Way back in February, Michael Argenti contacted The Cigar Authority with news that he would be coming back to the cigar industry with a new cigar called La Gran Llave which translates The Big Key. Before his return to the industry Michael was partners with Kiki Berger who passed away in 2014 at the age of 56. One of the most popular cigars from that partnership was the Entubar which featured ligero tobacco sticking out from the foot.
Cigar Review: La Gran Llave
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez S.A.
Wrapper: San Andres (Mexico)
Binder: Ecuador Habano
Ring Gauge: 48
Vitola: Corona Extra
The Look: The box these cigars come in is interested with all the information carved into the wood from the logo, to the size. It’s a nice detail, and creates a different look while giving the brand a luxury feel. Inside the box pressed cigars feature a large band of red, black and gold while a secondary band denotes Reserva E560FE. The dark wrapper has some lighter colors around some of the small veins that adorn the wrapper, and the cigar is firm with no soft spots and a nice weight to it.
The Notes: The foot of the cigar serves up some initial pepper notes that tingled my nostrils and brought me to the edge of a sneeze. On a second inhale of the foot there are elements of mocha and cedar with continued pepper. The cold draw mimicked the aroma and brought the sneeze to the surface.
Once I toasted the foot with my Renegade lighter, the cigar provides a myriad of notes including mocha and cedar with subtle hints of black pepper that are not so subtle on the retrohale which also adds some strong espresso to the mix. As the cigar progresses the coffee notes become dominant.
The second third of the cigar sees the mocha and coffee notes battle for supremacy. It’s a good thing I have some water with me as the cigar leaves my mouth a little dry but the nuances of the cigar keep me engaged. The black pepper on the retrohale causes me to sneeze once again.
The last third of the La Gran Llave Corona Extra continues down the same path, the primary note is coffee with some mocha lingering in the background with an abundance of pepper through the nose that takes over the cigar as things come to a close. The finish is moderate in length.
The Burn: A super slow burning corona extra, I was surprised when this cigar clocked in at just north of 2 hours for me. The draw was idea, and while the burn line was a tad jagged at times it never gave any hint of burning out of control. The cigar had an effortless draw and it remained lit from first light to last puff.
The Finish: I’ve known Michael Argenti for about a decade from being in the cigar industry, and he was kind enough to send us some samples including a box at this size. When I first smoked the La Gran Llave Corona Extra I was surprised how much it reminded me of the New World from AJ Fernandez; but the more I smoke the cigar the more I realize it is like the New World on steroids. The stick feels like it has a healthy dose of ligero tobacco and it definitely had an enjoyable kick.