Last year at the 2013 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show Villiger showed off its 125th anniversary cigar: the Villiger 125. Coming in three sizes and limited to 500 boxes of 20 for each size, there was a respectable 30,000 cigars released for the blend.

For the past three years Villiger has had an aggressive push in North America, releasing new lines of hand rolled cigars to the market under the leadership of the North America president, Roy E. MacLaren. Last week, it was announced that MacLaren along with Fabian Barrantes, the North American director of marketing, were both let go from the company.

What that means overall for a company that has been around for 125 years might not be much, but it does leave the question of the direction the North American market will take. For now though, let’s take a look back at what I originally had to say about the Villiger 125 Lucerne:

The Villiger 125 was an interesting blend that I wanted to like a lot. As we so often do, I’m very curious what the 125 blend would taste like reduced a little in ring gauge, possibly to a 48 through 52. The cigar suffered from inconsistency and I think overall affected the flavor too much. A smaller ring gauge and more consistent construction could bring this blend to all new heights. As it is, the flavors were for the most part quite enjoyable and the cigars that did have good construction were nearly flawless in their burn. The cons though make me hesitate to suggest even a five pack, though you might need to buy five to get two good ones. Those two good ones though just might make up for your trouble.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Villiger 125 Lucerne
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Plasencia Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian 2009 Seco Habano
  • Binder: Nicaraguan Seco Habano Jalapa
  • Filler: Nicaraguan Viso Habano Jalapa & Estelí
  • Size: 5 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 56
  • Vitola: Robusto Gordo
  • MSRP: $9.30 (Box of 20, $186.00)
  • Date Released: Aug. 9, 2013
  • Number of Cigars Released: 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Redux: 1

Looking and feeling much as I remember, the Lucerne’s medium brown wrapper still has a soft and slightly oily feel to it. The one difference I do notice is the cigar has firmed up significantly from last year without any soft spots and almost no give to it at all. The wrapper has a familiar barnyard aroma to it, though the cold draw has lost some of the black pepper while still retaining the barnyard and cinnamon notes.

Starting into the first third there is a rich tobacco, cinnamon and a very light hint of black pepper to the profile overlaid by an unfortunate bitterness that I don’t remember showing up until later in the cigar previously. About an inch in there is a minor milk chocolate note that shows up along with a hint of leather. By the second third, the flavors have been cut in half, leaving only the earthy tobacco, a touch of pepper and a lot of bitterness. Luckily, the final third sees a bit of development, adding a dried fruit note to the earthiness and pepper, but the entire profile continues to be plagued by the bitter harshness that has been the theme throughout the cigar.

Villiger 125 Lucerne

The construction of the 125 Lucerne might be the highlight of the cigar. The draw is ideal throughout the cigar with plenty of smoke being produced with each draw. The first third has a nice burn line, with the ash holding on to around an inch, though it is a little flakey. The second third sees some burn issues, however, with about a third of the burn line lagging behind. The final third isn’t too bad, while the burn isn’t perfect it doesn’t require any touch ups.

79 Overall Score

I had some hopes that a little rest would alleviate some of the bitterness the last two thirds of the cigar experienced originally. Unfortunately, the opposite seems to be the case, with the bitterness and a general harshness to the profile being dominant throughout the entire cigar. While the burn wasn’t perfect, overall the construction was decent, which I didn’t expect to really change from the first time I smoked the cigar. While I doubt you’ll find these in stores anymore, the fact remains that even if you did, it seems they were much better when they were released and I wouldn’t suggest buying them.

Original Score (August 2013)
Redux Score (November 2014)

Brian Burt

I have been smoking cigars since 2005 and reviewing them as a hobby since 2010. Initially, I started out small with a 50-count humidor and only smoking one or two cigars a month. Not knowing anybody else that smoked cigars, it was only an occasional hobby that I took part in. In March of 2010, I joined Nublive and Cigar Asylum, connecting me with many people who also shared an interest in cigars. Reading what they had to say about brands I had never heard of, I quickly immersed myself in the boutique brands of the industry and it was then that cigars transformed from a hobby into a passion.