Byron Grand Poemas 2013 Vintage Cigar Review

Earlier this month the 2013 vintage of the Byron XIX Grand Poemas was released to retailers via United Cigars. Available only in 200 boxes the cigars are offered in humidors designed by Nelson Alfonso of Selected Tobacco. According to Oliver Nivaud the Director of Sales for United Cigars “This is a beautifully blended cigar offering richer notes of cedar and molasses. After resting these cigars for five years, post roll, you can truly experience the complex maturity. 

The brand might be one of the oldest in existence as it was created in the mid 19th century by two immigrants from the Canary Islands. The two owned a small cigar factory with about 12 employees on Macías Street of Santiago de Las Vegas, a province of Havana. Their cigars were made from the leaves cultivated in two small tobacco plantations of their own inherited from their parents located 25 kilometers apart from each other. One was located in the town of Santiago de Las Vegas like their factory. The other was in Tapaste, a village in San José de Las Lajas, also a province of Havana.

Between the end of 19th and the beginning of 20th Centuries the brand was sold due to financial hardship, however the brand would be obtained again in 1998 by the Alfonso family and soon after production started up at a small factory in Costa Rica where the cigars are made today in extremely limited numbers.

Cigar Review: Byron XIX Grand Poemas 2013 Vintage
Wrapper: Ecuador
Binder: Not Disclosed
Filler: Includes Nicaragua, Peru.
Length: 6″
Ring Gauge: 56
Size: Grand Poemas

The Look: Packaged in a white humidor filled with 25 cigars, the Byron has an old world feel to it due to the primary band on the cigar which features an image of Lord Byron who was a British poet, peer, politician, and leading figure in the Romantic movement. He is regarded as one of the greatest British poets and remains widely read and influential. Underneath the primary band is a secondary band that denotes Reserva 5 Anos which translates to Reserve 5 Years, which is reference to the tobacco aging since 2013. The wrapper on the 2013 Vintage of the Grand Poemas is darker than previous Byron’s I’ve smoked at least to my eyes. It’s rolled seamlessly and loaded with oils and only a few minimal veins. In the hand it feels silky smooth with no voids to the tobacco and a well packed foot where one can see the darker Peruvian ligero tobacco.

The Notes: The nose off the foot of the Byron is wonderfully sweet with notes of cherry, cedar, nutmeg and a slight hint of clove. Once we cut the cap, the cold draw serves up nutmeg, clove, cherry and a touch of molasses. Without a doubt this is one of the most complex prelight rituals we’ve experienced to date. After we toast the foot the initial notes serve up hints of mocha.

Moving into the first third of the cigar the mocha note pulls back revealing a dominant lichee nut component along with wood notes that border on that of pine. As the first third comes to a close a floral component begins to develop in a way that reminds me of a cigar from south of the mainland. The retrohale serves up notes of white pepper and a touch of gingerbread sweetness that serves as an afterthought.

In the second third the lichee nut and floral component begin to pull back as the cigar takes on a molasses like sweetness. Additionally, the wood notes begin to take on more of a traditional cedar note which has a heartier feel. Around the halfway point the sweet molasses becomes more noticeable as do the cedar components and as the second third comes to a close they dominate the palate. On the retrohale, the pepper notes fade away and they enhance the sweetness of the cigar.

The last third sees the focal point shift to notes of cedar with subtle hints of coffee and a lingering molasses sweetness on the finish. The retrohale enhances the molasses sweetness especially on the finish of this well balanced smooth cigar.

The Finish: Perhaps it was the psychology of a darker looking wrapper, but the Byron Grand Poemas Vintage 2013 came off more full in body than the ones I have smoked in the past. For me, this was a good thing. There was a lot of complexity from the pre-light ritual all the way through to the nub. It is of my opinion that Nelson Alfonso is making some of the best cigars on the market today. I’ve joked around on The Cigar Authority podcast that I might one day give a cigar a 102 rating, however that isn’t the case today. While the Atabey remains the best cigar I have smoked to date, this Byron scores a solid 97.

Score: 97
Price: $33.00 / $824.99


Byron XIX 2013 Vintage Grand Poemas

Byron XIX 2013 Vintage Grand Poema Foot

Byron XIX 2013 Vintage Grand Poemas Foot

Byron XIX 2013 Vintage Grand Poema Burn

Byron XIX 2013 Vintage Grand Poemas Burn


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