Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Cigar Review

Pappy Van Winkle Tradition

Happy National Cigar Day!  Or at least I think I read that somewhere… Even if it’s not, we have beautiful weather in my part of the world, and a lazy Sunday calls for a good cigar.  

Most of us probably associate Pappy Van Winkle as one of the most sought-after, high-end bourbons in the world.  Admittingly, I have had the fortune of sampling some 10-year-old Pappy and although it was very smooth, it’s by far, not the best bourbon I’ve ever had.  As we will note later in this review, don’t get caught off guard by the hype associated with a brand name.  

With that being said, the Pappy Van Winkle line is rolled and produced by Drew Estate Cigars at La Gran Fabrica in Esteli, Nicaragua.  The Tradition line debuted in 2018 and includes the following vitolas:

  • Corona 5 ½ x 44 (Exclusive-not marketed)
  • Coronita 4 x 46 ($15.00)
  • Robusto Grande 5 ½ x 54 ($22.00)
  • Belicoso Fino 5 x 50 ($25.00)
  • Toro 6 x 50 (Exclusive-not marketed)
  • Churchill 7 x 48 ($24.00)

The Tradition line is the second release in the Pappy Van Winkle Cigar portfolio, with the first being Pappy Van Winkle Barrel Fermented.  I was a bit worried that being produced by Drew Estate, the company would attempt to infuse some type of bourbon flavoring into the cigars, similar to their Acid line, however, this is certainly not the case.  So, let’s jump in and see what the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Cigar is all about.     

On to the review….

Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Attributes

Size: Robusto Grande

Length: 5 ½   

Ring Gauge: 54

Wrapper: Ecuadoran Habano Oscuro

Binder: Indonesia

Filler: Dominican Republic; Nicaragua

Country: Nicaragua

Price: $22.00 USD

Pre-light Inspection: Cold smell yields a nice rich tobacco and earthy barnyard mix.  The wrapper is a medium to light brown in appearance with minimal veins.  Cap is pristine and the large double bands display a picture similar to the bourbon outlined in a cardinal red.  Cold draw did not yield any specific tastes and the draw seemed initially tight. 

Opening and First Third:  The cigar opened with a spicey black pepper and moved its way into a leathery dry toast.  First third was medium in both strength and body.  The burn a bit wavy but needed no touch-ups producing a very pure white powdery ash.  The draw was not tight as I though on the pre-light and instead could be defined as effortless. 

Second Third: Moving into the second third, I had to remove the first, smaller, label identifying the cigar as Tradition.  I was very careful to remove the band, however, the cigar started to split once the band was removed and continued this trend the remainder of the smoking experience.  Tastes continued to show a nice toastiness that was complemented in the room note.  The aroma, coupled with the toast, reminded me of a nice bakery.  There was an awkward metallic taste note that sporadically appeared in the second third.  A mild hint of soft red wine, similar to a pinot noir, appeared at the end of the second third and my hopes were that this continued into the last part of the smoke.  Body and strength continued to be medium and the burn was very wavy due to the split wrapper.     

Final Third: I ended up touching the cigar up heading into the final third in hopes of stopping the split.  This did help initially, but the cigar had to be touched up a few more times in order to make it a successful finish.  The toastiness continued through the end with the aroma reminding me of sweet graham.  The metallic taste decided to show up on a more frequent basis in the final third but was also accompanied by a unique nutty almond paste note.  The body of the cigar finished out medium/full while the strength boasted itself into the full category.  

Overall Impressions: The Pappy Van Winkle Tradition was a nice cigar and I’m glad I had the opportunity to smoke it.  Like the bourbon, I feel this could be a hyped-up line due to its name and tradition.  Would I recommend other folks try the line, absolutely as it is a good cigar.  Would I fill my humidor with a box for aging, probably not.  At a price point of $22.00 each, this is a good cigar but not worthy of a second go in my rotation.  To be clear, there are a lot of other cigars on the market, in the $8 – $10 price range, that I enjoy on a much more regular basis and that I would reach for before the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition.  Would I suggest maybe picking one up to enjoy on the golf course or with some buddies?  Sure!  But for the long term, this will probably be my one and only Pappy cigar.   

Cigar Score: 3 out of 5 boxes

A full video review of the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Robusto Grande cigar can be found on The Pipe Professor YouTube channel at the following link: https://youtu.be/DeNx1DThurs

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