What classifies a cigar as being great? There are plenty of times where smokers, including myself, classify a new release as a great cigar, and I think that is premature of us. New releases always catch the attention of smokers, and the reason for that is that the cigar is new. The blend is something we have not had before, it is the first vintage of the cigar, there is a lot of passion behind the cigar and many more areas that make it exciting to us as smokers. You may be wondering what I mean by first vintage, and I mean the tobacco being used. There is only so much tobacco when a cigar is created, so when that tobacco is gone you are having to use new tobacco to achieve the original blend. No matter if the tobacco is the same priming, field, etc., it is going to be different than the original leaves used to make the cigar. That is why I think we need to wait some years before we say a cigar is great.
Off the top of my head I want to say that we need to wait a minimum of three years before classifying a cigar as being great. After this many years we are seeing whole new vintages of tobacco being employed into the blend, and the manufacturers is working harder than ever to create that original flavor profile. You can not deny that it is more of a challenge to create a cigar with tobacco that is different than the original tobacco used for the original blend. Yes you are still using the same styles of tobacco, but that tobacco has grown in a different way. There may have been more or less water, there may have been more or less sun, there may have been more or less nutrients in the soil, there may have been any number of factors that could play a part in changing that leaf to some degree. It is because of these factors that I believe we must wait before considering a cigar line/brand as being great. One cigar that has done this, and is truly great, is the Liga Privada T52.
Released at the 2009 IPCPR, the Liga Privada T52 was the follow up to the successful Liga Privada No. 9. It was the second release to the Liga Privada brand, and is a very unique cigar. The cigar begins with a Stalk Cut wrapper that is Sun Grown Habano. It is grown in the Connecticut River Valley, and the term stalk cut means that the entire stalk is cut and removed. It is then hung to dry by the stalk in the barn. The binder is Brazilian Mata Fina, and is grown by the father of Jesus Fuego, José. The filler is a blend of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobacco, and is a complex blend of tobacco from great regions. The cigar is absolutely beautiful in hand, and has a nice dark marbled wrapper. There are some oils present to touch, and it is very smooth with few veins. The cigar has an aroma of leather, coffee, cocoa, wood and earth, and I can't wait to smoke this beauty.
The cigar begins like it always does, and is very complex. I am getting some nice coffee, cocoa, leather and earth notes up front, and it is showing some unique spices along with that. There are some dried fruits notes as well, currants and black cherries, and it is a flavor bomb of a cigar. I have always classified this cigar as having a fruity quality to it, and I find it to be smoother and rounder than the No. 9. The body if easily on the full side, and I am finding that the strength of the cigar is right at a medium full level. It is definitely a cigar for an experienced smoker, but it is very smooth and blended wonderfully. The construction on the cigar is top notch, and it is producing a lovely charcoal ash that is holding on to the cigar firmly. It is a razor sharp burn line that has tons of smoke being produced, and each draw is cool and flavorful.
I am in the second third of the cigar now, and the flavors are still out of this world. There has been a great addition of toast and nuts to the cigar, and they are pairing with the wonderful fruity and leather notes. I am still getting some black cherries and currants vibe to the cigar, and it is very wine like. There are still those great cocoa, coffee, earth and wood notes with the cigar, and these cigars are great young and with some age. The construction on the cigar is still terrific, and it is producing that even burn line with a solid charcoal ash. Ligas produce tons of smoke, and this cigar is no exception. The cigar is cool with each draw, and it produced a full body experience that is great in the afternoon or evening. I would say the strength of the cigar is still at that medium full level as well, and there is some terrific depth in this third.
I am finishing the cigar now, and the tears are pouring. This is such a treat of a cigar that you never want it to end. The flavors are beyond enjoyable from beginning to end, and it is complexity at its best. There are those toasty, nutty, fruity and leather flavors to the cigar on one end, and then there is the woody, earthy, coffee and cocoa notes on the other end. The strength of the cigar is finishing on the full side of things, and the body is still at that full body level as well. The construction has been terrific from beginning to end, and it is producing that even burn line with a lovely light gray ash. The ash is strong, not at all flaky, and it is holding on firmly to the end which shows the greatness in the construction. The draw is cool all the way to the end, and is very flavorful as well. This is a cigar I nub every time, and it was no exception with this one.
I have found that cigar smokers are either Liga Privada T52 or Liga Privada No. 9 fans. Yes you can enjoy them both, but there is a clear preference on the two cigars. I myself prefer the T52. I am not a big maduro guy and I am a huge habano fan. The wrapper really adds some uniqueness to the cigar, and the flavors are out of this world. The construction on any T52 is going to be fantastic, and it is going to burn evenly with a great amount of smoke, and a beautiful light gray ash. I would say the strength of the cigar is at a medium full level, and the body of the cigar is full. It is not a cigar for a novice smoker, and if you see these in stock the best move is to pick them up as fast as possible. I give this cigar a solid 93, and love having these around in my humidor. I have smoked all sizes but the Double Corona in the line, and I can say they are all amazing.