As the editor and publisher of one of the top cigars websites in the world, I have had the pleasure and honor of meeting many of the men and women behind the cigar brands we enjoy so much. My travels have taken me all over the world and I have burned quite a few with shop owners and an occasional celebrity now and then. Yet, I have not sat with the dapper gentleman whose name is on today’s cigar review – the Felix Assouline. I recently met his newly hired director of marketing, Heather Callahan A.K.A. @CigarHeather and she was kind enough to hook me up with both the EGO Black and the II Saints cigars from Felix Assouline.
OK, that was a little Egotistical, but then again I am reviewing the EGO Black cigar which is one of 8 blends that Felix Assouline offers the consumer and it is the bolder, darker brother of the Felix Assouline EGO Red Habano. The company’s website notes:
“Ego Black is a labor of love since it is one of the first blends we created from our Tobacco farm in Jamastran Obraje, Honduras. Felix wanted to create a blend totally from one farm, with no other leaves from other regions.”
If that description sounds alluring then read on as I break down the Felix Assouline EGO Black.
The company describes the full blend as:
- Wrapper – Honduran Ligero (Jamastran, Obraje)
- Binder – Honduran (Jamastran, Obraje)
- Filler – Honduran (Jamastran, Obraje)
Felix does not go easy when it comes to vitolas – in the case of the EGO Black he offers the blend in 5 popular box-pressed vitolas, with names that blend well with the word Ego. They are packaged in 24-count boxes except the Dark Lord which is packaged in a box of 12 individual coffins.
- White Nights – 6.5 x 54 Belicoso (MSRP $12.00)
- Perfect Black – 5 x 52 Perfecto MSRP $10.00)
- Twisted Mind – 6.5 x 56 Gordo (MSRP $13.00
- Amigo Fuerte – 5 x 50 Robusto (MSRP $9.00)
- Dark Lord– 6.5 x 56 Perfecto (MSRP $30.00)
And as he Felix says, in case you don’t have a lot of time, you can always get a Shot of EGO with the 5 x 24 Cigarrillo EGO Red Habano Shot! The EGO Red Habano Shots come packaged in 100-count boxes.
As for this review, I sampled the Felix Assouline EGO Black – White Nights vitola.
The Felix Assouline EGO Black White Nights is a finely constructed box-pressed belicoso cigar with round edges. The wrapper is smooth with a nice sheen and has a light marbling running through the medium-dark brown leaf. The cigar is solid throughout with no soft spots and there were practicality no distinguishable veins. The head is closed with a perfectly finished belicoso cap. I would say just by the look I would want to fire this right up but the real test comes as we examine the aromas, flavors and burn.
The cigar is adorned with a single band that uses a black and high gloss gold motif.The Golden word “EGO” is centered boldly in the center on top of a golden scroll work. The name Felix Assouline is proudly presented on the bottom.
Like all reviews it was time to see what pre-light aromas the cigar has to offer and this one had some delightful ones. There was a rich curing barn and spice aroma along the barrel and milk chocolate with a touch of vanilla off the foot.
I sliced the cap about an 1/8 of inch down to open it up and rolled it around between my lips drawing in gently. The draw was perfect, right to my liking and the flavor was straight up cayenne pepper that warmed my tongue and cheeks and left a gentle peppery burn on my lips.
Based on the pre-light examination I was looking forward to an absolutely pleasurable journey. So I leaned back on my black-leather couch in the Stogie Press lounge, tuned in some classic 70’s rock and proceeded to warm the foot with my soft flame lighter to get this experience moving.
Cigar Review Notes
- Quick early pepper blast to start – that opens the nasals for sure!
- Settles into a buttery component after a half-inch
- A faint mineral note lays in the background for a few puffs before fading
- Sweet spice enters after an inch
- Medium grey, slightly flaky ash develops on a medium char line
- Ash fell after a bit more than an inch with a flat burn cone
- Smoke volume is full
- Coffee bean fills out the early profile
- Savory spice notes join the mix along with some saltiness
- There is a natural tobacco sweetness off the head that balances the notes out
- Beautiful wrapper oiling moving through the second third
- The savory notes continue through the second third
- The spice builds slowly into more of a peppery note at the end of second third
- Pepper grows as it moves through the final third with an undertone of saltiness
- Citrus spikes the palate in the final burn
- Strength was Medium-plus
- Total Smoking time was 1 hour and 30 minutes to the nub
Overall, the Felix Assouline EGO Black White Nights was well constructed cigar in both burn and appearance. The pepper from the ligero wrapper hits you both on the pre-light and early burn but then settles into a pleasant sweet and spicy flavor sensation. The burn was error free which, is amazing, considering it has a ligero wrapper leaf. Kudos to the torcedors that rolled this gem. This is a cigar you should enjoy after dinner with a nice dram or two of islay single malt.