When Britain’s Imperial Tobacco swallowed up California’s tiny Lignum-2 last summer for a paltry $22 million they were primarily interested in Lignum’s budget cigarette line called “Rave.” I’d never heard of Rave, nor have I any interest whatsoever in cheap cigarettes, but I was momentarily alarmed by the news because Lignum-2 owns one of my favorite premium cigars: Troya Clasico.
Imperial’s acquisition means that Altadis USA will take over distribution. When I saw an Altadis sales rep in the B&M the other day I had to ask him about the fate of Troya Clasico. He said “I think that’s the one they’re keeping,” and that the other lines would most likely be re-blended, or dropped and replaced with other lines.
Which makes sense — if they are going to keep any of the lines it has to be the one Don Pepin Garcia makes. It’s the only DPG blend Altadis owns. Even if it isn’t their best seller, it might be their best cigar.
So it was no surprise when I began to see Troya X-tra Cetros for under 2 dollars a stick in clearance sales and on the auction sites. A premium cigar for under two bucks? Hell, I’ll try it, even if the line is on the endangered species list.
The traditional Troya is a mild-mannered Dominican blend that was unveiled way back in 1985. The X-Tra was released in 2004 in response to the demand for fuller bodied cigars — it’s a Nicaraguan puro featuring a Corojo 99 wrapper and binder surrounding a criollo filler in the core. Sound familiar? According to the manufacturer, Pepin had a hand in the early development of the X-Tra, though he was not the sole blender.
The X-Tra line is available (for now) in five sizes which are numbered, as all Troya cigars are, in rather mysterious fashion:
- No. 18 – Robusto
- No. 54 – Toro
- No. 63 – Churchill
- No. 81 – Torpedo
- No. 45 – Cetro
The first four are standard size vitolas, but the Cetro is a little unusual. At 6.2 x 45 it’s basically a gran corona.
The wrapper is a rich dark colorado maduro with a few veins and a grainy texture. It’s not the prettiest wrapper around, and the cap is nothing to look at either — just a single flap slapped on tight. But the roll is solid and the cap shears off nicely. The prelight scent is horsey.
I’ve tried these in batches of five from three different boxes and have found the draw to be a little inconsistent. Some of them had a perfect draw, some were a little tight. The tight ones were still smokeable, if a little annoying.
First light impressions were that this is a nice medium-bodied Nicaraguan style cigar — lots of corojo sweetness over a base of leather. The coffee and caramel notes that are typical of Nicaraguan corojo are the primary players here.
Aside from the minor draw issues that some of these exhibited, construction values are good: most of them burned plumb-line straight, and the resulting ash is strong and tight.
The mid section seems to me a little juicier than the first, almost fruity at times. As it winds down to the close there isn’t too much of a transition and the cigar doesn’t get much more complex: just continued caramel-tinged coffee that combines with the leathery aroma to create a satisfyingly simple package. It’s somewhat similar to an aged Famous Nicaraguan Corojo.
If there’s anything “extra” as this cigar burns past the secondary band it’s a slight burn at the back of the throat – this is typical of mid-range Nicaraguan cigars, and is quickly cured with a swig of iced tea or cold beer. That’s really the only fault I could find with this cigar.
The Troya X-Tra is a pretty decent smoke at its regular price, but at closeout prices around 50 USD for bundles of 24 it’s fantastic. If you’re looking for a deal on medium-bodied Nicaraguan corojos, this is a nice pickup. Better be quick about it though.
Final Score: 88