At the end of October I reviewed the Claro Especial Exclusivo USA line in the Toro Extra format, review here, and was blown away by the cigar. I think it is a terrific blend from the company and it solidifies my thoughts that the company is releasing some amazing cigars. Since then I reviewed the original Exclusivo USA, enjoying that as well, but today I wanted to look at the Lancero Extra in the Claro Especial line. My brother Catfish sent me a couple sizes back in the fall, so I want to make sure I get to them all. There are noticeable difference between the sizes, and with those differences I think smokers will find particular favorites. I have shared my thoughts on the Toro Extra, I loved it, so let's take a look at the Lancero Extra and see how it compares.
The Claro Especial Exclusivo USA Lancero Extra, is truly a larger Lancero, and it measures 7 1/2" with a 42 ring gauge. The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro, the actual tobacco not disclosed, and it comes with a double binder. The intention of the line was to show off the filler and binder tobacco in the blend, and with a smaller ring gauge it will be interesting to see how that works out. With a 42 ring gauge, I am going to be getting a lot of the wrapper flavors, but I have faith that the blending skills of those involved with project will be able to deliver those filler flavors. The Lancero Extra has a great cap and is a thin cigar that is rolled wonderfully. I am getting a silky and slightly toothy texture with the cigar, and it has a nice Natural to Colorado coloring on the wrapper. There is an aroma of tobacco, leather, nuts, and lemongrass on the wrapper, and the foot is showing some pepper qualities with that.
The first third beings by showing some powerful lemongrass notes, and it is accompanied by some herbal qualities. There are some spices present as well, and it is showing a white pepper flavor that has an interesting pairing with the lemongrass notes. There are some cedar and tropical fruit flavors present as well, and it is a blend that is unique and enjoyable, but not one that is for everyone. I think it is an advanced blend, that is how I would describe it, and one to my liking. The construction is top notch thus far and it is showing a cool draw with an even burn line. There is a nice charcoal coloring present with the ash, and it holds on well to the end of the cigar. I would say that it is smoking at a medium level in terms of strength, and the body is between medium and medium-full overall.
When I get into the second third of the cigar I find that the spice notes build up and the pepper flavors are practically dominant. There is an emergence of coffee flavors with that, and they are pairing with those lemongrass flavors. The cedar notes are present as well, and the cigar is showing a darker and bolder side to the first third. The construction on the cigar is still terrific and it is showing an even burn line with that nice charcoal ash on the end. The draw is cool and it is giving off a nice bit of smoke with each draw. It is a flavor focused cigar, and with the great construction I can focus on the flavors. The body has increased to that medium-full level in this third and the strength remains at that medium level. It is a flavor focused cigar that I would classify as medium-full to most smokers.
I am in the final third of the cigar now and it is showing additional transitioning. I am getting some heavy spice and white pepper notes, and it is accompanied by those herbal qualities that were present before. There is still a nice bit of cedar and wood flavors present, and the lemongrass notes are much softer note, really taking the back seat overall. The finish is fairly strong overall, and it is a cigar that has changed from the get go. The construction remains top notch however and it is showing an even burn line with that solid charcoal ash on the end. The draw is cool to the nub, and it is giving off a nice bit of smoke with each draw. I would classify the final third as being medium-full in terms of strength and body, and it shows some growth on the end which really adds to the overall experience of the cigar.
Looking at the two Exclusivos that Regius of London has bestowed on us, the Claro Especial is definitely more to my liking. I prefer the flavors being delivered and I think that overall it is a more unique and interesting blend. I like the variety of vitola offerings delivered between the two lines, and it is interesting that a majority of the time I prefer the lines in larger ring gauges. The Lancero Extra is a great size, very unique and to my liking, but I think the blend overall does better in the Toro Extra. There is an enjoyable lemongrass flavor present with the cigar, and in the smaller ring gauge there is this stronger pepper flavor that is nice and becoming dominant throughout. It is a cigar that grows as it progresses and is an advanced smoke in terms of the flavors being delivered. I think a lot of smokers would struggle in truly appreciating the cigar and what is delivered, but for me it is a great stick. I am giving the cigar a solid 89 rating, and I would easily buy a five pack of these to have around in my humidor.
Seth's Humidor Rating: 89