A year ago at the 2015 IPCPR Trade Show and Convention, Viva Republica’s Jason Holly talked about a new cigar he was going to be bringing to market called the Ivy. It was going to be limited to around 100 accounts, so while it wasn’t going to be a limited edition, it was certainly going to be slightly more difficult to find than your average Viva Republica cigar.
Towards the end of the year Holly had a few more details hammered down, including the first store that was going to be receiving the line, Casa de Montecristo in Countryside, Ill., which ended up happening on April 28, 2016. Earlier this week, Miami Cigar & Co. shipped the first three sizes to the rest of the Ivy accounts, a select group of 100 retailers.
- Ivy Dudley (5 x 50, $13.25)
- Ivy Lamont (5 1/4 x 43, $12)
- Ivy Porcellian (7 1/2 x 50, $14.50)
- Cigar Reviewed: Ivy Lamont
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: La Aurora Cigar Factory
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Corojo (2008)
- Binder: Cameroon & Dominican Republic
- Filler: Cameroon, Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
- Length: 5 1/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 43
- Vitola: Corona
- MSRP: $12 (Boxes of 10, $120)
- Release Date: April 28, 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The Ivy has a nice medium brown wrapper to it, all fairly even in coloring, and though it’s a bit bumpy with a couple of veins, it’s still soft and slightly oily. There is some give to the cigar, perhaps more than I would prefer to see but certainly not too much. Grains, earth, leather and some light sweet hay make up the aroma coming off the wrapper, while the cold draw is quite different, with rich sweet fruits or raisins and prunes up front, followed by some spicy pepper on the tongue and a sprinkle of cocoa.
Starting into the first third, there is a huge spice note up front, followed by some hazelnut, a touch of cocoa and some light pepper in the background. The burn isn’t the most even starting out, but I’m hoping it evens itself up after a bit. The ash is not what I would call dense, but it isn’t flaking off everywhere either, so that combined with it holding on to around three quarters of an inch is nice. Spice has continued to grow, becoming pleasingly dominant, with just touches of hazelnut, cocoa and pepper dancing around behind it.
Moving into the second third, the spice note has started to dwindle, while the pepper has started to grow. The hazelnut, cocoa and bit of grassiness that has shown up are still in the middle of the pack, more as complimentary notes than anything else. The burn never really evened itself up and finally does need a touch up, where one quarter of the wrapper was lagging behind the rest of the burn line. The draw has been great, right in the middle of ideal, with plenty of smoke production, letting the rich aroma fill the air around me. The strength of the cigar is starting to be noticeable, which has seemed to coincide with the rise of the pepper note which is now firmly up front. The spice, while still there, has taken a back seat to the pepper. Cocoa has gotten stronger as well, while the hazelnut and grassiness are still trailing behind.
The final third sees the spice starting to grow again, though not at the expense of the pepper, with both notes becoming the lead of the profile. Cocoa is still strong in the middle, with the hazelnuts and grass never really getting any stronger. While the burn never really evening itself up, the good news is no more touch ups have been needed so far, with just a mild waviness to the burn line. Smoking the Ivy down to the last inch until it’s burning my fingers, it never gets harsh or hot, finishing up smoothly.
- All three samples performed quite similarly, with the only real difference being one sample needed a touch up in the final third while the other two needed a touch up in the second third.
- While I didn’t get to try the other two sizes of the Ivy that were released, I was very pleased with the size. I think even after trying the other two that I would find myself reaching for the Lamont more often than not.
- Holly’s idea for the brand came from his nostalgia of smoking cigars in Harvard Yard and having seen a photo of John F Kennedy doing the same thing, wanted to create a cigar that embodied that feeling.
- Along those lines, all the sizes of the Ivy line are associated with Harvard somehow: Dudley House is one of the 13 Harvard houses, Lamont Library is one of the libraries on campus, and the Porcellian Club is a men’s-only final club.
- The branding for the Ivy release was done by Glenn Wolk, who has previously produced work for Ralph Lauren, Led Zeppelin and others.
- Cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by Viva Republica.
- Miami Cigar & Co., Viva Republica’s distributor, advertises on halfwheel.
- Final smoking time averaged around an hour and 15 minutes.
From the very beginning of the Ivy Lamont, the big spice notes pulled me in and left me wanting more. While the profile shifted to a more pepper-centric taste in the middle, the spice never really disappeared completely. The rest of the profile complemented the main spice and pepper notes well, rounding it out to something that was quite enjoyable. The construction wasn’t as spot on as I would have liked, but in the end it really wasn’t much of a detriment on the cigar and certainly wouldn’t dissuade me from smoking it again. If you happen to live near one of the retailers that will be getting these in, I can easily recommend picking up the Lamont to try yourself.