Like all things that have been experienced, revisiting them has benefits and cons. Revisiting an attractive girlfriend that may not be as alluring anymore (well, neither are we), rediscovering a car that you couldn’t afford as a teenager, or even a brew or libation that you didn’t have the palate for because you were too busy chugging forties and Mad Dogs (are these universal truths or was this just me?). In this myriad of objects and suductions comes the Partagas 1845 Clásico—a reimagining of the 2012 brand of the same name. The original blend marked General Cigar Company’s largest-ever cigar launch at the time—made to offer a more rich and modernized experience, compared to traditional Partagas cigars. After this initial offering, two more blends were created in the 1845 series: Extra Fuerte (intended for brick & mortar sales) and Extra Oscuro (offered online and in catalogues). The three cigars were then completely re-blended and re-banded and introduced at the IPCPR trade show in 2017.
When the Partagas 1845 originally debuted, the cigar’s key attraction (aside from a modern appearance and bolder flavor profile) was the inclusion of filler tobaccos that had been aged in Dominican rum barrels. While this process is somewhat common in today’s premium cigar market, the concept was thought to be somewhat groundbreaking at the time. For Partagas 1845 Clásico, the barrel-aging concept has been retained, albeit switching from Dominican rum barrels on the former blend (used in the filler) to whiskey barrels in the modern rendition (incorporated on the Ecuadorian wrapper leaf).
Partagas 1845 Clásico Breakdown
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
- Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
- Filler: Nicaragua (Estelí) | Dominican Republic (Piloto Cubano)
- Factory: General Cigar Dominicana (Dominican Republic)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 5″ × 50 (Robusto)
- Price: $6.29 (MSRP)
The original Partagas 1845 blend used a Nicaraguan and Dominican filler blend (with the Dominican tobaccos being aged in Dominican rum barrels), a Connecticut Habano binder, and an Ecuadoran Habano Viso wrapper. The new 1845 Clásico retains a similar filler recipe, swaps the binder for Connecticut Broadleaf, and the Habano wrapper for Sumatra.
Aside from the blend changes, other upgrades include new packaging designs, packaging quantities (moving from 20-count to 25-count boxes), and lower price points. The 1845 Clásico comes in 4 sizes: Robusto (5″ x 50), Toro (6″ x 52), Churchill (7″ x 49), and Gigante (6″ x 60).
The boxes are sexy and classy and the lettering just pops, using gold foil lettering and the understated (black on black) imagery of an eagle’s wing, paired with something that resembles the superhero Flash’s crest… hopefully this doesn’t mean the cigar burns quickly.
The wrapper is a dark chocolate hue and somewhat oily to the touch. I counted two caps on the samples I received. Although the cigar was mostly firm to the touch, it was loose on the cap and had a construction issue where the wrapper looked like it may become undone. It also had four substantial veins and an overall rough construction. The aroma was positive, smelling of dark cocoa, bitter expresso, and oaked whisky.
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Because of the strange construction on the head, I went the safe route and did a narrow V-cut instead of a guillotine cut (this puts less pressure on the cigar’s shape). The cold draw had flavors of white pepper, earthy cocoa, and white chocolate. After lighting, the smoking draw was agreeable and did not give me issues in the early portions of the smoking experience. The first puffs introduced red pepper, anise, and additional cocoa (but a little deeper, like a 90 percent chocolate bar). The ash was white from the get-go and it had very little smoke—not an optimal start.
After about 10 minutes, the robusto started canoeing and became quite uneven. After my first touchup, the flavors started to change drastically into what I will term “gamey.” Have you ever had a bison burger or grilled lamb that was somewhat charred? This was very similar. The retrohale was sharp, showing zesty sensations of burnt peppercorn. The strength was medium with a long finish. At the end of the first third, coffee notes appeared with a sweet molasses aftertaste. Throughout this section, the aroma of the cigar was very interesting—a charred biscuit, similar to starting a BBQ except it was not smoky—definitely campfire smells but more subdued… falling short of the fire department running in to extinguish it.
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In the second third, flavors in the retrohale morphed into peanuts—salty, creamy peanuts that had me wanting to make a PB&J sandwich and down it with some fresh-squeezed milk. I’m lactose intolerant, but I didn’t care at that moment… The rest of the second third can be described as a combo of cream, sweet sun-drenched red pepper, molasses, sourdough bread, and a touch of cinnamon, with peanuts at the forefront. The second third is the sweet spot and this cigar’s superpower—I wish we could have stayed here, for the rating would have been higher.
The final third begins and the burn/ash begin to even out—I’m very excited for other tastes to evolve. But DAMN, I spoke too soon and the inevitable begins to unfold. It’s the same profile from before, but now the flavors become very bitter and charcoal removes the dream that was the second third. Strength-wise, the robusto is at a high medium but never goes the full nicotine pounce. The only new flavor that’s introduced is roasted vegetables, with the ash turning a tarry brown. The last third is not enjoyable at all and flavors become very acidic; I found myself spitting more than a sailor at a baseball game with his Kodiak snuff. This is where I stopped and finished the smoking experience because of all the chaotic burn issues. I didn’t get even close to nubbing it, since the last third was only smoked for about an inch before putting it out.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Maybe. I think I got a doozy, so I may give it another chance. I’m not sure I would age it as long before smoking it again (smoking samples contained roughly one year age). I know aging improves the performance of most cigars, but I feel that the barrel-aged wrapper may provide a little more punch in the range of three to four months.
- All three of the updated Partagas 1845 cigars (Clásico, Extra Fuerte, and Extra Oscuro) use essentially the same filler ingredients, which are centered around Nicaraguan tobaccos of the Estelí region and Dominican Piloto Cubano tobaccos.
- Cigars for review had just over one year age when smoked.
- When I received the robustos, the cigars sat in a new humidor that I had seasoned one month earlier. The cigars acclimated for 3 weeks at 65-70% relative humidity.
- The cigar’s bands are essentially the only portion of the Partagas 1845 series that were not updated.
- The band, although aesthetically pleasing, should not have been positioned sideways (in my opinion), as I find these bands both harder to remove and photograph.
- Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper leaves are aged for three months in (unspecified) whiskey barrels.
- Flavor: Medium
- Strength: Medium-Plus
- Body: Medium
- Bitter coffee
- Various pepper
- Gamey meat
- Roasted vegetables
- Smoke Time: 1 hour
- Pairing Recommendation: Bourbon, Root beer, Barrel-aged stout, Medium-roast coffee (black)
- Purchase Recommendation: 2 cigars (also recommend comparing to the other two blends)
Does a modern favorite improve with re-blending and re-branding? Maybe aging in rum as opposed to whisky had its merits. The original blend was not as complex in flavors as this newer blend, but it was consistent in flavors and well-constructed. It's too bad I don’t have one to compare it with in order to have them contest each other. The robusto has always been the size I gauge most cigars by, and it had moments of brilliance, but the canoeing was too much and putting that much effort and upkeep is not something I want to commit to. Cigar smoking is about experiencing a moment of relaxation; of tranquil Zen peace; where it's you and your libation and cigar, enjoying life. For me, Partagas 1845 Clásico felt like I was chasing that old crazy girlfriend all over the rodeo, ending in heartbreak and a depleted bank account.
In this case, it seems the complexity of good whisky does not beat the tried and true memory of smooth rum.
- Very rich and full flavors
- Good medium strength to compliment flavors
- Peanuts, can I get more Peanuts
- Burn was uneven for three-quarters of the smoking experience
- Touchups nightmare
- Brittle wrapper and bad overall construction