Cigar Review – Griffins Special XXVII Edition 2011

Before I say what I’m about to say, I think it’s important to mention that I realize how good I have it. I never want to give the impression that I take the perks of my job for granted. I get to review a ton of really nice cigars for this blog, and I’ve legitimately enjoyed every one I bothered to post up here. With that out of the way, though, it’s not every day that I get to smoke a super-ultra-tip-top premium. I’m talking about once-a-year, hard-to-find, limited-production premiums, like the Griffin’s Special XXVII Edition 2011.

But as luck would have it, Brad from Davidoff swung by last week and he was carrying a nice, big batch of samples, one of which was the aforementioned cigar. Having smoked and enjoyed the Griffin’s Special XVII Edition 2008 a few weeks ago (if you’ve been aging yours, smoke it now), I was pretty excited to light this one up, so I decided to review it first.

This year’s Special Edition is made with an Ecuadorian sun-grown wrapper, and it was definitely one of the nicest looking sun-grown leaves I’ve ever seen. It was a medium, leathery-brown with very fine teeth and almost no veins. Underneath were Dominican and Nicaraguan filler leaves, which were so evenly-packed that there were no soft spots on the cigar from head to foot. After clipping the well-applied cap, I tested the pre-light draw, which was very easy with hints of toast, caramel, and a little bit of tingling pepper. Expecting something easygoing and creamy, as per the other Griffin’s cigars I’ve had, I fired up my Xikar Element and went to work on the foot.

This thing lit up in about five seconds and instantly produced a huge rush of smoke. Initial flavors were cream, wood, caramel, and bold red pepper. This pepper lasted for about an inch, and was way more intense than anything I’ve gotten from a Griffin’s. After the pepper subsided, I started tasting subtle notes of butter, toast, and tea. I’ve heard people talking about that tea note and I had never tasted it before, but this cigar actually tasted like sweet tea.

About halfway in, the pepper died down to medium-bodied, and the woodiness started setting in. If I’d picked up this cigar halfway through and known nothing about it, I would’ve thought it had a Connecticut wrapper, judging from the taste. The wood developed into an oaky vanilla note, which melded nicely with the lingering sweet tea flavor.

As I approached the final third, the pepper became virtually nonexistent. I’ve had cigars mellow out towards the end, but this one had the most dramatic full-to-mellow transition I’ve ever seen. For the final third, I consistently picked up oak, vanilla, caramel, cream, sweet tea, and a very subtle hint of milk chocolate and earth in the background. If this cigar was a Henke Kelner blend (I assume it us, someone correct me if I’m wrong), it’s definitely the most complex cigar I’ve had from him.

I normally shy away from paying a lot of money for limited edition cigars, because a lot of the time there are at least close equivalents for a fraction of the price. But I would definitely shell out some cash for the Griffins Special XXVII Edition 2011. The cigar burned perfectly from start to finish, held a 2” ash, and had a more intricate flavor profile than pretty much anything else I’ve tried from Davidoff’s lineup. I recommend picking up some of these as soon as possible. They’re definitely limited, and a good number of boxes are being sold in Europe, so it’d be a good idea to get yours now while they’re still available in the U.S. Anyway, this was a great smoke, and I would love to see what a couple of years of aging would do to it. Thanks to Brad from Davidoff for the samples!

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