VegaFina 1998 VF52. Tabacalera, the Spanish tobacco monopoly, founded VegaFina in 1998. Later Tabacalera merged with the French tobacco monopoly SEITA and formed Altadis. And last year, Altadis released the VegaFina 1998 in three sizes to commemorate the fact. The cigars are available on International markets only, and not in the USA. VegaFina has always focussed more on Europe than on the American market anyway. This blend was created by the master blenders with tobacco from five different countries. All the tobacco is aged for at least three years. The VegaFina 1998 is marketed as a premium offering from VegaFina, yet the prices are mid-range.
The complex blend of the cigar forced the blenders to bring their A-game. A dark Ecuadorian wrapper combined with an Indonesian binder from Java. For those that don’t know Indonesia that well, Java is the most populated of the 16.000 islands that make Indonesia what it is. For the last 400 years, tobacco is cultivated after the Dutch colonists brought tobacco seeds from their travels to the Caribbean. Sumatra, about 3 ½ times bigger than Java, is also a well-known tobacco-growing island. The filler comes from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Colombia. For this review, we selected the 5½x52 VF52
Name: VegaFina 1998 VF52
Country: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera de Garcia
Vitola: Robusto Extra
Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Colombia
Price: € 7.20 (Germany)
Cutter: Xikar X2
Lighter: single flame
Smoke conditions: indoors with ventilator
Smoke time: two hours and thirty-five minutes
Sponsored by Tabacalera
The wrapper is dark and oily. It does not have a smooth appearance, but the darkness and oil make up for it. The ring is different than the current VegaFina offerings. No slick logo with the silver VegaFina uses nowadays. This ring looks older. It’s probably the same design as VegaFina used in 1998. A throwback, going with the theme of commemorating the first VegaFina release. The slick black secondary ring with the white 1998 numbers looks good. The cigar has a nice bounce when gently squeezed. The aroma is mild woody.
The cold draw is great. There isn’t much flavor in the cold draw, just peppery wood, but mild. The cigar starts with coffee, green herbs, salt, and wood. The flavors evolve to coffee, wood, leather, and pepper. The mouthfeel is dry. Softwood pepper, spices, coffee, and earthiness. More pepper and some grassy flavors show up, and the cigar tastes a little burned. Halfway there is a mixture of green herbs, pepper, and nuts. The final third has wood, soil, and pepper. For a while, there was some faint vanilla flavor as well. The finale is earthy with pepper, wood, and sweetness.
The draw is a bit on the loose side, yet still acceptable. The ash is frayed. The burn had to be corrected a few times. The smoke is good. This is a medium-bodied, medium flavored cigar. It’s not smooth and the balance is a little off as well. The smoke time is two hours thirty-five.