The Journal

The Journal

All things Whisky & Cigars

‘Especial’ For You

‘Especial’ For You


Hello to all you Ladies and Gentlemen, cigar and whisky lovers. With only one week to go before valentine’s day I shall be reviewing the Nicarao Especial Hermoso. It is ‘Especial’ because Nicarao construct it using only the best leaves from their farms, sort them not only after picking but also after the first fermentation, and age for at least twice as long, up to five and a half years. Here is my experience.

First, the nose of the wrapper – Nutella, delicate caramel and sweetened wood, like the old school desk which has had contraband toffees secreted in it. The first puff is light yellow, green with flecks of brown. One gets dry incense, hints of cardamom and dried banana on the palate.

The first third continues to paint with this dark brown, earthy flavour palate. We get young straw, a flavour which I more associate with Cubans more often than Nicaraguans, particularly the Cohibas and the El Rey Del Mundo regional editions. Such a flavour profile is often a higher partial, a highlight, or something more of a background to other flavours, rather than being the main event. Here, however, it dictates proceedings. We are not only looking at the field, we are in the field, amongst the stalks of grass, right where the cereal meets the loam. The presence of the rich, semi-volcanic Nicaraguan soil has seeped the cigar in dark molasses, but the delicate trunks of the lighter straw stop it from becoming too like an over-buttered pudding.

The second third gains makes gains in spice, adding a Montecristo tang of pepper and broadening the cardamom out into a savoury Garam Masala spice mix. I often think of cigars flavours in terms of a teardrop shape, with the wider gauges providing you with the wide inverted parabola at the bottom while narrower gauges will give you the sharper and slighter top section. The Hermoso starts bang in the middle of that diagram, giving a boxy trapezium: sturdy, robust, but still with some forward impetus. Now though, it moves slightly down the teardrop, retaining it rectangular solidity but gaining some rounded edges. We have sunk beneath the surface of the soil, but rather than being overwhelmed in claggy darkness it is more akin to a mud bath. There is earthy warmth, like pasture fed on noon-day sun.

The final third brings us back to wood influenced by contraband sweetness. It is not light by any means, it is dense, but the denseness of a sponge cake. We feel like we have reached the foundation of the cigar, and can spend our final minutes with it luxuriating in this sweet security. Nicarao’s ‘Especial’ process does indeed yield ‘Especial’ results. It is this dedication to craftsmanship which led us to choose them to make our 145th anniversary cigar, unveiled at our Gala event in Broomhall house back in 2019. Any, and all, of their productions, are worth your perusal and delectation.

Until next time folks ‘Happy smoking’


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