Today we take a look at the Varina Farms Breakfast Blend. This is sort of a companion review to the Varina Farms Warmer Winter Blend Limited Edition that I reviewed recently.
I want to thank buddy John Young for gifting several singles of this blend.
The Varina Farms Winter Warmer Limited Edition is just that. A limited edition. The Breakfast Blend is a regular production cigar.
There is no Varina Farms web site and little info so I took a wild guess and assumed that the name of the brand is derived from the Virginia Colonies.
“Varina Farms, also known as Varina Plantation or Varina Farms Plantation or “Varina on the James”, is a plantation established by John Rolfe on the James River about 40 miles upstream from the first settlement at Jamestown in the Virginia Colony, and across the river from Sir Thomas Dale’s 1611 settlement at Henricus.
“In 1612, English colonist John Rolfe introduced the cultivation of a special strain of tobacco for export to England, which was much better-liked by the Europeans than a harsher form which grew naturally in Virginia. As his tobacco became a cash crop for the struggling colony’s economy, he established a plantation estate at Varina Farms about 45 miles upstream from the first settlement at Jamestown and across the river from Sir Thomas Dale’s 1611 settlement at the progressive community in Henricus. Henricus was developed as a potential replacement for the shortcomings of the Jamestown location.
“Varina Farms Plantation was named for a mild variety of the tobacco from Spain which was similar to the non-native strain Rolfe used in developing his successful product. The plantation became the home of Rolfe and his second wife, Rebecca (Pocahontas), Chief Powhatan’s daughter, head of the Native American Powhatan Confederacy for two years following their marriage in 1614. It was the birthplace of their son, Thomas Rolfe in 1615.”
The Winter Warmer Blend was an excellent cigar. And quite heady. The Varina Farms Breakfast Blend is, by its own admission, a milder blend. That’s fine depending on its flavor output.
The construction of the cigar is very consistent. Solid packed body. Visible, but tight seams. Lots of small veins made visible by its caramel colored Connecticut wrapper. There is a nice amount of oiliness and feels only the slightest bit toothy. The triple cap is well done. And like the Winter Warmer Blend, the cigar band is simple but classy.
I clip the cap and find aromas of butterscotch, sweetness, spice, earthiness, very oaky, strong vanilla, cedar, and leather.
Time to light up.
The first puffs are sweet with candied lemon peel, vanilla, and sweet tea with a sprig of mint.
The savory elements are earthiness, coffee, black pepper, nuttiness, cedar, and leather.
Creaminess shows up moments later.
The char line makes an early run for the border. I touch it up and cross my fingers.
The char line is giving me problems. I’ve noticed that every single cigar I’ve smoked lately has had the same issue. It is just ridiculously cold here in Wisconsin. The high was 12° yesterday and at 8:30 am, it is 8°.
And that doesn’t count the wind chill factor.
The Varina Farms Breakfast Blend strength is classic medium body. That’s a relief only due to the fact I’m not crazy about mild bodied cigars. But that’s just snobbery on my part. As long as a blend has loads of character, I don’t care about the strength.
I can’t believe the smoke output. Each puff blinds me. And that’s with the fan on.
I just notice something. I measure the cigar and it is supposed to be 6”. It is not. It is 5.5” That’s a big discrepancy.
While not quite a flavor bomb at a little over 1” burned it is the little engine that could. It is huffing and puffing and puking…oh wait, that’s me.
Every time I have to get up from the table during a review, I have to gather up the 2’-7 long scrotum, bundle it in the bottom of my t-shirt and drag it to the bathroom. Wears me out.
The flavors seem to have coalesced now: Creaminess, earthiness, spice, caramel, coffee, candied lemon peel, cedar, vanilla, leather, sweet tea with mint, and a touch of chocolate.
The char line has worked things out on its own at the 2” burned mark.
The second third begins.
I believe I can categorize the blend as a flavor bomb now. It isn’t very complex like the Winter Warmer Blend but I believe it is due to the Connecticut wrapper. The WWB had a Connecticut Havana Media Tiempo wrapper. A more flavorful influence.
The Winter Warmer Blend I reviewed was a belicoso and only 5.5” long. This was a true Toro but half an inch short.
I’m listening to classic rock on the TV and blasting away. They are playing Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk on the Wild Side.” A brilliant song with an even more brilliant bass line. They had to use two bassists to get that riff. One was an upright and the other an electric bass guitar. I taught myself to play both parts at once. They could have easily gotten just the upright to play the part by itself.
In the chorus of my Eddie Munster song, “Whatever Happened to Eddie,” I had the female chorus sing: “And the colored ghouls go…Do dah do dah do, etc.” Instead of the “Colored Girls sing do dah do dah do, etc.”
Not a single human being ever caught that I did that. I thought I was so clever and no one heard it right.
Back to the Varina Farms Breakfast Blend. It is an extremely pleasant cigar but no oomph like the Winter Warmer Blend. That was a much better, and interesting, cigar.
The Varina Farms Breakfast Blend is going to appeal to the mild body smokers amongst you. The strength has dropped to mild/medium body.
The spiciness is gone now. And all that is left is the sweetness elements.
The Connecticut wrapper is very thin and being consumed by the weather elements. Cracks begin to appear.
The flavor profile is static. No changes. No complexity. Balance is so so.
When a cigar is a Toro and is fantastic, I pray to baby Jesus that I am so fortunate. When a cigar is just so so, I dread the Toro size that I must get through to finish the review. The Varina Farms Breakfast Blend is the latter.
One of the many reasons I am universally hated by the cigar industry is that I am biased when it comes to how I report the cigar. If I don’t like it, you will know it. If I love it, I fawn over it ad nauseum. The really good reviewers find a way to politely say what I convey it crude terms.
But then, when I read some reviews, I just go to the end because they always have a summary that is well written and tells me all I have to know. With me, I trick you into reading my manifesto to know how I feel about a cigar.
Plus, as far as I can tell, most reviewers smoke the cigar, take notes, and then write the review. As you already know, I do it in real time. That way you get an idea of how stupid I am.
And I don’t rate cigars. Such a stupid thing to do. Do you have the same palate as Reviewer A? Or Reviewer B? What is the difference between an 88 and a 90? Or 91?
Cigar Aficionado gets away with it because I imagine the panel is made up of true experts in their field.
The flavor profile begins to change at the halfway point.
A nice toastiness enters. The cigar now has a nice long finish made up of creaminess, sweetness, citrus, nuts, cedar, and leather.
The wrapper is taking a hard hit now.
John told me the cigars had sufficient humidor time to review. And he seems to be on the money.
The sweetness is beginning to get a bit overwhelming. The name, Breakfast Blend, is correct as I see this being a great morning cigar with your coffee. I should have made a cup of coffee to drink while reviewing.
I’m letting my hair grow long. My daughter says I look like a homeless person. I haven’t been able to get a haircut on time so I am beginning to look like one of the Beau Brummels. The rock band from the 60’s?
At the store, young children grasp their mommy’s dresses as I walk by and old women give me that sneer only old women know how to do. Of course, they all look like Frau Blucher from “Young Frankenstein.”
The last third begins.
The price point. It is the same price as the Winter Warmer blend. $5.00. The Winter Warmer is a cigar with depth and character. The Varina Farms Breakfast Blend is a mild, flavorful cigar that is pretty much one dimensional. But they serve their own purposes. They cover the morning blend and the evening blend. I would gladly purchase the Winter Warmer blend. The Varina Farms Breakfast Blend…not so much.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS