What’s old is new again has probably been the most prominent theme to explain what new cigars companies have introduced over the last few years. But I never really considered that the Nestor Miranda Special Selection would be returning in 2019. The reason was pretty simple, the cigar was phased out for the Nestor Miranda Collection in 2014, which seemingly replaced the line.
And yet, here we are. In May, Miami Cigar & Co. began shipping three sizes of the Special Selection:
- Nestor Miranda Special Selection Coffee Break (4 1/2 x 50) — $6.95 (Boxes of 20, $139)
- Nestor Miranda Special Selection Toro (5 1/2 x 54) — $7.50 (Boxes of 20, $150)
- Nestor Miranda Special Selection Gran Toro (6 x 60) — $7.95 (Boxes of 20, $159)
The blend is a Nicaraguan habano wrapper over a Nicaraguan criollo 98 binder and fillers from the Condega, Estelí and Jalapa regions of Nicaragua. Like the last version of Special Selection, it’s being produced at My Father Cigars S.A. in Estelí, though that’s not where the line started.
Special Selection debuted in 2006, produced by Guillermo Rico at STC Cigar Manufacturers in Honduras. It was only available in two states before becoming a national release in 2008.
From there, the line added a variety of sizes—some limited and even store exclusives—as well as additional lines in the form of Connecticut and Oscuro.
- Cigar Reviewed: Nestor Miranda Special Selection Gran Toro
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicaragua (Habano)
- Binder: Nicaragua (Criollo 98)
- Filler: Nicaragua (Condega, Estelí & Jalapa)
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 60
- Vitola: Gordo
- MSRP: $7.95 (Boxes of 20, $159)
- Release Date: May 7, 2019
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
It has been a while since I smoked a 6 x 60 and I suppose that’s the largest contributor to my surprise of the size. It’s only a 6 x 60, but it might as well be a 70-ring gauge to me. The wrapper isn’t as dark as a I remember the Special Selection wearing, though some of that might be more due in part to the contrast between the Special Selection and its Connecticut counterpart. Despite the color, the cigar smells like it’s as dark and rich as they come: lots of chocolate—in differing levels of sweetness—with some mustard, around medium-full. The foot is much sweeter with cocoa, red pepper, some creaminess and ketchup. The overall profile reminds me of Tatuajes off yesteryear, though one sample is noticeably lighter than the others. The cold draw has Dr. Pepper, some barbecue, earthiness, and a bit of creaminess, around medium-plus.
The first two puffs—and it’s oddly only two—remind me of a smoked stout with a lot of sweet toastiness and some blackberries underneath, mild to medium. By the third puff, it’s clear the cigar wants to be much stronger than just medium and the profile gets ramps up. I feel like the profile is a bit to intertwined with lots of different types of wood—generic woodiness, cedar and mahogany—some corn whiskey-like flavors and a creamy earthiness that seem to stick everything together. Retrohales have kiwi, an interest mayo-like creaminess and some sawdust. The finish is a bit dry with nuttiness, some woods, sunflower seeds, charcoal and a bit of spice underneath. Flavor picks up to medium-full, body is full and strength is medium-plus. Construction is fine with a draw that is slightly open to my taste, but entirely acceptable given the size.
To little surprise, the second third of the Nestor Miranda Special Selection still has a lot of wood flavors, now sitting on top of some creaminess and peanut butter. Retrohales have a butter-like creaminess, earthiness and a mild peanut butter. While the flavors aren’t dry, they are all a thick, more savory-like sweetness and it leads me to crave something to help balance them out. The finish is drier with peanut shells and earthiness. For various points of the second third, there’s a great mahogany aroma. The flavor and body are both full, while the strength is just below the mark, though quickly increasing in intensity. One sample needs a touch-up due to some tunneling.
Things get a lot earthier in the final third and what sweetness was present is almost entirely gone. While it might not be as complex as the second third, I actually think it’s better. The smoke through the nose has a cleaner version of the woodiness—almost like an oak flavor—though it is often overwhelmed by the earthiness. The finish is a lot like the first third: tons of wood along with some black pepper. Flavor is full, body dips a bit to just below full, and strength is full enough that I can feel it in my head.
- This review was largely completed in July. Due to scheduling issues, it’s been delayed.
- The font used for Nestor Miranda’s signature has reminded me of the Barrett-Jackson logo. It’s more the color and spacing than the script itself.
- With the return of Nestor Miranda Special Selection and Don Lino Africa I’m a bit curious as to what will be the next cigar from deep in the Miami Cigar & Co. archives to return.
- The pricing difference between the 2019 version and the 2008 version of the Special Selection is pretty impressive. The Toro was $6 and the 6 x 60 was $6.90. That pricing was pre-SCHIP, around a 40 cents per cigar tax, the actual wholesale difference on the 6 x 60 size is probably less than 25 cents. Given that many companies are increasing the cost of SKUs 40+ cents annually, it’s a very aggressive price point.
- I’m also a bit curious to see how this does in comparison to the Nestor Miranda Collection, which effectively replaced this.
- It’s pretty rare for me to physically feel the strength of a cigar at this point. I firmly believe that each cigar affects people differently but just for some context: I smoked my first sample of this cigar on a Thursday and it felt the strength, I smoked an OpusX Super Belicoso on Saturday and didn’t feel any nicotine effects and smoked the final Special Selection Gordo on Sunday and felt the strength. Each cigar was smoked at roughly the same time, late at night at least an hour after dinner.
- I’m a bit surprised that the 7 x 56 Danno size didn’t make a return. It always seemed to be popular with some of the better Miami Cigar & Co. retailers I talked to, which was likely due to the cigar’s ability to sell and not the shop owners’ personal affinity for the massive cigar.
- This is far and away the strongest cigar I’ve smoked from Miami Cigar & Co.
- Miami Cigar & Co. sent the cigars for this review. It also advertises on halfwheel.
- Site sponsors Famous Smoke Shop and JR Cigars carry the Nestor Miranda Special Selection Gran Toro.
I’ve smoked quite a few Nestor Miranda Special Selections over the years, but these three were quite different—and I’m guessing not what was intended. The flavor profile was much richer, even perhaps to its detriment as it needed something else to help balance it out. But the strength that I felt could not have been the goal. It’s stronger than anything else I’ve smoked from Miami Cigar & Co. and finished as one of the stronger cigars I’ve smoked this year. I’m curious to see whether the trio I smoked were a fluke in terms of strength, but regardless of the answer to that question, Miami’s goal seems pretty obvious: a 6 x 60 in a box for less than $8.