In 2010, the Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial was released with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Nicaraguan Pelo de Oro binder, and Nicaraguan (Cuban Seed) fillers. This was followed by the Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Limited Edition 2011 which used the same binder and filler but a higher priming of the wrapper (ref: Cigar Coop). There were 3,700 fifteen count boxes of the LE 2011 and although the release received much praise, it was a sixteenth bonus cigar that was included in those boxes that got the attention of many. A single Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapped version of the blend was included in each box and since there were only 3,700 boxes made that meant there were 3,700 of these special smokes.
In February of this year, there was the release of the My Father Le Bijou 1922 Federal Cigar 91st Connecticut Shade which I reviewed here. This limited release (fifty 23 ct. boxes) also featuring an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper and the cigar completely blew me away.
Fast forward to the present time. This week a New England Exclusive release of the Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Connecticut Shade began hitting the shelves at Brick & Mortar’s here in the North East. I have been told this is the same blend as the Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Limited Edition 2011 Connecticut and is currently available in 20 count boxes of four sizes. These four sizes include the Petit Robusto (4.5 x 50), Belicoso (5.5 x 52), Toro (6 x 54), and Toro Gordo (6 x 60). Price per cigar is between $6.25 and $8.25 a stick with the Petit Robusto and Toro Gordo being at each end of the price spectrum. Since I only have an hour for lunch today, I chose the Petit Robusto. So let’s get to burning!
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
Binder: Nicaraguan Pelo de Oro
Filler: Nicaraguan (Cuban Seed)
Vitola: Petit Robusto
Size: 4.5 x 50
MSRP: About $6.25
The wrapper on the cigar has two large veins running down the length of it and is on the darker shade of the claro color spectrum. The wrapper has a nutty aroma to it and I get a fair amount of pepper from the foot of the cigar. The cigar is packed evenly and is adorned with the same elegant beige, blue, and gold band as the Limited Edition 2011.
After toasting the foot, I am greeted with some mild pepper up front. The pepper settles down after the first few draws and can detect a nice balance of almonds and graham crackers with a faint sweetness in the background. There is an occasional appearance of mild pepper from time to time but this subsides after the first inch or so. The flavor, body, and strength are a solid medium. The draw is absolutely perfect and the burn line is good with the salt and pepper ash holding for just about an inch before falling. Thus far, this stick is performing fantastic.
The second half brings more of the same delicious nutty, graham cracker flavors with the addition of some woodsy characteristics. The finish is creamier now and draw is still perfect with a moderate amount of smoke appearing on each pull. I fall just short of nubbing the smoke in about 50 minutes. There is some minor cracking of the wrapper but overall, the cigar performed extremely well.
This is a wonderful medium bodied smoke which was the perfect size and strength to enjoy at lunch or after breakfast. Well balanced and smooth but flavorful and satisfying. The price point is very reasonable and frankly it’s the best smoke I have had all week. I am going to not mince words, I smoked three of these in the last two days, including one of the Belicoso’s and I love them. In conclusion, I am going to give the New England release of the Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Connecticut Shade a Stogie Geeks Rating of “Box Worthy”. I will be picking up a box of these most likely in more than one size.
Source: These cigars were purchased at Mr. J’s Havana Shop in West Warwick, RI.