It’s time to reveal the winner of the Guess the Cigar Contest i conducted exactly a week ago: Sam (a few Sams took part, the one with a @hotmail.com email address)! An email will be coming your way shortly to ask for your mailing address. Congratulations!

He was the first person to guess the cigar as what it was, a Juan Lopez Seleccion #1. From a 2006 box, again from the treasure trove that is the Havana Club at Le Meridien, Kuala Lumpur.

After a particularly good day at the office, i adjourned to the Havana Club with Ming Thein, talented photographer and good friend. He wanted to try the Punch Royal Seleccion No. 11 i had been raving about a few weeks earlier, from a 2005 box. Initially, i was going to smoke that as well, until i turned over a Juan Lopez #1 from 2006. Quite a find! Readers of My Cigar Blog will know that i’m a fan of the Juan Lopez marquee, so to find a box of #1s from 2006 was a real thrill. A perfect way to end a perfect day; purple patches don’t come often, and i’ve never looked a gift horse in the mouth!

Back to the cigar. It was in perfect condition. The draw was just right, a nice touch of resistance, just the way i like it. It seems that i haven’t had a plugged or, worse, a loose drawing cigar in years; since 1999-2000, the cigars have been impeccable in this regard, due to Habanos importing in draw machine testers from Altadis SA around that time.

Smoking it was a terrific experience. The flavours were quite mellow, much more so than i normally prefer, suggesting that the Juan Lopez blend of cigars do age quite quickly and hit a maturation point quite fast, relatively speaking. At 6 years old, it felt as though it was at it’s peak, perhaps holding it for another 3 or 4 years max, then declining into blandness. The Juan Lopez was blended to be smoked right away, and it’s lovely as a young cigar.

The flavour profile was classic Juan Lopez: leathery chocolate, with large shades of dark vanilla. Some cane sugar sweetness on the finish of each draw. The cigar evolves into the second half quite nicely with a turn into spicy cinnamon and cloves. Not a hint of pepper and chili, that you’d normally find in a younger specimen. All the while being treated to a musky avalanche of smoke with a luxurious draw.

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Verdict: 90/100. It’s a great cigar, the Juan Lopez #1. If you ever run across a box or two with 5 years or more of age on it, don’t hesitate to pull the trigger.