The third rendition of Perdomo Cigars’ ESV series debuted in the fall of 2019, officially listed under the banner Estate Selección Vintage Limited Edition Box-Pressed. The ESV designation was previously introduced in 2005, made in honor of the late Nick Perdomo, Sr. The cigars were released again in 2016, with each iteration receiving blend and packaging alterations. And while the latest offering has “Limited Edition” within the title, the cigars are now produced on a limited yet ongoing basis.

Perdomo ESV Connecticut Imperio Breakdown

  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
  • 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)

As Perdomo has been known to do, the ESV collection is offered in three varieties: Connecticut, Sun Grown, and Maduro. Each version of the ESV blend makes use of a similar core recipe of Cuban-seed Nicaraguan tobaccos; the Connecticut is the only blend to deviate from the all-Nicaraguan makeup, instead boasting an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper.

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.

Finishing touches for the blend include a secondary fermentation process for the cigars’ wrapper (spending time in oak barrels formerly containing Kentucky bourbon) and semi-box-pressed shapes for each of the five sizes offered:

  • 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

Appearance

All three versions of ESV have some of the most elaborate packaging to date from Perdomo, who handles the process themselves through a fully functioning box factory in Nicaragua. The boxes build on Perdomo’s usual feel, adding grooved cutouts throughout the lid that can be repurposed for resting cigars. The bands are large and incorporate a holographic-like print that changes in appearance when rotated against a light source. It’s an appropriate look to match the cigar’s status as Perdomo’s most luxurious offering.

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The ESV Connecticut’s wrapper is pale in comparison to the vibrant, golden hue Connecticuts sometimes exhibit. This leaf has a fine vein structure, though the seams are slightly loose running up to the head. The cigar’s soft-press has a nice feel in the hand, accompanied by a perfect springiness from head to toe when given the squeeze test—I’d describe it as a medium-plus bunch density. On the nose, the wrapper emits tangy aromas of musk, butterscotch, and cedar. The foot adds layers of raw baled tobacco and barnyard, also continuing the cedar essence. The pre-light draw feels virtually perfect, showing notes of cedar, orange rind, and lemon grass.

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Smoking Experience

Perdomo Estate Selección Vintage Limited Edition Box-Pressed Connecticut (that’s the last time I’m writing its full title, I promise) begins with bitterness on the tongue and a soft sting of white pepper through the nostrils, following through with buttered toast on the finish. This white pepper zing quickly ramps up to the point of bordering on horseradish—it’s a long sting, but a rewarding one at that. Meanwhile, a sweetness builds in the background, eventually presenting itself in a more identifiable fashion as vanilla and citrus, having an overall Tuaca liqueur-like vibe.

The cigar requires its first touchup at the half-inch mark, preventing the obstacle of a canoeing burn. It has a classic Connecticut bitterness to it, being nicely balanced by sweet and creamy flavors, including the introduction of heavily creamed coffee. Surprisingly, the ash accumulates in an especially dark shade, eventually holding on for an inch and a half. It’s a medium-bodied smoke that caters to flavor, with strength riding in the back at just under medium. Construction wise, the ESV shines in terms of draw, having just enough resistance to let you know it’s there, producing medium plumes of smoke on each draw.

Perdomo ESV Connecticut Imperio cigar smoking

Around the halfway mark, the smoke generally begins with barnyard characteristics of hay and leather, finishing with drawn-out notes of thick cream, butterscotch, and faint white chocolate sweetness. It isn’t an especially complex profile, but it is more concentrated and flavorful than an average Connecticut, being unquestionably well-balanced.

Mellow yet flavorful, the ESV Connecticut twists into the realm of sourdough and must upfront, occasionally hitting the palate with a surprising (for the cigar’s style) bitter espresso characteristic. The smoke covers a wide range of sensations over the palate, hitting the tip (sweetness) of the tongue first, followed by the front sides (saltiness), back-middle (bitterness), and back sides (acidity). A Cuban-esque twang moves to the front of the profile in the final stretch, accompanied by loads of buttered popcorn. This largely rides out through the toro’s completion, being joined by a big note of buttered roasted peanuts and toasted bread.

Perdomo ESV Connecticut Imperio cigar ash

Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?

Yes—it’s a no-brainer. Perdomo ESV Connecticut is balanced, easy-going, and concentrated enough to excite the palates of demanding enthusiasts. It’s best suited for mornings to afternoons, but could potentially handle itself in later smoking sessions as well.


Profile
  • Flavor: Medium-plus
  • Strength: Medium-light / Medium
  • Body: Medium
Core Flavors
  • White pepper
  • Butterscotch
  • Bitter hay
  • Buttered toast
  • Thick cream
  • Popcorn
Tips
  • Smoke Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Pairing Recommendation: Café con leche | Black tea with milk | Topo Chico mineral water | Italian cream soda
  • Purchase Recommendation: 10-pack to box

Perdomo ESV Connecticut Imperio cigar nub finished

Perdomo ESV Connecticut Imperio
Perdomo ESV Connecticut Imperio is a large and impressive specimen, opening up with a virtually perfect draw and a surprising degree of punchiness through the nostrils. The cigar later develops to show classic Connecticut characteristics of bitterness, cream, and sweetness. But the ESV is certainly not mild, at least in the conventional sense. Flavors become concentrated on the palate, with highlight flavors of butterscotch and Tuaca liqueur-like vanilla-citrus. The cigar is not without its flaws though, as most samples required multiple touchups to keep the burn line at bay; and the performance seemed to be somewhat inconsistent from sample to sample, with some experiences being supremely balanced and others showing too much dryness and bitterness. All told, the ESV Connecticut stands out as an excellent choice, even in the increasingly competitive climate of flavor-forward Connecticuts.
Appearance88%
Burn/Construction86%
Draw95%
Flavor92%
Complexity88%
Price/Value88%
Pros
  • Near-perfect draw resistance
  • Supremely balanced
  • Concentrated flavors
Cons
  • Multiple touchups
  • Some inconsistencies between smoking samples
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