Bespoke Basilica A | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Dominican Cotuí
Binder: Bonao (11 year aged)
Filler: Peruvian Pelo D’Oro, Pennsylvania, Nicaraguan Condega viso,
Dominican San Vicente seco
Size: 6 x 52 “Toro”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $19.00
Humidor Aging Time: Nearly 3 months



Today we take a look at the Bespoke Basilica A.
Many thanks to Jeremy Casdagli for the samples.

If you want to learn about this company, you need to go to either their web site or to Cigar Journal where there is a lot of information.
The company is based in Estonia. Its biggest sales are in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Scandinavia.
Distributed by Biggs Mansion out of Chicago.
From Jeremy about the line:
From KBF factory:
Traditional Line: Cotton Tail, Grand Cafe, Robusto, Super Belicoso
Basilica Line: Basilica A, Basilica C # 1, and being introduced this summer : Basilica C # 2, Basilica C # 3
Mareva Line: Gran Mareva, Gran Mareva Gold & Mareva Especial
Cabinet Line: – coming this autumn – The Rosetta : a beautiful coned cigar – 4inches ending with 46 gauge – using an 11 year old Bonao opus X binder
From Costa Rica – using Peruvian, Nicaraguan and Ecuador Connecticut wrapper
Daughters of the Wind Line: Pyramide, Dahman, Salomone.

“The Basilica Line:
“The idea:
“The initial idea behind this line came from a series of tasting sessions with my Middle East clients. Bespoke Cigars was initially seeking to create something specifically for this market. We had established that sweetness within tobacco was well received but that also citrus notes & aromas were endemic to the Middle Eastern region. We knew also that the Canonazo format would allow the cigar to deliver complexity without being too long a smoke.

From Cigar Journal:
“Jeremy Casdagli, founder and co-owner of Bespoke Cigars, has been crafting his own blends of long filler cigars for 20 years. Since 2014, his production has been concentrated at the Kelner Boutique Factory (KBF) in the Dominican Republic, which is headed by Hendrik Kelner, Jr. (of Davidoff fame). Within months, Bespoke Cigars developed a reputation in Europe and the Middle East for complex, uniquely sized cigars. Since November 2015, his full line has been available in a retail and distribution partnership with Biggs Mansion in Chicago. “Being based in Tallinn, it was natural to develop first in the Nordics,” Casdagli explains, “but, while looking for another possible sales platform for my cigars, I kept an eye out for buildings reminiscent of my family’s ancestral home, Villa Casdagli, in Cairo. “When a friend encouraged me to visit his club, the Biggs Lounge in Chicago, I thought, ah, America!” he says with a laugh.”

A nice oily, nearly seamless stick. Toothy. And a seamless (triple?) cap. One of the most impressive jobs on a cap I’ve seen.
The gingerbread colored wrapper changes colors like a chameleon as it is hit by different light sources.
It has a very uniform shaggy foot.


From the shaft, I smell roses in full bloom. Big notes of caramel and spice. Dark chocolate, cedar, allspice, herbal notes, black licorice, and a wallop of vanilla bean.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell really strong red pepper…here come the sneezes….dark cocoa, and the rest of what I described above.
The cold draw presents flavors of herbal notes, graham cracker, floral notes, cedar, spice, barnyard, and wonderful cocoa.

Flavors roll in on a red carpet: Red hot pepper, oak, coffee, cocoa, creaminess, herbal notes, black tea, and something sugary.
Strength pops out at nearly medium/full.
I expect a $19 cigar to rip my boxers off. The Bespoke Basilica A is tugging away. Great, impressive start.
I don’t know about you, but I have had my share of $20 cigars and maybe 20% show their worthiness. There are a lot of expectations when a cigar hits this price range.
The body smooths out considerably.
I’m getting a tart/sweet honey crisp apple taste.


