Alex Spenser Reserve (ASR) Cigars is a small boutique cigar company that carries name of the company founder – Alex Spenser a Cincinnati, OH native. The first cigar Alex branded is called the Mansa and was introduced in late 2019. The cigar was made to highlight and celebrates the people of Africa and the African diaspora as the first and largest contributors to the commercialization of tobacco around the world. Company founder, Alex Spenser, an African American, took great pride in the history and wealth of the African people and culture.
In his creation of the Mansa cigar, Alex exclaimed:
“I wanted to bring forth my love for premium cigars and shed some light on the history Africans played on the world of tobacco. Tobacco, like coffee shows historical origins in Africa.
The more I came to study the influence Africans played in the history of tobacco and tobacco cultivation, the more I wanted to develop a brand with an African theme. Whom better than Mansa Musa, the 14th century African Emperor who remains to this day as the wealthiest person ever to adorn artwork of my cigars.
My passion for African history, culture, and our people run in my blood. I have the same passion for tobacco and for creating memorable blends people will want to enjoy and revisit often.“
Since the introduction of the original Mansa, ASR Cigars extended it to a new vitola and added a a new blend which you can read about here.
Today I offer a review of the original Mansa, whihc I recived some samples of from ASR Cigars for the purpose of reviewing on Stogie Press.
The Mansa blend is described as:
- Wrapper – Mexican San Andres
- Binder – Honduran
- Filler – Honduran and Nicaraguan
The cigar was originally released in a single (6 x 54) vitola with a MSRP of $12.50 and packaged in 10-count boxes. The company has since added a whopping (7 x 60) Magnum Box Pressed vitola to the line.
For this review, I sampled two of the original Mansa Box Pressed toros.
The ASR Mansa is an oily, dark brown box pressed vitola, It has a beautifully marbled wrapper with minimal veins and slight toothiness to the touch. Solidly packed with no soft spots detected, the Mansa has a decent weight in the hand, representing the solid packing. The presentation is completed with a well applied double cap.
The Mansa is adorned with a single band that has a beautiful portrait of Mansa Musa – who was the tenth Mansa (a military title meaning “conqueror” or “emperor”) of the Mali Empire, an Islamic West African state. Mansa Musa is believed to be one of the wealthiest men in recorded history. The name “The Mansa” is printed in gold under the portrait along with “Alex Spenser Reserve 1982”
Running the ASR Mansa along the nose, I easily detected fresh floral notes along the barrel, while the foot exuded rich notes of chocolate and raisin.
Once I sliced the cap straight across the shoulder, I proceeded to give it some cold draw puffs that was perfectly restricted and offered fine cedar notes with a sprinkling of pepper.
My double flame torch was perfect to warm the foot, that took to the heat well and delivered an enticing creamy and floral smoke too get the journey started. Follow along as I burn this one to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- First puffs offered a bright floral note
- Full volume of creamy smoke
- Touch of sweet cedar enters early in the burn
- Solid white ash
- Mild pepper notes round out the first third
- A minor wave develops in the burn
- One of my favorite aromas – buttered popcorn – starts wafting off the foot
- The ash held for a long run and when it finally dropped, a pointed but centered cone was revealed
- Fruity citrus add to the brightness in the profile
- Dark chocolate notes evolve deep in the second third
- Caramel mixes with the chocolate to add to the pleasure
- Coffee and cream notes take you down to the nub
- Medium in Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 50 minutes
The Alex Spenser Reserve Mansa Box Press Toro was a fabulous blend that kept the palate interested from foot to nub. It was a well balanced and trouble free cigar that offered an delicious array of flavors and aromas from pre-light to the nub. Alex and Tobacalera Kafie, did an awesome job on this one. There was just a mild wave in the burn but never needed a touch-up. The Mansa is cigar any enthusiast would enjoy, new or experienced, but I will say, the experienced smoker will truly appreciate the profile, as did I. The ASR Mansa is most certainly box worthy and rate it a solid 95.
Point Deductions: (-1) Minor Wave; (-1) Pointed Ash Cone
Bonus Points: (+1) Long Ash; (+1) Box Worthy; (+1) Pleasant Across Multiple Samples