Team Cigar Review: Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares

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Cigar Details: Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares

  • Vitola: Robusto Extra
  • Length: 5.5″
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Country of Origin: Costa Rica
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Peru
  • Filler: Dominican Republic and Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacos de Costa Rica
  • Blender: Nelson Alfonso
  • Price: $42.00
  • Release Date: November 2023
  • Source: Developing Palates via Corona Cigar Co.

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

Aaron: The wrapper on the Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares is medium brown with some thick, but well pressed veins. The seams are smooth and the caps very well applied. The band on the cigar is meant to look like two, but there is a section in the back that connects them. The upper portion is black, wood grain and gold and denotes the brand, while the lower portion is gold and black and denotes the line. The aroma from the wrapper is a well aged wood note that is somewhere between cedar and sandalwood. The foot brings some beef bouillon and cedar. The pre-light draw is just a light and airy aged cedar.
Seth: Finished with a lovely cap, the Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares is firm throughout with a nice oily texture. There are small to medium sized veins throughout, and the cigar has a Natural to Maduro coloring. Aromas of cedar, hay, tobacco and soft earth. Soft spices as well.
John: The Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares comes in cellophane and appears to have a retailer UPC sticker attached to the main cellophane body so that it remains intact when opened. The cigar at first appears to be double banded, with an Alfonso primary band in gold on black and brown, and a secondary band (which on examination is attached to the primary band) indicating ‘Gran Selección’ in black upper case font on a gold background. I weighed the cigar at 19.6 grams and measured the humidity with a HumidiMeter Pro at 61.8%. Aromas from the wrapper included mild, sweet tobacco and faint wood. Out of the foot, I could detect cedar and hay.
Jiunn: The Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares has a Colorado Maduro wrapper shade. The wrapper coloration is consistent and there’s a slightly slick oily feel to it. Veins are well pressed, seams tight, bunch and roll even and the head is well wrapped and capped. Pre-light aromas present rich cedar, sweet roasted nuttiness and dry barnyard.

Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares

Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares

First Third

Aaron: The cigar begins with a mix of toasted cedar and sandalwood along with some black pepper. At a quarter inch in, a light mustiness joins the profile. At a half inch in, a light chalkiness becomes present. The retrohale is primarily toasted cedar, with some sandalwood and lightly zingy black pepper. At an inch in, the black pepper and chalkiness both pick up a bit. As the third comes to a close, the mix of toasted cedar and sandalwood is up front, with black pepper and chalkiness in the middle and mustiness in the background. The strength was slightly below medium.
Seth: The first third starts out with a nice barnyard and spice profile. I am picking up some wood and earth notes with some sweet pepper spice. Leather and tobacco as well. Medium in strength and body.
John: Creamy bread gets the first third going as mild wood follows and nuts and wood combine into the post draw. The retrohale takes on cinnamon right out of the gate. That profile remains consistent and I find myself not able to detect any strength or flavor changes for the remainder of the first third.
Jiunn: As expected, the flavor profile is smooth and easy going. Balanced with flavors of sweet roasted nuts, cedar and Hawaiian bread. On the retrohale, there’s a linear approach to some dried red pepper spice and cedar. The finish is clean with lingering sweet, roasted nuts and aged cedar. Strength and body is medium.

Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares

Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares

Second Third

Aaron: As the second third begins, the black pepper has mellowed to become even with the mustiness in the background. At a half inch in, the black pepper moves back to the middle of the profile. The retrohale remains primarily toasted cedar, with some sandalwood and lightly zingy black pepper. As the third comes to a close, the combination of toasted cedar and sandalwood remains up front, with chalkiness just ahead of the black pepper in the middle and mustiness in the background. The strength remains at slightly below medium.
Seth: The second third is a continuation of the first. Getting more mineral notes with the spice profile, but it has that earth, leather, tobacco and coffee bean profile. Still medium in strength and body.,
John: My initial flavor impressions here are creamy spices, bread and wood that starts at medium minus strength with the aforementioned bread along with some spice accents teaming up through the post draw. The profile evolves by the halfway point to become wood forward with bread providing a following accent note and spices and wood defining the post draw.
Jiunn: The second third introduces minerals and greater concentration of cedar into the mix. This comes with the same great softness in sweet, roasted nuts and Hawaiian bread. Strength and body continues to be medium.

Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares

Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares

Final Third

Aaron: As the final third begins, the toast level increases a bit. At a half inch in, the black pepper picks up a bit. The retrohale remains primarily toasted cedar, with some sandalwood and lightly zingy black pepper. As the cigar wraps up, the toasted mix of cedar and sandalwood remains up front with black pepper and chalkiness in the middle and mustiness in the background. The strength bumped up to medium.
Seth: The final third is in line with the second, but with more mineral and tobacco notes. Bits of pepper spice with leather and earth as well. Medium in strength and body.
John: Sweet wood starts the last third with tannic wood to finish the puff. That profile remains consistent with the wood driving the profile and defining the post draw completely by the halfway point.
Jiunn: The final third shows the minerals getting a bit too tinny and the cedar note becoming a bit stale. It’s definitely not as balanced and cohesive as the first two thirds. Strength and body finish the same medium.

Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares

Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares

Burn

Aaron: The burn line was a bit wavy throughout, and the cigar went out twice, requiring re-lights.
Seth: Amazing construction throughout.
John: The burn had waviness to it through the first and second thirds with the burn being relatively straight through the last third.
Jiunn: Burn performance was perfect. Even burn, ample smoke production, tight ashes and cool burning temperature.

Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares

Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares

Draw

Aaron: The draw was a bit snug, but didn’t cause any issues with the smoking experience.
Seth: Beautiful burn.
John: Due to the ring gauge, I switched to a Xikar XO cutter and found the draw to be extremely resistant, roughly 4-1/2 to 5 notches into the resistant spectrum.
Jiunn: Draw performance was on point, providing the ideal balance between air flow and resistance.

Overall

Aaron: The cigar began with a mix of toasted cedar and sandalwood along with some black pepper. Some mustiness joined in fairly quickly and then some chalkiness a bit later. Through the last two thirds, the black pepper moved up and down in the profile while the other components remained constant. The Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares had a nice start, with a nice mix of flavors, but from the second third on, the profile was very linear and mundane. Not a very exciting blend and I expected more from the brand and the price point. Not something I’d see myself coming back to.
Seth: The Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares was a solid release and it had a nice start that remained solid throughout. Great construction and draw was present as well. There was lack in complexity and depth, but it still had a solid flavor profile. Hard to come back to this cigar with the price though.
John: The first third on the Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares was my most enjoyable part of the cigar, while I struggled to find tasting notes for the remainder of the review as I found the profile to be quite linear and flat. The burn was excellent while the draw was approaching plugged territory with an extremely resistant draw. I’ve had some absolute blockbuster cigars from Alfonso, but the Gran Selección Estelares was a miss for me as I just didn’t find the flavor profile to be engaging, and the tight draw was a distraction on its long smoking time. Total smoking time was 2 hours and 31 minutes.
Jiunn: Elegant, balanced and luxurious would be the three main words to describe this Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares. All the flavors were equivalent to some of the best buttery pastries I’ve had, with cedar (may sound weird, but it’s awesome). The only minor gripes I have are I wish the cigar at times had deeper flavors and more transitions, as the lulls become a bit disengaging. But all in all, a pleasure to smoke.

Aaron
Seth
John
Jiunn
GoodPre
Light
GoodPre
Light
GoodPre
Light
Good
GoodFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
Good
AverageSecond
Third
AverageSecond
Third
AverageSecond
Third
Good
AverageFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
Average
AverageBurnAmazingBurnAmazingBurnAmazing
Very GoodDrawAmazingDrawSubparDrawAmazing
AverageOverallAverageOverallAverageOverallGood

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

5.65

Cost/Point

$7.43

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

6.10

Cost/Point

$6.89

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

5.50

Cost/Point

$7.64

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

6.82

Cost/Point

$6.16

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares

Jiunn LiuTeam Cigar Review: Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares

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