When it comes to cigar blends, inspiration can come from a number of places: celebrations of specific events, memories of loved ones, even specific food or drinks.

For Selected Tobacco S.A. founder Nelson Alfonso Egüed, the inspiration for a new cigar line that bears his name came from the use of French oak in winemaking. In fact, for the Alfonso Extra Añejo line, Selected Tobacco used both cedar and French oak to age the cigars for five years. The company says it typically ages its cigars in rooms lined with cedar between two to five years and the humidity is intentionally raised and lowered during that period during the aging process.

“Cedar is to cigars as oak is to wine,” said Alfonso in a press release. “The years we take to age the cigars in this process have a purpose and we hope this is appreciated in the smoke.”

In terms of blend, the Alfonso Extra Añejo line incorporates an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper and binder covering Nicaraguan ligero and Peruvian filler tobaccos. The cigars are being rolled at the Tabacos de Costa Rica factory, and while it is not a limited edition line, there are just 200 boxes per size of the Alfonso Extra Añejo being released in 2022.

The Alfonso Extra Añejo line debuted in six different vitolas.

Note: The following shows the various Alfonso Extra Añejo vitolas. Some of these cigars may have been released after this post was originally published. The list was last updated on Nov. 29, 2022.

  • Alfonso Añejos No. 1 (4 x 50) — $29.99 (Box of 25, $749.75)
  • Alfonso Añejos No. 2 (5 x 52) — $34.99 (Box of 25, $874.75)
  • Alfonso Añejos No. 3 (6 x 54) — $39.99 (Box of 25, $999.75)
  • Alfonso Añejos No. 4 (6 3/4 x 56) — $44.99 (Box of 25, $1,124.75)
  • Alfonso Añejos No. 5 (7 1/2 x 58) — $49.99 (Box of 25, $1,249.75)
  • Alfonso Añejos No. 6 (9 x 50) — $49.99 (Box of 25, $1,249.75)
92 Overall Score

Let’s get one thing out of the way quickly: at just under $40 each—that is $999.75 for a box of 25—the Alfonso Extra Añejo No. 3 is an expensive cigar. With that said, it is also an extremely rich, well-balanced and complex cigar, full of flavors of aromatic cedar, lemongrass and peanut butter, not to mention a wonderful combination of white pepper and creme brûlée sweetness on the retrohale. In fact, just about the only thing this cigar does not have is any major amount of body or strength, so those looking for a punch to the gut need not apply. In the end, the combination of complexity, excellent construction, balance and richness makes the Alfonso Extra Añejo No. 3 one of the best cigars I have smoked this year and I am already looking forward to enjoying more of them.

Each of the six sizes is packaged in 25-count boxes that started shipping to retailers in late September.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Alfonso Extra Añejo No. 3
  • Country of Origin: Costa Rica
  • Factory: Tabacos de Costa Rica
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Connecticut)
  • Binder: Ecuador (Connecticut)
  • Filler: Nicaragua & Peru
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Toro Extra
  • MSRP: $39.99 (Box of 25, $999.75)
  • Release Date: September 2022
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Taking the Alfonso Extra Añejo No. 3 out of the cellophane reveals a milk chocolate wrapper that, despite the fact that there is virtually no oil visible, is one of the smoothest I have felt in a long time. In addition, there are a few veins running up and down the length of the cigars—although none are overly distracting by any means—and all three cigars are just short of rock hard when squeezed. Nutmeg and cedar lead off the aromas emanating from the wrappers, followed by cocoa nibs, leather, hay, toasted bread and light lemon zest. The feet are substantially more aggressive, with strong but generic fruity sweetness topping a perfume-like note as well as cinnamon, cedar, leather and earth. After a punch cut, the cold draws include flavors of creamy hay, orange juice, earth, peanuts, leather, nutmeg, more lemon zest and milk chocolate sweetness.

White pepper and a wonderful caramel sweetness start the profile of the Alfonso Extra Añejo No. 3 as I toast the foot, but new notes of salted peanut shells and aromatic cedar quickly overtake those to become the main flavors. Secondary notes of creamy hay, leather, sourdough bread, dark chocolate, earth and nutmeg flit in and out, while the retrohale features plenty of both white pepper and rich creme brûlée sweetness. In addition, I notice a touch of spice on my lips on two of the three cigars that already seems to be fading. Flavor starts off with a bang at medium-plus, but the body and strength both lag far behind at a point in between mild and medium. Save for one very minor correction with my lighter on two different cigars, the overall construction was top-notch, with plenty of thick, gray smoke and excellent draws after punch cuts.

