Partagas – Benji Homage 62
Some big things are going on in the El Paso area and one of the big-ticket items is the construction of a Triple-A baseball stadium for the El Paso Chihuahuas that is scheduled to open for the 2014 season. Less than a block away from the stadium is an old red-brick building that houses our local cigar shop, La Casa Del Puro Cigar Lounge. In preparation for the new year and the newly built stadium, the humidor is fully stocked with lots of new product and an alcohol license is underway. Not only is La Casa Del Puro the only cigar lounge, it will be the first Cigar Bar in the El Paso area once the liquor license goes through. After my visit last week to check out the new cigars in stock, I walked out with a couple of recently released Partagas Benji Homage 62 for review.
Pastor Crespo, owner of La Casa Del Puro, provided me with this blurp from General Cigar :
Partagas Benji “Homage” is a limited release cigar created to pay tribute to our living legend Mr. Benji Menendez and his 60+ years of premium tobacco service.
His retirement is certainly well deserved. With his exit, Benji leaves us with a legacy unmatched by anyone in our industry.
Benji Homage 62 is available in two vitolas: Toro (6 1/2 by 54) and Robusto Gordo (5 1/2 by 52).
Size: 6 ½ by 54
Wrappper: Honduran Olancho San Agustin
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Dominican, Honduran and Mexican
Smoke Time: 2 Hours
First off, General Cigar did not cut any corners on the packaging of the Partagas Benji Homage 62. The packaging is absolutely gorgeous and has to be one of the best I have seen. Each cigar is individually wrapped in tissue paper with the same primary and secondary band on the outside of the tissue paper that is contained on the cigar itself. Both bands on the outside of the tissue paper have a significant amount of glue on them and I ended up tearing through the bands to get to the cigar. I sure hope a little less glue is used on the bands that are in contact with the cigar.
The wrapper leaf is medium dark in color and has a deep rusty hue and dark color imperfections down the stick. The light bounces off the oils on the wrapper, making this stick even more appealing, and there are fair number of medium-sized veins and bumps. Both the wrapper and foot aromas are light with some notes of cedar, and just a tad of chocolate on the foot.
The cigar is fully packed with tobacco and my cutter had a difficult time cutting through the cap. A decent draw brings out a clove-like spice and more woodsy notes. Some spice heat can be felt in my mouth and on my lips.
As the smoke enters my mouth, I first notice cedar or a pencil-shaving flavors, along with a fruity sweetness. The back-end of the smoke brings out some sour qualities and burnt wood. At about the half-inch point, a floral, perfume-like flavor begins cutting through the sour and burnt notes. I feel a little warmth in my mouth but it does not seem like a spice warmth but possibly more from an acidic quality. The retrohale brings out some deep cedar notes that are really pleasant. A dark ash is being formed and the burn line is crazy thick and uneven. While I am not too familiar with the wrapper on this stick, I know that the Broadleaf binder is a thick leaf which may be resulting in the thick, uneven burn.
The floral and perfume flavors have stepped up their game as I make my way into the second third. The original sweetness and cedar notes are mixing in with the more floral notes nicely. The spice is picking up and pepper is now easily noticeable on the retrohale. Due to the tight draw, a couple of puffs are needed to get a mouthful of smoke. I am beginning to feel a slight nicotine kick halfway through the second third. I would put the strength in the medium/full arena as of now.
The draw has opened allowing a satisfying amount of buttery smoke to pass through. I originally thought cedar would be the core of the flavors when first lit, but I am surprised to find the floral, perfume flavor making up the core with change-ups in the other “minor” flavors. Some black coffee has developed in the profile and the sweetness is creeping its way back to the front of the profile. I am pleased to report that both bands came unglued with ease with no damage done to either of the bands or the wrapper. The strength seemed to dissipate through most of the final third but began to edge its way back up at the very end. Right before the two-hour mark, I am finding some bitterness letting me know it is time to put this beauty to rest.
The Partagas Benji Homage 62 is an outstanding cigar. The flavors were easily distinguishable and the variations among the flavors were intriguing. The only short-fall of the Homage was the multiple touch-ups needed throughout the cigar to get the wavy burn back in-line. Benji Menendez should be extremely proud of this cigar that pays tribute to his 62 years in the industry. With only 1500 boxes of each size produced, I recommend that you search a couple of these sticks down right away. I do not think you’ll be disappointed.