At this year’s IPCPR in New Orleans I had the pleasure of being introduced to a new company – MLB Cigar Ventures. Now the term MLB does not stand for Major League Baseball but rather the initials of the owner, Michael L. Bellody. I should note however that Michael and I are both Red Sox fans and feel the pain this year. We sat and chatted for a while with Michael about his new company, his debut blend the Imperia, and of course our beloved Red Sox.
You may not know who Michael is, but he is not a newcomer to the industry. Prior to launching MLB Cigar Ventures, he was a partner in Tiant Cigar Group which is best known for the production of the El Tiante Cigars which are produced at the world renowned My Father Cigars factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.
The Tiant Cigar group website notes:
Founder & CEO, Daniel Tiant and Co-Owner & President, Michael Bellody created these highly acclaimed new blends under the direct consultation of Jose “Pepin” Garcia and Jaime Garcia with inspiration from baseball legend and company Patriarch, Luis Tiant. El Tiante Cigars maintain their Cuban heritage through Luis Tiant’s influence and experiences growing up in Marianao, Havana, Cuba. holding the titles of co-owner and president.
So Michael had some awesome mentors and sounding boards from the industry and he has taken than experience to his new project MLB Cigar Ventures and the Imperia Debut.
The Stogie Press, Stogie Heads decided to take the Imperia for a run and publish a video review of this fine cigar. You can see that review here:
Some notes about the Imperia:
The MLB Cigar Ventures Imperia was named after Imperia, Italy which is a coastal town in the northwestern part of the country and sits on the Mediterranean Sea. It is according to Michael the sister city to his summer home in Newport, RI. The band and logo is a direct reflection of this heritage from the aqua blue color to the silhouette of Italy on the back of the band.
The pride that is put into the Imperia creation is noticed by the fact; the band clearly states Imperia by Michael Bellody.
You will also notice how beautifully constructed the Imperia is with its smooth practically veinless Dominican Habana Vuelta Abajo (HVA) wrapper with tight seams. The HVA leaf is a high-priming and that gives the Imperia a more robust flavor. It is finished with fillers and binders from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.
Michael has chosen the Quesada Factory in the Dominican Republic for the production of the Imperia line which is available in 4 vitolas and range between $8.00 and $9.50 retail:
- 5 1/2 x 44 Pita
- 5 x 52 Robusto
- 6 x 50 Toro
- 6 x 60 Gordo
For this review we sampled the Robusto that was given to us by Michael at the IPCPR.
The MLB Cigar Ventures Facebook page notes:
Welcome to my new cigar project! MLB Cigar Ventures is a new and very unique company. We will develop and own premium cigar blends & brands made in the world’s best factories, using only the finest quality tobacco. As the company name indicates, we are also open to investing in outside cigar ventures where it makes sense. This is a new concept in this great industry that takes my successful background in the investment industry and brings it together with the premium cigar industry. My inaugural, proprietary blend/brand will launch in the coming months. Let the journey begin!
As we sampled, and you will hear during the video, the Imperia is a top quality, unique and delightful cigar. The pre-light scent was that of sweet tea and hay on the foot with a bit of fermented tobacco aroma along the barrel.
The dry draw gave us tea flavor with a back ground of spice which got our palates warmed of for the journey we were about to embark on.
As we fired up the Imperia we noted that this cigar was not as spicy and peppery as many cigars can be on the first puffs. There was just a tad bit of spice and no nasal burn in the retro-hale. There was a slight wave in the burn during the first inch or so, but it corrected itself and as you will see it carried an amazing salt and pepper ash – and I know my ash.
There was a definite sweet tea note that had a long finish on the palate and some picked up a bit of grass and slight earth to start. Further into the burn we were picking up what could be described as green tea with spiced honey. If you never had that, you don’t know what you’re missing.
The wrapper oiled up with a high sheen to it and stayed that way throughout the burn.
About two inches into the burn, say halfway, the Imperia delivered an amazing added flavor of spearmint while the honey remained. The spearmint did not last long perhaps a ¼ of an inch before it shifted to a cedar and woody flavor.
The final third offered some espresso but not everyone picked that up.
As I said early the ash was amazing as most held on to a solid 2 plus inched, I took down to the nub.
What an excellent cigar this was, I can assure you the Imperia will make the Stogie Press top 25 of 2015. This is a must try for any cigar smoker as it is not a full strength cigar and can be enjoyed any time of the day. The unique flavors are reason enough to try this one.
Currently the Imperia is available in a number of shops in the Northeast but Michael is looking to expand across the country. If your shop does not carry them, ask them to get some samples. I think they will agree with us that this is a must have in their humidor. You find MLB Cigar Ventures via their Facebook Page and through Twitter @MLBCigarVntures – yes the “e” is missing in the Twitter Handle. It is just to bad we won’t see the Red Sox in post season this year, but there is always next year, meanwhile I will get me some more Imperia Cigars by Mike Bellody and MLB Cigar Ventures.