The char line is doing nicely.
The ash came this close to hanging on for 2”.
The Bespoke Basilica A blend has nice warmth to it.
Flavors are abundant. And there is a decadence in full bloom as one would expect from a $19 stick.

Some time is 35 minutes.
The strength is now a bold medium/full body.
Flavors are pushing the envelope of my palate. So complex.
Here they are: Oak, vanilla bean, red pepper, coffee, creaminess, herbal notes, tea, cinnamon, and leather.


Nuts and nougat appear for the first time.
Tastes like a Payday bar.

I’m getting hints of nicotine now. The strength is on an upward trajectory.
I don’t recommend the Bespoke Basilica A for a herf amongst friends. You need to relish it in a situation where it’s just you and the cigar. There is so much going on; you might miss the subtleties in a smoking group with all of its distractions.

I’ve reviewed the Bespoke collection of the Basilica #1, Cotton Tail, and Grand Café.

The Bespoke Basilica A is my least favorite. I know this doesn’t make a manufacturer very happy to hear this assessment but I must be truthful to my readers. Especially, at $19 a pop.
I gave the other 3 ratings of 94, 100, and 98 respectively.
I just don’t feel the Bespoke Basilica A is in the same class as those cigars. Yes, it is an excellent blend.
I still have the Super Belicoso to review.


I’ve had a continuous burn problem with the Basilica A. This is my second cigar and the first one had the same issues.
The bar was set pretty high by the previous Bespoke reviews. Not every blend can get a 98 score. I hope Mr. Casdagli understands.

And this is the part where I prove what an ass I am. The pitfalls of doing a review in real time.
Sweet Spot.
The blend kicks into high gear. Flavors become powerful and delicious. Changing the entire scheme of the experience.
The red pepper becomes black pepper and Yee-Ha, it becomes very strong!
Strength hits full body.
The flavors: Black pepper, vanilla bean, coffee, creaminess, buttery, herbal notes, cinnamon, nuts, nougat, apple, toffee, deeply aged tobacco flavor, strong cedar, and leather.

Smoke time is 50 minutes.
The Bespoke Basilica A is a blend for those who are aficionados. Its complexity is deep and rich. Flavors are swimmingly wonderful.


I would not recommend the Bespoke Basilica A for newbies. It might kill them. I love full body cigars. But I’m currently on a magic carpet ride.
I may be required to turn in my official Hippie Card.
Off course, at this point in my life, my Medicare card is my new official Hippie Card.

By slowing down and interspersing sips of water, that 11 year aged tobacco takes over.
If you’re flush, definitely try this cigar.
If you’re not and want to try and equally pricey Bespoke blend, go for the Basilica #1 or the Cotton Tail. (See my reviews).



And now for something of a tribute:

“There are 21.8 million veterans of the U.S. armed forces as of 2014, according the Census Bureau, approximately 10 percent of whom are women. To put that in context there are 319.2 million Americans, according to the bureau.”

Almost 2.3 million men and women currently serve in all branches of the U.S. military in 2016.

So, all hail our vets and service people currently serving. They all deserve our utmost respect and awe.
Lest we forget.

Remember that when you are having your backyard BBQ, do not forget that this day was set aside for paying homage to Army, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, and Air Force personnel.
God Bless You All for keeping us safe.


Moved this from the Brass Knuckles by Ezra Zion review:

And now for something completely different (A Cautionary Tale):

My renal failure was a convergence of a perfect storm. Needing to help the lame movers get our stuff out of the house and into the apartment for over 13 hours….an unusually warm Milwaukee day….extreme dehydration (heat stroke)….my blood pressure nearly flattened out….and then my kidneys shut down. Next stop…the ER.

I’m fine now. No permanent damage to kidneys and they healed nicely. The doc did find out I was anemic. No big deal. But it does explain my extreme fatigue.

Luckily, I switched doctors. I switched from Aurora Health Care where all my incompetent docs are; to Froedtert Medical College.
Charlotte’s friend, Bruni, has been a hospital head nurse all her life. She is in her mid 70’s now and is sharp as a tack.
She recommended Dr. Stuti Shankar.

