For the first 18 years of its existence, Maya Selva Cigars focused its attention on the European market, offering its trio of lines to cigar smokers across the pond: Flor de Selva, Cumpay and Villa Zambrano. In 2013, the company decided to enter the U.S. market, bringing a portion of its portfolio to the 2013 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show and beginning a steady growth in domestic humidors.
Two years later, the company announced that it would be celebrating its 20th anniversary with a limited edition lancero, the Flor de Selva No. 20, the first lancero in Maya Selva’s entire catalog. Only 500 boxes of 10 cigars are being released to the United States, with another 1,500 produced for release throughout Europe and beyond.
The vitola was one of the more obvious ones missing from the Flor de Selva lineup, though the brand is no stranger to small ring gauge cigars. The current Flor de Selva lineup includes a 4 1/2 x 30 Petit-Cigar, also known as a Panetela in Europe, as well as the Siesta (4 1/4 x 40) Petit Corona (5 1/2 x 42) for Europe and the Fino (6 x 44) that’s available on both sides of the ocean.
It’s the second new size for the Flor de Selva line this year, as a 6 x 52 Toro was added in both the natural and maduro versions this summer.
- Cigar Reviewed: Flor de Selva No. 20
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Tabacos de Oriente
- Wrapper: Honduran Connecticut
- Binder: Honduras (Jamastrán Habano)
- Filler: Honduras (Trojes viso, Jamastrán ligero)
- Size: 7 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 38
- Vitola: Lancero
- MSRP: $15 (Boxes of 10, $150)
- Release Date: Aug. 25, 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: 2,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
As a fan of lanceros I always take a few extra moments to inspect one before I smoke it, primarily to take in and appreciate the skill level it takes to craft such a slender cigar. The Flor de Selva Lancero looks about as well made as I would expect at first glance; there are no bumps or irregularities when it comes to firmness, the seams are flat and the cap is well applied and tidy. The tanned and slightly red-hued Honduran Connecticut wrapper has a few decently sized veins and some visible tobacco hairs, especially easy to see when backlighting the cigar. While it was made as part of the company’s 20th anniversary, it doesn’t get any special banding, as the footband appears on nearly every Flor de Selva release, an addition I’m not crazy about from a visual perspective. Aromas from the foot are very mild and lead with butter, a bit of white bread toast and some very dry kindling, while the cold draw is again buttery but also shows more depth from a bit of almond, sea salt and pepper. The air flow is somewhat inconsistent, ranging from loose to just a touch firm.
The first puffs of the Flor de Selva Lancero are fairly mild in strength but not lacking in flavor, as the butteriness carries over and there are light touches of peanut and wood, with a bit of white pepper ever so slightly sprinkled on top, but each puff adds another little bit, and before long there is some black pepper in the mix as well. It also feels as if each successive cigar got just a bit stronger to start while introducing a touch of sweetness in the aroma. Retrohales make it much easier and more enjoyable to pick up the subtle transitions. The ash is very delicate, flaking off a bit before the first clump of breaks off measuring about half an inch long. The cigar continues to get more flavorful and more potent as the base notes intensify and I pick up a bit more robust pepper after about an inch or so. The burn line is even, smoke production is adequate and there’s no issues with the draw, regardless of how the cigar presented prior to being lit.
The first signs of the Flor de Selva No. 20 packing some real strength come out in its second third, as the pepper that started to materialize in the first third starts to increase in both the nose and the palate. While the first third isn’t mild—especially in light of its fairly quick progression—the second third has pulled it squarely into a pepper-driven medium, with light roast coffee providing the primary second note as the midpoint approaches. The burn has been beautiful and even, with decent amounts of smoke produced and only a fickle ash the lone blemish. There is a sharpness to the flavor at this point; it’s not harsh but rather very alive on the palate, almost more than what I’ve experience from other cigars in recent memory, and it creates an interesting physical sensation. There is yet another serious flavor awakening towards the end of this section, as everything brightens up and a slightly sour note joins the group, while the strength retreats in one sample but gears up a notch in the other two.
Regardless of how the Flor de Selva No. 20 starts, it seems to get into the same place heading into the final third, with pepper a fairly significant part of the flavor, a good bit of toasty edge to the flavor and some very enjoyable retrohales that brings together everything the cigar has to offer. While the cigar doesn’t pack the heavy strength you might be familiar with from other cigars, it doesn’t lack in that department and you’ll certainly feel what this cigar has to offer in the nose, on the palate and in your system. I find myself needing the occasional relight in the final third, though I’m not sure it wasn’t due to my distraction and not that the cigar has an ineptitude for combustion. With some strong toast and medium-bodied coffee rounding out the still persistent pepper, I find myself wanting to smoke this to a tiny nub. Excess heat really doesn’t become a factor, and I find that a draw poker being is almost a requirement for this cigar to help get every last puff out of it.
- While there were 2,000 boxes of the Flor de Selva No. 20 were made, only 500 were destined for the United States.
- The footband doesn’t do much for me; I understand it’s part of the branding but the colors and style just feel off from the rest of the cigar’s look. I’ve seen it on the maduro and it’s not quite as drastic, but on the natural version it just feels off.
- The first sample, which had a much more open draw, presented a much mellower profile, while the second cigar was a bit tighter and noticeably stronger.
- If you have no tolerance for weak ash, this is not a cigar for you. It is flaky and comes off in small clumps and at the most inopportune times.
- The ash you see in the pictures was just about as long as it got before breaking off.
- There’d be more smoke in the photos as well, but it was a fairly windy day when these pictures were being taken.
- Maya Selva Cigars held a pair of celebrations for its 20th anniversary, one at its farm in Danlí, Honduras and the other at its offices in Paris, France.
- Flor de Gonzalez and La Tradicion Cubana also celebrate their 20th anniversaries this year.
- Final smoking time was two hours on average.
- The cigars for this review were provided by Maya Selva Cigars.
- Site sponsor STOGIES World Class Cigars carries the Flor de Selva No. 20.
I can't recall having a cigar that scored as consistently for me as the Flor de Selva No. 20; all three of my scoresheets were almost identical, but not for the same reasons. The flavor progression is nearly identical, starting on the mild side and quickly progressing into medium bodied before making its way nearly full-bodied territory by the final third. There is some variance in the intensity of flavors, with a few sour notes creeping in to bring it down, and while the Flor de Selva No. 20 is highly likable, it's hard for me to pin down a moment where I loved what it was offering. It's an enjoyable blend in a great size with outstanding construction, and certainly a fitting stick to light up in celebration of Maya Selva's 20th anniversary.