During the 2017 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, De Los Reyes Cigars showed off three new violas in its Saga Short Tales Series, which will eventually be made up of 10 different cigars with the same theme. Each of the vitolas will feature different sizes and different blends, and will be packaged in hollowed-out boxes made to look like vintage books, including individual pages that feature stains on them to simulate age.

The newest addition to the line is the Tomo 5 L.A.V., a 5 x 34 vitola whose abbreviation stands for Laudamus Abundantia Veteres, which is Latin for we honor the richness of time past. Blend-wise, the cigar incorporates an Ecuadorian claro wrapper covering a San Vicente binder along with Dominican piloto Cubano mejorado viso and Connecticut broadleaf viso in the filler. As with all of the other releases in the series, the Tomo 5 L.A.V. is produced at the De Los Reyes factory in the Dominican Republic.

There have now been five releases either released or announced in the Saga Short Tales series:

  • 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) and Connecticut Broadleaf Viso
  • Length: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 34
  • Vitola: Small Panetela
  • MSRP: n/a
  • Release Date: n/a
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Visually, the Saga Short Tales: Tomo 5 L.A.V. is quite distinctive, with a golden brown wrapper that is smooth to the touch and has just a touch of oil on it. There are plenty of very obvious veins running up and down the length, and the cigar is a bit spongy when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of oak, sweet nuts, hay and manure while the cold draw brings flavors of aged cedar, dark chocolate, coffee, earth, cinnamon and indeterminate sweetness.

Starting out, the Saga Short Tales Tomo V features an interesting array of flavors including creamy cedar, leather, white chocolate, hay, anise and toast. In addition, there is some noticeable floral on the retrohale, which combines well with a bit of maple sweetness found on the finish. Also included is a bit of white pepper on the retrohale, as well as some signfiicant spice on my tongue, and both seem to be increasing as the first third winds down. The burn is quite good from the start after a v-cut, and the draw could not be better, while smoke production is massive off of the foot. Strength-wise, the cigar starts out a bit north of mild, and hits halfway between that and medium by the time the first third ends.

As the second third of the Saga Short Tales: Tomo 5 L.A.V. starts, the maple syrup sweetness has increased noticeably, while the floral note on the retrohale as decreased a bit. In addition, there is a very slight mint note that is also present on the retrohale that is so faint it is gone almost before I notice it. The dominant flavor is a creamy cedar note interspersed with other notes of anise, yeast, leather, hay, dark fruit, cocoa, and espresso, all of which flit in and out in varying amounts. Both the burn and draw continue to impress, and the smoke production continues to pour off of the foot like a house on fire. The overall strength comes very close to the medium mark by the halfway point, but seems to stall there at the end of the second third.

The final third of the Saga Short Tales Tomo V is quite similar to the first third, with the same creamy cedar, hay and leather, although the profile adds a distinct peanut note as well as more of the floral on the retrohale. I am also tasting more of the maple syrup sweetness on the finish, and the spice has finally died down to almost nothing, while the white pepper on the retrolale continues in about the same amount. The burn has started to waver a bit, forcing me to touch it up before it gets out of hand, but the draw remains excellent and the smoke production remains high. Not surprisingly, the strength finally hits a solid medium by the time I put the nub down with a little less than an inch to go.

Final Notes:

  • All three of the newest additions to the Saga Short Tales Series feature Latin names and use piloto Cubano mejorado viso tobacco in the filler.
  • De Los Reyes, parent of Saga, was previously known as Corporación Cigar Export.
  • The Saga Short Tales: Tales of High Priming took the 5th spot in halfwheel’s Packaging Awards in 2016.
  • Having said the above, the bands on the cigars are just downright dreadful visually, to the point that I find they take away from the overall design esthetic of the entire project as a whole.
  • De Los Reyes Cigars had an interesting booth at this year’s IPCPR with books arranged on a bookshelf, which you can see for yourself here.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were sent to halfwheel by De Los Reyes Cigars.
  • The final smoking time for all three samples was quite short, averaging 49 minutes.
  • I emailed De Los Reyes Cigars for information on pricing and shipping information on the three new vitolas in the Saga Short Tales series, but they had not responded by the time this review was published.
89 Overall Score

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.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.