Since partnering with the Fernández family and their associated factory and farms in 2014—beginning with the Flor del Valle brand—there has been no looking back for Warped Cigars. Nearly every cigar released by Warped in the years following has shared the common traits of (a) using all-Nicaraguan tobaccos; (b) using the Fernández family’s signature AGANORSA tobaccos throughout the entire blend; and (c) being rolled at the Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA) factory in Nicaragua.
Statistically, the Warped Serie Gran Reserva 1988 shares all three attributes, relying on subtle refinements and an exhaustive selection process to set itself apart from former Warped puros made at the same factory. According to company owner Kyle Gellis, this included venturing outside of his familiar selection process within the AGANORSA fields, carefully selecting specific farms, lots, and primings not seen on previous Warped blends. When the cigar first appeared at IPCPR 2017, it had already been under development for roughly 20 months; add to this the eventual year-long delay (allowing the cigars an extra year of age) for the final release, and the Serie Gran Reserva 1988 becomes one of the company’s most significant offerings to date.
The Serie Gran Reserva 1988 differs from the conventional style of offering a range of sizes within a core-line brand (a little something for everyone, is the logic), instead launching the blend in a singular, 5¼” × 50 robusto format. Warped has been known to be very selective of their sizes in the past—almost never deviating from traditional, Cuban-inspired formats—a strategy that we’ve long been supportive of. This ensures the cigar should perform exactly as intended (like ordering chef’s choice on the tasting menu), offering the ideal draw and profile for any given blend (at least in theory). With Serie Gran Reserva 1988’s choice selection of Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo tobaccos, paired with a pre-loaded year’s worth of aging and surprisingly low price point, the cigar certainly lived up to its long wait. The experience is, foremost, extremely well-balanced, never leaning too far or lingering too long on any given flavor. Instead, it builds slowly, adding components of aromatic spices/herbs, medium-roast coffee beans, deep brown sugar, buttered toast, juicy fruit, and oak as the cigar evolves. This is joined by a lip-smacking saltiness from the cigar’s head, making for a complex experience overall—being one of the best pound-for-pound offerings in recent memory.
Serie Gran Reserva 1988 Breakdown
- Wrapper: Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Factory: TABSA (Nicaragua)
- Production: Small Batch / Regular Production
- Vitolas: 1
- Price: $9.00 (MSRP)