This is the final installment of reviews on Villiger cigars from Villiger Stokkebye International. For a quick recap on VSI, the company was founded by two families, Villiger and Stokkebye, in 1888 and 1882 respectively. The families came together to create VSI, and have been offering quality tobacco products in the US for over 30 years. The 1888 Fuerte is an extension of the 1888 line, and was just recently released in 2011. It was meant to be a stronger alternative to the original 1888 line for those who wanted a more robust cigar. The development and production are overseen by Heinrich Villiger, and he’s done quite a good job at both.
The wrapper is a chocolate colored Mexican Negro San Andreas Claro with mild to medium veining and minimal tooth. The veins aren’t very prominent, but there are a couple larger ones that stand out against the otherwise smooth and oily looking wrapper. The binder Peruvian Habano seed and the filler is a proprietary blend that extensively uses ligero leaves. It feels very firmly rolled, and has the appearance and feel of a stick of hard wood. The scent is very strong, with lots of fresh earth, a floral note, and sweet spices mixing together. It bears many similarities to the 1888, but this one has a darker and sweeter tone to it, right down to the scent. Overall it’s a very aesthetically pleasing cigar, and for some reason, I like its appearance better than the 1888.
A sharp cutter provides a clean cut, and good torch makes quick work of getting an even light. I take a slow long puff and get a nice easy draw that brings thick volumes of smoke. I immediately get a burst of hot peppers and spices that rivals Pepin cigars, and it’s almost overwhelming unless you have a strong drink to balance it with. A slight nutty flavor can be picked up after the spiciness subsides, and fades into the background. Sweet spices like nutmeg can be picked up in the background, along with a toasted nutty flavor as well. The flavors are sharp, strong, and bold with some similarities to the 1888, but amplified.
The cigar tones down on the peppery bite after an inch and mellows out a little. Sweet cream, earth, and nuts take over for the main body of flavors and goes very nicely with the coffee I’m drinking. The pepper is more noticeable in the beginning moments of flavor and during retrohales now rather than in the main body of flavors. The finish holds a sweet haylike finish mixed with other sweet baking spices, and brings a more rounded flavor profile. The spiciness picks up towards the end again, but is still much more subtle than the beginning. The sweet earth, cream, nuts, and smokiness remain the main body of flavors. The haylike finish has remained a constant, and lends to picking up the flavors of my chosen drink. A hint of leather is noticeable too, though it’s much more of an afterthought than something one would immediately pick up on.
I found this to be a good cigar, and definitely one that many would enjoy. The flavor profile has some complexity, which many will enjoy, and the transition of flavors was smooth. However, that complexity also makes it so that I would be cautious when to smoke this cigar if I really wanted to enjoy all the flavors. Smoking one while visiting a friend was nice, but I was missing on how the different flavors played and mingled with one another until there was a lull in the conversation or activity. For that reason I’d pick this cigar for when I have a quiet hour or so to myself with a book and strong drink. That being said, it’s still a great cigar. For the price of $6.70 I can get bold flavors, complexity, excellent construction, and something I can enjoy. Again, another job well done by VSI.
I highly suggest you take a look at VSI’s website. They have quite a range of products for tobacco lovers, and a very long and rich history. Again, thank you VSI for sending these cigars to review, I’ve enjoyed them thoroughly.