Jameson Santos De Miami Haven

The Santos De Miami by Jameson Cigar Company is a smoke I’ve been looking forward to trying ever since I saw it on display at IPCPR. It’s a sharp looking stick, and I’ve been determined to discover if it’s beauty is just skin deep or if it extends down to the filler. Not long ago, I was moments away from pulling the trigger on a box of them, only to be distracted and forget to finalize the transaction. Then out of the blue, Brad Mayo, owner of the company, offered to send me some for a review.

The Santos De Miami (or “Miami Saints”) is a Dominican Puro that comes in boxes of ten, in two sizes, Alma (5 x 46, $7/stick) and Haven (6 x 54, $8/stick). Though packaged in a ten-count box like a lot of recent limited editions, Brad confirmed that the only limitation to production is the time it takes to make them. It takes quite a while to get tobacco to hold such an severe pressed shape, it turns out.

It’s composition of Corojo and Criollo tobaccos is to enticing to waste any more time introducing it. Let’s light a few up, shall we?

Cigar Stats:
Size: 6 x 54
Wrapper: Dominican Havana Corojo
Binder: Dominican Criollo ‘98
Filler: Dominican Corojo and Criollo
Smoking Time: 2 hours
Beverage: Water
Source: Samples from Manufacturer
Price: MSRP $8.00

The Pre-Smoke
It came to me suddenly what it was about the unusually colored band that I found both familiar and appealing. The colors and design bring to mind Miami’s famous Art Deco as you might see it depicted in a vintage travel poster or postcard. Brad told me that was exactly what he had in mind too. And, of course, the center square of the band echos the box press format.

Beneath the band is a pretty rustic looking cigar, with darker streaks and occasionally twisted veins in the wrapper. I also found a few nicks and small wrapper holes on some of the cigars. The flaws were minor enough that they would normally go unnoticed.

Fresh out of the mold, the Santos De Miami had a pronounced cedar aroma. The cedar carried through in the cold taste, which had also had some raisin-like sweetness to it.

The Burn
I generally like the box-press format, but in my experience, something about it increases the chances of burn problems. Generally, the trouble manifests as crooked burn lines. But the sharply pressed Santos De Miami beat the odds, and burned with only minor, occasional unevenness. The ash wasn’t the most solid or durable, but was far from a problem. And the all important draw was flawless. In all a solid combustion performance.

The Flavor
The Santos De Miami got off to a good start with very pleasant combination of graham and cedar. As the cigar warmed up, the graham faded, and was replaced by an earthy, nutty chocolate that had a drying effect in the mouth. Here and there I picked up some pepper notes as well.

On the way to the second third, I started to notice a syrupy texture to the smoke, a stark contrast from the initial drying effect. Cedar continued to float along the lethargic river of earthy, nutty chocolate, at least until the halfway point, where the cigar took a short sweet and somewhat acidic turn.

The sweet acidity didn’t last into the final third, and it was back to cedar and rich earthy flavors. This time with a touch more pepper, and even some coffee notes.

The Price
No complaints, the price seems fair for this box-pressed Dominican Puro.

The Verdict
The Santos De Miami is a sharp looking stick, with good burn characteristics and a lot of earthy, cedary flavor that doesn’t disappoint. Even though there are more Dominican puros out there than there were a few years ago, the list is still pretty short. It gets shorter still when you limit it to easy going, medium bodied smokes. But if I were to whittle it down thus, the Santos De Miami would grab the top spot easily. And it doesn’t hurt that the cigar pairs nicely with Presidente, which just happens to be another product of the Dominican Republic. I look forward to smoking more of them in the future.

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

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