Many say that to truly enjoy a fine cigar, one must employ all 5 senses. Vision to marvel at the beauty of the cigar. Smell to appreciate the aroma. Taste to savor the marriage of premium tobaccos and the notes that each has to offer. Hearing allows us to either take in the silence and meditate in the moment or hear the opinions and concerns of the special people we’re partaking with. Our tactile senses enable us to adorn the craftsmanship, quality and care that went in to every stage of that cigar.
Inspired by what they felt and where they wanted your senses to take you, Sensado Cigar Company (with roots to CAO Cigars when based in Nashville, TN) spent more than 5 years researching tobaccos, manufacturers and the marketplace in an attempt to recreate those special feelings one gets when they light their cigars around the world. Debuting in January 2016, Sensado’s first release(s): The City Series, aimed to heighten all five of your senses with four cigars; the New York, Shanghai, Rome and the Miami. Each with its own unique blend and story, the four cigars are displayed in a large, sectioned-off 80 ct. black case with twenty of each blend. The marketing gives The City Series the look and feel of regional releases (where you have to travel or know someone in another city to obtain the collection), but with the convenience of being able to purchase all four in one stop.
Channeling your inner Brat Pack, the black and white tuxedo-like band on this creamy, claro Churchill makes you want a whiskey or bourbon neat and a night live jazz. The 1st – 2nd thirds of the cigar offer notes of butter and coffee with faint pepper on the retrohale. This slow smoke had a strong, gray ash and stayed surprisingly cool through the nub. The New York, while larger than the other three cigar in the City Series, never overpowers and remains a mild to medium body and strength smoke that can easily be consumed by both novice and expert aficionado alike.
Drawing inspiration from the Art Deco District in Miami, FL, the dark chocolately and oily wrapper of this stick is in my opinion the most attractive and aromatic. The dry draw and 1st third smells and tastes of dry fruit, cocoa and hints of hay. Transitioning from first to second third, the Miami offers notes of semi-sweet dark chocolate and a floral scent like rose water in the nose. The final third ended on a salty, almost meaty note with a bit of a mineral aftertaste, much like the air one breathes in from being close to a beach. The overall flavor was robust, with strength profile that I considered medium to full.
Asian in theme, artwork and wrapper, the signature black and white band displays an interpretation of a Chinese symbol outlined in bright read trim to match the Rosado tint of its incasing. My favorite and most complex of the City Series, the Shanghai started off complex and tasted of light coffee, cherry, cocoa and no noticeable pepper notes until about ¾th of an inch in. Transitioning to a wine cask flavor that stayed on my lips, the red pepper notes picked up through the retrohale and lingered on the back of the throat. As I finished my Sensado-guided tour of the Chinese metropolis, the sweetness increased and the Shanghai ended creamy, smooth, cool and medium in strength and body.
Slightly darker, oilier and a lot smaller than the New York, this Connecticut gave off herbal and mint notes on the dry draw. The Rome was firm to the touch with small veins throughout with a head that visually resembled a roman cupola. Being careful not to cut too much from the torpedo head, I started with a minimal cut so that I have more room test the draw and adjust accordingly. Though the tightest draw of the series, there was still a good output of smoke (which gradually increased) that allowed me to pick up a citrus taste with a creamy finish. The Rome ended on a mild note with vegetal hints and light spice.
While the City Series is intended to take the consumer on a sensory trip around the world, Dave McMullen, President of Sensado Cigar Company, told me when asked that “world domination” isn’t the goal for the company. Wanting to do things the right way, McMullen envisions Sensado staying “small and good” by only opening a few accounts at a time while fostering their relationships in the industry and with retailers. “Being produced by the Plasencia family in their Nicaraguan factories gives us the comfort of knowing that the quality of our cigars will be second to none and that we will be able to keep up with the demand once our client experience Sensado cigars.”
For more information on Sensado Cigar Company, to request the at your local Brick and Mortar and to view their suggested beverage complements and pairings, visit their website at www.SensadoCigars.com. McMullen also says that they will be making their IPCPR debut this summer at the industry trade show in Las Vega, NV.
All of the Sensado “City Series” cigars for this article were purchased at The Smoker’s Abbey in Nashville, TN where I also had to pleasure of meeting personally with the representatives of the company.