Dunhill Signed Range Selección Suprema
So, you guys should all be familiar with Jeff by now. He’s our honorary Casas Fumando writer, and he kicked out tons of great reviews. If he keeps this up we are going to force him to join us full time. Until then, enjoy his newest “Guest” review.
The Signed Range Selección Selection Suprema is a very limited release by Dunhill made to commemorate the 80th anniversary of their Don Candido, which was the first cigar line produced solely for Dunhill. Since I could not find any contact information for Dunhill cigars, I will rely on Will Cooper’s always excellent information at cigar-coop.com. The factory and country of origin have not been disclosed. The Jalapa Shade wrapped cigars come in only one size, a 6×50 toro. They are packed eight to a box, and retail for $160, or $20 for a single.
I believe that the cigars here were provided to Tony by General Cigar, and he sent me a few to review.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Jalapa Shade
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Nicaraguan Jalapa and Esteli; Brazilian Mata Fina
Size: Toro 6×50
Smoking time: One hour, fifty minutes
Pairing: Ninkasi Noir Milk Stout (7.6 ABV)
The word “Shade” would seem to infer a light colored wrapper on this cigar, but that is certainly not the case. Instead, the Dunhill Signed Range Selección Suprema comes cloaked in a beautiful deep reddish-brown and oily leaf with a couple of small to medium veins and nearly invisible seams. The pack is extremely firm, even hard, with no soft spots whatsoever. The bands – there are three of them – are striking. The main band has a black background with gleaming deep gold (nearly copper), gray, and white, showing the Dunhill crest and “Selección Suprema”, while the band just below it is in the same gold on black and says “80 Years” encircled by the words “Celebration Exclusivity”. The narrow foot band merely says “Dunhill”. All in all, it’s an elegant, if a bit flashy, presentation. The aroma that comes off the wrapper is a tangy and lightly earthy barnyard, while the foot adds some woodiness and a hint of cocoa to the mix. Despite the firmness of the roll, the cap clips easily, revealing a very firm draw that shows some sweet tobacco and not much else, but it does leave a bit of spicy tingle on the lips.
The cigar toasts up easily, and immediately dives in with a mix of spicy sweet cedar, light earth, and bright white pepper. Even more cedar shows on the retrohale. Even though the draw is stiffer than I prefer, it is producing an adequate amount of smoke, with a medium burn line that is rapidly getting thinner. More earth and a touch of savory leather are apparent in the now nearly medium bodied stick, and the pepper has increased in intensity. Sweet citrus fruitiness has entered and the pepper steps back as the Selección Suprema shows itself to be smooth on entry, but with enough bite on the back of the palate and on the retrohale to be noticeable.
Entering the center portion of the cigar, it continues to refine itself. Still driven by the sweet cedar and citrus, it has dropped the pepper almost entirely, becoming very smooth throughout with touches of leather and light-roast coffee. While the first ash came off at about the ¾” mark, the second lasted a good 1-1/2”. By the halfway point, some savoriness has returned, the flavors have deepened, and some strength has crept in. Sweet coffee notes are becoming more prominent, perhaps influenced by the beer I’m pairing the cigar with, as the body and strength continue to climb.
The final third of the Dunhill Signed Range Selección Suprema has brought in some bitter char that persists despite a purge, as well as pungent pepper, as the body of the cigar has pushed to medium-full. Those flavors eventually fade back and again allow the cedar, coffee, and citrus to take the reins, but with the strength really ramping up into the full range, it’s taking its toll on me, and feeling quite queasy, I’m forced to set it down with a good 1-1/2” left.
The draw of the Selección Suprema eventually opened up enough for me to not have to think about it, and it produced ample smoke anyway. The overall construction and burn characteristics were excellent, with no touch-ups or re-lights, and it smoked quite slowly. Now to the subjective portion of this recap. The first two-thirds of the cigar were very much to my linking, and I was enjoying the way that it was progressively getting deeper in body and flavor, but the sudden spike in overpowering strength and the temporary bitterness in the final portion really threw off the balance of the cigar for me. The price is where things get even more dicey for me. If I have the sort of problems in the final third in a $5-$6 cigar that I did with this one, I can lay it down with not a lot of disappointment, feeling that I at least got the bulk of my money’s worth. But a $20 smoke should not come with that kind of experience, limited availability or not. I did smoke one prior to this review, and although I didn’t get the heavy bitterness in the last third, the strength did tip past the body in that one as well. I will venture to say, however, that this cigar may well prove to be a good one to age for a few (or more) years, as that may alleviate some of the strength and balance things out. If that happens, this would certainly be a cigar worth consideration. I do have one left, and intend to find out.
I was all set to pair this cigar with my last bottle of the Fort George North VII that featured in my review of the L’Atelier Extension de la Racine ER13 last year, but ran across the Ninkasi Noir Milk Stout. The Noir is a special release and is brewed with cold brewed Stumptown coffee, resulting in a surprisingly light bodied and not too sweet stout with a bit of tartness. A great stout for those who don’t really like the thick, heavy brews, it was a great foil for the portion of the Dunhill that I really enjoyed, bringing out more coffee flavor and complementing the light woody and citrus sweetness of the cigar.