Chinnock Cellars Terroir (2012)

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Brian Chinnock of Chinnock Cellars in Napa, Calif., debuted the Terroir at the 2011 IPCPR Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas. The cigars featured an aging process that involved resting for three months in new, medium toast French oak barrels, which were said to impart a unique flavor on them, described as the subtle notes of a wine cellar.

The year after, Chinnock returned with a reblended version of the Terroir that used an Ecuadorian wrapper and binder with filler coming from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. In addition, Chinnock added a pewter band which he said was the first of its kind, giving the second version of the Chinnock Cellars Terroir a distinctive look.

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Available in both a 6 x 52 Toro and a 6 x 52 Torpedo, production was limited to just 500 boxes of 10 cigars in each size, for a total run of 10,000 cigars. Production was handled at Miami’s El Titan de Bronze, with blending overseen by Willy Herrera, who is now with Drew Estate.

Here’s what I said about the Chinnock Cellars Terroir back in October 2012:

It’s always tough when a cigar starts off on a less than ideal note, because as they saying goes, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. The first third of the Chinnock Cellars Terroir 2012 simply has too much going on and what could have been a wonderfully complex cigar turns into a complicated experience for the palate with too many familiar flavors competing for attention. Once the cigar sorts itself out, it is very enjoyable, as the grilled chicken note is darn near perfect, setting the stage for a well-developed flavor evolution. The lack of a dominating spice was enjoyable, making the second and final thirds an enjoyable morning cigar or accompaniment for a cup of coffee or tea. I’d certainly try a few more to see if my experience was a fluke, because if it was, it would make the Chinnock Cellars Terroir 2012 a very attractive purchase.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Chinnock Cellars Terroir (2012)
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Factory: El Titan de Bronze
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Deflorada
  • Binder: Ecuador
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • Size: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Torpedo
  • MSRP: $11.00 (Boxes of 10, $110.00)
  • Date Released: August 2012 
  • Number of Cigars Released: 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1

The wrapper on the Chinnock Cellars Terroir is a light tan with a few small veins and a bit of very fine grit texture, an attractive leaf that feels delicate in the hand but also has enough fortitude to show off some character. The pre-light aroma is fairly light with some subtle notes of bread standing out along with a muted pepper note that isn’t shy about making itself known yet doesn’t explode in the nose. The cold draw has just the right amount of resistance, again slightly muted on the flavors with more notes of bread and a bit of pepper standing out. As was the case in the original cigar, the pewter band is the real eye-catcher here, both for its uniqueness and lustier.

Notes of bread crust and white pepper start the journey through the Chinnock Cellars Terroir, a somewhat mild flavor combination that has just enough kick to get the sense engaged and focused; an almost breakfast-plus cigar if you will. The draw on the first few puffs is excellent: smooth and elegant with a white smoke that flows gracefully from the foot. A creaminess starts to build to the smoke, giving it a seemingly higher viscosity with every puff. The flavors begin to shift a bit towards the end of the final third and pick up notes of nuts with just a slight increase in white pepper. The ash is once again fantastic, holding on for two inches or so before finally letting go and falling to the ground in a near solid clump.

Chinnock Cellars Terroir  2012

The second half of the Chinnock Cellars Terroir brings a continually building level of flavor and strength though it never becomes overpowering, hovering at medium-minus for the better part of the second third. There is a sweetness that seems to be trying to creep out, primarily as an extension of the nuttiness found throughout the second third, though it never fully develops. Instead, the pepper continues to creep up in strength until a bit of harshness comes out after the second big clump of ash has dropped off. While slower puffing and a cooler burn helps minimize things, the white pepper becomes just a bit too much for my palate. The natural ending to the cigar may be a bit premature as there is still just over an inch left, though it doesn’t detract too much from the overall experience.

88 Overall Score

To put it bluntly, this was a much different cigar than the one I smoked for the original review. Where I had hoped for the cigar to sort out its flavor offerings into a more palatable delivery, it did. It shed the notion of trying to do too much early on and cleaned up its flavor progression incredibly well, all while performing flawlessly from a technical standpoint. The balance and flavor progression is much more dialed in and showcases the blend much better. If you have the good luck as to come across these in a cigar shop, I'd suggest picking up a handful because they are smoking very well at the moment, and should have enough in the tank to be enjoyable a good way into the future.

Original Score (October 2012)
84
Redux Score (September 2013)
88

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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