Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
First Degree: 4 x 44 (Petite Salomon)
This cigar was assessed in depth on Cigar Coop.
Back on Episode 79 of Stogie Geeks, Debonaire co-founder Phil Zanghi broke news of this new line extension that became the sixth frontmark in the core Debonaire line. This cigar added a 4 x 44 petite salomon into the line. The name “First Degree” is a masonic term meaning entry point. As Zanghi told Stogie Geeks, it serves a purpose of introducing people to his premium line of cigars. After smoking the First Degree, a next logical step is to smoke the Debonaire Sagita. Sagita means “arrow” and this leads the way to the other vitolas such as the Solomones, Toro, Robusto, and Belicoso.
I found the First Degree to accomplish exactly what Zanghi wanted and gives the cigar enthusiast an “appetizer” to the rest of the Debonaire line. The cigar starts off with pepper and what I term “hard candy” sweetness. The sweetness transitions to more of a natural tobacco sweetness. Along the way there is a subtle “au jus” flavor in the background – something I term the signature Debonaire flavor. The flavors were medium to full-bodied and I got some full-bodied notes at the end. The strength is more medium, but at the end it did progress to medium to full.
Construction was excellent. The burn and draw reflected this – it’s very good for a salomon.
The other Debonaire vitolas that I smoked had one advantage in that they were rolled in 2012 (from looking at the rear of the band) and had more time to be subject to aging. The First Degree is ready to smoke out of the box and did not exhibit any youngness. With the same amount of age, the First Degree will develop further and will raise the bar even higher. This is still worthy of a box split at this time.