Thanks to the indefatigable Ravi of Cigars of Habanos, i landed a box of these babies after a long period of looking. You can buy this cigar under review from the COH website.

A few things strike me outright about this cigar: they are huge and they have a great aroma (very woodsy). The moment i cracked open the box, i was quite impressed at the sight, and not just a little intimidated to be honest. The ERDM Aniversarios weigh in at a hefty 5 7/8 inches long by 54 ring — a previously unavailable vitola (shall we call them “gigantes”?). This new size will surely appeal to a very broad market, though i’ll admit i’m not a real fan. Smaller ring gauges are more my pace.

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I’ve been nursing a box of ERDM Choix Supreme for the better part of 8 years now, and though i’m down to my last 10 sticks or so, i haven’t had one for more than a year now. The ERDM marque are known as mild, sweet, cigars — akin to smoking the flavour of burnt honey; a refreshing clean tobacco flavour. Having said that, they are also known as a brand with quite a high miss rate. I suspect it has something to do with the difficulty involved in putting together such a delicate blend; it’s terribly easy to go over or under and spoil it. As i started lighting up the Aniversario, i wondered whether it held true to the ERDM experience, hopefully in a good way.

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Made to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Pacific Cigar’s entrance into the Asian market, Regional Editions such as the Aniversario are “made to order” — bespoke cigars on a mass scale. Limited to 4,000 boxes, yes, but that’s still a heck of a lot of cigars — 80,000 sticks. Since they are in effect custom cigars with custom blends, i’d imagine that they were made to suit the taste buds of the region. If so, the ERDM brand is a good choice for Asia, i think, where delicate cigars with memorable long finishes generally do very well e.g. Trinidads.

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Beautifully constructed, the cigar lit easily and rewarded me with a very welcoming first couple of draws. Imagine an ERDM Choix Supreme, take away the chocolate essence, and amp up the floral notes a few notches, and there you have it. Light and lovely, though my personal bias against the large size that seemed uncomfortable to my mouth, did detract from my enjoyment somewhat.

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Mid-way through the cigar, a very noticeable woodsy flavour came about. Strong cedar notes. Considering the floral composition in the first third, i’m not surprised that this is how the flavour profile evolves. Dark honey sweet, with laces of cedar and small hints of cinnamon and chocolate. Very classic ERDM.

The final third delivered more of the same, so the cigar became a bit one-dimensional. A bit disappointing, as i was expecting a grand-stand finish after that nice elegant turn at the half way mark. But it doesn’t make it a bad cigar, not at all. Just probably not as good as it can be (or should be). Makes me wonder whether this cigar is worth aging to see what happens; not sure about this as it doesn’t have much of a “back-of-the-throat-bite” that indicates a good cigar for aging. Having said that, the ERDM Choix’s i’ve been aging seem to hold up pretty well over time, with the flavour even the better samples even becoming more delicate in nature — smoother and just a tad richer. Time will tell if these Aniversarios will do the same, but i must say, for fresh cigars, they do meet the expectations i have for a premium RE.

Verdict: 85/100. A lovely cigar, easy going, relaxed smoke that can be enjoyed anytime and anywhere. Don’t expect fireworks from this cigar, but you can also expect it not to let down. Very engaging classic El Rey Del Mundo flavour profile, so if Pacific Cigar wanted that, that’s exactly what they got. Not a fan of the size, but on the plus side, it’s a heck of a lot of cigar to smoke. A good 2 hours to take this one to the nub!