Mel Shah’s Bombay Tobak has a well-established track record of producing flavorful smokes with his Mbombay offerings, and this year’s model is the Vintage Reserve Lancero 1973. The production was limited to just 560 boxes of 25, which headed to retailers in late summer. Bombay Tobak goes all in on the “Vintage” aspect of this cigar, using some filler tobaccos that date back more than 40 years. Given the success of previous lines, such as the Nikka and Corojo Oscuro, who’s going to pass up a chance to try this one? Not this guy.
CIGAR STATS: This 8½ x 38 rail features an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper around a Dominican binder and Dominican and Peruvian filler. As noted above, the filler leaf dates as far back as the early 1970s. (The 1973 in the stick’s name refers to the year of Shah’s birth.) It is available in only the Lancero size, and should retail for about $13.50 a stick.
APPEARANCE: The Vintage Reserve comes cloaked in a cedar sleeve, but on the whole its appearance is on the understated side, with a small, tasteful band around the classic light-brown Connecticut wrapper. Still, the size is unusual. How often does one smoke an 8½-inch cigar?
THE SMOKE: Once the flame is applied, the stick gives off plenty of wood – the cedar wrapper does its job – and earth. It’s not an overly powerful stick, but one gets a strong dose of the wood on the exhale too. A few floral notes appear along the way, but the dominant taste is wood throughout the smoke. The best aspect of the smoke is that it remains flavorful from start to finish, and it gives off a very rich tobacco aroma. In addition, the burn line is near-perfect, and the draw is consistently smooth.
THE VERDICT: At $13.50 a stick, it’s clearly on the pricey side, but the adage that you get what you pay for applies here. This is a tasty, unique smoke that should not disappoint. To learn more about the Vintage Reserve Lancero 1973 and the other Mbombay offerings, visit bombaytobak.com. – Brian Coyne