Epicurean Armando Gutierrez “Azul” Vintage 2008 | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sun Grown
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Nicaraguan (Esteli & Jalapa)
Size: 6 x 50 “Toro”
Body: Medium
Price: $9.50
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Epicurean Cigars started their first limited production cigar in 2012. Owner, Steven Ysidron, left Savinelli to start Epicurean. Ysidron started his cigar career working in the Fuente factory, along with his father

2013 found him becoming part of the House of Emilio. Gary Griffith distributes his cigars. House of Emilio also supplies a good portion of the boutique cigar brands that Cigar Federation sells.

Epicurean Cigars makes four blends: Azul, AG, Gonzo, and Gonzo Santeria. The Santeria is the most expensive blend skirting the $11.00-$12.00 per stick range.

CF offers a 3 stick sampler of the AG 2007, Gonzo Vintage 2007, and the Azul for $28.00.

I’ve reviewed the AG 2007 and Gonzo Vintage 2007. Both good cigars.

All three blends come in the same four sizes:
5 X 54 Trajabador
6 X 50 Toro
5.5 X 48 Petite Corona
6 X 60 Justus

The prior Epicureans I reviewed were both perfectos. This is the first Toro. No pointy ends to contend with.

It is a very nicely constructed cigar. Virtually invisible seams. Very few veins. Packed to the gills with tobacco. A perfectly executed triple cap. The wrapper is an oily milk chocolate colored with a silky finish. A cedar wrap extends from the foot to the cigar band.

Like the other blends, the band is a simple black with silver lettering.

The PR machine tells us that the finished cigar is aged a full four years. It should be ready to go.

I clip the cap and find aromas of cocoa, spice, ginger, cedar, and leather.
Time to light up.

Cocoa, spice, cedar begin the beguine. The draw is just a tad tight so I gently roll it in my palm. I’m a professional and have long experience in rolling a long cylindrical object in my palm. Don’t do this if you’re a novice.

There is a plug between the cap and band. I gently use my cigar awl to clear it and the cigar explodes in front of my eyes. But the draw is fine now.
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I clip back the loose wrapper and trim the cap and find myself smoking half binder and half wrapper from the cap to the cigar band. Lovely. But I’m not giving up. It is the only Azul I have as I bought the 3 pack sampler of three different Epicurean cigars.

Cocoa is very strong. Sweetness pops up. The black pepper is very potent and the strength is a strong medium body. Apparently, the cigar is hearty enough to withstand this catastrophe…for the moment.

So far, the Azul is the red headed step child of the other two blends. Both blends started off more interesting as far as flavor profile. They had some unusual aspects that the Azul lacks.
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And considering the brand runs the $9-$12 range, I expect a wallop of flavor and character. The Azul is just average and if you take a look at “The Katman’s List of 71 Excellent Cigars in the $5.00-$6.00 Range,” you will find some equally good cigars for much less.

Of the three, this stick has had the longest humidor time of over a month. It should impress the hell out of me by now and it isn’t. Not to mention the disappointment of a blockage that destroyed the top part of the cigar. The construction may eventually become a major problem and we shall see how long the cigar lasts. I don’t put down cigars that I paid $9 for.

Surprisingly, the AG Azul is the third and latest blend to be released.

Cocoa, sweetness, cedar and leather seems to be the flavors of the day with this cigar as I begin the second third. I have no anticipation of this cigar earning flavor bomb status.

The leather moves to the front of the line. The char line goes awry and is very wavy. If I had smoked this cigar first before the other two, I would have had serious doubts about the voracity of this brand. I touch up the foot.

I am nearing the halfway point and the cigar is going nowhere. I really enjoyed the AG 2007 and the Gonzo 2007. What happened?
I quickly read the review of someone I truly respect and he experienced the exact same issues with the flavor profile: One Trick Pony.
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The real mess is on the back side of the cigar so you won’t see it again. But it looks terrible. Looks like botched surgery.
The halfway point sees the cedar and sweetness go neck and neck. The spice moves to the background and just lays there like my first wife on our honeymoon.

Some fruitiness appears. The over used black cherry. I have no idea what causes tobacco to take on that flavor. It has become very strong now moving to the head of the line.

I just reviewed the inexpensive La Aurora Escogidos which goes for $45 for a bundle of 20. $2.25 a stick. It is a terrific cigar and is much better than the Azul. BTW- I bought a couple bundles from Famous of the Escogidos in both Natural and Maduro.

I am getting very bored with this cigar. The body has moved back to just classic medium body. Something sapped the strength out of it.

This is quite the ordinary cigar.
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The last third begins with no change. It is a pleasant cigar but it is a $9 stick! It should be sweeping me off my feet.
The flavor profile becomes more intense. No new flavors. Just a more potent combo of sweetness, black cherry, cedar, cocoa, leather, and spice.

It reminds me of a good cigar showing me its potential. But after a month of humidor time, it should be showing more than potential; especially due to the fact that the other two blends were gangbusters. And worth the $9 price point.

If the cigar doesn’t see a remarkable improvement, I will not burn it to the end. No point.

That’s it. I’m done.

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