The Diamond Crown Maximus Churchill No. 2 is an interesting case study: a blend of DomRepublic and Ecuadorian leaf (from the Oliva family plantation, no less!), made to the exacting standards of the Fuente family. Carlos Fuente Jr took the better part of 3 years to blend the tobacco that went into this cigar, nearly as much time as he spent pondering the finer details of the legendary Opus X.

In 1991, Stanford Newman first discussed his idea about making a Super Premium cigar, the DIAMOND CROWN, with Carlos Fuente Sr. In celebration of his J.C. Newman Cigar Company’s upcoming 100th Anniversary, Stanford wanted to develop a truly exceptional series of cigars unlike any other on the market. He didn’t care what it would cost, how much time it took, or even if it would sell. Stanford was in his mid 70s and he wanted to culminate his 50+ years in the cigar business by creating the smoothest, most flavorful, full-bodied cigar possible.

I had a few of these No. 2s (DC2) lying around in the humidor, and a few nights ago, i decided that it was time to try something new — i’ve heard so much about the Diamond Crown range of cigars, most actually quite unflattering, so i wanted to take the time to find out for myself if all the negativity aimed towards this cigar was true.

You’ve got to hand it to the fella who did the band — besides the uber-cool Opus band — this has got to be one of the most intricate, stunning bands i’ve seen on a cigar. As i rolled the DC2 up and down my palm, i couldn’t help by be attracted by the bright luminense of the band. The cigar itself feels good in the hand, with a very nice heft. The wrapper, an Oliva family grown Ecuadorian specimen, is very dark, nearly light maduro — a sort of deep red hue glows from it. Excellent wrapper, feels well constructed, and very healthy, glistening will all those essential oils that drive cigarmen like me wild with cigar-lust.

I took a few moments to draw in the DC2’s scents, along its tube, and from its foot. The cigar itself has a very strong “Opus” presence as far as its aroma goes — a light, ticklish fruity (raisins) aroma that just pops and pops in the nose. Perhaps a shade less intense than Opus, and a few shades less intense than an Anejo, but its very distinctive and any fan of Fuente will know that this cigar was made from his leaf.

I was a bit excited at this point, anticipating a very Opus-like experience. A quick snip, and careful tender licks of the torch, and this cigar was away. The draw was superb, lush and bountiful — thick arches of smoke curled their way up to the ceiling and stayed there for a long while before dispersing. The flavour? Very, very not-Opus-like at all!

The first draw rewarded me with some distinct Fuente spice: that touch of burn you feel on the lips, tongue and upper palate. But that quickly receded, replaced with a very fragrant, mild woody flavour. This is a big, big cigar — but i never felt the need to take a swig from the glass of ice water i had on hand to clear the palate as i normally do with Opus/Anejo or regular-production Cubans. It was a nice flavour… but not very challenging and certainly not as complex as i would have liked.

It did try to rally on me towards the end; a bigger bite of woody spice, mixed with some roasted bitternuts started to come across, but by then, it really was too late. I wasn’t disappointed, i would say, but i think the anticipation of the whole matter may have spoiled it for me when the DC2 wasn’t what i thought it would be.

Verdict: Imagine a milder version of an Ashton VSG and you will have the DC2. For all its dark promise, and purpose to be Stanford Newman’s cigar with “powerful flavours”, the blend never manages to even approach those peaks. Having said that, it was a pleasant cigar that i nubbed gratefully. It offers a very pleasant, unassuming straightforward smoke that can really be enjoyed by all, newbie or season aficionado.