To celebrate 70 years of continued success in the cigar business, Famous Smoke Shop enlisted ten of the industry’s key players to each create a 70th Anniversary blend. I managed to lowball a box of the Plasencia version on the Famous auction site, and since Plasencia makes some decent econo-smokes I was willing to take a blind shot at them.
Unfortunately, four of the five reviews of this cigar on the Famous website are scathing, calling it, among other things, terrible, very poor, and “worst cigar I have bought.” Three of the negative reviews complain about its lack of flavor, comparing it to the Perdomo and Pepin Garcia versions. Needless to say, these reviews gave me a moment’s pause about my winning bid. On the other hand, I must give Famous Smoke Shop a tremendous amount of credit for letting anonymous reviewers publicly slam their merchandise on the very same page they are using to sell it.
But those reviews ring hollow. To me, complaining about a light-medium bodied cigar because it’s not full-bodied enough is like going to an Italian restaurant and complaining because they don’t have sashimi.
Which is not to say that a cigar can’t live up to your expectations, assuming that there is enough information available to base an expectation on. In the case of the Famous 70th Anniversary series, there is little to go on except information from Famous. Nestor Plasencia is one of the largest, if not the largest tobacco grower in Central America, but he keeps a pretty low profile.
Plasencia’s 70th Anniversary blend for Famous is primarily Nicaraguan, but it incorporates no ligero in the blend. This information is front and center in the catalog description for good reason: no cigar is going to make the heavyweight division without some ligero, some medio tiempo, or at least a sungrown wrapper.
The wrapper and binder are both Nicaraguan Habano, though the wrapper is a little finer and receives the designation “Rosado.” The filler is a blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran leaf, and since I can’t conceive of Plasencia having to buy tobacco from anyone I will venture that all of this is grown on the Plasencia farms in Nicaragua and Honduras.
Three sizes are available:
- Churchill – 7 x 50
- Robusto – 5 x 50
- Toro – 6 x 50
I’ve smoked five of the toros so far, and all of them have burned perfectly: an even burn requiring no attention, a solid ash, and an easy draw. And they’re attractive as well — not Don Pepin attractive, but still easy on the eyes. The wrapper is described as “rosado” but I think I’d settle on colorado claro; in any case it’s a smooth looking smoke.
Overall construction: excellent.
This is an extremely approachable and mild tasting cigar from start to finish. It opens with a cedary aroma and a mild tingle on the tongue — it’s not a brawny cigar, but it’s still Nicaraguan. The smoke texture is medium in body, creamy and smooth but not thick. The aftertaste is earthy, maybe even a bit chalky. I can see how some might not appreciate that, but I don’t mind it too much.
The aroma of this cigar is intriguing, especially in the mid-section where it gets quite sweet. It moves from a base note of cedar to a chocolatey pecan type of flavor. It remains smooth with a fleeting finish of earth.
The last third gets a little spicier, but only by comparison to the rest of the cigar. The strength builds a little bit, but it still barely scratches the palate. The chocolate and sweetness fades close to the band, leaving a dash of pepper and some earthiness on the palate.
The Famous 70th Anniversary by Plasencia isn’t a bad cigar at all, certainly undeserving of the harsh critiques it receives on the seller’s website. But it isn’t a cigar for everyone either — this is a demure smoke with a mild disposition and an attractive aroma. It is best smoked earlier in the day or by fans of milder cigars. Approached in this frame of mind I think it is quite enjoyable.
The retail price for the Toro is around 5 USD per stick, but deals may be had on Cigarauctioneer.com