Dilegua, o notte!
— Giacomo Puccini’s Opera “Turandot” —
Let me add more to the paradigm that is me as the person. For readers of my reviews, it should be apparently obvious—I love quotes. From my bio, you know I love history. I’m a huge classic literature fan, especially Shakespeare. But, in my early twenties I started listening to opera. My sister worked for an opera company for a time and I worked in the music library while in college. Puccini’s Turandot has been one of my favorites because of its ridiculous plot and amazing arias.
The quote above translates to:
Vanish, o night!
Set, stars! Set, stars!
At dawn, I will win!
I will win! I will win!
While the context of this song is of no correlation, the name of A.C.E. Prime’s Luciano The Traveler had me thinking about amazing opera. This aria excerpt arose as I was putting together the final touches on this review. Luciano Meirelles, A.C.E. Prime’s co-founder and this cigar’s blender, helped put together a winning team built out of a historically quiet factory. As far as the average cigar hobbyist was concerned, Tabcalera Pichardo’s only previous known project had been the Crowned Heads Juarez, announced only a few short months before A.C.E. Prime made its debut.
Meirelles’s blend consists of some unique usage of Pelo de Oro (also written Pelo d’Oro) tobacco. Translating to hair of gold, Pelo de Oro is a prized varietal that is offset by a higher propensity for mold and thus lower yields and higher cost. The leaf is therefore rarely used in today’s market, occasionally being incorporated into ultra-premium and limited-edition cigars. So, when Luciano Meirelles revealed his prized Luciano The Traveler cigar to contain Pelo de Oro nearly exclusively throughout the blend, cigar enthusiasts were understandably intrigued.
Luciano The Traveler Breakdown
- Wrapper: Sumatra (Ecuador)
- Binder: Pelo de Oro (Ecuador)
- Filler: Pelo de Oro (Ecuador | Peru)
- Factory: Tabalera Pichardo (Nicaragua)
- Production: Limited
- Vitola: 7″ × 46 (Churchill)
- Price: $17.00 (MSRP)
Luciano The Traveler features an Ecuadorian Sumatran wrapper, but that is just the beginning. The binder is also Ecuadorian but is a Pelo de Oro varietal. Additionally, the filler consists entirely of Pelo de Oro from both Ecuador and Peru. The cigar arrives in a singular 7″ × 46 format that A.C.E. Prime describes as “a hybrid of corona gorda and churchill.”
The cigar’s contents may be of the rarest and finest quality, but from outward appearance, this limited-production cigar does not immediately stand out. The wrapper has little sheen from oils and has a dark brown tint that reminds me of my favorite boots. Ironically, the texture is leathery. The label has a simple “Luciano” emblazoned in a serif, white-colored font on a matte black background. While the texture of the wrapper is leathery, the tooth is low. The aroma coming off the unlit foot and body of the cigar is peppery, with sweet hints of milk and clove. My customary guillotine cut reveals a rich walnut flavor with earthy and black pepper hints.
Click images below for full resolution
I went classic with the lighting of this cigar, opting for the slow-toasting qualities of a match. Immediately, the sound of the flame touching the tobacco drowns out any ambient distractions. The draw begins a little tight but opens quickly into the first portion of the cigar. The initial flavors are decadent yet nuanced, with dominant cream and black pepper notes that are complemented by hints of walnuts and lemon zest.
The ash isn’t solid, but it’s not brittle either. It holds a consistent quarter to half-inch before it falls. Despite the pre-light experience, the draw opens considerably and pleasantly as the cigar progresses. The walnut note rises in notoriety as the cigar’s creaminess really begins to envelop the black pepper notes. The clove that was initially found on the pre-light aroma remains on the smoke’s aroma and it is entrancing. The bright notes of lemon zest are replaced by a balanced sweetness in the form of fig fruit.
Luciano The Traveler finishes extremely well. I’ve seen many cigars with brittle-to-fragile ash burn hotter and, therefore, have a propensity for finishing acrid. This was not the case with the Luciano—the rich walnut note held consistently throughout. Finally, the black pepper that dominated in the beginning—but faded towards the middle of the cigar—has now re-emerged, providing great depth and balance.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Absolutely. However, with its limited production and low-yielding tobacco contents, I imagine that may be harder and harder to come by with time.
- Flavor: Medium-full / Full
- Strength: Medium
- Body: Medium
- Black pepper
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Macchiato | Cream ale | Baileys Original Irish Cream | Parmesan and Manchego cheeses
- Purchase Recommendation: Box
- Decadent nuance
- Extremely balanced
- Consistent complexity
- Fragile wrapper
- Firm draw to start
- Loose ash