If you are a regular follower of cigar social media, you probably have heard of El Yayabo Cigars by now. They hit the scene back in 2015 at the IPCPR in New Orleans, LA. Their booth was in the back of the show and lucky for me, I always venture the trail least followed. It was then that I met Diany Perez and partner/master blender Alex Basulto. At the show they introduced me to their first cigar, the Yayabo. I enjoyed that cigar as much as I enjoyed the warmth and congeniality of the El Yayabo family. I subsequently penned the first El Yayabo review. In fact, the inaugural Yayabo Maduro came in #6 on the 2015 top 25 cigars on Stogie Press.
Last year, at the Las Vegas IPCPR the company upped their game and released 3 blends, Dona Diana, Cirion, and the Renovation. The first two I have posted reviews of, and today I would like to complete the trio with a review of the Renovation. You may ask why did I wait so long to review the Renovation? Well the simple answer is, the Renovation is a slight re-blend of the original Yayabo that I already reviewed. Now don’t get me wrong, I have smoked quite a few of them over the last 11 months, and have shared them with a number of friends. Like the Dona Diana and the Cirion, everybody I gave one of these to commented “Where do you get these? They are fantastic!”.
So let’s talk a little about the Renovation.
The El Yayabo Renovation uses fillers and binders grown on their own farms in Esteli, Nicaragua. There are two varieties of the Renovation blend; Ecuadorian Habano and Ecuadorian Maduro. Since I already wrote about the original Yayabo Maduro, todays review will focus on the Renovation Habano.
The Renovation Habano blend is simply described as:
- Wrapper – Ecuadorian Habano
- Binder – Nicaraguan (Yayabo Farm)
- Filler – Nicaraguan (Yayabo Farm)
The Renovation is available in 6 vitolas:
- Mini Corona 4×60
- Robusto 5×50
- Toro 6×50
- Churchill 7×50
- Torpedo 6×52
- Gran Corona 6×60
For this review I sampled the El Yayabo Renovation Habano Churchill.
The El Yayabo Renovation Habano is a beautifully constructed cigar with a silky smooth, medium brown wrapper, light veins, and finished with a perfectly applied triple cap. It has aromas of tea and hay off the foot and a well fermented tobacco sweetness along the barrel. Packed tight, it is solid in construction, firm from head to foot.
The band on the Renovation is an upgraded band from the original Yayabo. It is a full color gloss band that depicts the Yayabo farms in the background and the golden words El Yayabo on a red background. There is a secondary red and gold footer band that simply notes D & A, representing Diany Perez and Alex Basulto.
The cap is easily sliced and the cold draw has a decent restriction to it. It passes the palm test, demonstrating tight seams with no leaks.
The palm test is the new Stogie Press examination point where I place the foot of the cigar in my palm and draw on it. A well made cigar should have suction on the palm, if you get any air then the seams are loose and that may impact the burn.
There are some amazing pre-light notes on the cold draw, including burnt caramel, pepper, a hint of nut. The pepper builds on the lips and tongue when rolled about.
With all the preliminaries complete, it was time to once again, to fire up the El Yayabo Renovation.
Cigar Review Notes
- Takes to the flame perfectly with a medium body of creamy smoke to start
- Creamy coffee and citrus notes start the journey
- Light grey ash rests on a medium char line
- Sweet Cream builds on the palate
- Excellent ash with a fantastic amount of oiling above the burn line
- Fruit enters along with a hint of spice by the inch mark
- Floral aroma
- Smoke volume increases
- Ash falls after two inches with a fairly flat and centered burn cone
- So well rolled the char line glows to keep the burn straight
- Into the second third the palate is graced with gentle spice, cream and cedar notes
- A touch of dry leather enters helping to enhance the flavors
- Coffee notes add to the pleasure again
- Grapefruit citrus and malt move into the mix, with a long finish, like a fine craft IPA
- Extremely smooth smoke, and a slow burner for sure
- A sprig of mint enters midway through the burn
- Aroma gets a bit more spicy in the second third
- A subtle almond hits the palate briefly then fades to the back
- Cedar intensifies in the final third with the muted almond and mint providing a mouth-watering finish
- The wrapper is just soaked with oils at the end
- Medium Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 40 minutes
Overall, the El Yayabo Renovation Habano was another magnificent cigar from this young brand. They continue to show they not only know how to blend and construct quality cigars but also are experienced tobacco farmers. Before they started making their own brand, El Yayabo sold their crop to many of the top cigar brands in Nicaragua. You may ask where you can find these, as so many of my friends have asked. What I can tell you is, if you are a retailer, check out their booth at this years IPCPR or check out the El Yayabo Facebook Page for more info.
In total transparency, it should be noted that El Yayabo is a valued sponsor of Stogie Press, but in no way did this impact the review.