Perdomo Cigars’ latest addition to their vast portfolio is officially titled Perdomo Estate Selección Vintage Limited Edition Box-Pressed, though many simply know it as Perdomo ESV. Like nearly all Perdomo cigars, the line is split into three variants: Connecticut, Sun Grown, and Maduro. It’s a brand that is near and dear to the Perdomo family, first debuting in 2005 in honor of the late Nick Perdomo, Sr. Over the years, Perdomo has brought out the ESV designation on three occasions (2005, 2016, and 2019), tweaking the look, shapes, and tobaccos for each new iteration.
The most recent incarnation of ESV was showcased in the summer of 2019, being somewhat underplayed at Perdomo’s booth presence for the annual IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas. The cigars’ eventual release arrived in a similarly quiet fashion in November. As the title states, the latest ESV is box-pressed for the first time. Conversely, the “Limited Edition” designation is somewhat of a misnomer, with the cigars now being produced on a continuous basis; however, the ESV is rolled in a much smaller production than the majority of Perdomo’s offerings.
Perdomo ESV Maduro Imperio Breakdown
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan (Cuban-Seed)
- Binder: Nicaraguan (Cuban-Seed)
- Filler: Nicaraguan (Cuban-Seed)
- Factory: Tabacalera Perdomo S.A. (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 6″ x 54 “Imperio”
- Price: $12.50 (MSRP)
The ESV now stands atop the Perdomo portfolio as the company’s most premium line. To accomplish this, the Perdomo family incorporates only the top five percent of tobaccos from their prized Finca Natalie Farm in Estelí, Nicaragua (named after Nick Perdomo, Jr.’s daughter). This farm is the latest addition to the Perdomos’ growing operations throughout Nicaragua, benefitting from especially volcanic soil as the farm sits in the crater remnants of an extinct volcano.
The Maduro variant of the Estate Selección Vintage uses Cuban-seed tobaccos throughout the wrapper, binder, and filler. As with a growing number of Perdomo’s blends, the wrapper portion undergoes further fermentation in spent bourbon barrels. Between the five sizes offered, 750,000 cigars were produced during the first batch, with limited production to follow as future harvests come of age.
- Regente: 5″ x 54 | $12.00
- Imperio: 6″ x 54 | $12.50
- Prestigio: 6½” x 54 | $13.00
- Aristocrata: 7″ x 54 | $13.50
- Phantom: 6½” x 60 | $14.00
The ESV series is packaged in much more elaborate boxes than the company’s usual look. These 20-count boxes are topped with grooved wood in a crisscross layout; this is most likely simply for esthetics but could also be used to rest cigars. There are also holographic stickers on the box’s lid and interior vista, made to match the cigar’s band design. The cigars are adorned with two bands—one showing the Perdomo insignia and the US capitol, as well as a smaller sub-band inscribed “ESV.” With a portion of the ink having a holographic look, the bands stand out in comparison to Perdomo’s other lines, although I can’t help but feel that thicker, matte-like paper and added embossing could’ve really distinguished the cigars as being of a different class from Perdomo.
Sized at 6″ x 54, the Imperio has a substantial feel to it. The box-press is fairly soft, housing what feels to be a medium to medium-plus bunch, which, despite the commanding stature, makes for a lighter weight than expected. The cigar’s Nicaraguan maduro wrapper can only be described as “classic maduro” in hue, having fine veins that all but blend into the surrounding leaf. The leaf is exceptionally toothy to the touch, and the bunch has a consistent feel throughout. On the nose, the wrapper’s aroma zips through the nostrils with notes of black licorice, earth, and tangy musk. The foot boasts barnyard leather, continued earth, and a touch of raisin sweetness. With a straight cut, the pre-light draw veers toward heavy flavors of earth, black pepper, and, again, raisins.
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The ESV Maduro lights up with a bit of a kick through the nostrils—nothing overwhelming, having a slight black pepper bite that is accompanied by oak and a quintessential maduro-like sweetness through the finish. This profile holds steady for the first half inch, feeling much more composed than the frantic changeups many cigars will exhibit in the same timespan. But the cigar eventually pulls back on the pepper and oak, seamlessly transitioning to a concoction of semi-sweet chocolate, mocha, cream, and an addicting sweetness that lingers for nearly 10 seconds when chewed (as you would a sip of bourbon).
Sparing no time for mild greetings, the profile can quickly be pegged as medium-full in flavor and overall body, with a medium-plus strength not far behind. Some samples, including the one primarily used for review, showed a slightly snug draw, which was not particularly bothersome, aside from the occasional double-puff. Even still, the cigar produces an above-average smoke output, seen not only through each exhale, but as a continuous, twisting stream of smoke from the cigar’s head and foot—oozing from the toro for some time (40 seconds, because it was amusing enough to be timed) after each draw.
The smoke is creamy and coats the palate, seeming to register first on the tip of the tongue (sweetness receptors), followed by the back sides (mouthwatering) and ever so slightly the front sides (saltiness) and back center (bitterness). Flavors remain consistent, gradually expanding to include chocolate-vanilla (like Swiss Miss hot chocolate powder), gobs of mineral-rich soil, and chocolate-covered caramels—all accompanied by a campfire-like room aroma. The burn line is wavy but maintains itself through the majority of the session, requiring light touchups here and there. On some samples, a re-light or two were required due to some tunneling issues.
The smoke temperature is notably cool through the majority of the experience, at times allowing for cool mint or mountainous pine-like nuances. As mentioned, the profile is largely consistent, but after the halfway point, it’s abundantly clear that it has become locked into its preferred groove. This is a pleasant, repeating cycle of earth, chocolate, sweetness; earth, chocolate, sweetness; eventually breaking the pattern to showcase black licorice, root, and a syrupy sweetness that ties together like root beer concentrate. The ESV Maduro starts heavy and finishes heavier, rounding out at full in flavor and body and just shy of full in strength.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
I have and I will. While on the pricey side, Perdomo ESV Maduro manages to prove its worth, delivering an incredible amount of balanced flavor with just the right amount of natural sweetness. This is a cigar that knows its strengths and plays to them well.
- Only 133 retailers across the US have access to the ESV line (less than four percent of Perdomo-appointed tobacconists).
- The original 2005 ESV release used tobaccos from the 1991 harvest and were purchased by Nick Perdomo, Sr., giving the cigars their ESV 1991 moniker.
- The Perdomo Estate Selección Vintage Maduro recently became the first Perdomo to rank on Cigar Dojo’s year-end list, taking the No. 9 Cigar of the Year.
- I find the ESV Sun Grown and Maduro to be neck and neck (with the Connecticut being good but lagging behind the former two), often coming down to the current mood or situation as to which I prefer.
- All sizes except for the 6½” x 60 Phantom feature a 54 ring gauge.
- Flavor: Full
- Strength: Medium-full
- Body: Full
- Black pepper
- Smoke Time: 2 hours
- Pairing Recommendation: Root beer | Milk stout | Booker’s Bourbon | Milk and brownies
- Purchase Recommendation: Box
- Long smoking time
- Long-lasting sweetness
- Exceptional balance
- Some touchups and re-lights
- Can get slightly charry near the nub
- Slightly snug draw on some samples