To say that news from 7-20-4 has been lacking in the last few years would be an understatement. Just to confirm my suspicions, I checked halfwheel’s story history, and the last stand alone story was from July 2015, when the company expanded its Dogwalker offerings and added a Club Perfecto vitola to the core line.
That’s not to say that the company hasn’t been around and releasing new products; Kurt Kendall has had a booth at the past three IPCPR Convention & Trade Shows, updating packaging in 2016 though not releasing new products.
This year, Kendall added a new line to the 7-20-4 portfolio, a cigar that both pays tribute to the brand’s heritage and marks the first time he has used a Connecticut wrapper. The cigar is named for R.G. Sullivan, who created the original 7-20-4 brand in 1874, founding the company in Manchester, N.H. Kendall acquired the defunct trademark for the brand in 2009, and has often drawn on its history for products, for instance the company’s 1874 Series.
Kendall has kept much of the cigar’s details under wraps, as the Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper is the only part of the blend that is being disclosed. The factory making this line has also not been confirmed, and emails to Kendall went unanswered. What is known is that five sizes are being produced.
- R.G. Series Connecticut 660 (6 x 60) – $11.50 (Boxes of 20, $230)
- R.G. Series Connecticut Churchill (7 x 50) – $11 (Boxes of 20, $220)
- R.G. Series Connecticut Robusto (5 x 52) – $9.75 (Boxes of 20, $195)
- R.G. Series Connecticut Toro (6 x 52) – $10 (Boxes of 20, $200)
- R.G. Series Connecticut Torpedo (6 1/2 x 54) – $11 (Boxes of 20, $220)
- Cigar Reviewed: 7-20-4 R.G. Series Connecticut Toro
- Country of Origin: n/a
- Factory: n/a
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
- Binder: n/a
- Filler: n/a
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $10 (Boxes of 20, $200)
- Release Date: Oct. 1, 2017
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The 7-20-4 R.G. Series Connecticut is a gorgeous shade, lightly tanned and golden brown, it has a sleek and slightly oily finish on the fingers with minimal veins. It’s a firm cigar, though I’m hesitant to give it too much of a squeeze given the thinness of the leaf, with a clean and well-applied cap. From the foot I get very light cereal grain notes reminiscent of Cheerios, some buttered popcorn, a very faint amount of pepper, and a clementine orange sweetness. The cold draw has easy air flow with just a bit of resistance, while on the flavor side it is much like the pre-light aroma in terms of the cereal, though I get more creaminess and a bit of dairy sweetness as well, with only a sprinkling of pepper.
The opening notes of the 7-20-4 R.G. Series Connecticut are mild at the core but bright at the edges with a bit of white pepper present, though in the second sample I get a good bit of sourness for the first minute. That pepper moves front and center via retrohales, slightly less than medium in strength but hardly struggling to be noticed, though on the aforementioned second sample it is big, brash, and bright. The palate begins to taste some cream as the dense, light gray ash builds, while corn flakes and generic cereal grains hold onto control of the core flavors. There’s a bit more pepper to be found once the first clump of ash breaks off at just over an inch in length, and while the core notes remain fairly neutral, the pepper nudges the cigar closer to medium body and strength. The burn line is generally straight though can get wavy at times, while the draw and smoke production are very good.
The second third of the 7-20-4 R.G. Series Connecticut Toro begins a bit ahead of where I might make a cut were I to divide it into equal thirds, as the flavor picks up a bit more orange sweetness, cedar, and an aroma that’s a combination of these along with pepper, resulting in a complexity I can’t quite place outside of this cigar. Once the burn line is past the midway point, the cigar gets noticeably more pepper laden, with a mix of black and white pepper coming through on the retrohale. The cigar picks up a bit of creaminess at the end of the second third, and while the technical performance has been nearly flawless, the wrapper develops some cracks that will make the next inch interesting to watch.
Almost on queue at the start of the final third, the 7-20-4 R.G. Series Connecticut Toro climbs to a new plateau, adding some substance to its core by way of a thicker smoke that doesn’t have much other than a generic tobacco flavor, though I do sense more of a woody profile developing. The more noticeable change comes from the black pepper that steps forward and gives the cigar a much fuller initial impression from each puff. The wrapper cracks continue to develop, and by the point where the band would be, the top leaf has almost fully split and is beginning to peel away from the rest of the cigar. Remarkably the cigar continues to burn well, and other than a bit of flaking and a less than appealing appearance, the cracking doesn’t seem to affect the cigar. With just over an inch remaining, the cigar gets quite rough as the flavors get charred and a bit hot, and I seem to be tasting more ash than tobacco.
- I was quite shocked to find that this is the first 7-20-4 release to be reviewed on halfwheel.
- The first and third cigars experienced cracked wrappers, due to what I have to imagine being a combination of a thin leaf and being moved from one environment—a sealed plastic bag with a Boveda pack—to the outdoors for smoking. This definitely seems like a cigar best enjoyed indoors or in a more humid climate.
- There’s little in the way of nicotine kick to this cigar, though some of the pepper stuck with me after each sample.
- The cigars for this review were provided by 7-20-4 at the 2017 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
- Final smoking time was one hours and 45 minutes on average.
For Kurt Kendall’s first go at a Connecticut-wrapped cigar, the 7-20-4 R.G. Series Connecticut Toro is an impressive showing. The flavors are smooth and balanced for the most part, yet never too mild as to be boring or overlooked. I’m impressed by the sprinklings of pepper that the cigar gets as it is what draws me back to it, which in turn allows me to explore everything else that is going on with the blend. The thin wrapper is a bit of an issue in the hot and dry climate I live in, but thankfully its struggles didn’t impede the cigar from performing. This is a solid new entry into the mild-to-medium segment of the market and one worth lighting up.