Nestor is very hit or miss to me. Last year I rated the Nestor Miranda Grand Reserve 2012 the number 2 new cigar of 2012. I cannot see him making that list this year.
Review: Nestor Miranda Special Selection Exclusivo Regional Toro Grande (Prerelease)
The idea for regional cigars is not a new one; Habanos S.A. has been doing it since 2005 and a number of companies have adopted the idea as a way to give an area their own unique cigar. Earlier this year, My Father Cigars released a Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Lancero for Hawaii after releasing a version for the New England and “southwest” regions last year, the latter made up of Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana among others. Pete Johnson recently showed off a new blend he’s working on for Europe, and has done Havana VI Verocu releases called the Zona del Este and Exclusivo Lado Occidental, for stores east and west of the Mississippi River, respectively. While not a regional release per se, in 2012 he gave the Southwestern U.S. a head start on the La Casita Criolla HCR and the Mexican Experiment was almost a series of regional releases. While it hasn’t been decided, Jesus Fuego is considering making his next cigar release, called Heat, a regional release for Florida.
Earlier this year, Miami Cigar & Company announced that they would be releasing a pair of regional editions, both a new take on the Nestor Miranda Special Selection that featured a Mexican San Andrés wrapper. The regular production Special Selections offer a choice of Ecuadoran Connecticut, Nicaraguan Habano Rosado or Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro wrappers; however, it is not the first time the line has used this wrapper. It was featured on the 2012 edition of the Nestor Miranda Special Selection Danno, a cigar made to commemorate the life of Nestor’s son, Daniel, who passed away in 2008.
Shops in the Midwestern United States would be the recipient of this new creation that would come in two box-pressed vitolas, a 5 1 /2 x 54 and 6 x 60, with prices of $8.00 and $9.00, respectively. Incidentally, both are regular production sizes, as you can find the Special Selection Connecticut, Oscuro and Rosado in both vitolas.
The two cigars look like this:
The release date for the Nestor Miranda Special Selection Exclusivo Regional has been pushed back to October, when Nestor Miranda is scheduled to visit stores in the area and will have these special sticks in tow.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s light this stick up.
Cigar Reviewed: Nestor Miranda Special Selection Exclusivo Regional Toro Grande
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Size: 6 Inches
Ring Gauge: 60
MSRP: $9.00 (Boxes of 10, $90.00)
Release Date: October 2013
Number of Cigars Released: 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Out of the cellophane, the Nestor Miranda Special Selection Exclusivo Regional reminds me of a candy bar first by its size and shape, then by its dark brown wrapper and toothy texture marked by just a few small veins. The pre-light aroma is light, slightly sweet and spicy, while the cold draw ranged from fairly tight to spot on and shows just a subtle note of cocoa. The box press takes some of the size off the cigar, though it still feels sizable in the hand. Each cigar feels well filled with just a bit of give. The bands are certainly distinctive and eye-catching thanks to their metallic look.
In the first third of the Nestor Miranda Special Selection Exclusivo Regional, the smoke is plentiful and things get going with a bit of pepper and a fair amount of sharp earth. Some notes of sweet cherry wood come out early, leading to a succulently rich if deceivingly sweet introduction to the cigar. If you have smoked some cigars with the Mexican San Andrés wrapper and feel like you have a pretty good idea what they offer, this cigar should feel fairly familiar almost immediately. Strength is at a medium or medium-minus level, though your sense of taste might beg to differ based on the amount of flavor. At rest, the smoke adds a rich note of earth with the just the slightest touch of char to your environment. The first clump of ash on for nearly two inches before finally dropping off.
The smoke production caught my attention heading into the second third, as when the cigar is at rest it puts off just faint wisps of smoke, while when being puffed on it bellows significant volumes. Getting from the first point to the second evokes thought of an old diesel engine, climbing through the gears as it gets up to full speed. The flavors of earth and pepper get dialed in fairly quickly and stay their course, never becoming too harsh or too much for the palate to process. The sweetness found earlier has yet to reappear, which is a bit of a disappointment as it would seem to add more complexity and variety to the cigar, while also allowing for a departure from the upfront notes of earth and pepper. While the burn line has started to tilt a bit, the ash on the Nestor Miranda Special Selection Exclusivo Regional Toro Grande continues to hold on well. Once the burn line crosses the midway point, the pepper picks up just a bit and gets the nose back into the experience after what had been a brief respite. The cigar appears to be becoming much more pepper driven as it heads into the final third.
