The cigars are made by Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia., and they are wrapped with sun-grown leaf from Chateau de la Fuente, the Dominican tobacco farm best known for producing the shade-grown wrappers that crown the Fuente Fuente OpusX.
The first release is a 6 3/4 inch long, 49-ring-gauge parejo called the Ashton ESG 20 Year Salute. It has a suggested retail price of $18. It is the first in a planned series of releases that will culminate in the 25th anniversary of the Ashton brand in 2010.
The second release is a robusto, which will measure 5 1/4 by 52. There is no set timetable on when it will ship.
I smoked a prototype ESG for the April 11 issue of Cigar Insider, and gave it a preliminary rating of 91 to 93 points. (It was not a blind tasting.) I found it strong, but more subtly strong than the Ashton VSG, with rich notes of espresso and hearty dark, charred wood flavors. It's one of those cigars that sneaks up on you with its power, something you'd want after a hearty meal. These aren't made for breakfast.
For ratings on other Ashton cigars, click here.