Cigar: Asylum 13 550 (robusto)
Maker: Tabacalera Unidas
Travis, knowing my taste for fuller-bodied cigars, suggested that I smoke an Asylum 13 550 for a review, so I grabbed one and headed off to our lounge.
Christian Eiroa burst onto the scene by bringing the first widely distributed powerhouse cigar during the boom years- the Camacho Corojo, opening the door for many other companies to begin making spicy, full-flavored stogies for the American market. When he left Camacho after selling the brand to Davidoff, he started his new company, Tabacalera Unidas with Mike Baxter and Tom Lazuka, producing cigars under the labels CLE, Wynwood, Schizo and Asylum. If this cigar is any indication, he’s back with a vengeance.
I sat down with the cigar and removed the cellophane to reveal an oily, dark chocolate brown cigar that’s nice and firm to the touch. The pre-light draw was firm but even and had notes of leather, wood and earth. I toasted the foot and lit up. The first impression was leather on the lips, with aromatic wood and a nutmeg-like spice underneath. The aroma was rich and pleasantly spicy. The spice, which wasn’t dominant on the tongue, came to the forefront on the retrohale.
As I got a little further into the cigar, the leather was a bit more noticeable, and the woodiness moved to the background as a dark coffee flavor took its place while the spice stepped up just a bit. The burn was clean, producing a tight grey ash, and the cigar generated copious amounts of creamy, fragrant smoke. After about an inch, the leather began to fade a bit, and the coffee morphed into more of an espresso taste, with the nutmeg becoming more like allspice. The smoke remained thick and lush, and a muted sweetness asserted itself a bit.
As I continued to enjoy the cigar, what really jumped out was the construction. About an inch and a half into the smoke, the ash stayed on firmly and the burn remained razor sharp. A deep, mushroomy earthiness joined the espresso note to create a flavorful, medium-full bodied experience, and at the halfway point, the spice became more like a white pepper. The pepper, however, was never prominent, but was more of an adjunct to the rest of the flavors, and played very well with others. More impressive was the fact that the ash didn’t fall off until this point, and when it did, I was able to pick it up without it crumbling. Someone, obviously, knows how to roll a solid stick.
The flavors became even kickier at this point. The coffee and earth intensified and the spice transitioned into a touch of black pepper. It gave me an overall harmonious impression as all of the flavor elements played off each other in a very enjoyable way. As I approached the last inch and a half, I was becoming really sorry that the experience was coming to an end, but it made me look forward to having another very soon.
To wrap up: I consider this a medium-full bodied smoke, leaning heavily toward full, and it was definitely full-flavored. The finish was remarkably pleasant. I was thoroughly taken with the excellent construction of the cigar. The entire package was well-done, and I really couldn’t find anything negative to say, but at a retail price of only $5.00, it represents a phenomenal value. If you like a good hefty cigar that doesn’t overwhelm the palate and delivers extraordinary value, then the Asylum 13 550 should be a must-try for you.