In the final third, the burn rate seems to come to a near crawl, which isn’t helped any by my well-known slow rate of puffing, though there is no shortage of smoke production. There is also a bit of fatigue setting in from the cigar, simply due to its size. The flavors seem to have sharpened up a bit and my taste buds haven’t been able to pick up any noticeable shift in the flavor’s direction. Pepper continues to play a significant role, though the earth component of the flavor has stepped up a bit to even things out, while the sweetness that I’ve been wishing for sadly doesn’t seem destined to return. There is no harshness to be found in the Nestor Miranda Special Selection Exclusivo Regional Toro Grande, though I could see how the somewhat rough notes offered by the Mexican and Nicaraguan tobacco could be perceived as such by those who don’t favor them. I also start to feel more strength coming from the cigar as it has stepped up to a medium-plus level and can be felt much more readily in the gut. The final inches bring a marked increase in heat – both on the palate and what gets radiated onto the hand – signaling the cigar’s natural conclusion.
- The box press helps the Nestor Miranda Special Selection Exclusivo Regional feel a bit less like a 60, but make no mistake: this is still a big cigar.
- One of the big complaints I hear about regional editions is that people get tired of chasing them. I will be the first to say that I used to be much more into the idea of finding regionals and would get irked if I couldn’t come across one I thought I had to have, but I’ve lost most of that desire in recent years. There are just too many good cigars out there to get really sweaty about any particular one.
- You’d be hard pressed to get me to pick the 6 x 60 over the 5 1/2 x 54, if for not other reason than a preference for smaller sizes. The 6 x 60 felt like a workout at times, as it is a lot of cigar delivering a lot of flavor. Incidentally, I have not yet tried the smaller version.
- There might be more regional editions from Miami Cigar & Company, though it will depend on a specific region generating enough demand for such a release. As Charlie Minato mentioned in the news story announcing the cigar, this has been something the company has been looking at doing since 2010.
- The first cigar I smoked for this review smoked much faster than the other two, though it may have been partially my own doing. It came in at around an hour and 40 minutes.
- Miami Cigar & Co. added the Connecticut-wrapped version of the Special Selection at the 2012 IPCPR trade show.
- Among other regional releases in recent memory, Altadis USA created four regional editions for the Montecristo line: New York, Texas, Las Vegas and Chicago. At the 2013 IPCPR trade show, they unveiled a sampler containing two of each version that is available at shops around the country.
- Perdomo did a regional release for Texas in April 2013.
- La Gloria Cubana released a number of regional editions between 2012 and 2013, including the Rabito de Cochino ADP6, Bella Dama, the Piramide Supra and the Gorda Gorda.
- The cigars for this review were provided by Miami Cigar & Company.
- Final smoking time is about two hours and 15 minutes.
- None of halfwheel’s sponsors list the Nestor Miranda Special Selection Exclusivo Regional Toro Grande for sale. Should that change, this will be updated accordingly.
The Bottom Line: Cigars such as the Nestor Miranda Special Selection Exclusivo Regional Toro Grande always seem to come with a bit of hype and buzz, for what I would mainly attribute to the fact that they’re just not that easy for everyone to get, though that’s changing as many stores have online sales or will gladly ship them to you if you call them. So take the buzz away and what are you left with? In this case, a big cigar that is full of flavor and doesn’t have any bad notes, but is a bit lacking in transitions and complexity. If you like the flavors that Mexican San Andrés wrapper offers and don’t need a bunch of subtlety or flavor shifts out of a cigar, this is a pretty good option for $9. If you’re looking for something more, you might be left a bit disappointed, especially depending on how much work you put into finding some to smoke. I’d certainly pick some more up if I found myself in a shop that had them, and while I wouldn’t mind having some in my humidor, I’d be lying if I said I would go out of my way to make that happen. At the end of the day, it simply comes down to being a different and enjoyable take on the Nestor Miranda Special Selection.
Final Score: 85