I’m always skeptical when it comes to top-tier brands like Winston Churchill. These stogies typically sell for around $10 a stick, and if I’m going to be lighting a $10 bill on fire, it’d better be pretty damn tasty. To be fair, the pint-sized Winston Churchill Lancaster is only around $5 a stick, but nevertheless, a $5 small cigar should live up to its slightly-above-average price tag. Well thankfully, it did.
The Lancaster came in a 4-count tin and featured a smooth and oily Ecuadorian sun-grown wrapper, which had a few noticeable veins but was otherwise flawless. Underneath this leaf were aged Dominican binder and filler leaves, which were very firmly packed throughout the length of the stick. After snipping the belicoso tip, I took a few pre-light draws and got notes of cream, pepper, and a little bit of vanilla. The draw was firm, which I expected given the size of the cigar, but it still gave me a good enough idea of what was in store.
The cigar lit with ease and puffed superbly. Despite the fact that it was billed as medium-to-full-bodied, the first third was incredibly mellow. The smoke was creamy and sweet with a little bit of malt, caramel, and some faint black pepper. The retrohale was virtually burn-free, and I was able to do so with entire mouthfuls of smoke.
Around the halfway point, the creaminess evolved into a mineral earthiness with more pepper than before. This time, the pepper was distinctly red and built little by little as I puffed away. It’s worth noting that at the halfway point (the cigar is 4 inches long), the ash was still holding on.
As I neared the end of the smoke, the flavors ramped up a bit. The creaminess came back in a huge way, almost becoming a bit aggressive, and the pepper hit its peak. Still, though, I wouldn’t rank this cigar past medium-bodied. On the retrohale, I got a little bit of muted sweetness and some cool, minty overtones. With about ¾ of an inch left, I decided to put down the nub.
The Winston Churchill Lancaster was among the smoother cigars I’ve smoked. It was very apparent that a lot of aging took place, and the construction was remarkably good for a smaller cigar. I mentioned in my recent review of the Cohiba Black Pequeños that there’s a difference between a cigarillo and a small cigar, and the Lancaster was definitely a small cigar. It delivered a huge amount of smoke and burned straight as a razor, right up until I put it down. If the $10-and-up, full-sized Winston Churchills are out of your comfort zone, the Lancaster would be a great way to get a feel for the brand.