Size: 5.25 Ã— 52 (Belicoso)
Wrapper: Ecuador Sun Grown
Binder and Filler: Dominican Republic
Price: Give or take $11.00 a piece
Behind The Stick:
When it comes to word of mouth I’m sure whenever people are chatting about smokes a ‘random’ – Hey, what cigar do you like? will come up and invariably there will be someone who says an Ashton VSG. Now, this could be because they have just been a ‘popular brand’ for years but from the research I have been able to find, ever since the late 1990’s early 2000 time frame, these things seem to have sprung up out of the wood work. I am going to give a bit of a spoiler but including the 4 I bought for this review (I have never had this size) I have never had a bad VSG so my expectations of a stellar delivery has already been set. From what I have been able to gather the VSG is blended specifically for Ashton by Carlos Fuente jr who is using 4-5 year old Dominican tobacco mixed with a privately grown wrapper from Ecuador (owned by the Oliva family) which has helped to bring this blend into one of the best smokes on the market.
Taken in full from the Ashton Website:
“For those who desire a powerful and intoxicating flavor with a complex rich finish, look no further than the Ashton VSG. The VSG is blended exclusively for Ashton by Carlos Fuente Jr. using 4 to 5 year old aged Dominican tobacco taken from the finest and most fertile plants. The distinct flavor of VSG comes from its wrapper grown on a private estate in Ecuador owned by the Oliva family where this proprietary wrapper leaf is grown for the Fuente Family exclusively for Ashton VSG. The leaf is taken from the higher primings and matures slowly by sunlight filtered through the regionÂ¹s natural cloud covering. The result is the rich intoxicating wrapper which has made the Ashton VSG the most in demand cigar on the market today.”
As you all know I am not one to buy into the advertising bullshit – so lets pour a drink, get settled and get into the review!
Evenly packed from head to foot, this extremely dark wrapper seems to almost burst at the seams from how much tobacco has been pumped in. The wrapper almost has this marbling effect to it, light and dark browns mixed with bits of near black – damn. The tip is well made and clipped easily without any issues – well, one issue – the band. I noticed a bit of glue on the underside of the cigar and was hoping it was not much but on each and every one the band required a bit of finesse to get off – no damage to the cigar so it was ‘okay’.
What a great way to start – spice but more of a slow buildup to spice rather than some of the spice bombs on the market now. The smoke is very well defined and almost has the cream feel I’d associate more with a Connecticut shade wrapper but don’t you worry this thing is easily within the upper medium range right from the start. Spice, nutty ‘notes’ and just a touch of espresso really helped these flavors to play off one another. Getting further into the mid section this spice seemed to disappear only showing itself every couple of puffs – a more sweet sensation acted as a segue to the ‘bitter sweet’ notes of leather, cedar and chocolate. Rounding the final corner and getting towards the end this cigar dropped off a few notes and started to focus primarily on the leather as well as the spice from before which was a very pleasant surprise. This cigar ended right in my favorite flavor profile so it was easy for me to nub each one.
I have never been let down with a VSG and this belicoso is no different. The cigar not only looks great but it is one of the more complex cigars I’ve had in the 10-12 dollar price range. It is a bit more into the full body range so not all smokers will feel this one is dead on but I am a big fan of that bitter, dark, cedar and leather combo with mixes of other flavors. Even with the continual issues on the bands (never a problem to the smoke just more of an irritant) I would have to recommend these smokes to a wide range of smokers. Even with the high price the Ashton VSG Belicoso is one of my favorites of the VSG line, a purchase I would have to save up for but a box would be worth it.
Every Cigar Has A Story, Every Smoke A Memory