Since 1865, the Plasencia family has been growing tobacco and (more recently) producing cigars for 30-plus prominent third-party companies, numbering over 40 million cigars per year. It was only two years ago (2017) that the fifth generation of the Plasencia family created their own eponymous brand (previous attempts had been made to little avail). For the first time in 150 years, the venerable family’s name—now known as Plasencia Cigars—is becoming recognized by the casual cigar smoker.
With Cosecha 146, this particular release is based on a specific crop season, as Cosecha is the Spanish word for harvest. The 146 recognizes the 146th anniversary of the Plasencia’s first crop, harvested in Cuba in 1865. This cigar consists entirely of Criollo ’98, grown on the Plasencia’s farms in Honduras and Nicaragua during the 2011-’12 crop year. Says Nestor Plasencia, CEO of Plasencia Cigars, “We choose the 2011–2012 crop for its excellent yield in terms of quality in all the areas where the tobaccos in the blend were grown. The weather was great to us.”
Personally, I’m surprised that we don’t see more of this in the cigar world. We have a few cigar makers that will label the date the cigars are made (aside from Cuba, where all boxes are dated), but we rarely know what year the specific tobaccos are from. Wouldn’t it be neat if you could buy a box of your favorite cigars, knowing that the tobaccos were from an exceptional harvest year? I think this is a great concept and I hope it takes hold moving forward in the industry as a whole.
Cosecha 146 La Vega Breakdown
- Wrapper: Honduras (Criollo ’98)
- Binder: Nicaragua (Criollo ’98)
- Filler: Nicaragua (Criollo ’98) | Honduras (Criollo ’98)
- Factory: Tabacos de Oriente S.A. (Honduras)
- Production: Limited
- Vitola: 5¼” × 52 (Robusto Gordo)
- Price: $12.00 (MSRP)
Due to the nature of this release, the cigars are technically limited in production, as the Plasencias will only be able to produce Cosecha 146 so long as the tobaccos of the 146th harvest remain. That being said, with an operation as large as theirs, the cigars can essentially be considered regular production for the foreseeable future.
While Cosecha 146 is on the high end of the price spectrum in today’s market (beginning above $10), the cigars rank among the low end for Plasencia Cigars as a whole, priced between $11 and $14:
- La Musica: 5″ x 50 | $11.00 (MSRP)
- La Vega: 5¼” x 52 | $12.00 (MSRP)
- San Agustin: 6¼” x 52 (torpedo) | $13.50 (MSRP)
- San Luis: 5¾” x 54 | $13.50 (MSRP)
- Monte Carlo: 6″ x 58 | $14.00 (MSRP)
It’s brown. Super brown. Like just plain brown. Very uniformly brown… The leaf is smooth; no tooth to be felt; with a shine that is more resultant of the slickness than any visible oil. There are lots of lumps under the wrapper, however, with tight seams and an overall attractive appearance.
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From the foot: aromas are of cinnamon and cherry candy—a fresh-cracked pack of menthol cigarettes. The menthol note is serious. Flavors from the pre-light draw are creamy, cocoa, light floral, and sweet.
The draw is spot on, even on a sample that had substantial wrapper damage on the head. I love the pungent, spicy beginning. The better portion of the pepper notes are present in the retrohale, while the tongue receives the sensation, without much of the flavor. There’s something happening here flavor-wise that I haven’t figured out, but I really enjoy it. It’s really mouth-watering, kind of like those spicy/sour Tajín salt packets that the kids love. I’m reminded of tonic water, with a delectable sour-bitter flavor. For a while, I am reminded of spicy tamarind candy, but creamier and smokier. The cigar shows a flawless burn, and the solid ash falls off at about 22 minutes, so I’ll call that the end of the first third. It’s a very interesting, unique flavor profile throughout the first third, with a lot of complexity that really has me paying attention. The strength is neither lacking nor excessive, backed by a good amount of flavor, and something of a thinner body—just under medium.
This cigar is really giving me a ride. Into the second third there’s something very familiar, recalling my early days of smoking back in the early/mid ’90s. In this cigar, particularly in the middle portion, I can taste the special creaminess, toastiness, nuttiness, and the (for lack of a better term) terroir that I remember from those days gone by. In fact, with my first sample of this cigar, before I’d learned its credentials, I had assumed that it was a Nicaraguan puro like the very highly rated Alma Fuerte. Yet, while reminiscent of those early days of my smoking career, this cigar really steps up the complexity, mostly in the way of this spicy Mexican-candy top note. At the end of the second third, I’m (still) not noticing strength, or a lack thereof (that’s balance). The body is probably an official medium at this point, but the flavor practically contradicts that aspect, as it is capital “I” Intense.
I wouldn’t use the term “sweet” to describe this blend, yet it’s there if you look for it. It’s akin to a lemon, in a sense. Did you know that lemons have more sugar, per weight, than strawberries? But you never really think of a lemon as sweet, right? It’s kind of the same thing happening here. Creaminess ramps up midway through the final third, which I find very welcome. As interesting and complex and tasty as this blend is, I still find myself wanting more… in a good way, mostly. I’m kind of craving some roundness, something darker, be it chocolate or coffee or something of that ilk. With the additional creaminess comes an increase in body; and the final portion of the cigar finishing with a slight kick of strength to go on the plus side of medium as well. Flavor is still firmly in the red. The final smoke time is a relatively quick (for me) hour and 25 minutes. Not once did this cigar need a touch up, and the burn was very straight throughout.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
I very much enjoyed this cigar, and it kept me engaged throughout the entire experience. However, it’s as if this blend is so unique, I just don’t know what to do with it at times… but then, if it were to conform to the standards of more familiar smoking experiences, it wouldn’t be as worthy of discussion. I feel like I’m trying to describe what “Zen” is when trying to say why I liked this cigar. I had an experience akin to an artist or chef, where my creation didn’t turn out the way I intended, but the result was better than what I was originally striving for. I don’t know that I’d recommend this cigar to a novice, but for the seasoned smoker, it is a wild ride that will really challenge your palate in the best way. With potential for creative pairings, I will definitely enjoy these again in the future.
- Elaborating on the Honduran tendencies of ’90s-era Honduran smoking experiences: Honduran cigars were all the rage back then, as Nicaragua hadn’t really caught hold of the market yet. Like Cuba, there was an embargo against Nicaraguan products up until 1990. During the time of the Sandinistas, many of the cigar-producing fields were burned or seized, with more profitable cigarette tobacco planted. It was quite a while before the cigar industry was up and running again in Nicaragua. During that time, neighboring Honduras became the hot spot, and was the de facto home for the Plasencia farms and factory.
- Flavor: Full
- Strength: Medium
- Body: Medium / Medium-plus
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: A not-too-piney IPA | Tonic water | Topo Chico with Tajín on the side
- Purchase Recommendation: At least a fiver
- Great construction
- Incredibly unique
- Might be too much for a novice to appreciate
- Uniqueness of profile can be jarring and unexpected