VegaFina Year of the Rat Toro. In the last few years, more and more cigar brands are using the Chinese Zodiac Calendar as a reason to release a limited edition cigar. VegaFina is one of those brands. The Dominican cigars started releasing cigars for the Year Of series with the Year of the Dog. After the Year of the Pig, it’s time for the Year of the Rat. Altadis is part of Imperial Brands, although not for long anymore. Imperial Brands is selling its premium cigar division, which includes the Tabacalera de Garcia factory in the Dominican Republic, their portfolio of brands and their 50% stake in Habanos. According to rumors, a Chinese company acquired the premium cigar division yet by the time of writing this review, nothing has been confirmed.
The cigar measures 5⁹⁄₁₀x52 and it comes with a pigtail. The cigar is made in the Dominican Republic, at Altadis’s Tabacalera de Garcia. Tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic are used for the filler. The binder comes from Nicaragua. Altadis did not reveal from which country the wrapper came. But they did mention it’s a Habano 2000 wrapper.
Name: VegaFina Year of the Rat
Country: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera de Garcia
Wrapper: Habano 2000
Filler: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic
Price: € 15 (The Netherlands)
Cutter: Xikar X2
Lighter: single flame
Smoke conditions: indoors with ventilator
Smoke time: two hours thirty minutes
Sponsored by Altadis
The cigar looks good. A nice Colorado colored wrapper, oily and smooth. There is one thin, yet very noticeable vein on the back. The regular silver and white ring is used, with the glossy metallic red VegaFina logo. Then there is a secondary ring, red with gold, which represents prosperity and wealth in the Chinese culture. The ring says ‘year of the rat’ and a rat is pictured on the ring as well. The cigar feels a bit hard. The foot of the cigar is cut in a slight angle, making the cigar a leaning tower of Pisa. Now even though that’s an imperfection, we have seen it before with several different brands. The aroma is that of manure and oak. It’s medium-strong.
Even though the cigar felt a bit hard, the cold draw is fine. With a flavor of spicy raisins. Once lit, the cigar releases a lot of sweetness, sugar water sweetness. With pepper, green herbs and some coffee. Slowly the cigar gets wood in the flavor palate too. The flavor evolves to nutty toast with soil, leather, pepper, and sweetness. These flavors continue through the first third, with a nice sweet and white pepper aftertaste. The mouthfeel is buttery, creamy. The pepper is very mild and distinct. Halfway the pepper gets more pronounced and a little stronger. The sweetness turns into milk chocolate. The final third is sweet and peppery, with leather, wood, milk chocolate, and grass.
The draw is great. And the ash is firm, dense, and white as can be. The smoke is thin too and lacks a bit in volume as well. The burn is pretty straight. This is a medium-bodied, medium flavored cigar. The balance of this cigar is spot on. This cigar would be a good match with a nice smooth sipping rum. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.