Nearing the end of 2015, Atlantic Cigar Co. announced a special project they’d been working on with the renowned Garcia family, to be sold exclusively through the Atlantic online store.
Atlantic has focused the project’s theme on classic cigar heritage and traditional Cuban techniques, something the Garcias have become well-known for over the years. The Talavera name stems from Spain’s Talavera de la Reina, a city world-renowned for it’s ceramics, nicknamed “The City of Pottery”. Talavera produced the first jars used to package Cuban cigars in the 18th century and Atlantic has commissioned a limited number of jars from Talavera for this special project.
Not only this, but the cigars themselves have been rolled using traditional Cuban techniques (entubado, triple cap) and arrive “wet-packed” in the ceramic jars. This is a process used in many Cuban releases (also seen in many Tatuaje limited editions), where the cigars are rolled and packaged straight away; often placed into foil or burlap. This slows the fermentation process and allows the consumer to fully age the cigar themselves—making for a more consistent fermentation and allowing the experimentation of tasting the cigar at multiple stages in its fermentation.
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99
- Binder: Nicaraguan Habano (double binder)
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
- Production: Seasonal Release (500 jars for 2015)
- Vitola: 5⅝” x 46 Corona Extra
- Price: $7.15
The Talavera jar is as impressive as Atlantic has advertised, featuring a substantial size and elegant, vase-like shape, arching outwards at the base. On the interior you will find 21, 16, or 12 cigars, depending on your ring gauge of choice, with a cedar-lined bottom and humidity pack included. A ceramic jar presentation is always something to marvel—a collector’s piece (the cigars are also sold sans jar)—and Talavera does not disappoint.
Surprisingly, the cigar’s bands feature a silver and white color scheme—which I felt the whole presentation could’ve used a bit more unity—black/red bands or white jar, etc. The look and feel of the cigars themselves is top notch, as you’d expect, coming from the My Father factory. It feels like a medium roll, with a solid feel and no blemishes to be found. The wrapper is dark, with black and red hues—looking like an earthy, reddish clay.
When opening the jar, there is a noticeable ammonia aroma, as could be expected from the wet-pack packaging. But when examining an individual cigar, you’ll find heavier notes of wet rocks, musk, and even a little chocolate cookie dough (you heard that right…).
A big pepper flavor starts the festivities, it’s not super spicy (sting in the nostrils), more so a dull black pepper flavor on the palate. A refreshing mint note and campfire-like smokiness soon joins the mixture. The draw is virtually perfect (medium with a slight resistance), giving way to a more-than-sufficient smoke output. After a few puffs, the pepper acquires that spicy “sting” you’d expect, with coffee, earth, and toffee notes lingering around in the background.
The flavors seem to really open up around the 2-inch mark, taking on a nice complexity; with interesting nuances that will have you thinking on your feet, trying to pinpoint each note. The body is pretty intense, there are some heavy flavors to be detected here—at this point I’d peg it as medium/full and rising. Construction-wise, the cigar is top notch, with a dark brown, flakey ash that holds around 2.5″.
At the halfway point, the strength is noticeable—you can feel it in the tail end of the retrohale and back of the throat—though it isn’t too much to overpower the cigar’s flavors. The mintiness from before has taken on more of a menthol note in the retrohale and palate—it’s a clean, minty-fresh, lip-numbing sensation… and it’s good. A base of charred woods continues for most of the smoking experience, with added highlights of caramel, chocolate cookie dough, and (nearing the end) a Cubanesque musk and leather component.
Would I smoke this cigar again?
Yes. I enjoyed the concept behind this project and found the cigars I sampled very rich and flavorful, with no flavor components that were too raw (ammonia). Would this taste better with age? Probably, I think we’ll see a more balanced, refined experience with age—rounding out some of the high peeks of pepper and menthol. Of the 3 sizes, I preferred this Corona Extra—the larger ring gauges were fun as well, showing a more creamy and muted rendition of the cigar’s profile.
I was also impressed with the cigar’s burn time—which was easily 2+ hours! This was for the Corona Extra size, which is definitely more than your money’s worth.
- Full and interesting flavors
- Near-perfect draw
- Fun concept
- Ammonia smell
- Could use a bit more balance (should come with age)