I’ve smoked more than a few MAXIMUS pyramids over the years but in this case more than a few is not nearly enough. When I first reviewed the Pyramid No. 3 in 2006 I was very much impressed, and my opinion since then has only grown. One of the keys to this cigar, as with many Newman-Fuente cigars, is the Oliva grown wrapper. I don’t know what they’re doing on the El Bajo farm in Ecuador, but I hope they never stop.
Ecuador is a country of extremes — from the lush heights of the Andean volcano region down to the coast, the “cloud forest” and unique watershed creates a very fertile environment for growing shade tobacco. The El Bajo farm is located in the Rio Macul river valley, part of the Guayas river basin system that branches west from the mountains and empties into the Pacific.
This Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper leaf is dark and moderately oily, sungrown under cloud cover. Since this is a Fuente product the binder and filler are both Dominican, and the construction is superb. The band is a work of art in itself.
The Double Belicoso is a relatively recent addition to the MAXIMUS line — introduced at the 2007 RTDA, it adds about half an inch in length and a few ticks on the ring gauge to the No. 3 pyramid shape. For whatever reason both the Pyramid and the Double Belicoso seem more complex to me than the robusto, though I must admit that I haven’t smoked them side by side. (I’m just waiting for the perfect moment to conduct that experiment, with a tumbler of Lagavulin 21 after dinner at Picasso.)
The wrap on the Double Belicoso is aesthetically flawless and the draw is perfect. After an easy light it begins to burn with a waver here and there, but for the most part it is even and needs no correction. The ash is solid. Typical premium Fuente construction.
The first couple of inches are dominated by a smooth coffee flavor and a cedary aroma rife with mild spices. The smoke is creamy and very smooth. The smoke texture is full in body but not overly powerful. Relaxing is what I’d call it, like the perfect cup of rich crema-topped coffee.
The next section switches gears a little and becomes a little more leathery while retaining the same spicy aroma. There is a touch of sweetness on the palate. I’m still picking up some woody notes as well. The overall effect is complex but very well balanced.
The last section gets a little heavier as the complexity gives way to darker, more peppery spices and the woody notes become more oaky than cedary. The aroma has flattened out a little at this point, the olfactory details a bit overwhelmed by the crescendo on the palate. Finally, well into the band area, the flavors start to muddy and I bid my MAXIMUS a fond farewell.
The complexity of this cigar is only matched by its smooth easy smoking nature. Some folks will find the DC MAXIMUS to be a little on the light side, but I think everyone can appreciate the delicacy it brings to the table. It’s truly one to be experienced.
But here’s the rub: these beauties run around 15 USD a pop. If I could afford to smoke these everyday I would be spoiled for all other cigars, and you’d hear no complaints about diversity being the spice of life. This smoke has just about everything I’m looking for in a cigar: flavor, complexity, smoothness, and a moderate nicotine payload.
So there’s no need to read between the lines. The DC MAX Double Beli is one of the treasures of my humidor, and it’s certainly one of the best I’ve smoked this year.