Ashton VSG Wizard Tuesday, Jul 20 2010 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sun Grown
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: Toro 6.0″ x 56 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

There isn’t much left that hasn’t been said about the Ashton VSG.  It is an extremely popular line of cigars made for Ashton by the Fuentes.  If you are new to the VSG, then surf on over to my review of the VSG Sorcerer and read the background info on this smoke there.

The Wizard is the largest of the VSG family at least as far as the ring gauge goes. It is also one of the very few vitolas that does not sport a box press.  It uses the same dark and leathery Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper as the rest of the line.  Long time readers of my blog already know that I am not a fan of this large of a ring gauge on a cigar.  I feel that the Wizard is a prime example of why that is.  All the wonderful flavors that you’d expect from a VSG are muted and muddled in this format.  There are still notes of earth and leather and sweet spice but they are not as sharp or intense.  The cigar overall is milder and weaker than the other vitolas in the line.  It is a good cigar in a line of great cigars which makes it a bit of a disappointment for me.  Of course, YMMV.

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Ashton Classic Corona Wednesday, Sep 2 2009 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Connecticut Shade
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: Corona 5.5″ x 44 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

Ashton and the Ashton Classic came on the scene back in 1994 I believe.  It is the brain child of Philly native Robert Levin.  He partnered with the Fuentes who manufacture many of the cigars that bear the Ashton name.  Known for superb quality and construction on all their lines the Classic seems to be no exception.

The Ashton Classic is dressed in a silky, creamy looking Connecticut Shade wrapper adorned by a very classic looking black and white band.  The Ashton name is emblazoned in gold across its face.  The filler looks expertly bunched, almost as if each leaf was placed in position purposefully.  It predictably had a perfect draw.  The flavors delivered by this smoke are a little mild but perfectly balanced making it a very approachable smoke for a beginner but delicious and engaging enough to satisfy even an old pro.  The first puff or two is a little harsh and grassy but it immediately settles into smooth flavors of cafe au lait and a subtle hint of vanilla. As I made my way through the smoke I picked up notes cedar and almond as well as the occasional flash of grassiness, but the creamy cafe au lait flavors remained dominate throughout.

The Ashton Classic is a very good, very well made cigar.  I enjoy these most in the AM with a cup of coffee.  Any time someone asks me what cigar they should try when they are starting out, or if someone asks me what cigar should they offer to people who aren’t “cigar smokers”  the Ashton Classic is one of the two cigars I always recommend.

Rating- B+

Other takes on the Ashton Classic:

La Aroma de Cuba Edicion Especial No.2 Tuesday, Jun 16 2009 

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Country:  Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuadorian
Binder:  Nicaraguan
Filler:  Nicaraguan
Size: Robusto 4.8″ x 48 ring

La Aroma de Cuba is an Ashton owned brand.  The original is an excellent Honduran made cigar available in a wide range of sizes.  The artwork on the dress boxes and bands is beautiful and the presentation of the cigars is quite handsome.  That goes for both the original line and the Edicion Especial.  The true original La Aroma de Cuba was a Cuban made cigar and was reported to be one of Winston Churchills favorites which is what gives the brand name a bit of cache.  This special edition of the brand is a Nicaraguan made cigar, blended and made by the now famous and highly decorated Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia.  The Ecuadorian sun grown wrapper has a unique hue and oily sheen, and it covers rich Nicaraguan tobacco.

Not your typical “Pepin” smoke. That is the first thing that jumps out at me. From the beginning you notice his trademark black pepper start is missing. That is OK, because what you do get is fantastic. Rich notes of cinnamon and all-spice combined with flashes of cedar make for dramatic start in its own right. Balance isn’t the word I would use for this cigar. It has some serious peaks and valleys. After an amazing rich start the cigar mellowed a bit. Flavors were mainly cedar with a muddled earthiness. It picked back up again a little past the halfway mark with pronounced flavors of roasted nuts that swapped places back and forth with a sharp earthiness. There were some subtle undertones of dark chocolate or cocoa. Seeing it written out doesn’t do it justice. It was actually much better than it looks in print. It started to get muddled again near the nub but it was time to put it down anyway. This was a very interesting medium bodied smoke. One I would very much like to try again.

Some other takes on this cigar:

Rating – B+

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