In 2014, Tony Bellatto, Robert Caldwell and Jaclyn Sears founded the Impromptu brand, made up of cigars that were “lost” in various factories around the world that the three purchase and release under different names. The name of the brand was changed to BCS for a very short time before becoming Lost&Found in 2015, and there have been a number of releases under the brand in the past three years, most of which carry pithy names and have been repackaged in various bundles or papers boxes.
Diet Pepper Cream Soda is one such release that showed up at retailers late last year, a 5 x 52 belicoso incorporating a blend of HVA, piloto cubano, habano and light Arapiraca tobaccos. Originally rolled in 2008, there are a total of 1,500 cigars that were found and packaged in paper bundles of 10 carrying an MSRP of $100 each.
Caldwell explained a little more about the project when the first cigars in the Lost&Found line debuted:
Impromptu is a concept that came out of a few of my favorite things—traveling, smoking cigars, discovering and sharing.Over the last several months I have been traveling all over the world, spending a lot of time in the Caribbean and Central America in many tobacco fields and factories. Along the way I stumbled upon certain cigars that really left an impression on me. My friends suggest we share them with our friends and customers.These are very special cigars made with rare tobaccos hat have been aged to a point seldom enjoyed by most of us. I cannot take credit with making these beauties, nor for bringing them to you—just for discovering them.
Like some other releases, the logo used here is a modified version of Dr. Pepper, the Texas-based soda brand.
- Cigar Reviewed: Diet Pepper Cream Soda
- Country of Origin: n/a
- Factory: n/a
- Wrapper: n/a
- Binder: n/a
- Filler: n/a
- Length: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Belicoso
- MSRP: $10 (Bundles of 10, $100)
- Release Date: December 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: 150 Bundles of 10 (1,500 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Visually, the Diet Pepper Cream Soda is covered in a honey brown wrapper that is extremely smooth to the touch, with almost no tooth at all, but also featuring a surprising number of bumps under the wrapper. In addition, there is a touch of oil present and the cigar is very spongy when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of cinnamon, hay, dark chocolate, manure and cedar, while the cold draw brings flavors of leather, creamy cedar, peanuts, hay and white pepper.
The Diet Pepper Cream Soda starts out noticeably sour, featuring a strong earth and leather combination that comes close to overwhelming any other flavors for at least 10 puffs before beginning to recede. Thankfully, the sourness also disappears fairly quickly, allowing other notes to fight through and be noticed in the profile including creamy almonds, milk chocolate, espresso beans, cedar and hay. There is a nice honey sweetness on the retrohale that plays nicely with some white pepper that is also present in small amounts, as well as a touch of spice on my tongue. The smoke production is quite high and shows no signs of abating, while both the draw and burn are excellent so far after a dickman cut. Strength-wise, the Diet Pepper Cream Soda shows signs of being quite mild, ending the first third midway between the mild and medium marks.
While the sourness in the profile is long gone by the time the second third of the Diet Pepper Cream Soda begins, the honey that is present on the retrohale increases noticeably, hitting its high mark just after the halfway point. In addition, while the earth and leather combination that was so dominant in the first third is much reduced, the dominant flavor is now an interesting popcorn note that meshes nicely with other flavors of nuts, creamy cedar, dark cocoa, bitter coffee and hay. Construction-wise, the Diet Pepper Cream Soda continues to impress with a wonderful draw and a burn that has not needed any attention at all, along with an enormous amount of smoke production that shows no signs of abating anytime soon. The overall strength has increased compared to the first third, but only reaches a point a bit closer to the medium mark by the time the second third comes to an end.
During the final third of the Diet Pepper Cream Soda, the dominant flavor shifts to more of a creamy almond note, although the popcorn note from the second third is still very noticeable as well. Other flavors of leather, gritty earth, hay, coffee grounds and cinnamon flit in and out, while the honey sweetness continues to be a major part of the profile, albeit not as strong as in the second third. The draw remains excellent and the smoke production remains high. While the burn has started to waver a bit, it is not even close to needing touching up. The strength increases compared to the second third, though it is not by much and ends up just slightly below the medium mark by the time I put the nub down with a bit more than an inch to go.
- If the sourness that was present in all three samples in the first third was not as obvious or as strong, the score for this blend would have been quite a bit higher.
- There were three other blends that debuted at retailers around the same time as the Diet Pepper Cream Soda: Cherry Pepper Cream Soda, Pepper Cream White Chocolate Crunch and Forever Fresh Glazed.
- I find it interesting that despite the difference in production years, there are a number a couple of similarities between the Pepper Creme Soda and the Diet Pepper Creme Soda: the tobaccos used are roughly the same, the cigars look visually similar, and the sizes are close.
- Jaclyn Sears is now working at Drew Estate.
- I am extremely surprised that Lost&Found has not been sued by Dr. Pepper for the packaging on these cigars. Editor’s note: The first amendment protects parody, which is likely what allows for this and other releases that have looked like other products. You can learn much more here.
- Speaking of the packaging, while the overall look is cute, they really are just paper-wrapped bundles of cigars sans bands with a photo copy of a logo taped to the front. Some would call it simplistic, I call it utilitarian to a fault.
- I literally cannot say enough about the construction on these cigars. Each had an excellent draw and a burn line that stayed straight for the entire smoke. In fact, my last sample featured an ash that stayed on the cigar for more than two inches before falling for the first time
- The final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 10 minutes.
- The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- If you would like to purchase any of the Lost&Found Diet Pepper Cream Soda, site sponsor Atlantic Cigar has them in stock here.
After a bit of a rough start on all three samples to varying degrees, the profile of the Diet Pepper Cream Soda becomes nicely complex, albeit obviously well-aged and somewhat lacking in distinctness. However, the best part about the cigar is the construction, which is quite literally one of the best I have seen in at least a year, with the burn on each sample never giving me an issue, and an excellent draw after each dickman cut. In the end, while the sourness in the beginning was definitely and issue and the flavors became a bit muddled at times, the Diet Pepper Cream Soda is easy to smoke and easy to enjoy with a profile that easily kept me interested, and sometimes that is more than enough.