Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cigar Review – Ashton ESG 20 Year Salute (Churchill)

by club co-founder Fernand

Another in our ongoing series of reviews of cigars given to us by the good folks at Cigars Direct. Featured this time is the Ashton Estate Sun Grown “20 Year Salute”.

Vitola: Churchill
Origin: Dominican Republic
Length: 6 ¾”
Ring Gauge: 49
Filler: Dom. Rep.
Binder: Dom. Rep.
Wrapper: Sun Grown Rosado (from D.R.)
Strength: Med.-Full
Price: $29.95

Made By: Tabaclera A. Fuente y Cia. and distributed by Ashton Distributors Inc., it features a dark, rich looking Dominican rosado wrapper grown on the Chateau de la Fuente farm and used exclusively on this cigar! The current Cigar Aficionado rating for it is 88 (from Oct, 2008).

The Ashton ESG churchill is named “20 Year Salute” in celebration of Ashton’s twenty-year history of growth and success. Blended by Carlito Fuente for Ashton owner Robert Levin, it’s considered a ‘special occasion’ cigar comprised of rare tobaccos; hence the limited quantities.

Following Cigar Aficionado's 4-part rating system (Appearance & Construction, Flavor, Smoking Characteristics, and Overall Impression) I sat down to rate this cigar while enjoying a pint glass of home-brewed winter ale made by club member Joe.

With a beautiful matte sheen and moderate veins, this Ashton appeared very well-constructed. The pre-light draw gave only the essence of graham cracker. To my great satisfaction, it drew (and subsequently burned) perfectly, so clearly roll quality was excellent. This cigar produced tons of luscious smoke though I found the ash to be a little less stable than I typically like to see and it had a mild tendency to flake around its perimeter, just a bit.

The flavor was initially a mild, soothing leather. Very refined and easy going. I found it to be of mild-to-medium strength through the first third. Into the middle third, the flavor warmed to a smoked-pepper sort of character. Finally, it culminated in a meaty, savory strength that was heading firmly into the medium-to-full range.

My rating for the Ashton ESG 20 Year Salute is 92.
Here's the points breakdown:
I. Appearance & Construction: 15 pts (100% of the points possible)
II. Flavor: 22 pts (88% of the points possible)
III. Smoking Characteristics: 24 pts (96% of the points possible)
IV. Overall Impression: 31 pts (89% of the points possible)

All in all, a great cigar smoking experience and I’m grateful to Cigars Direct for providing me with the opportunity to enjoy this rare and masterfully executed cigar.

Pictured from left to right: myself (happily conducting this review) joined by fellow club members Tom, Pat, and Joe.

Click on images to enlarge.
© 2009 The Cohiba Club - All rights reserved.

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