What a stroke of luck that this brand was created by accident: in 1998, the Fuentes were worried that storms would ruin their harvest of Opus X wrappers. So there they were — with heaps and heaps of Opus X binder and filler, but uncertain whether there would be enough wrapper. Rather than let the binder and filler be left unused, the Fuentes decided to use some aged maduro Connecticut wrapper to make the Anejo.
The original release Anejo had wrapper aged for about 7 years, and they spent at least 6 months of that time aging in old cognac barrels. When these cigars were released in Dec 2000 (and since then, its been released once a year, only during the holidays thus making this a very rare cigar), it was an instant hit. After stumbling onto this cigar by mistake, and seeing its remarkable success, the Fuentes decided to make the Anejo a regular line product — but nowadays, the wrapper is not aged as long as the original release; perhaps 3-4 years max. For many the aficionado who has had a chance to sample both the original release and the current release of Anejos, the original batch is better hands down. The Anejo #48 i had was from 2001, gifted to me as part of a trade.
(Image lost) Wrapped in fragrant cedar
The Anejo comes wrapped in cello, with a fine cedar strip protecting it. Its a sign of its age that the cello which touched the exposed parts of the wrapper had turned yellow — oils had seeped through to yello the cello (doesn’t that rhyme wonderfully?). Just over 7 inches long with a perfect 48 ring gauge — truly, this is a magnificent sight to behold.
(Image lost) Marvelous wrapper, very, very oily
The first thing i noticed about the cigar is that it had splotches of oil all over it. I noticed the same with the only other Anejo i’ve had, the #49. Very unusual — with most other cigars i’ve attested to have that “oily” feel, the wrappers were silky and left a thin film of oily residue on my fingers. The Anejo is one of the very few cigars that i’ve seen to actually have puddles of REAL OIL on its wrapper. Quite an amazing sight, truly.
(Image lost) Burned straight as an arrow, throughout
The cigar itself is well constructed; firm to the touch, without having any hard spots throughout its impressive length. The pre-light scent is quite wonderful: a tobacco-sweet combination of cedar and fruits; touches of dried raisins and a hint of dark cinnamon. The scent tickled the nose and inspired my imagination. This was going to be a great, great smoke.
(Image lost) Razor sharp — no relight or touch-up needed
A quick cut followed by a few licks of the torch later, and this cigar was away. The draw was deep and lucious; not too hard or loose, just the way a good cigar should be. Right off the bat, the smoke volume was thunderous — billows of thick, chewy smoke filled the room as long as this cigar burned. Delightful!
Tastewise, i detected a distinct sugar-cane sweetness that i found particularly unique; this was couple with a fresh, tobacco flavour dominated the first third of the cigar. Towards the half-way point, the Anejo offered a twist of character as it started to taste like a mixture of dark earl grey tea that soon turned into a strong bean flavour akin to fine arabica coffee beans. The character offered by this cigar (perhaps due to the vitola size) was truly humbling — smoking this cigar is an experience all on its own; a journey of sorts from start to finish with different tastes and aromas at every corner. Oh wow.
(Image lost) Yummy… nice white-grey ash
The Anejo finished off strongly with some very dark, very spicy yet smooth woody flavours. Almost as though it was saying goodbye and it wanted me to remember it with a final push of flavour. By then, more than 2 hours later, i had a nice buzz going, pleasantly spinning into a blissful calm.
(Image lost) Right to the last! *sob, sob*
Verdict: A great, great cigar worthy of any praise it affords from anyone who savours its rich offerings. Super rare, and in very limited quantities will make it difficult to enjoy on a regular basis — that perhaps is my only complaint. I dare say, if the Partagas Lusitania is the masterclass of the vitola among its Cuban brothers and sisters, then the Anejor #48 could very well be its peer among non-Cuban cigars. Highly Recommended.