For this installment of Fan Mail Q&A, we’ve compiled some of the more interesting cigar questions we’ve received about retrohaling, pigtail caps, cigar mold and controlling RH – and we thought our answers were worth sharing out loud. Watch now!
Aging Room Solera Cigar Review – Video
Cigar Advisor Panel: Aging Room Solera Cigar Review
The Aging Room Solera Cigars Story
The Sun Grown Solera Fanfare is one of four blends in the Aging Room Solera cigars series. Solera-aged wines are blends made from different wine vintages that are slowly integrated, then go through an additional aging period. Inspired by this process, which he discovered in Spain, Rafael Nodal figured the process would work for tobaccos chosen from different harvest dates; in this case, Dominican Habano tobaccos rolled in an oily, Colorado sun-grown wrapper leaf. The result is a cigar with more refinement, consistency, and complexity.
To see what we thought of this cigar, please watch our Solera cigar review video and leave a comment.
The Stats: Aging Room Solera Sun Grown Fanfare
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: 6 1/8″ x 57 Belicoso
Wrapper: Dominican Sun Grown Habano
Filler & Binder: Dominican Habano tobaccos blended from different harvest dates.
John Pullo’s Tasting Notes…
Construction and Overall Appearance: Every one of the cigars I smoked for our Aging Room Solera cigar review featured 3 key things: a seamless roll, a beautiful brown/Colorado color, and just a few small veins that spanned the barrel of the cigar. A few other things to note: a nice (albeit slight) tooth to the wrapper, and a very heavy feeling. Literally – this cigar weighs a lot in your hand, and is very well packed. Extra points for a Dominican topcoat teeming with natural oils.
Draw: The draw was very firm – not too tight, but with more resistance than you might expect. Turns out that’s not a bad thing.
Pre-light flavor: Pre-light was pretty surprising… earthy flavors abound, and the cold draw is big on a tangy berry note. There’s a heap of natural tobacco sweetness to it, too.
Base flavors: Where to start…we all agreed in our Solera cigar review video that this stick was incredibly complex; but if I had to pick out just a few flavors that were along for the whole ride, they would be earth, a tanginess from the sun grown wrapper, a huge cedar flavor and a very noticeable spice on the retrohale.
Aroma: A mellow aroma hung in the air throughout, and a very noticeable floral sensation punched through at about halfway through.
Burn / Ash Quality: Credit Aging Room Solera Sun Grown’s construction for a great burn – the brilliant white ash hung on for days, the burn line was dead on from start to finish. A slow pace pretty much ensured the burn on this one wasn’t going to go off kilter. Decent smoke output, too.
Consistency: From cigar to cigar, this Aging Room pick is consistent from smoke to smoke…for the most part. I’ve had three, and they seem to have been more enjoyable each time.
So as I mentioned before, a bit of a surprise: the pre-light on the Solera has some really juicy flavors; when the time came to light it up, the sharper flavors were nowhere to be found – replaced with a mellow, satisfying creaminess driven by a grassy kind of flavor. So nice. Not to say that didn’t change, however; as noted, this cigar got wickedly complex, and in a hurry. Building on the cedar and earth flavors, and a spicy retrohale, these all made an appearance: coffee (think a not-at-all sweet dark roast), nut, pepper, dark licorice. You get a flavor or two, and the Solera does a head fake – and transitions to another set of flavors. Then another left turn. Coming and going, constantly revolving throughout these flavors with a medium, maybe medium-full body. This Aging Room has some moves, and wants to show them off. Let it happen.
One other thing you might appreciate…inspecting every cigar we pulled out of the box for our Aging Room Solera cigar review, there were absolutely no blemishes in the wrapper leaf. None. Any of them. At all. Perfection.
I’m putting it on my short list to smoke again very soon; I suggest you do likewise.
Jonathan Detore’s Tasting Notes…
Construction: This is perhaps one of the most well-made cigars I’ve ever had the pleasure of smoking. It was rolled perfectly with no visible seams, oily wrapper, seamless cap, and visually devoid of any veins, with a LOT of tobacco stuffed inside.
Draw: A little tight for my liking.
Base flavors: This is extremely complex, but if I had to pick one or two, I would say earthiness or cedar. Both are pretty consistent throughout, but there’s so much more that goes on with this cigar, trying to pick a base flavor is so tough.
