Chinnock Cellars is a boutique manufacturer based out of Napa, California—owned and operated by Brian Chinnock. In addition to his ventures in the cigar industry, Brian also operates a wine brand under the same name. For Chinnock Cellars Cigars, he has employed his knowledge of the winemaking craft to the world of premium cigars.
Chinnock’s lineup consists of three core brands—Cremoir, Pressoir, and Terroir—each incorporating unique aspects of the wine craft.
Terroir showcases the similar qualities of wine and tobacco, as Chinnock explains:
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Deflorada
- Binder: Ecuadorian (double binder)
- Filler: Dominican & Nicaraguan
- Factory: El Titan de Bronze (USA)
- Production: Small batch/Limited edition
- Vitola: 6″ x 52 Toro
- Price: $11.00
But this winemaking approach isn’t simply in the cigar’s packaging and branding. For Terroir, a small batch release, introduced in 2011, Brian has aged the cigars in new, medium-roast wine barrels for three additional months after rolling, imparting subtle complexities to the blend. The cigars also feature unique, pewter metal bands, which are quite different than the metal bands seen from manufacturers in the past. The bands are soft and flexible with an undercoating of wax, so not to harm the cigar’s delicate wrapper—the feel is similar to that of a metal wine seal.
But perhaps the most important statistics behind this blend is the blender himself, as well as the factory used—namely, Willy Herrera and El Titan de Bronze. Of course Willy has now moved up to the big leagues, working as Master Blender for Drew Estate. But El Titan remains, rolling cigars such as Terroir in small batches—incorporating classic Cuban techniques, such as entubado and triple capping—both of which are found on Terroir. Many know ETDB as one of the best and most skilled cigar factories in the world and this shows in Terroir—with construction being among its stronger points.
The cigar instantly catches your eye, from its dark and metal band, contrasting against a golden-hued wrapper—though, hopefully you won’t mistake it for those godawful Foundry gear bands… It has a medieval feel, which isn’t exactly my favorite, but I can certainly see how it fits the cigar’s concept. The wrapper is gorgeous, the same used for the Warped La Colmena (also made at ETDB), if that helps you visualize. It’s soft and velvety and carries a very vegetal aroma—green leaves, grass, tobacco, and a hint of ammonia. The construction itself is fantastic, with a medium pack, invisible seams, and no blemishes—very impressive.
A very mellow creaminess starts the smoke off. The body is mild and the flavors are delicate and creamy, with a silky-smooth retrohale that shows no spice whatsoever. With a medium draw, pours a healthy dose of smoke, bringing notes of coffee and cream, citrus, and butter.
Moving along, the smoke doesn’t go through drastic changes, nor does it jump out at you—it’s pleasant, delicate, and refined. At this point, I found myself wishing I’d paired Terroir with a medium-bodied coffee, cream soda, or a white wine (I’m not really a white wine drinker, but that’s what this cigar calls for), instead of the amber ale I’d chosen—which didn’t let the cigar’s subtle flavors shine through.
But just because the cigar is light-bodied doesn’t mean there aren’t flavors to be found, you just need to open up those taste buds a little more! Throughout the second-third I found notes of salted butter, white chocolate, a light oakiness (ah, there’s that wine barrel), vanilla, and a nice banana fruitiness.
The final stretch produces a slight uptick in strength, bringing the smoke to a mild+ in strength, medium-light in flavor, and medium-light in body. Flavors are steady, with citrus and cream leading the forefront—about as much of these two flavors you’ll find in a cigar!
Would I smoke this cigar again?
Depending on the mood, of course I would! This is definitely a breakfast/brunch smoke, you’re not going to want to smoke this past the afternoon, but every cigar has its place. This is just about the creamiest cigar you’ll come by, with a near-perfect construction. As I mentioned, I’d like to try this smoke again with a few different pairings: think Café con leche, cream soda, black tea, or white wine. For food? Buttermilk pancakes!
- Superb construction
- Satisfying smoke output
- Flavors are as creamy as it gets!
- May be too light for many smoker's palates
- Slightly hard to find