Vitola de Galera: Pirámides
Vitola de Salida: No. 2
Dimensions: 52 RG / 6.1 inches
Presentation: Dress box / 25’s
Vintage: Aug 2012
Age When Tasted: 2 yrs, 9 month
I’ve longed to taste this cigar and finally got my opportunity a couple weeks ago while in Havana.
I had stopped by earlier that day to visit with the folks at the Casa Del Habanos at the Hotel Conde de Villanueva. After enjoying a cuban coffee and a glass of Santiago de Cuba 25 yr rum, I selected a slightly aged No. 2 from the stores coffers.
After a nice walk, I headed over to the Plaza Vieja and settled in at a table on the balcony of Azucar, a new comer to the bar scene in old Havana. Another glass of rum and I was ready.
I’ve mentioned before that I don’t generally smoke figurados, but in the spirit of tasting every vitola I can get my hands on, and the fact that I had never tasted a Diplomáticos, I was really excited to dive in.
The Diplomáticos brand was released in 1966 and, at the time, and offered a parallel offering to Montecristo. 5 cigars were released–numbers 1-5. Limited distribution, available in few countries (I love that). At the time of writing, only the No. 2 remains in current production.
The particular vitola I selected is a rustic looking cigar. Veiny wrapper, verging on a colorado maduro. Firm body. Muscular. Feels a bit macho. Substantive. Oily wrapper.
The foot smells of leather, musk, earth, balsamic, and a hint of spiciness.
Once lit, the first third of this cigar moves through a pretty linear progression of flavors. The body is very animal (leather). The undertones are funghi and and earth. Damp earth. I am imagining that this will only intensify as I progress through the cigar.
The burn is nice and even, considering the humidity in the air. We had a fresh rain earlier in the day, and a slight haze is lingering.
Lots of rich, heady smoke.
This cigar is a nice pairing with the rum I have selected–a Havana Club Selección de Maestros. This is a pretty special rum. It was created by a hand selected group of Cuban rum sommeliers that collaborated with Havana Club to create this masterpiece.
It is readily available at most locations in Cuba, by the way.
While I am on the topic, I wanted to clarify my perspective on cigar and beverage pairings–I am asked this pretty regularly and this may help those of you that need a starting point.
There are essentially 3 ways to go about pairing cigars and beverages:
1. Choose a beverage and a cigar that creates a larger experience than each individual component–for instance, a full bodied cigar with an aged, full bodied rum. The flavors are very similar-and the result is that both are amplified and work in union. Another example would be an oaky chardonnay paired with a woody cigar–such as a Hoyo de Monterrey Le Hoyo Du Prince.
2. A pairing in which one defers to the other. One is downplayed by the act of contrast. An example of this would be a vintage champagne (mineral notes) paired with a medium bodied, leathery vitola such as a Saint Luis Rey, Serie A. In this case, the champagne serves to bring to the fore the predominant elements of the vitola.
3. Pairings that do nothing to each element. Quite literally, sparkling water with any vitola. Other combinations exist, of course, but this is the most basic.
But at the end of the day, what really matters is what you like.
Moving in to the middle of this cigar, the animal and earthy components persist, but a delicate floral-ness emerges. I taste heather, rose, and a touch of alyssum.
The burn continues very evenly, and the smoke is rich and perfumed…
The last third of this cigar is intensified leather, gentle spice, more predominant floral and cola–sweet cola.
If you love figurados, I’d recommend you try to snatch up a box–I have a feeling that the Diplomáticos brand is a dying breed, as the big brands get more and more market share, and squeeze out the really special cigars. But that’s business.