Connoisseur’s Corner: A Classic Partagás From 1993
From slim to fat, from short to extra long, this edition of Connoisseur's Corner covers the size extremes of the cigar world. The Sancho Panza Sancho is an "A," Cuba's longest standard cigar size. The smoke measures 9 1/4 inches long by 47 ring gauge, and it can easily take more than two hours to smoke it entirely. It's one of three classics, joining the ultra-slim Partagás Serie du Connaisseur No. 3, which measures 5 5/8 inches by 35 ring, and the Romeo y Julieta Cazadores, 6 3/8 by 44. Each cigar was quite different, but each showcased the aging potential of great Cuban tobacco. The oldest cigar in the list, a pre-Castro H. Upmann, exhibited a delicate array of sweet spices. And the shortest, the corona-sized Cohiba Siglo II, had wonderful notes of coffee beans.
Partagás Serie du Connaisseur No. 3 (1993)
A wonderful short and slim cigar from the heyday of Cuban tobacco. This sample was taken from its original cedar cabinet box, and the leathery notes of the tobacco have blended perfectly with the light sweet cedar notes. There is a long, light and earthy finish that keeps lingering on the palate. Plenty of years left on this great smoke.
Romeo y Julieta Cazadores (1994)
Rolled with an incredible flat head, this relatively skinny smoke gives a blast of black pepper on the first puff and an aroma of molasses cookies baking in the oven. Delicate notes of allspice and mace appear before ceding to rich, bold leather with some orange peel, almonds and lingering spice. There’s plenty of power left in this one.
Sancho Panza Sancho (1995)
This immense “A,” more than nine inches long and nearly 22 years old, takes greedily to the flame. It’s an easygoing cigar that slowly builds in flavor as it goes, taking on considerable notes of baking spices, gingerbread and coffee bean, with honeyed wood on the finish. Lovely, balanced, elegant smoke.
H. Upmann Nationales EMS (circa 1950)
This pre-Castro cigar comes from a box bearing the “EMS,” stamp meaning English Market Selection. It has a slightly tapered belicoso tip and natural colorado wrapper. The well-aged cigar is rich, with an easy, light draw. There are plenty of sweet spices on the palate, with clean nutmeg notes and copious amounts of cinnamon.
—Marvin R. Shanken
Cohiba Siglo II (1995)
This corona, slim and somewhat wrinkled, dark but not extremely so, is all about the wood early on, with little other flavors joining in for quite some time. It takes its time waking up, but after a solid inch, notes of tea emerge, and then a faint but welcome sweetness. The finish smacks of coffee bean and slate, with that persistent dry wood note.
La Gloria Cubana Medaille d’Or No. 2 (1995)
You don’t see many lonsdales like this anymore—dark, oily and solidly rolled. The draw is substantial and lush, the combustion perfect. It’s certainly a slow starter but after a few nondescript puffs, it becomes bright and zesty with almond notes and lemon-scented nougat. The creamy smoke envelops the palate.