By Orion Armstrong
Ffellow cigar enthusiasts, this issue brings me to Grenada, also known as Spice Island. The pace and beauty of this paradise are perfect compliments to an enjoyable cigar experience.
During my recent trip to Grenada, I stayed at the six-star Spice Island Beach Resort. It was an incredible destination location with all the first class amenities expected of a luxury resort. The staff – from house keeping to front desk – took the to time to address patrons by name and provided exceptional service without making it feel forced.
In preparation for my cigarcation, my assistant researched local cigar shops and lounges. As expected, it did not net much. Prior to departure, I was pessimistic that I would be satisfied by any local cigar options.
There are number of factors and concerns that one should take into consideration when buying cigars abroad. First, keep in mind that local supply and demand is driven primarily by tourism, and it is not likely to address the wants or desires of a cigar aficionado. After some research, we could only find one website link to a general store with only basic cigar selections.
So as not to tempt fate, I brought a selection of vintage cigars with me. This proved to be a wise move for, when canvassing local retailers, I found entire humidors filled with Cuban cigars but not a great deal of vintage selection to choose from and therefore no real options for this vintage lover. Fortunately, my personal stash of vintage cigars afforded me the experience and opportunity to enjoy a handful of amazing sunsets while savoring some great smokes.
One in particular that I thought that I would share with you is not a widely recognized cigar, but it is one that was an enjoyable smoke from start to finish. The cigar is the Juan Lopez #2 especial from 2011. Personally aged for 4 years, it is complex and flavourful. With a 50-ring gauge, this robusto burns well and has an almost perfect draw. I have had the privilege of smoking several boxes, both when they were released and after carefully aging them for 3-4 years. I brought a few from each year with me on this excursion and enjoyed them immensely.
A great afternoon smoke that in spite of its size, leaves even the most experienced smoker fulfilled, this cigar has a very strong and complex taste profile geared towards a mature smoker with an appetite for a solid bold smoke. The cigar is a medium to full body cigar with hints of an oaky and spicy profile. A gem of a smoke that flies well under most people’s radar, it is definitely worth purchasing if you are able to locate any.
Although my trip to Grenada was an extraordinary experience, it would have been lacking had I not brought my cigars with me. Therefore, my suggestion to all is to travel prepared and thus avoid unrepeatable or unverifiable cigars when in the Caribbean. Let’s face it; any and all getaways should be complete and fulfilling. For the avid cigar smoker, full enjoyment will come to those who plan ahead.
Until next time, may you embark upon your own cigar-cation prepared to enjoy the full extent of the destination and a vintage offering of a premium cigar or two. Safe travels!
My preferred vintage rating for the Juan Lopez #2 Especial 2011 and 2012 is 95.