Cigar reviews, news and ramblings by Kevin
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5 Vegas Series “A” Anomaly

5-vegas-anomaly-625p.jpg

It looks so harmless. Maybe even tasty.

It’s neither.

The 5 Vegas Series “A” baffles me. Everywhere I go, I run into people who call the “Cinco” their everyday smoke. My fellow herfers are buying these by the truckload at auction. And Top25Cigar.com’s list is littered with them. As I write, the Atomic Ltd. Belicoso and the Churchill-sized Apostle rank 4th and 7th, respectively, in the Sub-$6.00 category.

So I revisit these again and again, certain my palate is failing me.

First, some background. The 5 Vegas brand, highly regarded in the 90s under Kiki Berger, has been revived by Cigars International’s Keith Meyer. There are now multiple lines produced under the label — the “Classic,” the shade wrapped “Gold,” the TACUBA-made “Miami,” the maduro “A,” and the La Aurora-made “Cask Strength.”

Introduced in 2005, the “A” is manufactured by the ubiquitous Nestor Plasencia in Honduras. It has a three nation filler blend, Nicaraguan binder, and is topped by a toothy Costa Rican wrapper. According to CI, the filler is aged for four years before construction. All the makings for a fine smoke.

As for the Anomaly, it’s a handsome 4.5″ x 44 petit corona in first-rate packaging. It clips and lights without hassle, and has an interesting, medium bodied flavor at the start. Very meaty, then sweet and chocolaty on a short finish. Promising.

But after only a half-inch, it dawns on me that the flavor is gone. Well, most of it is, anyway. The one note that remains is charcoal. I decide to wait it out. Big mistake. By halfway, the charcoal has intensified with a bitter vengeance. Think mouthful of grill ashes.

The next inch is more of the same. I keep sipping, or should I say rinsing with, my cup of French roast until I think I detect the flavor of burnt coffee. But desperation plays tricks on the mind. Like when “Survivorman” looks into his camera every week and tells us the scorpion he just devoured after four foodless days in the desert tastes like New Zealand lobster tail.

So I snap back to reality and realize I haven’t “detected” anything; all I did was ruin a perfectly good cup of coffee.

CONCLUSION: In fairness, these were tolerable when fresh. Never great, but certainly not this bad. Even now, they’re not entirely without merit. The 5 Vegas Series “A” Anomaly is well built, attractively packaged and cheap. As I recall, my 20-count box ran $40. But at any price, they fail dismally in the flavor category. At least the Anomaly is short.

SCORE: 77

61 comments

1 Chris Trotter { 02.20.08 at 2:34 pm }

Great review. Personally, I enjoy these cigars, but I’m glad to see you have the courage to buck the trend and call it the way you really see it. Keep up the good work!

2 Kevin { 02.20.08 at 5:55 pm }

Thanks for reading, Chris! God, I WANTED to like these at $2 a throw. I think the Apex is probably he best of the lot. Holds its flavor longer and doesn’t turn quite as bitter. Maybe the box press makes the difference? Thanks again and I’ll catch you over at http://cigaralliance.com.

3 Ironmeden { 02.21.08 at 8:32 am }

This is my favorite line from 5 Vegas. Its been a while since I had one, but in my opinion its very close in flavor and taste to the Partagas Black. Its a deep dark cigar, but its more a medium flavored cigar without any spice kick. If you like to impress your friends by smoking a dark cigar, but don’t like the power or strength some cigars have, then this is the perfect cigar.

4 Kevin { 02.21.08 at 9:38 am }

I rather like the Party Black. It lacks some balance, IMO, but it has plenty of flavor. Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you at VelvetCigar.net!

5 La Rosa Especial Piquin — The Box Press { 09.13.08 at 9:51 am }

[…] At points in the middle I think I pick up some mocha flavors. But this could be what I now call the 5 Vegas A Effect, when I get so desperate for flavor that my mind starts inventing them for […]

6 Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 Perfecto — The Box Press { 10.21.08 at 5:14 pm }

[…] Vintage 1990. At its worst, it’s thin and bitter like another $2.00 Plasencia offering, the 5 Vegas Series “A”. So even if one likes the flavor of the 1990, and I generally didn’t, it can be had for well […]

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