Gran Habano VL Gran Churchill

Now that I’ve recovered from a handy little bout with bronchitis, its time to review that Gran Habano I mentioned in comments of Walt’s Corojo #5 review. I’ve been a big fan of the Corojo #5, so I’ve really been looking forward to checking out the VL. The VL stands for “Very Limited” which is appropriate, as the production is limited to just 250,000 cigars. So it’s relatively rare (though I have noticed it’s available from a number of retailers online) but will it be as good a smoke as the #5? Let’s have a look.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 7 x 50
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Costa Rica, Nicaragua
Smoking Time: 1 3/4 hours
Beverage: Water
Price: ~$5.00


Take a look at those stems!

The Pre-Smoke
The Gran Habano VL is a good looking cigar with it’s bright white and indigo bands and lengthy cedar tube. What makes the tube unique is that it bears the name of the cigar line in silver paint.


Shiny!

Before carefully sliding off the cedar tube I tested the scent of the exposed wrapper and the cedar. The uncovered portion of the wrapper had sweet honey smell to it. The tube was likewise sweet, but was more like molasses. The wrapper under the tube was much less sweet with aroma more like compost.

With the tube off, I noticed that the wrapper was veiny. To the touch I found the cigar to be a little softer than I expected. In at least one of the cigars I smoked the firmness was very inconsistent.

The Burn
If you’ve ever smoked a Gran Habano cigar, you probably know what to expect from the burn. And the VL is no exception. I found the ash to be darker in color and occasionally flaky. When the ash dropped, it generally crumbled in the ashtray. I was also a little disappointed that the cigar never held the ash beyond just under an inch.

Overall, the burn line was pretty good, but never very even. By that I mean that it didn’t run up one side, but the burn line tended to be jagged and would often leave behind little islands of unburned tobacco in the ash.


Follow the burnt tobacco road…

(Ironically, for the sake of comparison, I smoked a Corojo #5 and had the best burn I’ve ever seen on any Gran Habano. Straight burn line, and a pretty solid ash. )

The Flavor
This this cigar isn’t what I would consider very complicated in the flavor department. Within a couple of puffs, you basically know what you’re in for for the duration of the smoke. It starts off with chalky dark chocolate and leather flavors and is shortly joined by a sharp acidic flavor that sometimes resembles lime. At other points it reminds me a lot of the times I used to put a 9 volt battery to my tongue as a kid. Seriously. Were talking about some sharp tanginess here. And that, in varying degrees is what the rest of the cigar tastes like too.

The Price
Even though the cigar is very limited, it can be had for around five dollars a stick. A limited cigar at a budget price isn’t a bad deal.

The Verdict
I have mixed feelings about this cigar. The sharp acidity of last one of these I smoked for this review really got to me and I had to put it out a early. But previous smokes I had during the day with some coffee seemed more enjoyable. I have to wonder if these cigars are in a “sick” period right now and wouldn’t benefit from time spent in the humidor. (As is recommended by some enthusiasts of Cuban cigars.)

As it smokes now, I can actually seeing this as being a good smoke for later on in a herf. The acidic flavor I got would likely cut through even the thickest palate char of a cigar-heavy day. (Just watch out, its a potent, full-bodied smoke!)

Liked It: Somewhat
Buy It Again: Unlikely
Recommend It: For smokers whole enjoy really tart flavors.

The Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing is my trademark Tower of Burn.