Villiger Cigars has come fresh off the heels of a very successful 2017 year—including top 10 cigar of the year designations from Cigar Dojo and Cigar Aficionado—and has decided to take a victory lap, of sorts, with the La Vencedora. The cigar’s name translates to “The Victor,” marking the first followup to 2017’s award-winning La Flor De Ynclan cigar.
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La Vencedora Toro Breakdown
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Factory: ABAM Cigars S.A. (Dominican Republic)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 6″ x 50 Toro
- Price: $9.50 (MSRP)
Villiger La Vencedora was announced in January 2018, building on the success of La Flor De Ynclan and simultaneously commemorating the company’s impressive 130th anniversary with Villiger’s first-ever full-bodied offering. To accomplish this, Villiger opted to use a Nicaraguan puro blend, finished with a dark Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro wrapper. Despite the Nicaraguan influence, La Vencedora is rolled at Villiger’s usual ABAM Cigars factory in the DR.
While the cigars are billed as a followup to La Flor De Ynclan, there are no shared tobacco qualities. For example, La Flor De Ynclan was noted for its vintage tobaccos (said to be aged over a decade) within the blend.
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The cigar’s look is very similar to the Ynclan brand, using the same basic structure but swapping the Ynclan’s blue background and white text for charcoal and chrome. The boxes are simple, using a hinged lid and a flat black exterior. The overall look is slightly understated but it is fitting and familiar for purchasers of the original.
The cigar has a nice appearance, beginning with the wrapper; which is slightly darker than Colorado Rosado, having red/orange undertones. There is a fine tooth (like 300-grit sandpaper) across the wrapper’s surface, with no noticeable signs of oils. On one particular sample, the wrapper looked to have been applied rather tight, showing stretch marks on the seams. The cigar’s bunch felt about medium, showing no soft spots from head to toe.
On the wrapper, the aroma is fairly aggressive, zipping through the nostrils with smokey and heavy woods (perhaps maple) and some nostalgic elements that have me thinking of an old garage; where oil and diesel have commingled with the various woods, dust, and sawdust. The foot is different, yet equally intense, showing notes of brown sugar, raw tobacco, and molasses. The pre-light draw is on the firm side (9/10), offering more notes of raw tobacco and smoked wood.
A lot of times a cigar will light up with harsh notes that are akin to burning brush before settling in with a more complete profile… this is not the case with La Vencedora. The cigar’s smoke bursts onto the palate with heavy, deep, and syrupy flavors that strike the front and back/sides of the taste buds (sweet and acidic, respectively). There is a dark sweetness, like Sugar in the Raw (as opposed to your average bleached-white granules), joined by oak, dried stone fruit, and rehydrated tobacco (compact bales of tobacco are rehydrated for flexibility before being rolled and have a deep aroma). Surprisingly, the cigars are not overly spicy (being Nicaraguan puro), only showing a touch of black pepper in the nostrils.
Thankfully, as the cigar burns the draw loosens, settling at a slightly-too-tight 7.5/10 in resistance. This makes for a relatively low smoke output, though the big flavors do not seem hampered. The toro burns extremely well, with a straight char line and flakey, medium-gray ash—which builds for three-quarters to one and a quarter inches. In the first inch, the profile is roughly medium-plus in flavor, medium-light in strength, and medium-bodied overall.
As indicated from much of the raw tobacco notes in the aroma/pre-light-draw, there is a noticeable characteristic of pipe tobacco. The smoke is chewy and almost cheek-puckering from the acidic sweetness. The profile is backed by additional flavors of smoked maple and hickory, as well as a short, clean finish.
In the final portion, the cigar showed its first sign of burn imperfection, canoeing slightly near the band and requiring a quick touchup. The cigar also seemed to require double or triple puffs to produce the desired amount of smoke. Added spices of cinnamon and black pepper help to balance a profile that verges on too sweet. These spices intensify to form nostril-stinging horseradish and even verge on harsh in the cigar’s final moments—ending with a medium flavor, strength, and body.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
I’m not going to start preaching this as the next big thing, but yes, I will certainly save a few of these in the humidor—perhaps a monthly smoking choice. I’m not quite sold that this is a “full-bodied” experience from Villiger (around medium overall for me, personally), but this is a subjective quality and I could see it being up there for newer smokers. The cigar is flavor-forward and primarily sweet, and with its easily detected flavor notes, I’d primarily recommend it to newer smokers that are looking to expand their smoking repertoire.
Villiger has made a select number of La Vencedora-branded bottles of Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack and included a bottle to be paired with review samples. GJ is not among my usual rotation of whiskeys, being a bit too mild for my palate. The bourbon has a nose of citrus and vanilla, with a thin mouthfeel and sweet notes of vanilla, honey, and bubblegum. It was an okay pairing with the cigar, adding to the already-sweet profile with an intense marshmallow characteristic. In my opinion, I would’ve preferred a rye-based whiskey to contrast the cigar’s sweet profile a bit.
- Flavor: Medium-Plus
- Strength: Medium
- Body: Medium
- Raw Sugar
- BBQ-Smoked Wood
- Pipe Tobacco
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Kentucky Straight Rye, San Pellegrino, American Amber Ale
- Purchase Recommendation: 5-pack
- Easily detected sweet flavors
- Great burn
- Fitting price point
- Draw is a bit firm
- Profile can become monotonous
- Low smoke output