In August 2020, ADV & McKay Cigars announced two new additions to its lineup that featured very different blends: Queen’s Pearls and King’s Gold. While the stronger King’s Gold utilizes a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper grown in the U.S. along with a Mexican binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic, United States and Nicaragua, the Queen’s Pearls is designated as a milder blend made up of an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper and binder, along with filler tobaccos grown in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Nicaragua.

The background and origins of the names of the brand as well as both new lines is a bit convoluted, but explained nicely by Charlie Minato in his review of the ADVentura The Royal Return Queen’s Pearls Corona:

The company’s name might seem a bit odd, though it’s based on an elaborate story of ADVENTURA and McKay, two explorers who left Europe for the new world in search of treasures. The fourth chapter in the fictional story is named The Royal Return, in which the explorers find treasures to bring back to the royal family.

That takes the form of gold for the king and pearls for the queen, which are the names of the company’s two newest lines: King’s Gold and Queen’s Pearls.

While the ADVentura Queen’s Pearl launched with only three vitolas—a corona, a robusto and a toro—the company began sending out samples of a 7 x 40 lancero size to select stores earlier this year, which ADVentura said was a test run to gauge feedback on the new vitola. The cigar officially began shipping to retailers in November priced at $15 each, with only 1,500 bundles of 10 cigars produced at the company’s Tabacalera William Ventura factory in the Dominican Republic.

There are currently four vitolas in The Royal Return Queen’s Pearls line:

  • ADVentura The Royal Return Queen’s Pearls Corona (6 x 44) — August 2020 — Regular Production
  • ADVentura The Royal Return Queen’s Pearls Robusto (4 1/2 x 50) — August 2020 — Regular Production
  • ADVentura The Royal Return Queen’s Pearls Toro (6 x 54) — August 2020 — Regular Production
  • ADVentura The Royal Return Queen’s Pearls Lancero (7 x 40) — November 2021 — 1,500 Bundles of 10 Cigars (15,000 Total Cigars)

Interestingly, the company has stated that the tobacco used in both blends has been aged for five years, while the finished cigars received four months of aging before being released.

  • Cigar Reviewed: ADVentura Queen's Pearl Lancero
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera William Ventura
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Connecticut)
  • Binder: Ecuador (Connecticut)
  • Filler: Dominican Republic, Ecuador & Nicaragua
  • Length: 7 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 40
  • Vitola: Lancero
  • MSRP: $15 (Bundle of 10, $150)
  • Release Date: November 2021
  • Number of Cigars Released: 1,500 Bundles of 10 Cigars (15,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Covered in a golden brown wrapper that feels quite a bit like parchment, the ADVentura Queen’s Pearl Lancero features almost no oil that I can see. The cigar is very spongy when squeezed and one sample has a small soft spot just above the foot on the front of the cigar. The aroma from the wrapper is a combination of hay, barnyard, earth, peanuts and leather while the foot brings notes of cedar, nuts, coffee beans, manure, sawdust and milk chocolate sweetness. After a v-cut, the cold draw features a bit of spice as well as flavors of toast, nutmeg, cedar, lemon peel, floral sweetness and a very light vegetal note that reminds me of raw asparagus.

A strong anise flavor starts the Queen’s Pearl Lancero off after I toast the foot, but it is quickly replaced by notes of creamy leather and cashews along with some spice on my lips. Secondary flavors of hay, coffee beans, cocoa nibs, toasted bread and cinnamon flit in and out, while the retrohale is full of white pepper and graham cracker sweetness. Construction-wise, the draw is excellent after a v-cut while the burn is razor-sharp on all three samples and the smoke production is more than adequate. Flavor is a solid medium, body is just under medium and the strength has trouble reaching a point halfway between mild and medium by the time the first third comes to an end.

The second third of the cigar is very similar to the first, with main flavors of creamy cashews and leather taking the top spots in the profile—albeit more of the former than the latter—followed by other notes of hay, lemon peel, popcorn, earth, toast and cinnamon. In addition, there is slightly more white pepper on the retrohale and the graham cracker sweetness increases a bit as well, but the spice from the first third is long gone. Both the burn and the draw continue to impress on all three samples, while the smoke production has not wavered. Flavor increases to medium-full, body is slightly above medium and the strength has increased enough to hit a point just under medium by the end of the second third.

While the combination of creamy cashews and leather continue to be the main flavors in the profile during the final third of the ADVentura, notes of cinnamon, hay, espresso beans, dark chocolate, toast and earth are not far behind. The graham cracker sweetness remains quite strong on the retrohale, but the amount of white pepper has waned a bit. In terms of construction, the draw remains effortless, but the burn on two samples need a very small amount of attention with my lighter to avoid larger issues, although both give me no more problems after that. Flavor and body end at medium-full, while the strength hits a solid medium just as I put the nub down with an inch remaining.

Final Notes

  • As I mentioned in my review of the The Royal Return King’s Gold Toro, I find it odd that the cigar named “King’s Gold” is not this blend, which actually features a golden wrapper that resembles gold.
  • For some reason, the cigars in the bundle were upside down, at least according to how the logo is placed, as you can see from the photographs above.
  • The smoke from this cigar smells distinctly like a combination of graham crackers and butter.
  • In term of construction, the draws on all three samples were perfect after v-cuts while the burn line was razor sharp for the vast majority of the time. One sample did not need any attention from my lighter at all, while the other two only needed one very minor touchup each.

  • The band on these cigars is made of some kind of metal which gives them a very cool look. However, they can be a pain to get off the cigar, so be careful, especially when dealing with the more fragile wrapper of the Queen’s Pearl line.
  • The ADVentura Queen’s Pearl Corona took the number three spot in halfwheel’s Top 25 of 2020.
  • ADV & McKay Cigars advertises on halfwheel.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel. ADVentura sent a five-pack of cigars but they were not smoked for the review.
  • Final smoking time averaged a much quicker than expected one hour and eight minutes for all three samples.
89 Overall Score

I absolutely loved the ADVentura Queen's Pearl Corona when I smoked it last year, so it is no surprise that I enjoyed the Lancero vitola as much as I did. The profile is smooth as butter, creamy and sweet, with main flavors of cashews, leather and graham crackers leading the way for the entire smoke. Construction was extremely good as well and the medium strength was nicely integrated into the profile. In the end, while the Lancero vitola is not quite a good as the Corona, it is still a very, very enjoyable smoke, especially for those looking for a quicker morning smoke.

Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.