Introduced to the United States in September 2020, the VegaFina 1998 started out as a European market blend but Rafael Nodal, head of product capability for Tabacalera USA, decided it should be also be brought into the US market saying it would be a big hit with American cigar enthusiasts. The VegaFina 1998 is crafted by the famed Grupo de Maestros from Altadis U.S.A., at the Tabacalera de Garcia factory in La Romana, Dominican Republic. This is the factory that produces the Dominican versions of H. Upmann, Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta.
Rafael explains the VegaFina 1998 as a medium body smoke with a five country blend of carefully selected tobacco leaves which have been aged for at least 3 years and is described as:
- Wrapper – Ecuadorian Havana
- Binder – Java Indonesian
- Filler – Dominican, Nicaraguan and Colombian
The VegaFina 1998 is expressed in 3 vitolas and come packaged in 10-count classic Cuban style boxes:
- VF 50 (4.5 x 50) – MSRP $8.80
- VF 52 (5 x 52) – MSRP $9.60
- VF 54 (6 x 54) – MSRP $9.90
For this review I sampled the VegaFina 1998 VF 54 which I received from the company at this years TPE for the purpose of reviewing on Stogie Press.
The VegaFina 1998 is wrapped with a mildly toothy, dark brown Ecuador Havana leaf that has a few noticeable veins running along the barrel. There is a just a light give when gently squeezed and seems to be well packed. The cap is well applied and the foot shows a quality bunching.
Two bands adorn the cigar. The primary band uses a simple white, black, and red motif with the red letters “VF” boldly centered in the band. A thin secondary band is placed just below with the year 1998 in white on a black background. The year 1998 represents the year of the brand’s creation.
With the look of this cigar intriguing me, I proceeded to check the pre-light aroma that furthered my interest with a spicy note along the barrel and foot aromas that exuded notes of notes of sweetness, nutmeg and cocoa.
I sliced the cap straight across the shoulder and moved onto a few cold draw puffs that pleased me with proper restriction and delivered a light earthy and peppery set of flavors.
Using my double flame torch, I warmed the foot and drew in the first puffs of floral and cocoa note. A very pleasant start to the journey. Follow along as I burn the VegaFina 1998 to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Initial puffs are quite pleasant with floral and cocoa powder notes
- Sweet aroma wafts early off the foot
- Slight tangy fruit note joins the profile
- Mildly jagged burn
- Solid light grey ash forms with a well formed thick burn line
- Slight off burn developed about an inch into the burn but no touch was required
- As the ash fell deep in the first third, it revealed a satisfactory burn cone
- Early cocoa morphs into a creamy chocolate
- Aroma shifts to a fruity aroma
- Coffee and cream notes join the mix midway
- Light spice notes appear deep in the second third
- The chocolate continues to evolve into a rich dark chocolate notes moving into the final third along with a nuance of nut
- Increased spice in the final
- Medium strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 35 minutes
I would describe the VegaFina 1998 as an elegant smoke that had a medium bodied profile and smooth flavor and aroma transitions. I especially enjoyed the continued development of the chocolate notes from cocoa powder to creamy chocolate to dark chocolate through the journey. Medium in strength, this is a cigar I would enjoy any time of the day especially in the morning or mid-afternoon with a rich cup of Café Cubano. The burn was decent with just a mild jag here and there and slight off burn that did not require a touch up. This is certainly a box worthy cigar. I rate this a 93.
Point Deductions: (-1) Jagged Burn; (-1) Off Burn
Bonus Points: (+1) Buy a Box