Earlier this month, at the 2014 D.C. Cigar Tweetup, Virginia-based Dante Cigars previewed its newest release, the Dante Vita Nova. It’s the sophomore release from the company and one that they showed off at last year’s IPCPR trade show and convention.
Our own Patrick Lagreid wrote the following about the release:
The Vita Nova line was also in the display case; the name means “new life” and it’s a Nicaraguan puro using a Corojo ’99 wrapper with binder and filler from the Estelí and Jalapa regions. It doesn’t have as much spice at the beginning as the core line, but still delivers a good bit of flavor. It will be available in three sizes: Canto III Robusto, Canto IV Toro and Canto VI Corona Gorda, all which come in cedar cabinet boxes. Like the core line, it will eventually grow to nine sizes.
It will be initially released in five sizes, with one limited to the Tweetup:
- Dante Vita Nova Canto III (5 x 50) — Regular Production
- Dante Vita Nova Canto IV (6 1/2 x 52) — Regular Production
- Dante Vita Nova Canto VI (5 1/2 x 46) — Regular Production
- Dante Vita Nova Canto VII (5 1/2 x 60) — Regular Production
- Dante Vita Nova D.C. Tweetup (6 x 42) — Event Only
- Cigar Reviewed: Dante Vita Nova Canto III
- Country of Origin: U.S.A.
- Factory: Casa Fernández Miami
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo 99
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Robusto
- Est. Price: n/a
- Release Date: April 2014
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2
Our samples featured a prerelease band, the production version should have a burgundy-colored band. It will look a lot better on the oily corojo wrapper. We’ve had these samples since the trade show and the lack of cellophane has meant there’s not much aroma to be found from the wrapper: a touch of wet leather. From the foot I can detect some leather, a distinctive saltiness, spices and some sweet strawberries. I pick up some Dr. Pepper notes and a familiar saltiness. There’s some creamy orange notes on the finish with some spices and sourness. Unfortunately, the samples are quite open, which gives me some concern.
The Vita Nova starts open, really open. There’s not much smoke that makes it to my mouth initially but I manage to get notes of toasted cereal, sweet leather and some sweet generic citrus notes. As the cigar progresses, a bit of creaminess emerges, along with acidic and saltiness—not great. There’s some roasted notes that emerge—somewhat like a roasted peanut note—a harsh black pepper, leather and a sweet cinnamon (Red Hots) as the second third nears. The burn needs correction, the draw is open, but the smoke production is getting better.
As the Dante passes the halfway mark the second third sees much more pepper, a bread note through the nose, but the flavors on the tongue are still very much leather and roasted flavors. There’s a lemonade note that adds itself through the nose—a much better version of the citrus—but the retrohale is almost toxic in terms of its concentration. The nutty finish is enjoyable and the draw is getting better, although construction is clearly not the Vita Nova’s strongpoint.
Towards the last inch and a half of the Canto III, a creamy mayonnaise-like note emerges in the mixture of salty leather, roasted notes and some more defined bitter lemon note. It’s a much better finish than the start of the cigar and the construction is even turning a page. However, it does not last that much longer as the final inch also sees it much more challenging to keep the cigar lit.
- I am fine with weird cigar names, but when you start naming the vitolas weird things it gets a bit much. While I like the naming scheme, “Dante Vita Nova Canto III” is not ideal in my opinion, particularly considering the vitolas are only separated by numbers.
- Strength was medium, lighter than the original Dante.
- As a consumer, I appreciate the nine sizes the company plans on making. As a retailer, it would probably not be my favorite approach.
- I do not put much stock into how a cigar smells when it burns. I do not have a wife to comment on such things, so that might be why. That being said, at times, the aroma coming off this cigar smelled like urine. It was never the sole aroma, but it creeped in quite a bit and was less than pleasant. It does not affect the score, but I imagine if anyone had been in the room with me while smoking my samples there would have been an interesting conversation.
- Dante has told halfwheel the cigars should begin shipping next month.
- This is a subpar cigar as far as construction goes. The second sample had a much better, still slightly open draw, but only because I removed a minuscule amount of the cap with my fingernail. A normal cigar cut produced an extremely open draw.
- Last week, Patrick Lagreid reviewed the Cigar Federation The Collective, another cigar rolled at Casa Fernández Miami. He also complained about having a ridiculously open draw.
- Cigars like this remind you how great the average cigar is today. It was by no means unsmokeable, but the construction sticks out like a sore thumb in today’s market.
- Cigars for this review were provided by Dante Cigars at IPCPR 2013.
I don’t generally read other people’s reviews of cigars. When I was searching for some info about the Vita Nova I came across one other review and given that I was done writing my tasting notes, I looked over it as a curiosity. While Logan Lawler and I didn’t pick up much of the same flavors, I agree with his assessment of the cigar: the first half was unimpressive and the second half was more than enjoyable. So often cigars fall apart in the latter stages, which was not the case here, but there were problems. Perhaps the production version will be better, but this was just a subpar cigar.