A new lemongrass flavor moves to the forefront of the profile as the second third of the Extra Añejo No. 3 begins—where it combines with the aromatic cedar from the first third that is still quite strong—followed by nutmeg, toasted bread, salted peanuts, leather, earth and a small amount of what I can only describe as wet clay. There is still plenty of white pepper on the retrohale, but a bit less of the rich creme brûlée sweetness and the small amount of spice that was present during the first third is long gone by the halfway point, never to return. Flavor has bumped up to medium-full and is still increasing, the body remains firmly between mild and medium, but the strength has increased a small amount to land at mild-plus. The two cigars that needed minor burn corrections in the first third have evened up nicely, leading to all aspects of the construction to work in harmony for all three cigars, with nary an issue to be seen.

The final third of the Alfonso sees yet another change in the main flavors, this time to a combination of rich peanut butter and cedar that remains on top for the remainder of the cigar. Additional notes of powdery cocoa nibs, hay, earth, sourdough bread, nutmeg and graham crackers show up at various points, and while the amount of white pepper and rich creme brûlée sweetness has increased compared to the second third, it still does not quite reach as high as it was in the first third. Flavor ends the cigar firmly in the full range, while both the body and the strength end up at just under medium. Finally, the overall construction is excellent for all three cigars, with copious amounts of smoke, close to razor sharp burn lines and ideal resistance when it comes to the draw.

Final Notes

  • Alfonso has his own Wikipedia page.
  • Selected Tobacco S.A. has indicated that it used the same French oak process noted above for the Byron 1850 line that launched earlier this month.
  • In addition to being the founder of the Atabey, Byron and Bandolero brands—all of which are distributed in the United States by United Cigars—Alfonso has designed numerous items for Habanos S.A. That list includes not only designs for some of the Cuban cigar company’s most sought-after cigars like the Cohiba BHK Behike and various Gran Reservas but also other special packaging items such as tubos, jars and ashtrays. An example of the latter is the three-legged Montecristo ashtray inspired by the hat worn by Edmundo Dantes—the main character in the novel The Count of Montecristo—that was shown off at the Festival del Habano XX in 2018.
  • At first glance, it looks like there are three bands on Alfonso Extra Añejo cigars, with the main band and secondary band on the top end of the cigar and a foot band on the bottom. However, after a closer inspection, it turns out that the main band and the secondary band are connected in the back, as you can see in the final third smoking photograph above.

  • Speaking of the bands, one thing I did notice is that on each of the three cigars I smoked for this review, a very small piece of the wrapper was removed with the band in almost exactly the same spot. To be clear, the damage was extremely small and minor in nature and caused no noticeable issues with the burn on any of my cigars, but it is something to be aware of as you remove the band.
  • Interestingly, the cellophane is cut flush with the bottom of the cigar instead of being folded over, so the cigars can fall out easily if you are not careful.
  • Save for two minor corrections in the first third, the construction was top-notch in pretty much every aspect; I did not have to even think about the draw, burn or even when to ash. Just a pleasure to smoke in that regard.
  • The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time averaged out to two hours and 12 minutes for all three cigars.
  • If you would like to purchase any of the Alfonso Extra Añejo cigars, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co. and Corona Cigar Co. have them in stock on their respective websites.
92 Overall Score

Let’s get one thing out of the way quickly: at just under $40 each—that is $999.75 for a box of 25—the Alfonso Extra Añejo No. 3 is an expensive cigar. With that said, it is also an extremely rich, well-balanced and complex cigar, full of flavors of aromatic cedar, lemongrass and peanut butter, not to mention a wonderful combination of white pepper and creme brûlée sweetness on the retrohale. In fact, just about the only thing this cigar does not have is any major amount of body or strength, so those looking for a punch to the gut need not apply. In the end, the combination of complexity, excellent construction, balance and richness makes the Alfonso Extra Añejo No. 3 one of the best cigars I have smoked this year and I am already looking forward to enjoying more of them.

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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.