Thursday, November 6, 2014

Cigar Review: Vegueros Mañanitas (MAT MAY14)

For well over a year now, folks like myself have been waiting patiently for the rebranding of the Vegueros line from Habanos SA to hit your local neighborhood LCDH.  On my most recent world travels through the friendly neighborhood, some of the new Vegueros Mañanitas made their way into my humidor.  The Mañanitas are a petite pyramide, and this size was the one that tickled my fancy as I gazed upon the press release from Habanos a while back.  I also love tins for storage of odds and ends, so getting a killer tin like this was a bonus. 





The three sizes being made are a departure from the historic vitolas of the brand.  Previous offerings ranged from 36 ring gauge to 42, while the rebranding vitolas are all shorter smokes that range from 46-52 ring gauges.  Originally, the brand was named after the farmers, or local Vegueros, suggesting a taste of the farm rolls that these guys rolled for themselves.  I would imagine, the rebrand is a departure from that idea, and the slick bands and packing may attract new consumers.  Let’s be real, modern smokers are not looking for small ring gauged sticks anymore, they want power and finish.  Given the appeal of the shorter smokes that Habanos SA has been releasing the last few years, I assumed this would be a quick smoke with a little bang.  One thing to note, the box code is on the bottom of a cardboard insert at the bottom of the tin.  At about 4 inches by 46, it is a smaller cigar and a good looking pyramide.





Dry Draw: honey

First Third: The dry draw was no indication of what was to follow; my palate took a Hulk Hogan leg drop of earth on the draw with green pepper and cedar in the nose.  The Mañanitas came on strong, very full for a Habanos, and not rich at all.  The finish sat all front of mouth, while hints of tea came into play with the earth and green pepper notes. 



Second Third: Hulk just threw me into the ropes, and now the green pepper is taking over on the draw and retro.  Hints of richness started to arrive, but very subtle in nature.  By midpoint, I could tell the richness was creeping in, with a creamy custard flavor underneath the power.  Some coffee flavors tickled the tongue as well, but nothing well defined.


Final Third: The custard left, but the coffee notes hinted at a light roast.  The green pepper power slams were all over front of mouth still, but not causing any palate burn.  The retro took over, affecting the balance and nuance of the light roast coffee notes.  What was intriguing, was the power hit up front, then the coffee rolled off the tongue on the exhale, while the finish kept both alive.

Construction: This cigar was dripping wet ROTT.  I dry boxed it for a few hours and it burned fine, but probably affected the balance at the end.


Final Thoughts: The Vegueros Mañanitas will be a polarizing blend.  To the classic Habanos fan, like myself, the power will be too much and lack of richness or complexity will turn some off.  I did not have a ton of notes to write about, but most fresh Habanos do not. However, the power is what intrigues me in such a small format.  I really enjoyed it, and my guess is with time it will settle into a nice blend.  The main thing about the power, is it never hit back of mouth, it always settled front, so the finish was very bold but never gave palate burn.  For now folks will complain of the lack of complexity, but I think looking forward it will be there. Most importantly, the body is unique, and given the size offers a quick powerful smoke that is not enough to overpower the senses, but enough to awaken the mind. The Mañanitas is not your daddy's Habanos blend. This is an after dinner smoke, pair with a rye bourbon or peat scotch, IPA for a brew, or as a second cigar of the day for some.  Full bodied fans will enjoy the blend, and 30 minutes after smoking as I write this, I still have an excellent finish sitting on my palate.