The Exile cigar line is made by Cuban Imports, Inc who’s president is Michael Argenti. He has also released a new line recently with his namesake attached to it recently called Berger and Argenti. The Exile line is a big throwback to the days of pre-embargo cigars. The cigars themselves look very similar to what an old Cuban cigar would appear to be with a very bumpy wrapper and a hand-made feel to them. The cigars are also wrapper in pieces of newspaper that are duplicates of the New York Daily Mirror newspaper from the day of the Embargo, February 4, 1962.
The cigars themselves don’t seem to be too widely available as I write this with only a handful of online shops that seem to have them. I have found them in 3 sizes, Perfection No, 1 (Robusto), Churchill, and Perfection No. 2 (a slightly longer Churchill). They are also available with an Ecuadorian Sumatra and a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. Usually those are two of my favorite wrappers, but a wrapper is only a small portion of what makes a good cigar. Let’s see how this one stood up in the review.
Cigar: Exile by Cuban Imports Inc.
Drink: Quinta de Infantado Tawny Port (Bottled in 2004)
Vitola: Churchill (6.75 x 50)
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Price: About $5
Burn Time: Guessing around 3 hours…
• A very dark chocolate brown wrapper with some spots being almost black
• Has a very bumpy texture to it and some major veins
• The double cap above is quite clean
• The band is interesting, sort of similar to a the style of a government seal on a box of cigars with some postal stamp-type markings on it
• There is also a secondary band at the bottom that is very much like newspaper topped with a gold ribbon and wrapped in a pig tail near the foot
• Most of the cigar is very firm with just a slight spring near the head
• Foot appears to be very well packed
• Draw is a little too tight at the start of this cigar
• Toasting was fairly even with only one small black spot that wouldn’t glow
• A wavy burn right off the start required a correction in the first inch
• Cigar went out right around the first inch, needing a lot of effort to keep this one lit
• Despite some extra draws the cigar is still going out, had to cut further down the head to get a better draw
• Still need a ton of extra draws to keep this cigar lit and I’ve still had to relight it at least 3 times before the half-way mark
• Needed a major touchup at the half-way mark
• Yet another re-light past the half-way mark… I will not re-light if it goes out again
• Went out again, and I’m going to set this cigar down with about 2.5 inches left…
Smoke & Ash:
• Not much smoke on the draw at all
• When the cigar went out I was getting almost no smoke due to the tight draw
• Ash appears very tight with no flaking
• Only after cutting the head further, poking it with toothpick(many times) and giving it a firm roll between my fingers was I able to generate a somewhat workable draw, still like drinking a milkshake through a tiny straw…
• Wrapper aroma is very mild with just a hint of cocoa and sweet tobacco
• Foot has a very earthy aroma to it with some hints of spice
• Pre-light draw is very earthy with some pepper on the lips
• Initial draws are mostly earthy with a dry finish
• Retrohale holds the same flavors with no bite, the whole experience is quite mild so far
• I still haven’t found more than earthiness and hay-like flavors through the first couple inches, I’m sure the draw issues are hampering any flavors in the cigar as well
• Still getting only a boring hay and earthy flavors at the halfway mark
• I must say I’m kind of impressed that with all the touch-ups and re-lights that I’m not getting any major harshness
• After the halfway point I finally started getting a little bit of coffee and nutty flavors, still very mild though, I hope they develop a bit more
• Still not much harshness near the end but the flavors disappeared again and the burn was just getting way too difficult to manage
There’s not much I can say here, the notes pretty much speak for themselves. I spent most of my time fighting this cigar to stay lit, burn properly, and produce at least a decent amount of smoke on the draw. This was my third Exile of the same wrapper and vitola and all three have given me similar problems. As mentioned, the cigar never really got too harsh despite all the re-lights and touch ups but the flavors also never had a good chance to develop. Based on the three I’ve smoked I will be avoiding these in the future. If you’ve had a different experience with this cigar or perhaps a different vitola or wrapper please let me know, I’m curious to see if this is the general consensus or I just had a string of bad luck? Maybe if I’m wrong I’ll give them another try.
It’s been awhile since I’ve had a nice tawny port pairing in my reviews so I’m glad it’s back! The bottle I had today was bottled in 2004 by Quinta de Infantado. It has a fairly light red color to it and produces some nice oaky flavors complemented by dark berries, such as black berries and black cherries. It’s not too strong and comes in at an excellent value for the price. It’s definitely a good port to start with if you’re just considering trying it out for the first time or to have on hand to serve without feeling a wallet pinch. I didn’t enjoy this cigar but I did enjoy the port and I won’t bother recommending other pairings since I don’t really recommend this cigar.