Berger & Argenti snapped up the number two spot on our Best Cigars of 2010 list with their Entubar, a fantastic and odd-looking cigar with a filler “fuse” that extends from the foot of the stick. The Clasico bears some similarity to that dynamite smoke, starting with the Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut-seed wrapper called “desflorado.” The binder is a Nicaraguan corojo and the filler is harvested locally in Esteli, Nicaragua, where the cigar is made.
Entubar was designed to be a cutting-edge cigar, and as such it carries a premium price. Clasico, on the other hand, was envisioned to be a “cubanesque” cigar available widely at a more affordable price. The unassuming presentation and simple band on this cigar are true to the “classic” vision, and the fact that I was able to find these at my local cigar haunt demonstrates the success of their distribution strategy. Now to test this “cubanesque” allegation.
Clasico is produced in four sizes:
- Rothschild – 5 x 50
- Corona Gorda – 4 1/2 x 46
- Belicoso – 5 3/4 x 50
- Churchill – 7 x 50
The Clasico Rothschild has the sleek and smooth look that Connecticut wrapper imparts, but the color is a darker golden brown than what is usually found on shade wrapper. The head of the cigar is nicely formed and topped with a classic Cuban-style cap that shears away cleanly. The roll has a little give to it, but the draw is perfect and it burns evenly to the band. The only issue I had was the delicacy of the wrapper, which apparently does not agree with the dry desert heat. There was a small amount of cracking which I fully attribute to atmospheric conditions and not the design of the cigar.
Overall construction: Excellent.
The Clasico Rothschild opens boldly with pepper on the palate and a toasty aroma. The spice dies down after an inch or so and earthy flavors emerge on the tongue, while the aroma continues to provide a bready element that is characteristic of many Cuban cigars. The smoke texture is creamy, and at the mid-point of the cigar there is a note of sweet cream on the nose which matches the texture quite nicely.
The base flavor of earth is masked by pepper for the first inch or so, but after that point it takes the reins and drives the cigar home. Meanwhile, the toasty notes in the aroma become sweeter and are replaced by Spanish cedar. Pepper makes an encore appearance in the last scene before the curtain drops.
Berger and Argenti have another success on their hands, and it’s nice to see that affordability was part of their vision for this cigar. The Clasico blend does indeed have a Cuban flair — the earthy base and sweet notes of bread and cedar are, to me anyway, very similar to what can be found in many classic Cuban cigars.
The Clasico Rothschild is a medium-bodied cigar with great construction, a moderate amount of complexity, and at around 5 USD per stick it’s a fantastic deal.