When one thinks of boutique cigars, various synonyms come to mind including the word “bespoke” which means; dealing in or producing custom-made articles. I bring this up because Casdagli Cigars, prior to 2018, was known as “Bespoke Cigars”. The company decided to change the name in 2018 to better reflect the growth of the business and reflect the history of the Casdagli family.
The company website notes:
“…the brand has grown from a small regional brand to an almost worldwide available cigar. The history of Casdagli Cigars is huge, even though the brand is still quite young”
Last year, the Casdagli Cigars – Daughters of the Wind, made the Stogie Press Top 25 for 2019. It was truly my first introduction to the brand. Today, I would like to turn the clock back a notch, to a cigar the company released under the original Bespoke Cigars brand. I will be talking about the Basilica, and more specifically the Basilica A.
I believe, the Basilica blend was released back in 2016. It was created to honor Emmanuel Casdagli, the great patriarch of the Casdagli family, who established the family Egyptian cotton business. It his portrait that adorns the Basilica Line’s cigar band.
There are 5 different vitolas in the Basilica line and each has a different blend. They come packaged in 20-count boxes.
- Basilica C #1 Maduro (Toro) 6 x 52 – MSRP $15.50
- Basilica C #3 (Petit Robusto) 4 x 52 – MSRP $12.00
- Basilica C #2 (Lancero) 7.5 x 39 – MSRP $13.25
- Basilica C #1 (Toro) 6 x 52 – MSRP $15.20
- Basilica A (Toro) 6 x 52 – MSRP $16.00
You can find these for sale on Small Batch Cigars online.
For this review, I sampled the Basilica A Toro that has a bold and multi-country blend, described as:
- Wrapper: Dominican Cotui
- Binder: Dominican
- Filler: Dominican, Nicaragua, USA, Peru
The Basilica is blended by Hendrik Kelner Jr of the famous Kelner family of Master blenders at the Kelner Boutique Factory
The Casdagli Cigars Basilica A is a medium tan cigar that has some noticeable veins and a light tooth to the touch. The cigar feels solid to the touch and is finished with a simple cap and has a shaggy (exposed) foot.
There are two bands on this cigar, and if you were to see reviews of this prior to the re-branding, the bands were reversed. In the latest rendition, the primary band uses a black, gold, and white motif and proudly honors Emmanuel Casdagli in the center with the name “CASDAGLI” printed across the top and “Basilica” along the bottom. The secondary band is black with the Colossus of Rhodes printed in gold in the center. Emmanuel Casdagli, who was born and spent a lot of time in Rhodes, adopted The Colossus of Rhodes as the family trading symbol in the 1880s.
Running the Basilica A along the nose, I detected an enticing baking spice aroma along the barrel and an earthy and mildly pungent note off the shaggy foot.
Using my double blade Xikar cutter, I gave the cap a straight cut and proceeded to take some cold draw puffs that offered a tangy sensation with hints of light pepper and earth.
My double flame torch was just enough to ignite the foot. The exposed leaf ignited right up and started the journey with a mild and pleasant smoke both on the palate and retro-hale. Follow along as I burn the Basilica A to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Mild and pleasant notes start right off the initial light
- Rather refined profile to begin, with notes of fruit, cream, and a hint of cocoa
- A mild spice joins the mix to wrap it all together
- Light grey ash forms on a medium thick and mildly wavy char line
- Oils develop quickly above the burn line
- Toasted caramel aroma is filling the air
- Fruit moves forward with an added sweetness
- Aroma shifts to more of a sweet nut
- Ash fell after a nice build up and revealed a well formed and centered burn cone
- A mild crack in the wrapper appeared
- Dark chocolate notes join the mix
- Black licorice entices the palate midway and continues to linger on the palate
- Savory notes enter deep in second third
- Fruit and almond brighten the profile
- Amazing growth in savory spice as it moves into the final with an ever present fruit, nut, and a hint of sweetness down to the finish
- Medium in Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 30 minutes
Overall, the Casdagli Cigars Basilica A was an extremely well balanced and flavorful cigar with enticing notes and aromas from foot to nub. Unique notes such as black licorice, dark chocolate, fruit, almond, and sweetness kept the palate interested. The burn demonstrated a mild wave in the first half and there was a small crack that appeared in the wrapper near the end of the first third but did not grow or impact the burn. It had a well formed burn cone and some fine oil growth above the char line. This is worth picking up a 5 pack of for sure. I rate this a 94.
Point Deductions: (-1) Mild Wave in first half; (-1) Small Wrapper Crack
Bonus Points: (+1) Large Oiling Above the Burn Line; (+1) Complex and Balanced Flavor and Aroma