Cigar Review – Berger & Argenti Clasico Belicoso
I’ve been hearing buzz about Berger & Argenti for quite a while now. Headed by Kiki Berger of Cuban Crafters along with the Argenti brothers, these cigars have made their way into Robb Report, Cigar Aficionado, Smoke Magazine, and many others, earning positive reviews almost universally. Having photographed and written blurbs about these in the past, I was excited to have finally gotten my hands on one for review.
The aroma from this cigar was toasty and earthy, like something that would have a much darker wrapper—maybe this had something to do with the way the wrapper was cured, or the fact that the binder was a Nicaraguan Corojo. According to the company, the wrapper was an Ecuador Connecticut-seed “Desflorado” stalk-cut. Stalk-cut refers to the harvesting technique; instead of priming individual leaves off of the plants, the plant is clipped at the stalk so the leaves can all be cured together.
The wrapper, while lighter than I usually prefer, was absolutely beautiful. There were fine veins all around it, but nothing prominent enough to cause a burn problem. The filler swirled nicely at the foot, and the tapered cap was sharper than any other I’d ever seen. Pre-light draw was slightly firm and offered the typical Connecticut aroma of pepper and cream, but with an earthier base than I expected.
Lighting up the stogie took very little effort; not sure if this has to do with the construction or the type of filler leaves, but it was pretty awesome. The first few puffs delivered a surprisingly large volume of spicy smoke—this had to be the Corojo binder at work. It mellowed a little bit after about a half inch, and while the pepper hung on, the base turned very creamy and buttery with some mellow earthy notes.
As it burned, the pepper stayed relatively constant, though the smoke got a little sweeter. At the midpoint of the cigar, I tasted roasted nuts, caramel, and black pepper, while the cream lingered in the background. While the burn started a little rocky, it straightened out really nicely after an inch or so, and the ash held on for an impressive 2 ½ inches before falling to the ground. This was a very nicely rolled cigar.
As I neared the nub, the pepper ramped up, and a very prominent cedar note muscled its way into the mix. This caught me off guard, as the prevalent notes up to this point were more creamy and spicy rather than woody, though it was not at all unpleasant. The cedar note hung on until I reached the nub, which was still burning straight as an arrow when I put it down.
The Berger & Argenti Clasico Belicoso was one of the best Connecticut-wrapped cigars I’ve ever had. While it maintained the pleasant, traditional Connecticut profile, the Corojo binder and Nicaraguan filler added a ton of great earth and spice that set it apart from the herd. For the price (we have them for around $4-6 per stick), this is one of the all-around best smokes I’ve reviewed here. After smoking one, I get that the understated packaging isn’t just a cut corner—it’s a testament to the fact that this smoke speaks for itself and doesn’t need any bells and whistles. Smoke some and see for yourself!