Since its launch in February 2014, the cigar project known as Lost&Found had a pretty straightforward model: find finished cigars in factories that had been abandoned for one reason or another, give them a new name and make them available to retailers. Or as Robert Caldwell put it in February 2015, “Find great lost cigars. Package them. Share them with friends. This is BCS.” BCS, which is one of the company’s previous names, stood for Bellatto/Caldwell/Sears, the trio behind what would become Lost&Found. Caldwell would find the cigars, Jaclyn Sears would handle the designs and packaging, and then the cigars would get distributed under the direction of Bellatto.
Yet in April 2022, the company announced that it was pursuing a new business model. Instead of finding lost cigars, Lost&Found would now be commissioning its own cigars, and those cigars would be aged for between two and four years, an unusually long time for cigars to rest before release as most are closer to 90 days. It was a change brought on by a number of factors, including the increased demand for cigars caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other companies adopting a similar business model, both of which contributed to a decreased supply of cigars to be found.
“Lost&Found started as a company curating really great aged cigars and repackaging them,” said Caldwell in an email to halfwheel. “There are few of these gems left to be found. We have an estimated 40,000 cigars aged longer than five years which we have in our possession for slow future release, but as far as old and lost stuff that’s worth a damn, nothing is left.”
As part of the change, the Impromptu name would return, this time as Impromptu Imports Manufacturing Co. a new entity that would launch with the intent of recreating some of the previous Lost&Found releases, including One Night Stand, Pepper Cream Soda, and Supreme Cream, among others.
However, this was not the first time that Lost&Found has had new cigars made for one of its, as in 2016 it commissioned a cigar called Instant Classic, a 5 x 50 robusto that used a Habano Vuelta Abajo from an undisclosed country over an Indonesian binder and Dominican fillers. In keeping with the extended aging period, the cigars didn’t get released until June 2020.
In May 2022, the Lost&Found team announced that it was bringing the Instant Classic line back with three blends. The first two—Instant Classic Habano Ecuador and Instant Classic San Andrés—would be regular production lines that retailers could order throughout the year. The third cigar is a one-off, limited edition release called the Instant Classic Limited Production 2018.
It is a 6 x 52 box-pressed toro that uses a habano hybrid wrapper of undisclosed origin over an Ecuadorian binder and Dominican fillers including criollo and San Vicente, and was produced at Tabacalera William Ventura in the Dominican Republic. The release is limited to 7,000 boxes of 10 cigars, with 2,000 of those boxes slated for distribution in Europe and the other 5,000 boxes bound for the U.S., where they come with an MSRP of $16 per cigar.
- Cigar Reviewed: Instant Classic Limited Production 2018
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera William Ventura
- Wrapper: Undisclosed (Habano Hybrid)
- Binder: Ecuador
- Filler: Dominican Republic (Criollo and San Vicente)
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $16 (Box of 10, $160)
- Release Date: May 2022
- Number of Cigars Released: 7,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (70,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The box press on the Instant Classic Limited Production 2018 is unmistakable, with the front of the cigar looking almost flat from the front. A look at the foot reveals a bit of a bend, but it still quite well pressed. The cigar itself looks good, and even with the press the seams have stayed largely flat, but I do notice a spot or two where they aren’t. As I have said about other box-pressed cigars numerous times before, there is a firm pillowy feel, though it is a bit more even front-to-back and side-to-side than I usually experience. As I inspect the cigar’s firmness, I pick up just a bit of oiliness in the wrappers, though it is pretty limited in amount. The foot has aromas of milk chocolate and freshly cut wood, a bit of sweet molasses and a touch of black pepper. One sample has a bit of a light, vegetal aroma around the edges as an accent, one that reminds me most of freshly cut grass. The cold draw is very smooth, with a familiar taste and tingle of tobacco hitting my tongue first, followed by a bit more wood, a bit more of the thick molasses sweetness, varying amount of creaminess and just a touch of pepper.
