Every once in a while a cigar comes along that takes so little effort to become a favourite. The Ashton VSG series of cigars by Carlos Fuente Jr. probably falls into this category. To be honest, i was not sure what to expect from this cigar as the Ashton VSG series is relatively unknown here in Malaysia, and only available in limited amounts in 1 or 2 outlets at very high prices. After sampling this cigar which took the Fuente family the better part of two years to develop, i’m now convinced that this is a cigar which i will never hesitate to smoke again, given a chance.

Made with a well aged Ecuadorian wrapper and Dominican binder and filler (with an extra dark blend of ligero in the filler to provide that extra kick), the VSG, or Virgin Sun Grown gets its name by the lucious dark colours and rich oiliness of its wrapper.

Excellent burn, healthy dark rosado wrapper

The visual test was outstanding: clear dark natural wrapper with minimal veining. This figurado was made by the hands of Chateau Fuente’s most skilled rollers — it felt firm and consistent under the touch. The rich Ecuadorian wrapper, which sported a hint of dark rosado tones, was oily under the touch, and gave off the most appealing cedar-citrus scent.

Silvery ash, firm and steady all the way to the end

A quick snip and this cigar was ready to be lit; a few licks of the torch and it lighted easily enough. The first few draws were rich and creamy — the draw itself was sheer perfection: a perfect balance of firmness and ease, just the way i like it. Smoke volume was large as plumes of it were produced with each deep draw. In the initial third, a light hint of spice mixed with some fruitiness provided quite a mild (by my tastes) experience. Where was the famed power and full body of the VSG?

Right through the half way point, this cigar remained calm and unassuming. As i furiously burned through to the last third, that’s when it began to impress itself onto my lips and palate: the rich, floral aroma picked up noticeably, the cedary spiciness became more pronounced and heavy. Even as this was an incredible delight, the VSG #1 never really really hit the promised full bodied heights in terms of taste or strength — at its peak it never faltered from delivering a smooth, consistently creamy experience. And this is by no means a bad thing, i assure you. This is a complex tasting cigar, and a refined palate is required to fully appreciate its subtle intricacies, its blend of power and velvet smoothness.

Until it burned my fingers!

Verdict: Not a single problem with this cigar. Burn was perfectly even throughout the cigar. Aroma was fantastic — a feature i’ve come to notice Fuente cigars excel in above all others, including my most highly rated Cubans. Taste was a smooth creaminess, medium bodied with just a hint of spice and pepper. A cigar that would do well either after a good lunch or dinner. Highly Recommended.