There have been many different series of releases over the years in the cigar world, but perhaps one of the most distinctive recent examples debuted from De Los Reyes Cigars in 2016.
The Saga Short Tales is known for being packaged in hollowed-out boxes made to look like vintage books, with individual pages that not only drawings and writings but also various sized stains to simulate age. According to the company, there will eventually be 10 sizes in the series consisting of various different vitolas and ring gauges. The first two cigars in the series—Saga Short Tales: Tales of High Priming and Saga Short Tales: Tales of High Priming—were released in 2016, while the third, fourth and fifth were added in 2017. The sixth and most recent addition, the Saga Short Tales Tomo VI: The Sixth Element: El Tabaco, shipped to retailers in July 2018.
The aforementioned fifth release in the Saga Short Tales Series was a 5 x 34 small panatela named Tomo 5 L.A.V., the last abbreviation standing for Laudamus Abundantia Veteres, which translates from Latin to we honor the richness of time past. While the Saga Short Tales cigars share the same name and packaging the blends are not identical throughout the series. Tomo 5 L.A.V. incorporates an Ecuadorian claro wrapper covering a San Vicente binder along with Dominican piloto Cubano mejorado viso and Connecticut broadleaf viso in the filler.
Priced at $90 for a box of 15, the Tomo 5 L.A.V. is rolled at the De Los Reyes factory in the Dominican Republic.
- Saga Short Tales: Tales of High Priming (4 x 58) — 2016
- Saga Short Tales: Tales of High Priming (4 7/8 x 52) — 2016
- Saga Short Tales: Tomo 3 L.I.V. (4 1/4 x 42) — 2017
- Saga Short Tales: Tomo 4 L.O.V. (4 x 44) — 2017
- Saga Short Tales: Tomo 5 L.A.V. (5 x 34) — 2017
- Saga Short Tales Tomo VI: The Sixth Element: El Tabaco (5 1/2 x 58) — 2018
Here is what I wrote about the Saga Short Tales: Tomo 5 L.A.V. in my first review back in September 2017:
I love when a cigar manufacturer takes a chance on something different, and the Saga Short Tales Series is just that, with an awesome box that truly looks like a book right down to the age-stained pages in front. In addition, the Tomo 5 L.A.V. features a nicely complex blend, starting out with a distinct and rich maple syrup sweetness on the retrohale that combines with some distant white pepper, both of which are fairly dominant until the end of the smoke. Construction was excellent overall, and smoke production was quite a bit above average for such a small vitola. In the end, the Saga Short Tales: Tomo 5 L.A.V. is not only a great blend in great vitola, but also a great choice for a short break or morning stick.
- Cigar Reviewed: Saga Short Tales: Tomo 5 L.A.V.
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: De Los Reyes
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Claro
- Binder: Dominican Republic (San Vicente)
- Filler: Dominican Republic (Piloto Cubano Mejorado Viso) & U.S.A. (Connecticut Broadleaf Viso)
- Length: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 34
- Vitola: Small Panatela
- MSRP: $6 (Box of 15, $90)
- Release Date: 2017
- Number of Cigars Released: Not Disclosed
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1
All of the cigars for both reviews came from the same box, so it is no surprise that the wrapper on this Saga Short Tales: Tomo 5 L.A.V. is similar to the those I smoked for the original review, specifically a light golden brown color with a parchment-like feel and almost no oil whatsoever. One change is how it feels when it is squeezed: the newest sample is very hard with almost no give that I discern as opposed to the sponginess I was expecting given the original review cigars. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of strong dry tea leaves, cedar, leather, barnyard and sweet hay, while the cold draw brings flavors of extremely aromatic and aged cedar, marzipan sweetness, floral, earth, hay, cinnamon and a bit of mint.
The cold draw on the Tomo 5 L.A.V. may have shown its age, but the first few puffs of the cigar are anything but that with some surprising and significant spice on my tongue being the first thing I taste. That recedes quite quickly, leaving behind a very obvious and dominant creamy cashew note, followed by flavors of creamy cedar, bitter dark chocolate, leather, toast, hay and a minor but distinct citrus bringing up the rear. A bit of white pepper combines with a nice amount of marzipan sweetness on the retrohale, both of which are easily strong enough to impact the profile in a significant way from the beginning. In addition, I taste some rich and velvety espresso note on the finish, although it is more fleeting instead of the ever-present, at least in the first half. While the second half is dominated by the same creamy cashew note as the first half, some new flavors also enter the fray including cinnamon, cocoa nibs and earth. Although both the white pepper and marzipan sweetness on the retrohale increase in strength, the rich espresso note on the finish becomes less distinct, ending up more of a general bitterness by the time the cigar comes to an end.
Construction-wise, the Saga Short Tales features a burn that is wavy enough to need touching up—albeit just once in the second third—while the draw offered a close to perfect resistance after a straight cut. While the finale smoking time was similar—46 minutes for this cigar compared to an average of 49 minutes for the first review—the strength has decreased from a solid medium to more of a mild-medium.
Summer in Texas is fast approaching and I am always looking for a great cigar in a smaller size for those times I have time for a short smoke, so I was interested to see how the Saga Short Tales: Tomo 5 L.A.V. had changed with 30 months of age. What I found was a blend that has become both creamier and more nuanced. Construction was as good as the first time around with the excellent resistance on the draw being the particular the standout. In the end, the Saga Short Tales: Tomo 5 L.A.V. is a perfect example of a very good cigar when it was originally released that has morphed into an even better cigar with some age, a process that I expect to continue for the foreseeable future.