Mel Shah, owner of Fame Wine and Cigar Lounge in Palm Springs, CA, introduced to the world his knew cigar brand back in 2013: MBombay. A year later, he released his first two lines—the MBombay Classic and Maduro. The year following, Shah returned to the IPCPR with a new suite of products, including an Ecuador, Habano, and Corojo Oscuro. He also released the KeSara line, an Ecuadorian Connecticut cigar that took off relatively well at retail.

Now, MBombay has followed up KeSara with a more prestige, limited edition version of this well-received cigar. Introducing the KeSara Vintage Reserve Nikka—a cigar with the same foundation as the original KeSara, but with 3 more years of age on the tobacco. Mel Shah wanted to bring back the KeSara that many enthusiasts loved, but with a more refined, richer smoking experience.

Vintage Reserve Nikka Breakdown

  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Deas Florado 2002
  • Binder: Ecuadorian Havana
  • Filler: Dominican & Peruvian (aged 3+ years)
  • Factory: Tabacos de Costa Rica (Costa Rica)
  • Production: Limited Edition (2,500 cigars)
  • Vitola: 6½” x 46 “Nikka”
  • Price: $12

The MBombay Vintage Reserve is a stunning cigar to look at—particularly in this special Nikka vitola (corona extra), the cigar bestows a vintage and exquisite personality. All MBombay cigars have a pigtail cap—which most cigar lovers find very attractive (thinking of you, Dirty Rat)—but this one also has a very nice, tightly closed foot. An attractive, silky smooth Ecuadorian wrapper conceals the cigar’s well-aged fillers, and a red, white, and gold ‘Magic Carpet’ band holds it all together.

Smoking Experience

The KeSara incorporates a special aging process for the cigar’s Ecuadorian wrapper, being stored in hybrid Sandalwood/Spanish Cedar coffins for up to 9 months. This is evident through a quick sniff of the wrapper, and sad to say it is impossible to cold draw this cigar (due to the closed foot).

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The pigtail cap took to cutting perfectly, and upon lighting the closed foot, it reveals a perfect draw of smoke. With that exceptional draw, comes a full blast of smooth, creamy flavor, thanks to that delicious, closed foot. After smoking to the normal wrapper-to-filler ratio, the cigar has a deep leather and pepper bomb, with strong earth and spices (slightly hot) with a just a touch of harshness.

After I let it cool down a bit, the body also simmers down to a low medium. Pepper, anise, some herbal spices, and leather still produce surprisingly strong flavor from this Connecticut wrapper. On the retro-hale, a smooth cream and earth finish off the palate nicely, with no harshness left on the finish.

MBombay KeSara Vintage Reserve Nikka smoking cigar

The draw continues to perform beautifully, having some resistance, but letting off enormous amounts of smoke. Due to the small ring size, it’s no surprise the burn is razor sharp, always having a nice, solid cherry on the end. The ash holds on rather well, although not tight at all.

At the halfway point, the body is up just a tick. Smoke continues to be in abundance, and flavors haven’t seen much change. An added sweet sugarcane has come up, along with coffee nuances on the finish. Nothing ‘transitional’ so far, but the flavors of the draw and retro-hale differ enough to keep me interested.

Down to the last inch of two, the cigar remains consistent. A continued slight increase in sweetness is about the only change that has happened. Flavor is somewhat complex though, offering a range of nuances from sweet, with a touch of coffee, to a creamier note, with an added spice kick on the retro-hale.

Would I smoke this again?

Without a doubt. This is some of my favorite attributes from a great cigar: perfect draw, perfect smoke output, and great flavor. Although nothing exciting happened as far as transitions go, it’s hard to get bored of a cigar with such superb smoke and flavor… not to mention, the MBombay is very attractive.

MBombay KeSara Vintage Reserve Nikka cigar review and rating

MBombay KeSara Vintage Reserve Nikka
The MBombay KeSara Vintage Reserve Nikka is a testament to the power of quality aging. An additional three years of age did wonders for the burn, smoke output, flavor, and overall enjoyment of the cigar. From what was already a good cigar, Mel Shah succeeded in improving its performance. And though it may not be quite as complex as others in the price range, it is surely a solid offering worthy a spot (or 5) in the enthusiast's humidor.
  • Perfect draw and burn
  • Smoke is thick and plentiful
  • Not very complex
91%Superb Construction
Reader Rating: (4 Votes)
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