Selected Tobacco – Atabey
Atabey by Selected Tobacco has been on the market for several years now, still, not much is known about this super-premium cigar. The Cigar Authority has shed some light on the company and brand with regular mentions of it on their weekly radio show. Furthermore, Atabey, along with the rest of Selected Tobacco’s portfolio, has received rave reviews from the online cigar community.
Atabey, Bandolero, and Byron are all brands produced by Selected Tobacco and owned and blended by Nelson Alfonso. Produced in Costa Rica at the Selected Tobacco factory, Atabey is manufactured in limited quantities and available in four vitolas: Divinos (4 1/2 by 50), Brujos (4 7/8 by 52), Delirios (5 3/4 by 55), and Ritos (6 1/8 by 55). Two additional sizes are available outside the U.S. market. While all three of Nelson’s brands are easily considered premium , the Bandolero falls at a more reasonable price point compared to the Atabey and Byron. Atabey cigars start around $20.00 for a single up to the low $30s for the largest size, the Ritos. U.S. distribution is managed by United Cigar Group, owned by David Garofalo of Two Guys Smoke Shop.
Nelson Alfonso is most well known for his work on the Cohiba Behike branding. His Cuban influence transfers over to the the branding of Atabey, which is very Cubanesque and reminiscent of the Behike. But the most captivating aspect of the packaging is the Humitube the Atabey arrived in. United Cigar Group’s website explains the technology used:
Humitube® technology is the unique real and effective humidifier cigar tube in the world for its double chamber system that let the cigar receive a slow humidify thought the wall of the tube that make a balanced humidified cigar at all its length.
With this technique, called double chamber tube, the cigars receive a smoothly uniform humectation, and receive a complete equal humectation from top to the bottom of the cigar.
The other conventional cigar tubes of the market always destroy the cigar cause the humidify are supply are located only in the bottom of the tube, and this strong and direct humidity destroy the cigars cause the humidity is received direct to the “mouth” of the cigar, making an “trump shame cigar” that is over wet in the “month” of the cigar and total dry at the end of this.
Samples Provided by United Cigar Group
Size: 6 1/8 by 55
Smoke Time: 1 Hour and 25 Minutes
The Atabey is dressed in a golden tan wrapper. Some wrinkles are seen, but hardly any veins are apparent until closer examination. Upon removing the cedar sleeve, I find a small tear in the wrapper running about a half inch starting at the foot of the cigar. The initial aroma triggers memories of walking into my first walk in humidor with the smell of Spanish cedar and tobacco in the air.
Quickly, the strong aroma of cedar fades and I am left with notes of hay and a very faint pungency. Spice instantly hit my sinuses causing quite the tingle. Much fuller notes are found on the foot beginning with cedar, deep red wine notes, graham cracker and some spices. Opting for a straight cut instead of using the cigar punch located on the Humitube, I find a perfect draw that brings forth notes of clove and rich cedar.
The flavors are much darker and fuller than expected. Diesel, coffee, and wet earth are on one end of the spectrum of the profile, being contrasted and complimented by some bright cedar notes on the other end. The finish is short and is having drying effect on my palate making me once again think of wine, but this time a dry red. Only an inch in and a transition in the flavors has taken place with a light, refreshing fruitiness and sweetness joining in. The retrohale, one of the cleanest and smoothest I have come across, brings out the pepper. The Selected Tobacco Atabey is burning cool with a thick, crooked burn. A firm, light gray ash is holding strong.
The darker, heavier flavors from early on remain with some added black pepper and cocoa. However, the profile is in no way fatiguing to the palate. The retrohale remains very pleasant and a hint of the fruitiness and sweetness is found on the finish of the smoke. The Atabey continues to burn well.
Pulling into the final third of the Atabey by Select Tobacco, some strength is finally making an appearance and the flavors are chugging along. After removing the band with ease, I find a clove flavor that quickly hits the palate then moves behind the more dominant flavor of diesel. Additionally, a syrupy sweetness has joined in and the finish develops a char taste with only a few minutes remaining. The draw has firmed up, but it still within the acceptable range.
From the packaging to the experience itself, the Selected Tobacco Atabey is attractive, unique, and intriguing. Each third brought forth distinct flavors, while not losing site of its identity. The cigar centered around the earthy/diesel-like flavor, with transitions in more of subtle, background notes. The play between the char and syrupy-sweetness in the final third was the only off-putting part of the cigar. The flavor and body were in the medium/full range, while the strength crept up steadily through the cigar ending in the medium/full range as well. The price may make the Atabey out of reach for some, but for those who have the cash, the Atabey is worth the buy as it does not disappoint. The Atabey is definitely out of my price range, but it was a treat to smoke nonetheless.
Jeremy Hensley is a bean counter for a non-profit in El Paso, Texas. He is married to the most understanding wife (he still can’t figure out how she puts up with his cigar smoking hobby), and blessed with two beautiful children. When he is not acting like a kid, he enjoys everything outdoors, especially fishing with his dad in the Great Lakes. Also, he meets the criteria of being a Casa Fumando reviewer: being a hockey fan. Feel free to contact Jeremy anytime via email (jmhensley13[at]gmail[dot]com). And make sure to follow him on twitter http://twitter.com/pdn_jdog