Had a chance Saturday to check out the Ashton VSG Robusto from my boys at Cigars City. Did so while walking the dogs, which was a huge mistake that I'll get into some detail about in a second.
This is kind of an ugly cigar - I'm not going to lie. Lots of veins in the wrapper and definitely not as beautiful as some of the other cigars you can get in the same price-range. The wrapper itself was dark and as I'd aged this in the humidor a few months, was oily and just about perfect in my opinion in terms of texture and feel.
These wrappers are grown on a private Ecuadorian estate that the Oliva family owns --- although the cigar itself is blended by Carlos Fuente, Jr.
I had some issues with my burn at first (which may have been attributed to the cold weather here). I had to relight several times in the first-third of the stick. After I got it cooking, I didn't have any problems through the rest of the cigar.
Flavor and Aroma
Many of the existing reviews out there rate this cigar very highly and classify it as very strong. While flavorful, "very strong" isn't an accurate description of what I encountered.
At first light, the Ashton VSG (Virgin Sun Grown) was a fairly pleasant toast for me. Not too strong right out of the gate but not as weak as some of the more mild cigars I've had. I was surprised that it rode sort of a middle section of my palate very well. I find many cigars are either too weak to be enjoyed or so strong that they overpower.
As I continued through the first third into the middle portion of the cigar, I didn't pick up any real flavor or aroma changes. It stayed consistent throughout.
This Dominican-made cigar has been highly acclaimed by many of the cigar experts out there, drawing a 93 rating recently. There is a decent amount of pepper but a ton of smoothness in this stick as well. Overall, I was very pleased with the flavor profile
Stop Walking While Smoking
|Brr. It was a cold one!|
In part because of a busy schedule and in part because of the cold, I haven't had much time to just sit and relax with a cigar on the front porch --- which is my go-to method for cigar tasting. I did take a moment after my walk with the Ashton VSG to simply slow-down and enjoy the cigar. I can't tell you the difference this made.
After an unscientific analysis, I think if I toast while walking I take quicker draws --- which likely causes the tobacco to burn hotter than it should --- destroying the cigar's unique flavor profile in the process.
While I can't guarantee I won't walk and toast in the future - I feel like I cheated this cigar by not sitting back and taking slow draws. In the process, I cheated myself out of what is a really good stick priced at $8-$10 per cigar.