Zino Platinum Z-Class 550 R

A couple of weeks ago a brand new Zino Platinum cigar joined the 8 year old Crown and Scepter lines. It’s called the Z-Class, and there’s no chance you’ll confuse it for its older brothers. But I’ll let the very informative press release introduce you:

The Zino Platinum Crown and Scepter series launched in 2003 will be complemented by a third line: The new and modern Zino Platinum Z-Class Series was inspired by motion. It was created to accompany a fast-paced affluent lifestyle, embodying ambition and opulence. The new blend features a Dominican wrapper, accented by a Peruvian binder and Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers. These carefully selected, aged tobaccos create a spicy medium-to-full bodied cigar that surpasses the degree of perfection that Zino Platinum smokers demand. The Z-Class Series is complete with four classic formats: The 654 T (Toro), 550 R (Robusto), 546 P (Piramide), 643 C (Corona). Each shape has its own unique strength, flavor and aroma to allow for pleasure and variety. The power of Z-Class comes from a Dominican wrapper, Peruvian Pelo do Oro Visus binder and Jalapa Especial Ligero, Esteli Ligero, Cuban Seed Ligero, San Vicente Ligero filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and Honduras. The packaging continues to be innovative: All formats are packaged in an attractive and modern custom tin of 20 cigars accented with sleek black bands and are available May 2 at select merchants.

In the spirit of the speedy lifestyle, we’ll just get right into the review, shall we?

Cigar Stats:
Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Dominican Republic
Binder: Peruvian Pelo do Oro Visus
Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua (Jalapa Especial, Esteli, Cuban Seed and San Vicente Ligeros)
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Beverage: Water
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Price: MSRP $10.00

The Pre-Smoke
First off, love the black and silver band, and the aerodynamic brushed metal boxes are pretty nice looking too. I’m glad they made it easy to quickly differentiate the Z-Class from the other lines.

The rustic milk chocolate wrapper had a nice sheen to it, and was pretty veiny. Though the majority of the veins were very fine in size. The surface of the cigar felt a little lumpy, but aside from a small soft spot in the middle of one cigar, the sticks had that Davidoff feel to them. Firm and consistent, but with more give than the rock-solid cigars you often encounter.

The wrapper had chocolate, hay and compost aroma, and the cold draw tasted like chocolate and sweet raisins. In short, everything about the aesthetics says, “Smoke me. You know you want to.”

The Burn
I had a surprising amount of trouble in the burn department with the Z-Class, though generally speaking, the 550 R burned better than some of the other vitolas. (Which is part of the reason I picked it for this review.)

one thing I realized quickly is that no matter how fast-paced your lifestyle may be, you better slow it down a little when you light the Z-Class. All that ligero needs extra toasting time to get going properly. If you scrimp on the flame, you’ll have trouble early on. But once properly lit, it burns without issue until the final third, which I found had the tendency to go out and burn unevenly. Keep that torch handy.

On the plus side, the ashes were generally solid and the draw was perfect.

The Flavor
Though there were some differences between the thirds, there was a pretty consistent core flavor profile that tied the whole cigar together. It was a combination of molasses sweetness (which was a times more like honey), savory roasted nuts and spice. (Though the spice receded a little in the second third.) In the background there was suble chocolate and even espresso at times. In the final third, aromatic cedar appeared, as well as an orange-like quality to the sweetness. Here and there I also picked up notes of the tell-tale powdery mustiness I taste in a lot of Davidoff products.

The Price
Ten bucks seems like a heck of a deal for a Zino Platinum, especially when you consider that the other lines can command double the price. And let’s not forget about the crazy amount of quality ligero in this stick.

The Verdict
I really enjoyed the Z-Class 550 R, even with the burn issues. (Which I believe would be remedied by storing them a slightly lower humidity.) It’s delicious, has some complexity, and it packs a punch. Not to mention that it’s also comfortably priced. It easily took the title of my favorite Zino Platium cigar, which is a good thing, because my previous favorites are limited editions that are becoming pretty scarce these days. Definitely a cigar you need to try if you enjoy potent, full-bodied smokes. If this doesn’t make you a Zino Platinum fan, nothing will.

Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes

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