One of the busiest booths at this years IPCPR was Micallef Cigars. You may not know this company, but you might have heard of the Gomez Sanchez family who has crafted cigars for 134 years. Maybe you have visited one of the Reata restaurants in Alpine and Fort Worth, Texas owned by Dr. Al Micallef. Either way, I am sure you will be hearing a lot about Micallef Cigars in the coming months as Dr. Micallef and the Gomez Sanchez family have some amazing blends to feed your flavor hungry palate. Today we are going to discuss one of those blends, the Micallef Cigars Experiencia, but before we do that, take a little journey with me as I introduce you to the man behind the brand.
One of the best things about attending the IPCPR each year, is being afforded the opportunity to meet the men and women behind the brands that we all love.
Meet Dr. Al Micallef
This year I had the great pleasure to spend a short time with Dr. Al Micallef and talk about his brand and blends. Dr. Al Micallef is a man of humble background, born and raised in Detroit, and the son of an auto worker, Al was one of those kids that always found way to make his own money. If he wanted something he earned it. Heck, he started with a lemonade stand at an early age.
He moved out of Motown and settled himself in Fort Worth, Texas ready to start his American Dream. Al was quite successful at building his dream. I suppose those days running lemonade in his childhood neighborhood stuck with him, as he had a string of successful businesses ventures including an automotive supply company, a silicone rubber company, a cattle ranch, and of course his two Reata restaurants.
A busy man would be an understatement, but when you do what you love it never tires – and Dr. Micallef loves to grow and operate businesses. It is no surprise then, that this cigar loving successful businessman would jump on an opportunity based on a chance encounter.
As the story goes…
Al was relaxing in the Silver Leaf Cigar Lounge in Fort Worth, Texas one early summer night in 2016, when in walked some men attempting to market their hand-rolled cigars. Being a busy evening, the lounge offered them an opportunity to set up a rolling table and ply their craft. The patrons thoroughly enjoyed the cigars, as did Dr. Micallef, and they continued this for a solid week.
Cigar history was about to be made.
It did not take long before Al realized these men were Torcedors and members of the Gomez Sanchez family – a family with 130 plus years in cigar rolling. He knew right there, this was an opportunity he could not pass up, and negotiated and placed an order for 1,000 cigars.
Dr. Al Micallef was entering the cigar business with one of the most famous families in the business.! Micallef Cigars, LLC was quickly formed and trademarks for the bands and logo were filed in March of 2017 and approved for publication in July.
The Micallef Cigars website describes the relationship with the Gomez Sanchez family as:
“An alliance between two great families – the Micallef family with expertise in worldwide commerce and Gomez Sanchez family with expertise in handcrafting the finest Cigar lines in the world.”
IPCPR Las Vegas
So here we are at the 2017 IPCPR in Las Vegas, NV and instead of explaining the Micallef Cigars lineup let’s hear directly from Dr. Al Micallef and then enjoy the review of the Micallef Cigars Experiencia which follows.
The Micallef Cigars Experiencia
Now that we know the man, the family, and the brand – let’s discuss the 1st Micallef cigar I sampled, the Micallef Experiencia. The word “Experiencia” literally means experience, and it is a tribute to the 134 years of three generations of cigar rolling experience of the Gomez Sanchez family. There are two different vitolas in Experiencia line, each with a different blend.
- Prominente (5.5 x 58)
- Wrapper: Habano Nicaragua Cuban Seed
- Binder & Filler: Gómez Sánchez House Reserve Secret Blend
- La Crema (7 x 52)
- Wrapper: Capa Clara México
- Binder & Filler: Gómez Sánchez House Reserve Secret Blend
Both cigars have a MSRP of $13.00 USD and are packaged in 20-count boxes.
For this review I sampled the La Crema
The first thing you will notice about the Micallef Experiencia is the band, it is an eye-popping band with rich colors and a classic design. The Micallef Cigars logo is centered in the middle and below it, in field of deep blue, are the words “Gomez Sanchez Family 1934” emblazoned in bright gold. There is a secondary band that nicely finishes the foot and declares it as the “Experiencia”.
Seeing this cigar on the shelf you would easily gravitate towards it.
I should note, it’s a rainy night here in Melbourne, FL as I tune in the Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays. I listen to the raindrops as I get ready to fire up the Micallef Experiencia. I am glad this is a Churchill, just in case the game goes long again, but I am hoping it is not another 15 or 16 inning game.
Examining the Micallef Experiencia I note the medium brown. oily. and marbled Mexican wrapper. It has a well applied triple cap and the foot shows it is rolled in the classic Cuban “entubado” method. There are a some noticeable veins but nothing that would concern me and as we know veins can be good as they bring flavor. The seam are nearly invisible as I roll the cigar between my fingers. The bands are perfectly applied showing the pride in making the cigar.
Running the Micallef Experiencia along my nose I picked up notes of fermented leaf and a nut-like aroma. The foot delivers sweetness, some floral, and a sprinkle of pepper. Once I sliced the cap, the cold draw had a perfect restriction to it, just as I like and offered notes of earth, pepper, and malt.
Roll this one around and savor the flavor, feel the pepper grow on the lips and tongue, and notice how the sweetness hides in the background.
I am loving the start of this gem, but it is time to turn it to ash!
Cigar Review Notes
- Wow! First puffs provide immediate delight with a fine body of thick and creamy smoke
- Notes of fruit, pepper, and sweet cocoa grace the palate, with a clean finish
- Coffee notes join in quickly to make for a delicious flavor profile
- Sweet cream wraps the fruit
- Solid salt & pepper ash starts to form
- A spicy cocoa aroma wafts off the foot
- Damn, this is a fine start to a cigar!
- The burn is pristine – such perfect construction
- Extremely smooth retro-hale
- Sheen grows on the oily wrapper
- The smoke is getting ingestible, it’s that good
- Ash fell after an inch and half displaying a perfectly centered burn cone
- Rain stopped and the sunset is beautiful as is this fine smoke
- Starting the second third notes of fruit and spice dominate
- Aroma is shifting to more of a syrupy sweetness
- Ash has darkened through second third
- Fruity tang grows
- Spice takes over at the end of the second third
- Sweetness hits the tongue through the finish
- Medium strength
- Total Smoking Time was just shy of 2 hours!
Overall, the Micallef Cigars Experiencia was just that – an experience, offering most delectable flavors, creamy smoke and pristine burn. I can only give the highest of praise for this cigar and highly recommend any cigar lover experience it. I would say this certainly worthy of a box buy. If the rest of the lineup is as good as the Experiencia, I will be a fervent fan of Micallef cigars. For my local Florida fans, you can find Micallef Cigars at Prime Smoke in Boca Raton, FL. For everyone else you can check the Micallef Cigars website retailers page here.
Oh yea, the Sox and Jays ended the game in an easy 9 innings with the Red Sox prevailing.