Epicurean Armando Gutierrez Vintage 2007 Toro

Today we take a look at Epicurean Cigar Company’s Armando Gutierrez Vintage 2007 Toro (or “AG Vintage 2007” for short). As you may have heard, Epicurean is Steven Ysidron’s new(ish) venture in the cigar world after parting ways with Savinelli. In more recent news, the company signed a deal with the fast growing Emilio Cigar Company to handle distribution, and it’s this tidbit that reminded me of the small collection of AG Vintage 2007 Toros I had resting patiently in my humidor.

As Steve mentioned in our interview with him at the last IPCPR trade show, the line is named after his grandfather who worked Cuban tobacco fields of Cienfuegos. But what I found really interesting is the band on the cigar. Not the design, but the spelling of Epicurean. It’s spelled “Epicurian”. So which is it, I wondered. There are plenty of Google search results for both spellings of the name. So asked Steve and he told me, “The printer thought I made a mistake and corrected it for me. Needless to say I got a huge discount.”

With that mystery solved, it’s time to get to work. The AG Vintage 2007 is available in boxes of twenty in five vitolas: Petit Corona (5 1/2 x 48), Trabajador (5 x 56), Pyramid (6 1/8 x 54), Toro (6 x 52) and Lancero (6 1/2 x 38). The Vintage 2007 part of the name refers to the filler tobacco, and you’re looking a prices up to around nine dollars per stick, plus applicable taxes.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 6 x 52
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Jalapa Colorado Habano
Binder: Honduras, Nicaraguan Jalapa
Filler: Nicaragua Jalapa and Condega 2007
Smoking Time: 2 1/4 hours
Beverage: Water
Source: Sample or Gift
Price: MSRP $9.10

The Pre-Smoke
The AG is a good looking smoke that relies heavily on gold for the band, but does so without coming across as over the top. With the cedar sleeve removed (at times with some difficulty) the wrapper below is an oily, dark chocolate color, with veins ranging from medium to fine, and in some cases fine tooth. Of the five or so AG Vintage 2007’s I smoked for this review, I didn’t notice any initial imperfections. They appeared consistently well made.

The wrapper aroma struck me as being surprisingly light for a cigar that has spent months holed-up in a cedar cocoon. I detected only light hints of things like funky cheese, barnyard and/or red wine. The AG Vintage 2007 was almost rock hard to the touch. The cold draw had a tendency to be firm, and tasted sweet like raisins or molasses.

The Burn
Up to about the first half of the cigar, the AG Vintage 2007 had an impressive looking burn. Long, solid, white ashes that in one instance didn’t drop until about two and a half inches of the cigar was gone. Though the draw had a tendency to be a tad on the firm side. After that, the draw eased a bit, the ash wasn’t quite as solid and the probability of a relight or a touch up increased. Throughout the smoke, I frequently experienced wrapper cracks, which were a nuisance, and generally required torch intervention. But in the plus column, it was a consistently slow burner lasting longer on average than most other cigars its size. In all, not a perfect burn, but nothing that so bad as to ruin the experience.

The Flavor
The AG Vintage 2007 had a rich, earthy, leathery and syrupy beginning. As the third progressed, chocolate notes emerged, as did a pronounced, and sometimes palate-drying cinnamon, and even later, a dense earth with darker chocolate notes.

The sweet element continued into the second third, but evolved away from a simple syrup with vanilla hints to something thicker and more like salt caramel or nougat. The leather flavor continued as well. Deeper into the third, the earthiness returned and there were the beginnings of pepper, spices and a smokey quality.

The final third returned me to the deeper, earthy, leathery flavors of the first third with the late addition of an aromatic pepper. But now it was denser. At times I wasn’t sure if I was smoking the cigar, or chewing on it.

The Price
The price seems reasonable.

The Verdict
The Armando Gutierrez Vintage 2007 is a cigar that seems to get a little better each time you smoke it. The fact that I began smoking and taking notes for this review well over a month ago may have something to do with that. But even from the beginning it was clear, there is a lot going on in the flavor department and it’s often downright decadent. The frequent, but minor burn and draw issues gave me some pause, but not enough to stop me from smoking more in the future. It’s definitely cigar that’s worth checking out. If you come across the AG Vintage 2007, I’d recommend picking up a few, one to smoke immediately, and at least one more to set aside for a month or two.

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

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