The packaging was some of the best we'd seen from Altadis to date. A nice cardboard overlay contained a sleek-looking jewel box with good heft, subdued graphics and perfect proportions to show off the chunky 5x56 robustos within. Upon opening the box, there was a nice little info card with a message from the man himself. Unfortunately, we don't speak Spanish but we imagine it was the usual jive about these cigars being crafted from carefully selected and extremely rare tobaccos unobtainable by anyone except those with a secret knowledge of blah blah blah and rolled literally by angels with hands so delicate and experienced they're phalanges are insured by Lloyds of London for one billion dollars per digit. Yep, we're pretty sure that's what it says.
Here's a frickin' shocker: the cigars came uncellophaned! Praise the Lord. Naked as jaybirds, just as the cigar Gods intended. A lot of manufacturers claim the potential for damage during shipping and handling is so great that cellophane is the only way to go. Nonsense. Altadis cleverly topped the box with a quarter-inch thick piece of foam that gently but firmly holds the cigars perfectly in place. It probably costs less than the time and materials it would take to individually cellophane each cigar and we wonder why Altadis hasn't used this technique more widely. Sorry, a naked cigar just looks so much more appealing. Imagine how much better, for example, a box of their lovely new Romeos would be sans skivvies. Sigh.
Certainly, this cigar has benefitted from being packed in a box that's very friendly to aging. This was a nice smoke when released but time seems to have unlocked some hidden nuances in what is still a medium-bodied smoke. It's cedary throughout, but with a nice array of sweet, dried baking spices. Therein lies the complexity, and it's great fun to taste as that element changes throughout, hinting at everything from honey graham to pumpkin pie. This is, however, a dry cigar by nature so pairing it with a sweet beverage is advisable.
Due to the limited production and affordable pricing, these are mostly long out of circulation. You might get lucky like we did and find a box lurking in a dark corner of your tobacconist's humidor. If you find some, we recommend buying them. The VegaFina José Seijas 2011 has evolved from its initial profile as a primarily woody, wheaty and dryly sweet smoke into something worthy of a special smoking occasion.
B: Dominican Republic
F: Dominican Republic
A chunky robusto, beautifully presented. Medium bodied and complex with a pleasing array of baking spices and a dry character. Nicely aged.