The Instant Classic Limited Production 2018 starts off with a woody and slightly peppery taste that has me thinking of a habano-driven profile, with the body and intensity varying a bit among the three cigars but the core of the opening puffs pretty easy to identify. That varying intensity includes one sample that has enough pepper that it feels as if a small bomb went off in my nose. As someone who generally likes habano tobaccos, I find the profile agreeable right out of the gate, but it is also a clean, enjoyable and vibrant flavor, which transcends any personal preferences. Retrohales are about on par with the flavor in terms of pepper and intensity, as the two experiences complement each other well, though that one cigar with the abundance of pepper does tilt the balance a bit. The first inch of the cigar can be impressively creamy as well, a flavor that pairs well with the other flavors, though that component varies between samples. A retrohale around the one-inch mark has a distinct aroma to it, combining the creaminess, a bit of the woodiness and just a pinch of pepper, a combination that reminds me a bit of a chai latte, or at least what I think a chai latter tastes like given it has been some time sine I’ve had one. A bit more woodiness enters the profile after I knock off the first clump of ash, and it shifts things a bit to the mouth-drying end of the spectrum, while upping the body and flavor intensity a tick or two. In the first third, flavor is medium to medium-full, body is medium, and strength is medium-minus. Construction and combustion are both very good thus far.
After building steadily in the first third, the flavor intensity and body of the smoke both lighten up a bit at the start of the second third, a change I notice most clearly by the shift in the woodiness. The change in the profile happens bit-by-bit with each puff, clearing the way for the creaminess to contribute a bit more, though it too is now a bit lighter and not as thick as it had been earlier. None of these changes seem to affect the black pepper much, as it has stayed fairly consistent since the first puff, being present but not dominating or overpowering. If anything, there’s a touch more pepper in the retrohale as the burn line crosses the midpoint, yet the change doesn’t affect how clean the profile is through the nose, amplifying the intensity of the retrohales without causing any distortion to what it has to offer. While not a consistent experience across the three cigars, the tail end of this section can get just a bit rough on the palate, though I can’t immediately attribute the change to any one component, leading me to think it might just be a cumulative effect of the wood, pepper and dryness of the smoke. While I might otherwise attribute this to a changing earthiness, I don’t find a lot of that in this profile, either to this point or with this new profile. If anything, it just seems like the pepper and wood, which are the main components of the profile, simply have a different, slightly rougher texture was they hit the taste buds. Construction remains good while combustion runs into the occasional challenge and necessitates a relight. After settling closer to medium earlier in this portion, the flavor is back to medium-plus, while body is medium and strength is now squarely at a medium level.
The smoke gets a bit warmer as the final third gets underway, becoming reminiscent of a warm coffee or tea on a cold day in terms of the sensation I get in my mouth, though the flavor is still largely habano-driven, just as it has been to this point. I’m now beginning to pick up a bit more earth in the profile, a flavor that has aspects of black coffee, and in some puffs the flavor of over-roasted coffee that I tend to pick up from a certain global coffee brand. As the burn line progresses, the cigar continues to toe the line of being not quite irritating on my palate, but also just rough enough that it has me thinking of the term. Yet at the same time, the flavor is also very enjoyable, as the flavors are layered upon each other quite well. I would love for some of the sweetness and creaminess to return to fill in the profile a bit, as I think it would mitigate some of the rougher aspects and only enhance the overall experience. Pepper becomes even more prominent in the final puffs, and it has become quite vibrant through my nose while leaving a long-lingering finish on my tongue. After those struggles with combustion, the final third of each of the three samples burns well, while smoke production and burn lines are all very good as well. Flavor finishes just shy of full with lots of stimulation on the taste buds and throughout my mouth. Body is back to medium-plus and strength is now medium-full.
- Given it aging statement on the cigar, I was a bit surprised to find some combustion issues in the cigar, particularly with the consistency of the issue arising in the back half of the second third and then being resolved not long into the final third.
- I probably give cigar bands a bit more attention than they deserve, and while I like these, they are incredibly hard to remove. Not only were they snug around the cigar, but it seems that the adhesive might have saturated the band, as I could barely get a corner of the band up to remove it.
- Each of the three cigars smoked for this review had a bit of nicotine strength, though none were strong enough to make me woozy or leading me to the jar where I keep the white sugar.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was two hours and 15 minutes on average.
- Site sponsors JR Cigar carries the Instant Classic Limited Production 2018.
If you like a habano-forward profile, I think you owe it to yourself to try the Instant Classic Limited Production 2018, as the first two thirds are easily one of the best habano-wrapped blends that I have tried recently. It might not be the most complex cigar, but what it does offer is clean, bright and vibrant, and the layering of flavors is impressive. I would love for the combustion issues not to be issues, as well as for the final third to back away from that line of being irritating and a bit fatiguing on the palate, but I’m willing to live with those given what else is offered. This is a very enjoyable cigar on nearly every front.