Aging Room Solera Sun Grown
Like most, if not all, cigar companies, 2016 marked a busy year for Boutique Blends as they prepared for the August 8, 2016 FDA deadline. At IPCPR 2016, Boutique Blends showcased several new offerings under their Aging Room brand, with one of those being the Solera. The Aging Room Solera comes available in four different wrapper options including Dominican Sun Grown, Mexican Maduro, Connecticut, and Dominican Corojo. If all goes as planned, I’ll review the Solera in each wrapper options before the end of the year. To kick it off, up for review today is the Aging Room Solera Sun Grown Fantastico.
Manufactured in Santiago, Dominican Republic at Tabacalera Palma, three sizes are currently being produced including Festivo (4.7 by 52), Fantastico (5.6 by 54), and Fanfare (6.125 by 57). The Solera name comes from the aging process used for the blend. Information on the process was provided in the press release:
The Solera method of aging is a fractional blending process where the finished product is a mixture of ages. By aging together tobaccos from different years, a marriage of flavors occurs long before the cigars are made.
“The aging of tobaccos from different vintages,” said Rafael Nodal, President of Boutique Blends, “ensures the marriage of flavors and characteristics from different tobaccos, creating a unique cigar.”
“Normally the tobaccos are aged separately and blended together at the time of rolling the cigar,” explained Hank Bischoff, Vice President and co-founder of Boutique Blends Cigars, “but with the Solera system,” continued Hank, “the result is a more mature aging and blending process yielding a more complex blend than previously attainable.”
Size: 5.6 by 54
Wrapper: Dominican Sun Grown
Smoke Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
The Aging Room is attention grabbing with its large, yellow secondary band with the word “SOLERA” written vertically. The two bands conceal the majority of the wrapper so it will be necessary to remove at least the secondary band for the pre-light inspection. Unable to slide the secondary band off, I am relieved as it comes unglued easily with no damage to the cigar. The Dominican Sun Grown wrapper is full of character – tons of stretch marks, two large stitch-like veins, a fine tooth, and very bumpy. There are no soft spots located on this evenly and firmly filled Aging Room Solera. The medium brown leaf is coated with oils that are easily seen and felt.
A sweet cedar aroma comes across from the wrapper, with similar woodsy notes coming across from the foot of the cigar, along with brown sugar and a mild spice. A shallow-cut through the pigtail style cap opens up an easy draw that brings forth flavors much the same to the earlier aromas, as well as a potpourri spice. A medium heat lingers in my mouth after the dry draw.
Once lit, the introductory profile shows a combination of sweet and charred woodsy notes, pepper, and a faint grapefruit bitterness. On top of the sweet wood, there is another level of sweetness, but more mocha like. This coffee, sweet chocolate match-up lingers long on the finish. The burn is all over the place as a white, solid ash is being formed.
Transitioning into the second third of the Aging Room Solera Sun Grown, the charred wood has gained ground over the sweet woodsy notes, but not in an unpleasant kind of way. At the same time, the pepper spice has kicked up a few notches. The mocha remains on the finish, but transitions to more of a dirt. The burn-line has improved, but still wavy, and the ash is flaky in appearance.
As I pull into the final third and remove the primary band, a touch-up is finally required. But not fully due to the wavy burn, but more because the smoke production has significantly decreased. A quick hit with a flame brings back a mouth full of smoke and the burn is back in-line. The flavors are gritty with char and toasted bread flavor up front and center, but somehow they are coming across well balanced.
Flavors opened up medium and steadily increased to medium/full, with the strength riding in the medium range throughout. The Aging Room Solera Sun Grown took off with a sweet profile contrasted with a charred wood flavor. As the cigar progressed the charred wood and toasted notes took the show, while the sweetness gradually decreased. While the cigar evolved in sweetness and grittiness, a medium pepper spice held its ground from the very start. In the performance arena, the Solera Sun Grown pumped out copious amounts of smoke as the cigar burned mostly wavy, creating a firm, flaky looking ash. For a cigar that comes in at $7.49, the Aging Room Solera Sun Grown is a solid release from Boutique Blends and well worth trying. I know I will be smoking more of these!