This year, at the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show, Mel Shah from MBombay Cigars was showcasing a new cigar known as the M.Esteli. This is a follow-up to last year’s MQBA, which also had a line extension known as the MQBA MAYURA at this year’s show.
As for the M.Esteli, in an interview with Mel, he explained to me this is the first time the company has used a predominance of Nicaraguan tobacco in a blend. Not only is there a significant amount of Nicaragua leaf but the leaf used in this blend has been aged between 3 and 4 years. The cigar itself, is hand crafted and rolled at Tobaccos de Costa Rica as are all MBombay cigars.
The full blend of the MBombay M.Esteli is described as:
- Wrapper – Ecuadorian Habano 2000
- Binder – Dominican Republic
- Filler –
- Nicaraguan HVA
- Nicaraguan Pelo de Oro
- Dominican Piloto Cubano
For those that are new to the cigar culture, HVA stands for Havana Vuelta Abajo which defines the region of Cuba where the seed for this particular variety came from. Vuelta Abajo tobacco originated in the Pinar del Rio province of the country, which is the most important growing area in Cuba, located at the western end of the Island Nation. The HVA leaf used in the M.Esteli was grown in Nicaragua, from Havana Vuelta Abajo seeds.
The MBombay M.Esteli is a core product line for the company and are expressed in 3 popular vitolas with an MSRP set at the most value price offered by MBombay. They come packaged in 30-count bundles.
- Robusto (5 x 54) MSRP $6.95
- Toro (6 x 54) MSRP $7.95
- Torpedo (6 x 54) MSRP $7.95
For this review, I sampled two M.Esteli Toro cigars which I received from the company for the purpose of reviewing on Stogie Press.
So what does $7.95 get you from a premium boutique cigar company like MBombay? Read on and you will find out.
Let’s begin with the wrapper, which is medium brown in color and silky smooth with a beautiful glistening look to it. It is as well constructed as any of the higher priced cigars in the company’s portfolio. The M.Esteli has a nicely applied double cap along with a closed foot. It is light on veins. I just love the look and feel of this cigar in the hand. No soft spots and solidly packed from head to foot.
Mel did not go over the top with the branding of the M.Esteli. Instead, he chose to use a simple, narrow white band with blue ink that just declares it as the M.Esteli. The back of the band has the logo of the company on it, also in blue ink.
As I ran the cigar along the nose, I picked a faint note of sweetness and coffee bean along the barrel. With the closed foot there is nothing I can say about it.
I opened with the cap with a straight cut across the shoulder of the cigar and proceeded to give it a few cold draw puffs. The draw was spot on with restriction and my palate was graced with some black pepper and cream notes.
I rolled it about some more, savoring the pre-light notes and then lit up a cedar spill to warm the foot. The loose leaf on the foot took to the flame and easily ignited the cigar filling my palate with a medium pepper, burst of smoke.
Cigar Review Notes
- Medium pepper burst off first puff
- Light grey ash forms on a medium thick burn line
- Each puff delivers thick and creamy smoke
- The early pepper recedes nicely
- This is showing signs of being an elegant and smooth smoke with a hint of fruit
- Mild cedar notes round out the early profile along with a sweet floral aroma
- Nearing the end of the first third, I picked up cream and nut notes
- A terrific ash has developed, holding tight like a stack of dimes
- Spice notes enter midway as the aroma shifted to a coffee note
- The ash finally fell after a long journey, revealing a well formed and centered burn cone
- An orange zest nuance teases the palate
- Touch of dry leather enters that is a bit more astringent than I prefer
- Aroma shifts once again to a woody component
- The early spice is growing and taking center stage as the dry leather fades
- Quite a bit of complexity in the second third!
- Cedar blends in with the spice
- Salty butter enters deep in the second third
- Mild wave develops
- Spiced fruit notes grow moving into final
- Full smoke volume, excellent draw, and burn
- Solid Medium in strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 40 minutes to the nub with just one ash drop!
Overall, what can say other than the MBombay M.Esteli toro was a spectacular cigar. The flavors were plentiful and the aromas shifted and changed throughout the journey keeping my interest in every puff. This a cigar that has enough complexity for the most experienced cigar enthusiast and one a newbie can learn a lot from. The ash built up to a solid stack before eventually falling, and if that was not enough, it rebuilt and stayed true to form all the way to the nub! It did have a point where it got a little too astringent but that lasted just a short time and there was slight off burn midway that did not require a touch up. With a price less than $8.00 this is by far, a box buy, or in the case of the M.Esteli – a bundle. Share some with your friends and save some to age. I rate this a solid 96.
Point Deductions: (-1) Slight Off Burn; (-1) Slightly Astringent in second third
Bonus Points: (+1) Extreme Ash; (+1) Buy a Box