In the search for things to write about I often ask people to send in requests of what they would like reviewed and a while back a DR member asked if I would do one on Felix Assouline. Since Felix became a DR member I have had it in the back of my mind to write something about his line and this request was the kick I needed to actually do it. I dug through my humidor and found a few things from him and decided to go with the EGO Red Maniac.
This Maniac is a 56 x 6 ½ box press stick. The construction feels solid and has the firmness you would expect from a box press. The wrapper is a red mocha color with tight seams, minimal veining and a slight oily sheen. The smell from the body is semi-sweet and has hints of dried fruit and jasmine. From the foot the odor retains the semi-sweet smell with the addition of cedar, coca and fresh tobacco.
Because of the box press style I chose a v notch and cutting posed no problems with construction. Pre-light draw is full of flavor with fair amounts of tobacco and. a nice bit of sweet and spicy to it.
The first third is somewhat mellow with a bit of a peppery finish to it, there is good smoke production that is nice and light on the tongue. It burns evenly leaving a nice dark grey ash that hols on for nearly an inch before being knocked free.
Through the second third the flavor moves from mellow to more robust and the peppery notes start to become more prominent. Smoke production is still full and plentiful, burn stays consistent and no construction issues.
Final third – Flavor begins to increase a bit more and bring the flavor to a solid medium. The spicy notes come to the forefront and then lingers for a well timed finish. Smoke production is plentiful during the whole smoke and it burn evenly. Due to the high humidity we have here in south Florida I did have to re-light a couple of times if I let the cigar rest for too long between draws but this was no real issue.
Felix Assouline describes the EGO as “a full flavored line of cigars. The careful blending of tobaccos from Jamastran, Jalapa and Indonesia are brought together to create a full flavor cigar that is further enhanced by “pressing” the Tobaccos together and aging them carefully before boxing them and shipping them to their eventual home, your humidor. EGO cigars range from a Perfect perfecto shape of 52 x 5 to the powerful Passion torpedo of 6 ½ x 58. EGO cigars also features a cedar lined box of 100 EGO Shots; a cigarillo of 24 x 5 when you don’t have the time or when you simply have the need for a Shot of EGO.” I enjoyed smoking this cigar and would agree with his description. While I felt is more of a medium flavor rather than a full I found it to be quite enjoyable and look forward to having it again. It’s flavor would be well suited for either a beginner or a well versed smoker. Would pair well with coffee or bourbon and even sparkling water to really catch all of the spice notes in this blend. If you have yet to try it I strongly suggest picking some up and if you have had it and don’t have any in your rotation then go get some more. As always if your local shop doesn’t carry it be sure to ask for it.
Wrapper: Habano Criollo 98
Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras
Vitola: 56 x 6 1/2
Price: $10:00 – $12:00 per stick depending on where you are.
Rating: 4.6 out of 5 pints
A few days ago I wrote an article about one of Willy’s Cigars he calls “The Fuma”. While smoking it I was chatting with Willy and discovered that the cigar I was writing about isn’t one that he sells it comes as a gift when you order a handful of cigars from him. After discovering this I figured I better get up an article about one that you can actually get a hold of. Currently he offers two vitolas in his premium line. A 52 x 6 called the “El Brilloso” and a 60 x 4 called “The Shorty”. For this review I chose to smoke a couple of the Toro size.
The cigar is wrapped in a dark espresso colored Ecuadorian maduro wrapper. It has very minimal veining and a nice oily sheen to it. The construction feels full with no apparent dead spots, firm to the touch but yields to pressure when pressed between the fingers. The smell from the body has the odor of wood, leather and pepper. From the foot the wood is a noticeable cedar scent with a more pronounced pepper and slight smoky smell.
The cap cuts easily leaving the body intact with no damage to the overall construction. The pre-light draw is easy offering just a slight resistance. The flavor is rich tobacco along with a hint of the smokiness detected in the smell from the foot.
The first half offered flavors of tobacco, warm coffee and nuts. It is medium body and smooth. It burns sharp creating a nice dark gray ash with tight rings. The draw is easy and it provides plenty of medium weight smoke production.
In the second half the flavor picks up a bit more and becomes more bold. It starts to have a nice earthy flavor with a black pepper finish but still with an overall medium body. Approaching the last third the flavor comes out swinging. The cigar turns into a heavier tobacco and spice flavor that fills the pallet. This flavor remains until I have smoked it down to the point that I can no longer hold it and eventually have to sacrifice the nub to the ashtray.
In comparison to the firs cigar I smoke from Willy this is a much more rich and complex cigar. Easy to smoke whether a novice or pro it would be a great cigar for your rotation. While he currently offers just these two sizes there is a third vitola in the works and will be released soon. Currently the “El Brilloso is available from him for $7.50 a stick and “The Shorty” for $8.50 however while we talked the other day he has said that he would like to offer the “El Brilloso to DR members for only $5.50 a piece and “The Shorty for $6.50. Shipping is set at $7.50 when ordering 1-9 cigars and shipping is free when you order 10 or more. After having a few of these sticks my recommendation would be get at least 10 you won’t be disappointed.
Price – $5.50 – $6.50 for DR members, $7.50 – $8.50 for non DR members
Vitola – “El Brilloso” 52 x 6 or “The Shorty” 60 x 4 with a third one on the way
Blend – Colombian, Brazilian, Nicaraguan long filler, Nicaraguan binder, Ecuadorian maduro wrapper
Contact for purchases – DM on Instagram @Willyscigars or email firstname.lastname@example.org