I recently contacted by Patrick Nikiema, the owner of a Lyon Cigars, a small boutique cigar brand founded in 2016. Though Patrick is based out of Canada now, he was born in the Western Africa country of Burkina Faso. He is the first African cigar manufacturer. Since starting the company, distribution has spread from Africa to the U.S. and Luxembourg. Patrick notes that the original concept of the Lyon Cigars was to blend cigars for the emerging African market.
As explained by the company:
“More than just a brand, Lyon Cigars is a movement which represents Africa, the Cradle of humanity, in a very competitive industry such as cigar in which Africans are not represented at the height of their skills and their creativity. In a nutshell, the noble vision of Lyon Cigars’ Founder is to create the first African cigar brand that stands out for its quality and uniqueness. Eyes always directed towards the sky, Mr NIKIEMA advance serenely with his faithful Vision: ‘Unlocking the potential while challenging the status quo.'”
Lyon Cigars makes a number of blends and Patrick offered to send me some samples to review on Stogie Press. Today I offer a review of one those blends, the Lyon Habano Robusto Grande.
The Lyon Habano Robusto Grande blend is described as:
- Wrapper – Ecuadorian Habano 2000
- Binder – Undisclosed
- Filler – Undisclosed
Expressed as a (5.5 x 54) Robusto vitola, the Lyon Robusto Grande has an MSRP set at $13.50/cigar. They come packaged in 21-count boxes.
The Lyon Habano Robusto Grande is nice looking, well constructed cigar. It has a medium brown wrapper with a decent oily sheen and some light marbling throughout. There are some noticeable veins in the wrapper. The cigar feels solidly packed and the presentation is neatly finished with a pig tail cap and a closed foot.
Two bands adorn the Lyon Robusto. The primary band uses a black, gold, and white motif that features the company’s logo in the center (a lion head).
The company went into detail on the symbology on the band:
- The Crown on the Lion’s head symbolises both Royalty and Family.
- The Lion, emblematic animal to which Patrick NIKIEMA has always been associated, represents Leadership, Royalty, Nobility, Stateliness and Pride.
- The two letters “N” and “P” under the Lion’s mane are the Founder’s initials.
- The two Forks also known as “ dabats ”, iconic symbol in Africa, illustrates Agriculture and Hard Work.
- The Maple Leaf, at the bottom, refers to Canada which is Patrick NIKIEMA’s country of adoption.
- The mention of “PREMIUM QUALITY” names our tobacco’s high quality and our standard of Excellence which drives our cigar factory.
The secondary footer band states this as the “ROBUSTO” in white lettering on a black background bordered in gold.
As I ran the cigar along the nose, I did not detect much aroma along the barrel but the foot had a light fruit aroma coming off it.
I sliced the cap straight with my double blade cutter and proceeded with some cold draw puffs. I can not comment on the restriction due to the closed foot but I did pick up notes of pepper but also a rather harsh note I can’t place my finger on.
Using my double flame torch lighter, I warmed the foot, which quickly took to the heat, and brought it to an even orange glow. Drawing in the first puffs my palate was hit with a light pepper and harsh off taste to start the journey.
Cigar Review Notes
- Initial light offered light pepper and a harsh off taste bite to it
- Light grey ash forms on top of jagged burn
- Papery notes appear that become pasty and linger on the palate through the first inch or so of the burn
- Nice oiling developing above the burn line
- Fruit and cream notes break through deep in the first third
- A mild sweetness joins in as the flavor evolves
- An off burn develops but does need a touch up
- The ash fell in a nice size chunk revealing a slightly off -centered burn cone
- Coffee notes enter with a slight uptick of sweetness
- Touch of spice enters deep in the second third
- Light nut joins the spice entering the final third
- Medium in Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 30 minutes
Overall, the Lyon Habano Robusto Grande was a beautiful looking cigar that seemed to have all the makings of a pleasurable smoking experience. With that said, the experience started on the harsh side for a good inch or more of the burn. Once I powered through the introduction, the journey got much better, as the true flavors of this blend started to break through with notes of fruit, cream, sweetness, coffee, and spice. There were some off burns during the experience but they never required a touch-up. I feel this may be one that needs more age on it and I kept one aside just for that reason and I will revisit this in 6 months or so. I rate this an 86.
Point Deductions: (-1) Jagged Burn; (-1) Off Burn; (-1) Slightly Off Centered Burn Cone; (-1) Harsh Start; (-2) Pasty Through the first third; (-1) Papery Notes in the early burn; (-1) Might Try Again with some more age