This past March on The Cigar Authority podcast, Terence Reilly announced that Aganorsa Leaf would be releasing a Shade Grown Maduro as part of the Signature Selection line. This caused us to have a look of confusion, as shade grown tobacco has long been characterized as light in color like a traditional Connecticut. However, after two decades of experimentation Aganorsa Leaf has perfected the process. The shade grown Maduro wrapper gets its designation during the curing and fermentation process. The result is a limited edition cigar of which only 250 boxes were made.
Cigar Review: Aganorsa Leaf Signature Selection Shade Grown Corojo Maduro
Wrapper: Nicaragua Shade Grown Corojo Maduro
Binder: Nicaragua (Corojo ’99)
Finder: Nicaragua (Criollo ’98 and Corojo ’99)
Ring Gauge: 52
The Look: Packaged in a 20 count white wooden box, the Aganorsa Leaf Signature Selection Shade Grown Corojo Maduro comes packaged in cello. Under the cello there is silver foil that covers the cigar up to the secondary band which denotes Signature Selection in gold over the Fernandez signature. The primary band is white in color and features Aganorsa in a font that reminds me of softball jersey in black letters. As for the cigar, the Maduro wrapper has a subtle brindle effect with thin veins and a nice amount of oils. In the hand the cigar is firm with no soft spots and a well packed foot.
The Notes: The cold draw of the Shade Grown Maduro from Aganorsa is sweet with hints of plum and barnyard elements such as hay, earth and a subtle cedar. The aroma off the foot has an aroma reminiscent of a biscotti and second inhale of the aroma sends me into a sneezing fit from the subtle pepper. Once the cigar is toasted and lit the initial notes are a subtle ginger and abundance of white pepper.
As we move into the first third the cigar begins to settle down as notes of apricots develop. For the first inch or so those were dominant before being overtaken marzipan. Marzipan is made from honey, almonds and sometimes almond extract to intensify the flavors. If you don’t know what marzipan many rainbow cookies have the paste between the layers. The retrohale of the cigar continues to ad white pepper which increases the finish of the cigar.
Moving into the second third the notes of almonds and honey remain with hints of cedar and occasional glimpse of apricots from the cold draw that are overtaken by a leathery component that develops around the half way point. There still remains some white pepper on the retrohale although not as potent as the last third.
As we finish the Aganorsa Leaf Shade Grown Maduro notes of almonds hold on, as coffee and leather become the dominant profile of this excellent cigar. There is some subtle cedar as well as the occasional wisp of dark chocolate. The retrohale sees the notes of white pepper return especially on the aroma.
The Finish: On this weekend during The Cigar Authority podcast we plan to discuss cigars that are good for aging. While I believe it is a crapshoot on what will age well versus what won’t there are some cigars that stand out as a prime candidate and this is one of them. The dense tobaccos should continue to marry and I would expect the leather and white pepper notes to mellow out over time. Problem is I like it so much as is and I lack the patience to age cigars that I’ll just smoke my way through a box in no time.
Price: $10.69 / $188.99