Felix Assouline Cigars – EGO
In mid-October, Michel Malek, Executive Vice President of Felix Assouline Cigars, reached out to me to see if I would be interested in reviewing their cigars. Mr. Malek filled me in on the company history, as well as the cigars he would be providing to sample. This was the first time that I had ever heard of Felix Assouline Cigars and was very interested in giving the cigars a try. Within a week I received a package containing two cigars from each of their brands, which includes the EGO, Ringo, Something Special, and Havana Sunrise Reserve. Today, I will be reviewing the EGO by Felix Assouline Cigars that comes in a 5 by 52 Perfecto.
As mentioned, I had absolutely zero knowledge of Felix Assouline Cigars prior to Michel Malek reaching out to me. While this was the first time that I heard of this company, Felix Assouline, owner, is not a newcomer to industry. Felix first entered in the cigar world in 1997, opened his first factory in Honduras in 2004, and achieved a 90 rating in Smoke Magazine in 2006 with their original release of the EGO. After nine years in the industry, Felix took a six-year hiatus to focus on his family. Felix found his way back into the industry in 2013 and opened a factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. This is what Felix Assouline Cigars’ website has to say about the company now:.
Felix Assouline Cigars is proud to introduce four new premium cigar brands. Made in our factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, the Capital of Tobacco, our cigars marry the perfect mix of tobacco from the richest fields in Nicaragua and Honduras. Each blend is created to enrich your smoking experience leaving you wanting more. Through careful craftsmanship, we roll our cigars the traditional Cuban way using the knowledge learned from one of the great masters, Alejandro Robaina. We then take the extra time to box press our cigars to fuse the flavors of the different leaves together. The results are 4 distinctly rich flavors found in our introductory brands: EGO, Havana Sunrise Reserve and Ringo.
The EGO is available in three vitolas: Shot (5 by 25 Cigarillo), Perfect (5 by 52 Perfecto), and Passion (6 ½ by 58 Torpedo).
Samples Provided by Felix Assouline Cigars
Vitola: Perfect (Perfecto)
Size: 5 by 52
Wrapper: Habano 98
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran
Smoke Time: 1 Hour
The EGO that I am smoking is the Perfect, which is a box-pressed perfecto. The Habano wrapper on the Felix Assouline EGO is mostly consistent in its medium brown color and it has a light reddish hue. There are only a couple color imperfections on the leaf. Tons of small veins web across the stick but to the touch they can barely be felt. The wrapper has a wonderful aroma of sweet barnyard.
The aroma off of the tapered foot of the cigar is rich with the same sweet barnyard and additional dark notes of earth, cocoa, and faint cedar. I find a firm draw upon cutting the somewhat sloppy double cap. I expect the draw to open up as I burn past the tapered foot. The cold draw is rich with earth and cinnamon notes.
A quick flame on the foot is all it takes to get the EGO started, but hardly any smoke is being produced and I am having to take several firm draws to get any sort of smoke in my mouth. The smoke that I am getting is bitter and burnt tasting. After about eight minutes, the draw is beginning to loosen and I am able to discern some much better flavors. Full spicy, woodsy notes saturate my palate. The flavors are much fuller than I expected. A spice sting can be felt at the back of my throat. I am still in the first third and there is already some development in the flavor department taking place. The smoke has become creamy with a light butterscotch flavor. The burn line is extremely thick and wavy requiring one touch-up in the first third. The flaky ash is light in color but easily holding passed an inch.
The spice remains at the core of the smoke and black pepper notes have arrived. The black pepper is very noticeable on the retrohale. The intensity of the woodsy notes are picking up and a sugar-cane sweetness is peeking through but not on a consistent basis. The finish has some dusty cocoa notes. At the forty minute mark, I have already arrived at the large band on the EGO. Another touch-up in second third was required to keep the burn on path. The flavors are medium/full and strength at the high-end of medium.
The spice is not at all shy. My mouth and lips tingle with a nice little spice sting for quite sometime after each draw. The flavors remain very dark and a toastiness is beginning to overpower the rest of the flavors. The woodsy notes have shifted down and the sweetness has not shown back up. The burn line is a bit edgy at this point but overall burning well. The strength is pushing full.
Felix Assouline’s EGO is a hard stick to fully evaluate. While the cigar I smoked for this review opened up after I burned passed the nipple foot, the draw on the other sample remained restricted throughout the experience causing shallow, bitter/burnt flavors. If I only focus on the cigar that I smoked for this review, I really enjoyed the cigar after the first eight minutes through the second third. However, the toastyness I encountered in the final third overshadowed the flavors I enjoyed in the previous two thirds. A couple of touch-ups were required and the ash was rather flaky. I am interested in smoking a few more EGO’s before making my final judgement on the stick. Also, I think I will just clip past the tapered foot and skip right to the portion of the smoke I really enjoyed the next time I light one up. Finally, I want to say “Thank You” to Michel Malek and Felix Assouline Cigars for providing the samples.