Vertical integration. In microeconomics and management, vertical integration is an arrangement in which the supply chain of a company is owned by that company. Usually, each member of the supply chain produces a different product or (market specific) service, and the products combine to satisfy a common need.
Flashback to 1998, where Eduardo Fernández had the dream to grow the finest tobacco in the world—tobacco that captured the very essence of Cuban cigars of old. More than 20 years and countless awards later, Aganorsa Leaf—i.e. the fruition of Fernández’s dream— is renowned throughout the world of premium cigars for its signature flavor, remarkably possessing the great attributes of Nicaraguan terroir along with classic Cuban aroma and flavor.
Introduced at the 2020 Tobacco Plus Expo in Las Vegas, Supreme Leaf is described by the company as “[a] Nicaraguan puro intended to excite the palate with a complex balance of mouthwatering sweetness and potent spice.”
Supreme Leaf Breakdown
- Wrapper: Corojo ’99 (Nicaragua)
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Factory: Aganorsa Leaf (Nicaragua)
- Production: Limited (5,000 cigars for initial run)
- Vitola: 5″ × 52 (Box-pressed Robusto)
- Price: $9.95 (MSRP)
Aganorsa Leaf Supreme Leaf was crafted using tobaccos exclusively harvested from the AGANORSA fields of Nicaragua. The cigars boast a Corojo ’99 wrapper and an all-Nicaraguan interior that is only generally described as being Corojo ’99 dominant. Supreme Leaf was first showcased at TPE 2020 in a singular box-pressed robusto format, with a limited allotment of 500 boxes of 10 cigars (though the company has intimated that more cigars will be rolled for additional shipments) later shipping to retailers in early March.
There’s simply no getting around the jarring presentation of Supreme Leaf. Terence Reilly, vice president of sales and marketing, goes as far as to say, “You don’t use colors like this unless you are confident in the product.” Just looking at the box, with an atypically vibrant color scheme of purple and orange, you get the sense you are in for a unique experience. It’s a look that has been predictably polarizing since the introduction of the brand, undoubtedly attracting attention whether it be positive or not.
The Corojo ’99 wrapper on these cigars is a very attractive dark brown, having a nice oily sheen that glistens when held to sunlight. The attention to detail is apparent immediately, showing virtually flawless outer construction (including invisible seams and a well-placed cap), which is backed by a firm feel, having just the slightest amount of give. The aroma coming from the closed foot is a mix of graham cracker, espresso, and earth; while the retrohale, restricted slightly by the closed foot, offers a note of white pepper, oak, and earth.
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The first few puffs of this cigar send an immediate signal to the senses. A blast of white pepper, dark chocolate, oak, and raisin hit the palate like a freight train, putting the cigar right into the medium/full category from the start. The retrohale is a combination of black pepper, barnyard, and graham crackers. The draw is extremely appealing, allowing these flavors to hit the palate easily without multiple puffs. There is a noticeable sweetness hitting the tongue about an inch into the cigar. This sweetness hangs out right in the front and middle of the tongue, playing very nicely with the spiciness of the pepper and oak.
Moving along, the burn on this cigar has the jury out, with some samples requiring no less than a touchup, while others demanded close monitoring every step of the way. Through a pleasing draw resistance, a nice heavy smoke output adds to the enjoyment of the smoking experience.
Getting further into it, there is the addition of espresso and salted caramel to the flavor profile, livening the front and sides of the tongue, while the raisin and oak remain and become the dominant flavors. The black pepper on the retrohale has tamed a little bit, but is still dominant, now joined by cinnamon and graham cracker sweetness. The cigar finishes with the salted caramel as the dominant note, with the espresso, pepper, raisin, and oak flavors solidly in the game.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
That’s a yes from me. Though limited in production, I am happy I was able to hoard a few to enjoy down the road. But with Aganorsa describing the debut as an “initial run,” odds are that smokers will be afforded a chance or two more at this striking robusto. Carrying a darker profile than Aganorsa’s familiar range, it will be very interesting to see how Supreme Leaf will be with some age on it.
- Supreme Leaf began shipping to retailers in early March 2020.
- As of this writing, Supreme Leaf has sold out at all major online retailers, with Finck Cigar Company being the last remaining online retailer with supply.
- Flavor: Medium-full
- Strength: Medium-plus
- Body: Medium / Full
- White Pepper
- Graham Cracker
- Salted Caramel
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Bourbon | Root beer | Medium-roast coffee (black)
- Purchase Recommendation: Box purchase (if you can find them)
- Rich, sometimes full flavors
- Excellent draw
- Atypical profile within Aganorsa's portfolio
- Burn inconsistencies between samples smoked for review
- Lacks complexity or "it factor" component, struggling to keep my attention at times