One of the little-known facts about the Bahamas-based Graycliff is that the company is actually willing to make custom sizes of its blends on a single box basis. In 2009, Maxamar’s Ultimate Cigars of Orange, Calif. took advantage of the program in larger form by ordering a small quantity of Graycliff’s Double Espresso blend—traditionally reserved for Cigars International in a single vitola—in both Corona and Lancero form.

Here’s what I said over two years ago when I reviewed the Graycliff Double Espresso Elegante:

I like it, quite a bit. The Graycliff Double Espresso Elegante is probably my favorite cigar to come out of the Nassau factory, at least to date. I think it’s worth the hype, the price and the struggle; but it’s definitely not for everyone. This is not a cigar that seeks (nor accomplishes) replicating Cuba in flavor; rather, it’s a good cigar that could definitely be smoked on special occasions. The flavors aren’t as active or plentiful as a lot of other cigars, but they do enough to rearrange themselves to make it somewhat exciting, while being conservatively enjoyable. Countless cigars in my opinion suffer from a common downfall, trying to do too much, this is not one of them and it shows.

I had honestly forgot that I even had one left, but while looking through a humidor I ran across another one and it seemed like an ideal candidate to redux.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Graycliff Double Espresso Elegante
  • Country of Origin: Bahamas
  • Factory: Graycliff Cigar Factory
  • Wrapper: Costa Rica
  • Binder: Costa Rica
  • Filler: Ecuador & Nicaraguan Corojo
  • Size: 7 1/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 38
  • Vitola: Lancero
  • MSRP: $19.99 (Boxes of 25, $499.75)
  • Date Released: 2009
  • Number of Cigars Released: n/a
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1

It’s a shame most people will never see these, particularly in a retail setting, because the cigar looks great. While I would have appreciated an extra quarter of an inch so that the cigar could get into the traditional El Laguito No.1 format, I have little complaints elsewhere. The Costa Rican wrapper is hearty and well-rolled with an attempt at a pigtail on the cap. Cold draw from the Graycliff has a Cuban delicateness to it with notes of vanilla, fruitiness and a touch of spice on the lips. I’m a bit shocked by the flavor, given the cigar is four-years-old and honestly not something I would have considered a strong candidate for even this amount of aging.
The surprises continue as the Graycliff begins in stunning fashion with a cedar, soft vanilla, leather and sweet orange cream mixture. There’s a decent bit of sweetness, although not overwhelming, and a pleasant bit of spice on the lips and tongue. The first third manages to retain the complexity and uniqueness, which is something I also didn’t expect. Upfront is leather and the orange cream note with the cedar and vanilla notes in the background. Unfortunately, shortly before the halfway mark the cedar begins to dominate the profile and the sweetness becomes more generic. From start-to-finish, there isn’t really any introduction of new flavors, which wouldn’t have been a problem had I not been getting a generic sweet cedar profile for the final two inches.

Grayliff Double Espresso Lancero

While strength is medium-full, body and strength are medium and mild respectively. The Elegante has lost quite a bit in two years, which isn’t shocking. A few touch-ups are needed every inch, but it’s not a huge issue. I did smoke this a bit quicker than I normally would with a Lancero, much closer to the minute a puff rate, which was largely due to my concerns about the cigar going out, which didn’t happen until the final inch. Smoke production was above average and draw was slightly open for a Lancero, both passing grades as far as I’m concerned.

82 Overall Score

The first half of this cigar was great. As far as uniqueness, the Double Espresso Lancero had it. Unfortunately, the 45 minutes I spent with the second half were quite mundane. It's not the first time this has happened, and every time it does I scratch my head on how people attempt to only review the first half of cigars, because while not horrible, the last of the Elegante was a much different story than the first half. I definitely wouldn't recommend spending $20.00 to throw out half a cigar and given how this one was, I'd recommend smoking them if you have them—as I can't really see this Double Espresso improving with more age.

Original Score (June 2011)
Redux Score (September 2013)
Avatar photo

Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I have written about the cigar industry for more than a decade, covering everything from product launches to regulation to M&A. In addition, I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff here at halfwheel. I enjoy playing tennis, watching boxing, falling asleep to the Le Mans 24, wearing sweatshirts year-round and eating gyros. echte liebe.