Brand owner, Jason Holly of Viva Republica began smoking cigars when he was a student at Harvard. According to Holly, “I used to smoke cigars in Harvard Yard when I was in school. In a store on the square I saw an old picture of JFK smoking a cigar in the Yard, the history and tradition is overwhelming and I wanted to create a brand that had that feel of nostalgia.”
The cigar is made at La Aurora in the Dominican Republic but is blended by Holly. This is our second review of the Ivy. We reviewed the Dudley back in June where I wrote, “The IVY is young, much like a freshman starting college. Given some additional aging this cigar should grow into a well-balanced cigar.”
Cigar Review: Ivy Habano
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: La Aurora Cigar Factory
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano (2008)
Binder: Cameroon & Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic (Cibao Valley), Nicaragua (Condega, Esteli)
Ring Gauge: 50
Vitola: Porcellian (Churchill)
The Look: Named after a men-only club at Harvard, the Porcellian sized Ivy comes packaged in cigar boxes that are a throwback in terms of appearances. Inside the boxes are 10 cigars with the Ivy logo that has some similarities to Harvard’s crest. The wrapper of the cigar has a weathered look to it with a lot of veins. One thing is for sure, this cigar will not win any beauty contests. In the hand the cigar is bumpy with a nice weight to it.
The Burn: Having spent a lot of time at La Aurora the cold draw of cigars from the first factory of the Dominican Republic always takes me back to Tamboril. It triggers of a memory with its sweetness and subtle spices. The foot of the cigar offers up an aroma of cedar and nuttiness.
The first third of the Ivy is nutty and woodsy. There are notes of hazelnuts and cedar that dominate the flavor profile. The finish of the cigar reminds me of rye, much like it did on the original review although this time it seems more subtle.
Moving on to the middle portion of Ivy, some spice begins to develop in the background of the churchill sized cigar. While the stick continues to offer notes of rye and cedar, some espresso moves to the front of the palate by the time the halfway point of the Porcellian is breached. On the retrohale the wood notes become darker, with traces of oak.
As Ivy concluded some salted caramel notes begin to dominate with a smooth woodsy finish and hints of rye. The finish is moderate in length but slightly extended through the retrohale.
The Burn: Featuring a thin combustion line and razor-sharp burn, the Ivy had a firm marble color ash that holds for more than a third at a time. The cigar remained cool in the hand and the draw was perfect. There were no combustion issues as the cigar remained lit until I put it down at the 2 hour mark.
The Finish: When Ivy first came out there was a lot I liked about the cigar, and some that left a lot to be desired. I thought it was young across all the sizes despite the aged wrapper. It felt like the tobacco hadn’t married and were working independent instead of in unison. Now just a couple of months later the cigar is already significant smoother and complex. It’s definitely worth the try.