Wrapper: Costa Rican
Filler: Honduran, Costa Rican, Nicaraguan
Vitola: 5 x 52 (Pirate)
Brand: Graycliff Cigar Company
CigarNoise Price Range: $20 – $24
Availability: Regular Production
Source: IPCPR 2016
Graycliff Chateau Grand Cru – Opening Thoughts
I found myself with a day in the Pacific Northwest free of rain and full of beckoning sunshine. It seemed like the perfect day to head outside for a cigar review. When I opened my review humidor, an ornate purple and gold banded cigar caught my eye after 240 days – the Graycliff Chateau Grand Cru.
Graycliff, based in the Bahamas and steeped in history, boasts an original blend created by Avelino Lara. Lara, once the personal roller for Fidel Castro, created what, for many, is the pinnacle of Cuban cigars: the Cuban Cohiba.
Light brown in color, the Graycliff Grand Cru offered very little in the way of scent from the wrapper. I picked up hay and leather and not much else. I clipped the cap with a straight cut to find an easy cold draw. Flavors of leather and some light spiciness tingled on my tongue.
Graycliff Chateau Grand Cru – First Third
Leather, Natural Tobacco, Walnut, Almond, Cedar, Oak, Graham Cracker, White Pepper
Immediately after lighting the foot of the Grand Cru, I knew the lack of flavors in the cold draw was a complete anomaly. Soft leather and natural tobacco flavors mixed perfectly with hints of walnut and almond. Light cedar notes crept into the waning moments of the profile.
The slightly wavy burn line was crisp and left behind a solid, medium gray ash. Smoke rolled from the cigar in voluminous amounts; both creamy in texture and aromatic in nature. I did apply one touch-up to the burn line as it began to waver off course at one point.
Midway through the first third, the cedar notes transitioned to oak, exchanging a softer wood for a sharper, more pungent flavor. In retrohale, the smoke was warm, heavy with white pepper and featured a quick-finishing graham cracker sweetness.
Graycliff Chateau Grand Cru – Middle Third
Leather, Almond, Cashew Sweetness, Cedar, White Pepper, Dark Cherry
Jotting down review notes, I looked over at the cigar stand attempting to see if the cigar was still burning and didn’t see smoke. I picked it up, gave a light draw and the Grand Cru jumped to life. My worries were put to rest! The smoke output from this cigar was just amazing.
Leather remained boss in the middle of the experience. Nutty flavors brought along a cashew like sweetness, complimenting the return of cedar.
White pepper remained in the retrohale, allowing cedar and the cashew sweetness to smooth things out. Late in the middle section, a dark cherry note appeared, adding a fruity complexity to the mix. The middle third of the Graycliff Grand Cru was far more complex than the first and had me looking forward to the last section.
Graycliff Chateau Grand Cru – Final Third
Cedar, Fresh Bread, Almonds, Dark Cherry, Black Pepper, White Pepper
Beginning the final third, a wonderful combination of cedar and fresh bread offered an enticing combo. Nutty almond notes and strong dark cherry rounded things out, giving way to a spicy, black pepper finish. The depth of cherry notes with the smooth almond flavor reminded me of trail mix. In fact, if anything, the profile grew in sweetness towards the end.
The cherry note also found it’s way into the retrohale, complimented by a great wash of white pepper spiciness.
The burn line wavered a bit for a second time, requiring a minor correction. Other than that, there was nothing about the construction or performance of the cigar to leave me wanting.
Two Burn Corrections