notch. The construction is solid, producing a fairly decent burn line overall, and it has a charcoal ash on the end that is holding on firmly. The draw is cool and there is a nice bit of smoke production present with the Habano as well. I would classify the strength as being at a medium full level and the body is there as well. I am loving this smoke so far and look forward to watching it grow in the second third.

I am in the second third of the cigar now and the flavors are continuing to blow me away. I am getting some dark cocoa notes right away, and they are followed by some strong coffee bean flavors that pair with the cocoa notes perfectly. There are a lot of black pepper notes present and it has a finish of strong wood and leather notes. This is a terrific young Habano and I am going to be honest that I was not expecting these great flavors from such a young smoke. The construction is still fairly solid with the smoke and while the burn line is not perfect, it is very decent and the Habano is still producing that solid charcoal ash on the end of the smoke. The draw is cool on the end and I am getting those great flavors. I would classify the strength as medium full still and the body is there as well.

The Habano has a finish that is similar to that of the second third, and it is a smoke that is rich in flavors. I am getting those great coffee and cocoa notes up front, and it is then followed by those black pepper and spice notes on the finish. It is very balanced though, and it has a finishing flavor profile of wood and leather. This is a terrific blend that is going to age wonderfully, and I know the flavors will get better in a couple of years. The strength and body are finishing at that medium full level, and it is a perfect level for the age. With time it will decrease, but for being as young as it is, it is perfect. The construction is very similar to how it has been since the beginning and it is showing a burn line that is not perfect, but not poor, and it has a dark charcoal ash on the end. The draw is cool to the finish and it produces a nice bit of flavors.

For being as young as it is, the Seleccion No. 2 is smoking wonderfully. I know that it will get even better with age, and in five years this Habano could be unstoppable. The box has been incredible thus far, and I know Catfish has thought the same. I have loved the flavors being delivered and the construction has been terrific as well. There has bean a great body and strength level as well, and this is a smoke I could have back to back everyday. The flavors of strong pepper, spices, coffee and cocoa were sublime and this is the reason why I love the brand so much. I find myself preferring this brand over many and while it has always been a favorite, the brand is possibly my number two brand in terms of smoking. What I love about this review is that it is a young Habano and I have a lot of opportunities to come back to it in future years and watching the improvement. Right now, this Habano gets a rating between 91 and 93, but with age we are looking at high nineties.

Young Rating: 91-93
With Age Rating 95+