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 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.






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.