Over the years, there have been many defunct cigar brands that have been resurrected with varying degrees of success: Brick House, 7-20-4 and La Palina are just a few that immediately come to mind.
Earlier this year, Pure Aroma Cigars announced it was bringing another long-lost brand back to life: Lords of England, a line of cigars that were originally produced around the turn of the century in Cuba and imported into the U.S. by Gustavo Bock. At some point, the cigars were placed under the Henry Clay & Bock Co. umbrella of brands before eventually being moved to American Tobacco Co. until they were discontinued in the mid-1900’s.
While there were reportedly a number of different releases during the brand’s existence, at least one version of the Lords of England was sold in boxes of 50 that included 10 of each of the five vitolas, all of which were box-pressed.
“It is around 114 years since the Lords of England was introduced in this country,”said Isaias Santana Diaz, president of Pure Aroma Cigars, in a press release. “I’d like to recapture some of that history of my native island and make the Lords of England cigar the premium brand it once was. Believe me, I have worked diligently to find the right blend of tobaccos to recreate this Cuban legend.”
Although the original incarnation of the Lords of England brand was made with Cuban tobacco, the newest version was released in two different blends, both of which include the same Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. However, the blends incorporate very different wrappers: one with an Ecuadorian Connecticut leaf and the other using a Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper. Both versions are being rolled for Pure Aroma at Tabacalera Perdomo in Estelí, Nicaragua and are being sold in the same three vitolas packaged in boxes of 25:
- Lords of England Connecticut/Maduro No. 1 Robusto (5 x 50) — $7 (Box of 25, $175)
- Lords of England Connecticut/Maduro No. 2 Toro (6 x 50) — $7.50 (Box of 25, $187.50)
- Lords of England Connecticut/Maduro No. 3 Churchill (7 x 50) — $8 (Box of 25, $200)
Covered in a pale golden brown wrapper, the Lords of England Connecticut No. 2 Toro is extremely smooth to the touch and features a small amount of oil. The cigar is very firm when squeezed, though I can feel a large soft spot just under the back of the band. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of sweet almond paste, butter, oak, leather, milk chocolate and hay while the cold draw brings flavors of sweet toffee, creamy oak, leather, peanuts, dark chocolate and coffee beans.
Considering the aroma and the cold draw, I am not overly surprised when the Lords of England No. 2 starts out extremely sweet and creamy, with a dominant combination of creamy almonds and sweet marizpan interspersed with other flavors of bitter espresso, cocoa nibs, toast and hay. The aforementioned marzipan sweetness dominates the retrohale, but there is also a noticeable amount of white pepper that bumps up the overall complexity quite a bit. Construction-wise, the draw is excellent after a simple straight cut while the burn is wavy without ever needing to actually be corrected. The smoke production is decent enough without going overboard, but the overall strength has trouble reaching a point halfway between mild and medium by the end of the first third.
By the start of the second third, the creamy almond note has increased enough to easily make it the dominant flavor in the profile followed by other notes of lemongrass, popcorn, earth, leather, butter, toast, cinnamon and hay. There is just a touch more white pepper on the retrohale compared to the first third, and the marzipan sweetness has increased a bit as well, both of which combine well with the dominant flavor. The burn has evened up nicely and the draw continues to impress, while the overall strength has increased noticeably, getting close to the medium mark by the time the second third comes to a close.
Although the creamy almond flavor remains dominant in the profile during the final third of the Lords of England toro, a new popcorn note becomes strong enough to come close to taking the spotlight. In addition, notes of cinnamon, leather, bitter espresso, dark chocolate, hay, toast and earth flit in and out, although none of them come close to overtaking the aforementioned dominant flavors. The marzipan sweetness remains quite strong on the retroahle, but there is noticeably less white pepper compared to the second third resulting in less overall complexity. Both the burn and the draw give me no issues whatsoever, while the overall strength provides no surprises, ending up just shy of the medium mark by the time I put the nub down with a bit less than an inch to go.
- The original Lords of England cigar I reviewed for the now defunct Smoking Stogie website back in 2010 remains one of the oldest cigar I have ever smoked.
- While the original Lords of England was a Cuban cigar, the vast majority of the cigars smoked in the early 1900’s were known as Clear Havanas. These were typically machine-made cigars that used various amounts of Cuban tobacco. Usually, the filler was imported from Havana, the binders often were sourced from Connecticut and the wrappers were either from Sumatra or Cuba.
- The cigars were reportedly named Clear Havanas because customs officials used to sit in the factories and clear the Cuban tobacco used in them through customs as it was brought up from the warehouse basement.
- I really wish the vitolas for the new version included some of the same sizes as the original, although the smaller ring gauges means they would probably not sell as well.
- While Diaz did a great job recreating the details in the original band, the added bottom part of the band for the new version killed the simplicity and balance that made it so appealing to me.
- You can see a photo of the art in one of the boxes of Lords of England here.
- Other than one touch-up in the final third on two of the samples, the overall construction was excellent.
- The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time averaged one hour and 39 minutes for all three samples.
- If you would like to purchase any of the new Lords of England cigars, site sponsor Atlantic Cigar Co. has them in stock here.
Considering I smoked just one of the original Lords of England almost 10 years ago—not to mention the fact that they are made with completely different tobacco—it would be impossible to compare the two releases in any significant way. However, the one thing I noticed right off the bat was that the newest version is exceedingly sweet in almost every aspect: sweet on the palate, sweet on the cold draw, and sweet on the aroma. If that was the only thing it had going for it, the cigar would be fairly boring, but the profile also features some nice white pepper on the retrohale and even a bit of spice, although the latter is mostly relegated to the first half. There is no way the new Lords of England could beat the experience of smoking a 100-year-old cigar, but the actual flavors and balance in the newer version are significantly better, and it is easily one of the most enjoyable new Connecticut-wrapped blends I have smoked this year.