A few weeks ago we broke the news on Federal Cigar’s 91st anniversary cigar, the My Father Le Bijou 1922 Cervantes. Back then, Rick Gadway thought that the cigars would be arriving to New Hampshire on February 1st. Turns out, they showed up a day early, but nonetheless, the cigars are in stock.
Rather than rewriting history, here’s what I published back on January 17th:
Rick Gadway’s Federal Cigar is celebrating its 91st anniversary, and like last year’s 90th anniversary, there are some cigars being made solely to commemorate the occasion. Following last year’s release of the Tatuaje Federal Cigar 109, Arturo Fuente Federal Queen B and E.P. Carrillo Short Run 2010 No.4 comes the My Father Le Bijou 1922 Federal Cigar 91st Cervantes.
The release best mimics last year’s release of the Tatuaje Federal Cigar 109, which debuted at roughly the same time. Gadway, who is known to be a huge fan of the Cuban tradition, asked Jaime García’s My Father Cigars to create a Lonsdale version of the My Father Le Bijou 1922 bend with a special wrapper. The end result produced two-hundred boxes of classic Cervantes-sized cigars wrapper in a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and fifty in the Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper that was featured on the special version of the Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Limited Edition 2011. In Le Bijou fashion, both are packaged 23 to a box, although all feature cedar sleeves.
Both versions of the cigar will sell for $8 a single ($184.00 per box), but the Connecticut shade version will only be available for purchase in-store, much like the Tatuaje Federal Cigar 109 Reserva. Gadway did this with the E.P. Carrillo Short Run 2010 No.4 Cabinets as well as a reward to his local B&M customers.
This marks the first time that either the My Father of My Father Le Bijou 1922 have been offered in a Connecticut Shade or Connecticut Broadleaf. This is also the thinnest Le Bijou being offered to date, edging out the limited edition My Father Le Bijou 1922 Corona Gorda of which Federal Cigar still has a limited number of boxes available.
- Cigar Reviewed: My Father Le Bijou 1922 Federal Cigar 91st Cervantes Connecticut
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 6 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 42
- Vitola: Lonsdale
- MSRP: $8 (Boxes of 23, $184)
- Release Date: Feb. 1, 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: 50 Boxes of 23 Cigars (1,150 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
The first thing that strikes you is the bold lettering that has been stamped (or pressed?) onto the cedar. Like most cedar-wrapped cigars, between the band and the cedar there’s really no way to get an idea of what the My Father Le Bijou 1922 Federal Cigar 91st Cervantes looks like until you take the cedar off. What’s underneath is that stunning thick glowing mustard Connecticut wrapper that was featured on the special version of the Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Limited Edition 2011. There’s a great musky barnyard and aged leather aroma underneath the cedar; it’s medium-full and totally not Connecticut. The foot smells more like a regular My Father and nearly identical to the Maduro version: sweet cherries, cocoa and earth, somewhere at medium-full. Oddly, the cold draw tastes almost identical to how the foot smells: a bit less berries, but they are still there with the cocoa, earth and a bit more sour notes. The My Father Federal 91st actually takes a bit to get going, but after a bit slower toasting ritual there’s a thick toastiness in the air as the beautiful Ecuadorian Connecticut begins to burn.
It begins the first third with a heavy cedar nut followed by bitter nuts, which hang around briefly before they overtaken by a harsh cedar. A touch of sweet nuts returns before a black pepper develops from the center of the tongue backwards. To a bit of disappointment, the fight between the nuts and cedar aren’t the dominant force of the first third. Instead, a barrage of García black pepper dominates the cigar with some bitter cedar, fruits and tobacco joining as well. The retrohale is clean with some of the nuts and cocoa coming through, shockingly little pepper. There’s a bit of a deceiving strength to the Federal 91st in the first third, there’s an immense amount of body and the flavor is full, but the strength probably is somewhere slightly south of full. Overall, without a doubt, the strongest Connecticut profile I’ve had, dwarfing my memory of the 601 Black.
Fortunately for the second third the My Father Federal 91st is a bit more interesting. The nuts and chocolate return underneath with a bit more Connecticut flavor up front while the black pepper doesn’t budge. Cedar plays a role in the finish, but it’s no where like what it is inevitably going to be after these spend times in the sleeves. Strength is still where it was in the first third and the Cervantes now has less of a shocking profile, although it’s still full. Unlike the first third, slowing down really makes a huge difference as it allows the complexities to come through.
The final third went the way I thought. It’s a great Connecticut flavor and a great end to the Cervantes. There’s a bit more of the complexity with a sweet brownie-like cocoa and bits of vanilla making making their presence known in addition to the Connecticut. The black pepper? It’s pretty much gone. There’s still some harshness on the Federal 91st, but the profile is still relatively clean. Even under an inch, the Cervantes manages to stay alive, which is saying something for a Connecticut.
- As a Lancero smoker, this is an absolute great size. It feels awesome in your hand, bit more thickness, bit shorter.
- The cedar sleeves are a bit interesting. They are a tad looser than most, which is actually great because there’s no way to damage the wrapper when taking them off. More interesting, the actual band on the cigar, the My Father Cigars stamp and the foot band don’t really line up.
- This version of the Cervantes smokes more like a Churchill than a Lancero.
- Strength starts medium-full, hits full at some point in the second third, settles back down to medium in the final third. Overall, it’s hard to imagine a stronger Connecticut on the market.
- I love the foot band on the cedar. It looks great and it avoids damaging the cigar.
- The word at IPCPR 2011 was that this wrapper was to be featured in full on the Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Limited Edition 2012. Given the reaction to the sample in the 2011 boxes, it would be shocking if this changed – if, of course, there’s a 2012 version coming out.
- Currently, the cedar really hasn’t taken affect. Give it a few months and I imagine that these will smell a lot more cedar-like.
- Federal Cigar will hold their annual anniversary dinner on March 16, 2012. The dinner is being held at Orchard Street Chop Shop and the party at the Plaistow store on the 17th. Cost is $155, which includes dinner and 15 premium cigars. Guests include: José “Don Pepín” García, Jaime García and Janny García of My Father Cigars S.A., Pete Johnson of Tatuaje/Havana Cellars, and site sponsors Jonathan Drew, Marvin Samel and Steve Saka of Drew Estate and Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr. & Ernesto Perez-Carrillo III of E.P. Carrillo. There’s a chance one of the halfwheel authors might be there as well. You can call Federal Cigar to reserve your tickets at 1.877.424.4270.
- These sold out on February 2nd. They were only available by walking into Federal Cigar and buying a box. If you’d like to order a box of the Maduros, you can order here.
- Final Smoking Time was one hour and 45 minutes for both cigars.
First and foremost, I currently prefer this to the Connecticut Broadleaf version. If the My Father Le Bijou 1922 Cervantes in the Ecuadorian wrapper stops aging, it's a good cigar with a profile that is just a bit odd to me. I highly doubt that is the case, which leads to point number two. Unlike the E.P. Carrillo Short Run 2010 No.4, where it was pretty easy to see how well this cigar was going to age, particularly given the Short Run 2010s, this is a bit of a guessing game. Given how the My Father Le Bijou 1922 Corona Gorda and Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Limited Edition 2011 Connecticut are aging, this version of Federal Cigars' Cervantes is a rather interesting case. My gut tells me that while it might take a while, this has a real chance to age to be an absolutely sublime cigar. Regardless, right now this cigar is a peculiar journey that is in no way bad. If I lived in New Hampshire, I'd buy a box, smoke a few over the next month, smoke one every month or so and play it by ear, because in the end, I think they are worth it.