Aroma: Matching aroma with a nice floral sweetness mixed in with a bold earthiness.
Burn/Ash: With a well packed cigar comes a stubborn ash. The ash is solid and can probably make it a solid 3 inches or so before falling off naturally.
Balance of Flavor: Great balance of flavors. One flavor never outpaces another or is underwhelming, which is hard to do with a cigar that has so much going on like the Solera.
Consistency: Very consistent from one cigar to the next.
After smoking 2 for this Solera cigar review, this cigar is a massive winner for me. The smoke time can easily be extended to 2 hours because of its slow burn. It never went out on me when I set it down for 5 minutes or so, and the flavor is unreal. Mix that in with how absolutely gorgeous the cigar is and how well it was rolled, and you have a top 25 contender. And while it may not be a strong cigar, this is full-flavored as can be.
Starting off I got some nice floral notes mixed in with some black licorice and earth, but from there it was a rollercoaster. The floral turned into a black tea before transitioning into a sweet cedar, the earthiness blended with the cream to put off a rich espresso flavor, and the licorice remained for that tiny bit of sweetness on the back end to make it pop. This was a truly remarkable cigar that anyone can smoke no matter what their current favorite might be.
* * *
Tommy Zman’s Tasting Notes…
Construction and Overall Appearance: Smooth and oily
Draw (airflow): Excellent:
Base flavors: Cedar, Tea, Black Licorice
Burn / Ash Quality: Solid
Here’s the good news: Rafael Nodal has done it again. He’s one of the genuinely nicest men in the cigar business and he is without question one of the most underrated cigar makers in the business as well.
His newest triumph, the Solera, is a medium to full-bodied stick that is a beefy puro from the Dominican Republic that exemplifies the true meaning of a complex smoke. Right off the bat there’s a wonderful sweet cedar component that lingers on the back of the palate. With almost every quarter inch of the cigar the complexity builds as new flavors introduce themselves along the way. There are delicious notes of black tea and black licorice and even a hint of cocoa.
The construction of this cigar is to be marveled almost like a feat of engineering. It’s packed with a ton of rich tobacco and this hefty belicoso is weighty in your hands. The draw is just excellent as it burns slow and steady with a perfectly squared off ash.
This is a cigar you do not rush – because you can’t – it’s that slow and luxurious burn that commands you to sit back and enjoy the living hell out of it. The Solera is an absolute gem of a cigar and it’s definitely finding its way into my coveted rotation.
Gary Korb’s Tasting Notes…
Construction and Overall Appearance: Excellent. The cigar has a seamlessly tapered head. Wrapper has a nice even color with very light veins. Firmly rolled with no soft spots.
Draw (airflow): Excellent
Pre-light flavor (cold draw): Leather and a sweet grassy flavor.
First few puffs: Very smooth with earthy, bready and peppery flavors.
Base flavors: Earth, cream, sweet spice, roasted coffee.
Aroma: Excellent. Very floral.
Burn / Ash Quality: Outstanding. Whitish-grey and very firm. Zero burn issues.
Balance of flavors: Perfect.
- Only the first few puffs were spicy and full-bodied. As the cigar settled-in, the thick, chewy smoke revealed base flavors of earth, sweet spice, cedar, and roasted coffee.
- Overall, the flavors were well-balanced and consistent with the aforementioned base notes. Floral notes became more prevalent in the midsection, while some mineral elements momentarily crept-in, then nudged out of the way by the sweeter flavors.
- The burn was also outstanding on this cigar. The ash was very firm and tapered to a nice cone shape. The cigar was also very full-flavored while maintaining a more medium-like body until the last couple of inches.
- For the most part, the cigar smoked on the cool side. During the last act, the sweet-spice elements moved up to the front of the flavor pool.
I was expecting a lot of what I loved in my review of the Aging Room Solera Sun Grown Fantastico. It started-off much differently, but, keeping in mind that the dimensions of the Fanfare are significantly larger, a little patience paid-off. Flavor-wise, it was highly consistent with the Fantastico in terms of its sweetness and complexity, but the Fanfare had more body, more earthiness, and remained ultra-smooth, sweet, and creamy to the end. In two words: Very impressive. In two more words: Get one.