Ashton Virgin Sun Grown Spellbound
Spellbound
93
points
Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
54 54
Tasting Note
The Ashton Virgin Sun Grown, or VSG, sparked a trend among American consumers for power cigars when they came to market in 1999. There were strong cigars on the market prior to the Fuentemade VSG—namely the Fuente Fuente OpusX—but the success of VSG sent cigarmakers to their tobacco suppliers, hoping to duplicate the strength. Featuring streaky, dark and oily wrappers from Ecuador (which are more cloudgrown than sun-grown) and a powerful blend that doesn’t taste very Dominican, the box-pressed VSGs were superb at their debut and remain so now, consistently scoring well in blind tastings. The Spellbound is literally a mouthful, 7 1/2 inches long and 54 ring, and loads the palate with leathery, cedary smoke. Despite Ashton’s best efforts to increase production, the VSG line remains in short supply.
Size Double Corona
Ring Gauge 54
Length 7 1/2"
Filler Dom. Rep.
Binder Dom. Rep.
Wrapper Ecuador
Issue Cigar Aficionado – N/A
Price $12.50
Designation Top 25 of 2004 | Rank: 7
More Reviews of this Cigar
Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Oct 01, 2016 | Score: 89

Large, dark and imposing with softly-pressed edges and an oily wrapper. First puffs are a bit waxy, but the cigar becomes earthy, taking on coffee bean, minerals and a cardamom finish.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Feb 01, 2015 | Score: 93

This box-pressed double corona is covered in a dark, oily wrapper. Each toasty puff carries notes of chocolate and earth balanced by minerals and a touch of peppermint.

Issue: Cigar Insider: Dec 02, 2014 | Score: 91

Each toasty puff of this dark, box-pressed double corona carries notes of chocolate and earth balanced by minerals and a sweet touch of peppermint.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Jan 01, 2014 | Score: 94

The Ashton Virgin Sun Grown brand has established itself as a benchmark smoke among full-bodied enthusiasts. Its launch in 1999 brought a newfound interest to Ecuador Sumatra wrapper. Everyone speaks of the wrapper with Ashton VSGs. The leaves for these smokes were grown in the cloud-covered foothills of the Andes mountains by Oliva Tobacco Co., the Tampa, Florida, company that has brokered cigar tobacco for decades. Fuente takes the leaves that grow near the top of Sumatra-seed plants and ferments them in bulks, bringing out the oils and increasing the darkness. The result is a strong, oily, flavorful leaf that leaves an impression on the palate. It's one of the benchmark brands for Ashton Distributors Inc., a company owned by the Levin family, which has sold cigars since the 1950s. We've given high rating after high rating to Ashton VSGs over the years. The Spellbound size is the longest in the vast line (there are a dozen sizes) and has hearty flavor with a robust nuttiness and a caramel sweetness for balance. This is a cigar that combines three of the cigar world's best known families: the Olivas of Tampa, the Levins of Philadelphia and the Fuentes of the Dominican Republic.

Issue: Cigar Insider: Sep 24, 2013 | Score: 91

Nuts and sweet cocoa notes build in intensity with each puff of this dark and streaky double corona. Some rich, earthy notes appear, as well as hints of caramel.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Jun 01, 2013 | Score: 91

Nuts and sweet cocoa notes build in intensity with each puff of this dark and streaky double corona. Some rich, earthy notes appear, as well as hints of caramel.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Apr 01, 2012 | Score: 88

There are some soft spots on this squarely pressed double corona, whose flavors begin with black tea notes and citrus before building to licorice and cinnamon.

Issue: Cigar Insider: Dec 06, 2011 | Score: 88

There are some soft spots on this squarely pressed double corona, whose flavors begin with black tea notes and citrus before building to licorice and cinnamon.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Aug 01, 2009 | Score: 93

A large, box-pressed cigar that draws perfectly, imparting a rich, balanced smoke full of sweet, woody notes and hearty tobacco flavor without being overpowering.

Issue: Cigar Insider: Apr 07, 2009 | Score: 93

A large, box-pressed cigar that draws perfectly, imparting a rich, balanced smoke full of sweet, woody notes and hearty tobacco flavor without being overpowering.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Jun 01, 2008 | Score: 90

Dark and slightly box pressed with almost no veins on the wrapper. Smokes well for a double corona, maintaining a balance of pepper and leather. The finish is also leathery.

Issue: Cigar Insider: Feb 06, 2007 | Score: 88

This semi-pressed cigar has a dark, somewhat mottled wrapper and slightly uneven burn. It shows toasty wood notes with traces of coffee bean and a sweet finish.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Feb 01, 2007 | Score: 88

This semi-pressed cigar has a dark brown wrapper that’s somewhat mottled. The burn is a bit uneven. It has toasty wood notes, with touches of light coffee bean and a sweet finish. Medium bodied.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Feb 01, 2005 | Score: 92

This cigar has great balance, with notes of bold Starbucks coffee, earth and wood. A rich, medium- to full-bodied smoke that will improve with age.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Apr 01, 2001 | Score: 88

An oily cigar with a good cap. It's woody, oily and peppery, with notes of sweet herbs and coffee beans. A medium to full-bodied cigar.

Cigar Aficionado's 100-Point Scale
  • Classic: 95-100
  • Outstanding: 90-94
  • Very good to excellent: 80-89
  • Average to good commercial quality: 70-79
  • Don't waste your money: 0-69
100-Point Scale