Now, I really hate most doctors. I hate hospitals because your chance of getting out alive is 50/50.

This 40 something female doctor is Indian. No relation to Ravi.

She graduated medical college in India.
She went on to graduate medical college at John Hopkins.
And she went on to graduate medical college at Froedtert Medical College in Baltimore.
The woman has three medical degrees.

In this country, doctors are required to only take 6 weeks of pharmacology classes. That’s all. This is why they know nothing about medications except for what the pharma reps tell them.

In Europe, and beyond, students are required to take pharmacology for at least a year. Dr. Shankar took 18 months of pharmacology. Her knowledge of interactions astounded me.

This is why Europe is so far ahead of the U.S. in terms of medicine. They are progressive. And aren’t prone to the rigidity of the FDA.

I saw the doc on Tuesday and she spent a full hour with me dissecting me right and left. She took blood and had me come back the next morning, on Wednesday… and spent another hour with me. From one blood panel, I was emailed the results and there were 40 different test results. Amazing.

My old doc, that I jettisoned, over-prescribed medications which were a big part of what happened to me. And it turns out that 90% of my meds were bad for me. Either not necessary or the dosage was too much. Now I’m not talking about exotic drugs. I’m talking about my blood pressure meds, cholesterol meds, Prilosec, and Metformin (Insulin). And a couple others I didn’t need.

Dr. Shankar said I was being given over the top dosages on all of the meds which all have deleterious effects on some organs in my body in the wrong dosages.

I’m back on insulin. But I have to go back on Mondays for three weeks to get my blood pressure taken. If it remains the same, I don’t need those BP meds anymore. Turns out that my blood pressure is normal for a man my age.

I’m taking too much Prilosec and she described how it affects the heart. She cut the dosage in half.
Cholesterol meds are not good for you. Unless of course, it is out of control and needs containment. My cholesterol is pretty good. No more cholesterol meds.

Now here is the thing. She didn’t treat me like a piece of meat like all of my docs treat me…and you too I’m sure.
She took the time to explain, in great detail, how everything affects the body…how and why. She came up with safer alternatives.
My old doc would give me something and just grunt, “Take this.” No detailed explanation. My 7 minute visit was up.

I have never gone to such a bright, and thorough, doctor in MY LIFE as Dr. Shankar.

She is going to change my life for the better. It will be rough at first but, in the end, I found someone who just may add years to my life.

Tell me you have the same kind of doc who tells you to come back the next day and spends another hour with you to explain test results.
Or that knows every detail of pharmacology.

God bless that woman.

Now, you should think about whether you are complacent with your doc and then do your research and find out how much time he/her spent learning pharmacology and if he/she regularly attends classes or seminars that keep him/her up to date.

From this day forward, I am no longer Googling illnesses because all those web sites scare you…and make you a hypochondriac.

This old coot lucked out.

Be healthy and be happy. Protection Status


4 replies

  1. Hey Phil,
    I’m glad to hear you are feeling better than before. It’s always good to have a smart doctor looking out for you. Remember, if you ever want some good, medicinal, Californian hydroponically grown herb, just let me know and I’ll send a care package out ASAP.
    -Aaron H.

  2. Hi Aaron,
    Thanks so much for the kind words. And thank you for the offer.
    Best regards,

  3. Hi Phil, again many thanks for your detailed and fair review. All my cigar creations are dear to me and always individuals have their favourites which is how it should be . So don’t worry I am very understanding 🙂 I do hope you get on the mend soon . Just an aside I am now distributing into the wonderful and very interesting country of Macedonia – kingdom of Alexander the Great . there are mountains there with amazing healing properties – and friends of mine that can look after people there – Just a thought. Kind regards to you and all your followers – Jeremy

  4. So glad you finally found yourself a great doctor. Stay strong Uncle Phil!

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