Nice review. The only problem I've had with this smoke is the wrapper being really fragile. This cigar is worth the price of admission....imho.
Review: Stanford’s 90th Diamond Crown MAXIMUS
For those of you that don’t know.
In 2006, the J.C. Newman Company introduced the Stanford’s 90th Diamond Crown Maximus cigar to pay tribute to Stanford Newman, the firm’s reigning icon, who turned 90 in June 2006, making him the oldest living cigar professional in the business at the time, and who is one of only six members in the Cigar Aficionado’s Cigar Hall of Fame. (Sadly, he passed away two months later in August of 2006)
The Stanford’s 90th cigar features a heavily modified Diamond Crown Maximus blend that uses an 18 year old West Africa Cameroon wrapper grown by the legendary Meerappfel family (as opposed to a El Bajo Sun Grown wrapper on a normal Diamond Crown Maximus cigar) and the cigar reportedly uses extremely aged tobacco throughout the blend as well. Interestingly, the use of a Cameroon wrapper was problematic, as the blend seemed to overpower the sweetness of the Cameroon flavor profile in early samples. Eric Newman (who blended the cigar) said it thusly (via Cigar Insider):
“The Maximus blend had to be tempered to meld with the Cameroon wrapper. “The blend was too strong,” said Eric Newman. “It fought with the Cameroon. We really wanted to taste the Cameroon, but have the full flavor. It’s hard to make a cigar with Cameroon wrapper that’s a full-flavored cigar.”
Stanford’s 90th is only available in one size, a 7 x 48 Churchill, which just happened to be Stanford’s favorite vitola. There were only 1,000 leather-covered presentation boxes produced and sold, each containing only 20 cigars. Additionally, only 850 boxes (17,000 cigars) were be sold in the U.S., with an additional fifty going to international markets, and a remaining one hundred boxes reserved for the Fuente’s CFCF (Cigar Family Charitable Foundation) fund raisers, which raises money for various humanitarian projects in the Dominican Republic. The leather bound box of 20 cigars looks like this (photo courtsy www.fuenteagedselection.com):
The cigar was first released to attendees at Stanford Newman’s birthday party celebration, which took place on June 10th, 2006 at the Tampa Yacht and Country Club in Florida. About 300 of the cigars were handed out at the party. Here is a quote from one of the attendees of the party (via www.Vitolas.net):
It was a black tie affair which approximately 236 people attended. Many industry bigwigs attended, including the Fuentes, Robbie Levin, Frank Llaneza, Norm Sharp (president of the CAA) to name a few.
Each person in attendance received one cigar. Each person or couple also received one wood stained box containing a silver ash tray that was engraved “Stanford’s 90th Birthday Celebration June 12, 2006 Tampa, Florida”. Also included was a six page pamphlet with a brief history of Stan, his time in the industry, and the Newman family.
The cigar itself is a DC Maximus Churchill with the Maximus blend and a Cameroon wrapper. The significance of the Cameroon wrapper is that it happens to be Stanford’s favorite wrapper as he was one of the first people to popularize it here in the U.S. for the domestic market. He also had a very deep love affair with the Paris conscription where they used to sell this tobacco in what I can only describe as something along the lines of a silent auction, except you didn’t know who are at what price you were bidding against.
I think Stan took great pride in buying good lots at the right price. Believe me it’s a hell of dicey way to buy tobacco wrapper, particularly, expensive wrapper. This is what inspired Carlos SR and Carlito to create the cigar.
But enough of that, let’s get down to business, shall we?
- Cigar Reviewed: Stanford’s 90th Diamond Crown MAXIMUS
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia
- Wrapper: Cameroon
- Binder: Unknown
- Filler: Stanford’s 90th blend (modified Diamond Crown MAXIMUS Blend)
- Size: 7 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 48
- Vitola: Churchill
- Est. Price: $25.00 each, $500 per box of 20 cigars (when Released)
- Release Date: 2006
- Number of Cigars Released: 1,000 Leather Boxes of 20 Cigars & 850 Boxes of 20 Cigars (17,000 total cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
The cigar itself is a great looking stick. A medium brown wrapper that is quite smooth (albeit somewhat dry) to the touch. No major veins are present, and it smells quite a bit like chocolate, pepper and a bit of wood. The cigar is extremely firm (almost hard) when squeezed, and there is a slight box press present (the cigar seems to be a bit overfilled just by looking at it). The pre-light draw had very obvious flavors of sweet tobacco and oak.
The First Third started out fairly slowly, with a bit of spice on the tongue (just noticeable) along with a great aged tobacco flavor and some oak notes. There was also a sweet undertone to the cigar that was quite pleasant as well. A nice (if somewhat boring) start.
The Second Third had much of the same flavors, with oak being the dominant, but added a great chocolate note (creamy and sweet, like milk chocolate) and a bit of coffee flavor as well. The spice remained about the same level as the first third, not overly strong by any means, but definitely present and noticeable.
It was about this point that I noticed that the ash on this cigar was fairly seamless, so I took a photo to show it. Very good construction and roll.
The Final Third just expounded on what was already there. The woody, oak was the dominant flavor, but the milk chocolate and coffee were still present (and even increased a bit). The spice that was hanging around the cigar for the first two thirds totally disappeared by the end of the smoke, but that wonderful sweet undertone seemed to bring everything together quite nicely.
- This is the second Newman “Tribute” cigar I have reviewed, the first being the Bland and uninteresting Diamond Crown Julius Caeser. Thankfully this cigar tasted quite a bit better then that one.
- The Draw was great for the entire smoke (which I was a bit surprised at, considering how hard the cigar was when squeezed, and how overfilled it seemed), and while the burn was fine, it did tend to wander a bit, and I had to touch it up a few times.
- The Final Smoking Time was 1 Hour and 40 Minutes.
The Bottom Line: This was a very nice smoke after the sweetness kicked in in the last two thirds. Miles above the Julius Caeser, it was a medium strength cigar (at most) that was extremely enjoyable to smoke (it would be a perfect cigar to smoke in the morning with your first cup of coffee). However, I was really hoping there would be just a bit more spice or pepper present to contrast with the obvious sweetness of the Cameroon wrapper, but sadly, that did not seem to be in the cards. In fact, it almost seems like the strength in the blend was held back more then it needed to be. Having said all of that, it was a very good cigar, but I don’t think it is worth the price it commands.
Final Score: 87