When you hear the name Mike Bellody, most likely you say “Who?” One would think Mike is a newcomer to the cigar industry, but that is far from true. Mike originally got his hands in the cigar business with the Tiante cigar company. Mike Bellody and Dan Tiant where the brains behind the Tiante cigar company which is currently not producing cigars.
The first line from MLB Cigar Adventures is the Imperia. It is produced by the famed Quesada factory (formally MATASA) in the Dominican Republic. The cigar is a mix of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos with the wrapper being a high priming Dominican leaf; giving it a bit more body and flavor than most Dominican tobaccos used in cigars.
Size: 5 1/2×43
Wrapper: Dominican HVA (high priming)
Filler: Dominican & Nicaraguan
The main thing that stands out with this cigar is its baby blue band offset by the dark reddish brown wrapper leaf. This cigar reminds me of one of those “It’s a Boy” cigars. But we don’t smoke the bands. The wrapper has a few small veins in it and is not all that smooth of a wrapper. There are no nicks or sunspots or any other blemishes. From the best my eyes can tell there is a very nicely applied double cap that is probably one of the most deeply applied cap I have seen in a long time. The cigar has a pretty firm feel to it with no hard or soft spots. The foot has an aroma of a muted nutmeg, with hints of wood and a slight cocoa. The cold draw is very light and easy with a little bit stronger note of nutmeg that has a tad bit of a spicy kick to it.
The draw on this cigar was pretty much right where I like my cigars to be. It was just a bit loose than most, but not thick at all. The burn was pretty good as well. There were a few times it produced a slight wave in it towards the middle and last part of the cigar. But it never needed a touch-up or relight. From said burn came ashes that alternated between white, off white and various shades of gray. I tapped off each ash at about 1/2 to 3/4″, but I am sure they could have lasted somewhat longer had I let them. Overall I had no issues with the construction.
The first third has very nice notes of coffee with a bit of sweetness and slight spice to it. Soon into the smoke the sweetness gets a little more pronounced and mixes into a chocolate note along with the coffee from before. Right now, I am really digging the flavor profile as everything is jiving well together. Leaving the first third, I notice a hint of a light caramel and a flavor that the best I can describe is fresh white bread. It sounds odd, but it added a nice smoothness to the smoke.
Working into the middle portion, I start to realize the good volume of smoke that comes from the cigar. Being a small ring gauge, I expected a bit less. The sweetness is the key player in the smoke right now. Its not like an infused type of sweetness, but it matches the caramel nicely. The chocolate has eased off some, but is still lingering in the background. I like the fact that this cigar is a nice solid medium body like many Dominican cigars are, but there is a tad bit of spice in the mix from the Nicaraguan tobacco that is showing up a bit more now. The few times I retrohaled the smoke, I got more of the caramel and hints of the nutmeg that’s not detected much in the smoke otherwise.
Heading into the final run of the cigar, the chocolate and coffee are fading off a bit. Although the sweetness is still a key player in the flavors, a sharp nuttiness arises. I can’t place my finger on exactly what the nut is, but its a pretty distinct flavor that has a slight bitter kick to it. With about an inch left, the chocolate sweetness arises some and kicks the nuttiness to the background and the cigar ended that way.
For some reason I wasn’t expecting too much from this cigar with the majority of the tobacco being Dominican. The high priming HVA tobacco and Nicaraguan really seem to add a nice kick with a little more power and a slight spice here and there that surprised me. The smoke was a solid medium body and the flavor strengths were a strong medium. The MSRP of this cigar is a good spot for it, as it seems now that a lot of boutique cigars are calling a higher price these days just because they are a boutique. Overall I really enjoyed this cigar and look forward to what Mike Bellody will come out with next.
*This cigar was provided to me, unsolicited, from Mike Bellody & Stogie411 (as contest winnings) for this review. Many thanks to those great people for the opportunity to review this cigar!