1502 is the brainchild of Enrique Sánchez, founder of parent company Global Premium Cigars. The brand is an homage to Nicaragua, named for the year of its discovery by Christopher Columbus.

For years, 1502 focused its efforts on a clear-cut lineup of 3 cigars, featuring 3 different strength profiles, highlighting the use of primarily Nicaraguan tobaccos. The line received its first extension in 2014, with the 1502 Nicaragua—showcasing a Nicaraguan puro, complete with the four major growing regions of Nicaragua.

But it wasn’t until 2015 that the brand introduced its first limited edition cigar, 1502 XO—which saw its official release earlier this month.

1502 XO Breakdown

  • Wrapper: N/A
  • Binder: N/A
  • Filler: N/A
  • Factory: Plasencia Cigars, S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Production: Limited Edition (1,502 boxes of 10 cigars)
  • Vitola: 6″ × 50 Toro
  • Price: $17.75

1502 XO once again incorporates Nicaraguan tobaccos (though Sánchez won’t disclose quantity or position in the cigar) and is crafted at the esteemed Plasencia Cigars, S.A. in Estelí. But what really sets the cigar apart from the 1502 lineup, the feature for which the cigar is named, is its use of 18-year-aged tobacco in the blend. And while it isn’t known how it’s used, Enrique goes as far as to say it isn’t the wrapper.

If you’re a fan of cognac or rum, you’ll recognize the XO name, meaning “extra old”—these are typically the highest quality versions of the spirits. This is no doubt 1502’s most premium blend to date as well, fetching a premium of around $18 per stick. Only 1,502 boxes of 10 have been made (Enrique is a man who loves his numbers!) and both boxes and cigars are numbered (1 – 1,502 & 1 – 15,020 respectively).


1502 XO 2016 Toro cigar
The cigars have a premium look to match their price tag, with light veins, near-invisible seams, and overall solid construction. Keeping with the 1502 theme, they are box-pressed, having a rather square, defined press. With a very light weight, it feels as though they are lightly packed. The wrapper has a muted sheen and a very smooth texture, showing a reddish, clay-like maduro hue. Keeping with 1502 standards, the wrapper is partially extended over the cigar’s foot, which Enrique refers to as the “cigar lock“.

On the nose, there are notes of aged rum, paper, light tobacco, and stone fruit. And with a pre-light draw, there is an intense, unmistakable essence of Cherry Coke—it even has a tingling sensation, similar to the soda’s fizziness.

Smoking Experience

Lighting up, it’s quickly evident this is a very rich, decadent, dessert-like smoke. To say it’s sweet would be an understatement—but thankfully it’s not a fake, mouth-puckering sweetness—it has a bold and rich base to give it the feeling of an adult dessert. The smoke texture is silky smooth, producing a medium smoke output through a near-perfect draw (having a medium-plus resistance). It’s a heavy smoke on the tongue—almost syrupy, akin to the mouthfeel of high gravity beers, such as a Belgian Strong.

Specifically speaking, flavors are of fruit punch, chocolate, vanilla cream (on the finish), cherries, and a light, fizz-like spiciness in the retrohale. I’d describe this conglomeration of flavors as Chocolate Cherry Cordials—fruity on the inside but dark and sweet on the outside. Keep in mind, the profile is very refined, this tastes like a $20+ cigar. It’s clearly flavor-forward, with all of its eggs being placed in that basket. The body is medium-light and strength is around the same.

1502 XO 2016 Toro cigar review

Occasionally, I like to play around with different puffing styles to se if it alters the experience. For XO, a quick triple puff seemed to show a less silky smoke, with more big and gritty flavors, an amped-up body, and added notes of chocolate and spiciness. These are somewhat common traits, but this is often accompanied by a harsh and unwanted flavors from the overly heated tobaccos—this was not the case with XO.

Additional flavors come in the form of aged rum, citrus/orange peel, and aged tobacco (no surprise there). There is also a nice aroma from the cigar’s head—sweet and floral. I’d say this qualifies as an inhalable smoke, which you don’t often find in maduros. The strength increases quite a bit nearing the end, but never goes past around medium-plus. The final third retains most of the aforementioned profile, tossing in notes of Crème brûlée; but mostly darker, heavier versions of prior flavors throughout the smoke.

Beverage Pairing
I may have inadvertently (or not-so inadvertently) stumbled across the greatest cigar/beer pairing known to man… Okay that’s a tad much, but I do feel the need to showboat this a bit. Firestone XIX Anniversary Ale, featuring a special blend of 4 different barrel-aged beers, blended by winemakers, met its match with the 1502 XO. This 13.8% barrel-aged beast was a bit heavier than the cigar, though they both possessed similar qualities of sugary sweetness, stone fruit, chocolates and refined character. The beer brings out complex coffee notes from the smoke, with added creaminess and fullness to the texture.

Would I smoke this cigar again?

Clearly. This was a very surprising maduro for me. Sure, it boasts 18-year-aged tobaccos, but every $15+ cigar has some crazy stat to support its luxurious price. This is a rare case where I fully endorse the purchase, even a box purchase, at such a price point. I don’t usually find this level of complexity in a maduro cigar, but this could compete with many of our highest-rated cigars.

Was there any negatives? Barely. The most obvious was a few touchups it required throughout, though I feel it probably would be fine with a few more months acclimation. Also, the final third wasn’t near as impressive as the first two, though still nothing to scoff at. I really get the feeling this is prime material for long-term aging, but that’s a discussion for another time.

1502 XO cigar review and rating

1502 XO
1502 waited patiently for their first limited edition smoke and boy did it pay off! Silky-smooth smoke texture flows effortlessly from a near-perfect draw, giving creamy and highly complex flavors one would expect from a cigar of this stature. While many $15+ cigars are luxurious in price only, this is not the case with 1502 XO—showing off its 18-year-aged tobaccos to their best potential.
  • Silky smooth texture
  • Highly refined, mature profile
  • Dessert-like sweetness
  • Multiple touchups
  • Final third didn't live up to high standards of first two thirds
94%Chocolate Cherry Cordial
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