Wrapper: Connecticut from Talanga, Honduras
Binder: Habano Jamastrán
Filler: Viso Jamastrán, Ligero Azacualpa
Brand: Maya Selva
Factory: Tabacas de Oriente
CigarNoise Price Range: $11-$14
Flor de Selva No. 20 Lancero – Initial Thoughts
The lancero may not be the most “manly” cigar in appearance, but it offers a different perspective into a favorite cigar blend. That being said, I don’t smoke cigars to look manly so I’m completely comfortable smoking a lancero. Pinkies up, ladies and gents.
Two bands adorn this offering by Maya Selva Cigars. The white band near the cap features the Flor de Selva logo. A maroon-colored foot band is inscribed with “Maya Selva Cigars.”
The golden brown wrapper is dry to the touch. Small veins are visible on the wrapper leaf, seams are well hidden, and the cap is applied perfectly. The cigar is smooth in appearance with few bumps visible under the wrapper. A small amount of pressure reveals some give in the firmness, but not enough to make me worry about the construction. A sweet scent of fresh cut hay, mild barnyard, and fruitiness wafts from the wrapper. The fruity scent reminds me of an overly-ripe pear.
I opt to punch-cut this cigar, hoping to keep the cap intact and still allow good draw. The cold draw presents mild, gratifying flavors of dry hay and raisin. The wrapper has tartness as well. I have never tasted a wrapper with this characteristic, and I am intrigued. The Maya Selva website suggests I will encounter 40 minutes of enjoyment from the No. 20. As this cigar was produced to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Maya Selva Cigars, I expect the blend to perform well. Let’s find a torch!
Flor de Selva No. 20 Lancero – First Third
Mild Pepper, Cedar, Raisin, Dried Fruit, Cinnamon, Baked Bread, Caramel, Cashew, Mild Tobacco
The first puff tickles the tip of my tongue with just enough pepper to notice. The appearance is brief and is quickly pushed aside by plenty of cedar and mild tobacco flavors. Hiding in the shadows of the profile I find raisins, a touch of cinnamon, and dried plum.
The first ash fall occurs at one inch and, quite frankly, it surprises me. The ash is a very light gray and seems compact and solid, leading me to believe it would hang around a bit longer. Mild sinus heat is evident in the retrohale, but the process is smooth and enjoyable. The tartness I experienced on the wrapper during the cold draw also appears in the retrohale. The first third produces ample smoke with almost no effort on my part.
Near the end of this segment, Flor de Selva No. 20 reveals a chink in its armor as smoke production drops off rapidly. An inspection of the lit end reveals a small void right near the center of the cigar: the dreaded tunnel. I feel disappointment creeping up, knowing this could really cut my relationship with this cigar short.
Flor de Selva No. 20 – Second Third
Cedar, White Pepper, Dried Fruit, Nutmeg, Cashew, Cinnamon, Raisin, Mild Coffee, Cream, Graham Cracker, Floral Notes
Twenty-seven minutes in and I am just beginning the second third. I was relatively certain this lady would hold my hand much longer than the suggested time on the Maya Selva site. Now, however, I’ll be happy just to get past the void in the cigar and work into the second half.
Interestingly, Maya Selva holds a particularly unique place in cigar history. According to online sources, Maya Selva is the only female owner of a cigar company in South America. In 1995 she entered the European market with a rollout in France. Maya Selva Cigars manufactures three different lines: Flor de Selva, Cumpay, and Zamorano. Check out Dave’s review of the Villa Zamorano Robusto!
Back to our current customer! I ease into the second third, hoping to sneak past the short tunnel and into the earlier pepper and cedar goodness. Smoke production increases as I near the midway mark. I apply a couple short, light pulls on the cigar and the flavors become slightly fruity and tart. The cedar profile retreats. Heavier pulls on this cigar reward with more cedar, caramel, cashew, and raisin.
The foot smoke is very aromatic with cedar and baked raisin bread. The burn is even. Smoke is billowing and the retrohale rewards me with creamy smoothness. As the last third approaches, this cigar is hitting full stride. If the flavor parade hasn’t been enjoyable enough, cream and graham cracker decide to join the show.
Flor de Selva No. 20 Lancero – Final Third
Cedar, Dried Cherry, Mild Floral Notes, Cream, Cinnamon, White Pepper, Tobacco
Cedar is the reigning champion of flavor entering the last third of this lancero. Hiding behind the cedar, dried cherries make a brief cameo. Floral notes dominate when the cedar dissipates. Stronger puffs accentuate the creamy profile I remember from nearly the entire second third. The ash falls with about 1 1/2″ left in the smoke. Pepper is kicking up a notch and lingering on the edges of the tongue, teasing me with a finish I am sure I’ll enjoy.
But a tease is all I get, and the flavor takes an unexpected turn. With 1 1/2″ left, ammonia makes its presence known, both in flavor and in the foot smoke. It was particularly strong in the smoke aroma. This date comes to an end right when I lean in for the kiss! I feel disappointed and conflicted. The conflict is spurred by my initiation with this cigar. I smoked a sample not too long ago and that cigar treated me like a king from start to finish. Alas, it’s not to be this time around.
Strong ammonia at the end of cigar
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