Trust your taste
Cigar aficionados, myself included, are not easy to please. Our palates have had years of seasoning which is why I can easily pick out a well-done cigar from a sea of decent smokes. I believe that a sublime cigar cannot come from a mediocre company. Perfection comes from far more than the need for money; it comes from passion. Nowhere is this more evident than in Ashton Cigars.
Ashton Cigars History
The Ashton brand in the cigar world is one of the most acclaimed brands known for making perfectly balanced premium cigars brimming with a cornucopia of flavors. Since its inception in 1985, the Ashton company only produces exquisite cigars. The founder, Robert Levin, is one of the greatest minds in the stogie world. Judging from the first ever Ashton cigar to the latest, Ashton cigars always rate in the 90 percentiles for their decadent flavors and expert craftsmanship.
As you can probably tell, I am positively giddy just talking about this brand. And while I would gab all day long about the different Ashton masterpieces, today we only have time to talk about the Ashton Aged Maduro.
Ashton Aged Maduro
The Ashton Aged Maduro is manufactured at Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia Factory in the Dominican Republic. Robert Levin enlisted the help of the Fuente Family which is why even the hand rolling is done at the Chateau de la Fuente in the Dominican Republic. This bad boy hit the market in 1988 and has since been a darling to cigar connoisseurs worldwide. The Ashton Aged Maduro is a limited production cigar and the second cigar line of the Ashton Cigar brand.
This delectable medium-bodied stogie packs Dominican long-leaf fillers with a delicately aged Dominican binder which makes for a flawless consistency. It is then wrapped in a dark, silky, oily Maduro Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper that is naturally fermented. If you know anything about the intricacies involved in selecting and ageing the perfect Maduro wrapper, then you understand why this is a limited production cigar. This particular Maduro Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper is one of the rarest wrappers of its kind. The selection, fermentation and ageing process of this wrapper embodies the Fuente motto; “Never rush the hands of time”.
The resulting masterpiece is a captivating commingling of hearty flavors including earth, subtle nuttiness, maple, delicious blasts of cacao, raisins, and savory espresso on a bed of spice and premium tobacco essence.
How Popular is the Ashton Aged Maduro?
The Ashton Aged Maduro is without question one of the most sought-after cigars in the premium category. The unique complexities brought about by years of ageing in Sherry finished French oak barrels, and the subtle sweetness from the naturally fermented Maduro Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper make this a cigar for the ages. Cigar aficionados and lovers of the leaf have dubbed it a decadent smoking experience.
The Ashton Aged Maduro has been in the market for close to three decades during which it has remained in the 90 percentiles of customer ratings. This is a testimony to the quality and consistency of this bad boy. Even though it appeals more to cigar enthusiasts who know the essence of a good stogie, it is still a great smoking experience for a newbie more so because it will become the benchmark against which all the other cigars are judged.
How Does the Ashton Aged Maduro Cigar Compare to Other Maduro Wrapper Cigars?
Before we get to the comparing, it is important to note that not all Maduro cigars have Maduro wrappers. Maduro is the Spanish equivalent of “ripe” which implies that the leaf has to be fermented over time to achieve the dark color, oily disposition, and sweet flavors. Due to time constrictions, some Maduro cigars, end up with a dyed wrapper or a steamed wrapper which may cut the production time by a ton but compromises on the flavor of the wrapper.
With this in mind, a naturally fermented wrapper such as the one used in Ashton Aged Maduro cigars is a leg up from the masses of Maduro cigars that skipped the natural fermentation process. Additionally, the uncompromising process of choosing the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper places the Ashton Aged Maduro cigar higher still on the premium chart. All these attributes plus the top-shelf blend of the fillers and the binder means that the Ashton Aged Maduro only competes with the giants of premium smokes.
How is the Ashton Aged Maduro Price Point?
We have already established that the Ashton Aged Maduro is a top-notch stogie. Now the question becomes: Does the quality match the price?
In my opinion, the quality definitely justifies the price. At between $8 and $13 a piece depending on the Vitola, I find this price to be fair. Sure, there are some opinions online citing the cost as high but compared to which cigars? The way I see it, all the other premium Maduro cigars in the Ashton Aged Maduro league like the Camacho Triple Maduro, the Partagas Black Label, and the Perdomo Double Aged 12-year Vintage Maduro sell at the same price if not more. A lot of the arguments front the Arturo Fuente 858 as being the same quality but half the price. I believe each cigar above has its own unique character and depth that makes it good enough to sit at the premium table. Also, the question of price should only arise if the product does not deliver the implied value and in this case, the Ashton Aged Maduro does deliver.
As a stogie enthusiast, I believe once you decide that you want a premium smoke, you should expect to spend a bit more on it than a regular cigar. This is why we have cigars that we can share all willy-nilly and then we have our special occasion stogies.
I definitely consider my Ashton Aged Maduros special occasion cigars. I would more likely gift an Ashton Aged Maduro to a seasoned cigar lover than a newbie. For some reason, I want the person who ends up toasting my Ashton Aged Maduro to have the kind of sophisticated palate that can recognize how exquisite a treat it is.