Asylum Cigars – Asylum 13 “99 Problems” Lancero
A guy you have seen a lot around here as of late, Jeff Oda, bombed me with a bunch of cigars a few months back. The package contained some of his regular rotation smokes, a few La Gloria Cubana Rabito De Cochinos, and two lanceros. One being the Emilio La Musa Melete and the other the Ayslum 13 “99 Problems”. This week’s review of the Asylum 13 “99 Problems” Lancero by Ayslum Cigars joins the list of two other Nicaraguan puros I have reviewed this month, following the Montecristo Espada and the Sindicato.
William Cooper of Cigar Coop reported on the Asylum 13 “99 Problems” Lancero back in February. According to cigar-coop.com:
Asylum 13, the line of cigars that made headlines almost a year ago by launching an 80 ring gauge cigars is going in the opposite direction. The company is planning on introducing a classic 7 x 38 lancero called “99 problems”. The lancero is expected to arrive at retailers third week of March 2014. The announcement was made in a press release issued by the company.
The name is derived from the fact that the lanceros will be sold in 99 count boxes. According to the press release, 500 boxes of 99 were produced of this cigar.
In a statement by Asylum Co-Founder Tom Lazuka, “I am more than confident that this Lancero will be the one to unite the masse,” says Co-Founder of Asylum Cigars, Tom Lazuka. He went on to express the inherent need for the industry to delve into this traditional sized cigar.
Fabricas Unidas founder Christian Eiroa commented on how the cigar got its name. “Although I have been bugged by many retailers to make this size, I really don’t care to make, I make it, but it will be called ’99 Problems’,” said Eiroa. The name is a twist in that while it was the retailers who asked Asylum to make this size, there is often resistance to embrace the lancero by many cigar enthusiasts. Thus the name “99 Problems” refers to the dilemma retailers will face once they get this 99 count box.
Both Eiroa and Lazuka are confident of the blend and what it will deliver in the lancero. Lazuka reiterates, “This cigar release will be aimed at those that have expressed the need for a more traditional cigar size that creates a harmonious relationship between wrapper, binder, and filler.”
The lancero marks the fifth vitola in the line. Current vitola offerings include: 99 Problems (7 by 38), Robusto (5 by 50), Sixty (6 by 60), Seventy (7 by 70), and Eighty (6 by 80).
A gift from Jeff Oda
Vitola: Lancero – 99 Problems
Size: 7 by 38
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Smoke Time:1 Hour and 20 Minutes
The Asylum 13 wear a marbled, milk chocolate wrapper that has an oily sheen. A fine tooth and one medium vein running the length of the lancero. The wrapper aroma is straight up barnyard and the foot gives off more pungent notes with deep cedar and chocolate. I am feeling just a mild pepper in my sinuses.
This lancero comes to a close with beatuifully applied pig-tailed cap. Such a small touch as pig-tail cap can add a lot to the presentation. The cap clips clean right below the pig-tail. Notes of manure, cedar, clove, and chocolate greet me on the draw that has the right amount of resistance. A spice tingle is felt on my lips.
This 38 ring gauge Asylum 13 lights quickly with my Zippo Z-Plus! lighter. I am immediately met with bright, white pepper notes, along with some dark, chewy cedar and cocoa flavors. The flavor makeup is similar to flavor profiles I come across with cigars that have San Andres tobacco. The finish is very vegetal, similar to the aftertaste of Asparagus. The pepper is sharp on the retrohale and if I retrohale this cigar too often I will be sneezing up a storm. The burn-line is thin and even, leaving a trail of white ash. The first ash held to half an inch before dropping into the ashtray. A small tunnel began to form after the first ash dropped, but I have yet to notice any adverse effect on the experience.
Burning my way into the second third, I find the profile to be much more savory and rich. The cedar and cocoa are steady and some earth and coffee have entered the mix. With each puff, copious amounts of blue smoke stream out of the foot and head of the cigar. The tunnel has all but disappeared. At the halfway point, the flavors seem to have dulled out a bit. At the start, the flavors were pushing medium-full, but now I would put the flavor at the low side of medium. The strength remains closer to the full range at the exit of the second third.
I am entering the final third of the Asylum 13 “99 Problems” lancero after an hour of smoking. Charred woodsy notes have joined the other core flavors of pepper, earth, and cocoa. The flavors have yet to recover from the drop-off experienced in the second third. The pepper has dialed down allowing me to push a full mouthful through my sinuses. Nothing to note on the performance up to this point.
For the first forty-five minutes of smoking the Asylum 13 “99 Problems” Lancero, I thought I may have found a top 10 candidate for 2014. The flavors met my palate just right and hit on all cylinders. Then a weird thing happened at the halfway point, the flavors flat-lined. Not that the flavors became hard to palate, but there was just not much to them. With this being my one and only experience with this cigar, I am leaning towards the flavor issue being a fluke. The lancero performed flawlessly. The cigar burned even and cool and the smoke production was satisfying. The only negative to note on performance is that the cigar quickly went out every time I let is set for more than a few minutes. I so thoroughly enjoyed the first half that I will be on the hunt for a few more of these, especially for a price of $7.00. Finally, a big “Thank You” to Jeff for hooking it up.