Team Cigar Review: VegaFina 1998 VF 50

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Cigar Details: VegaFina 1998 VF 50

  • Vitola: Rothschild
  • Length: 4.5″
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Indonesian Java
  • Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Colombia
  • Factory: Tabacalera de Garcia
  • Blender: Undisclosed
  • Price: $8.60
  • Release Date: September 2020
  • Source: Developing Palates

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The VegaFina 1998 VF 50 is fairly light in weight, even for its small size. The wrapper is medium brown and has a few decently raised veins present. There is a lot of excess glue around the back of the secondary band and on various other parts of the wrapper. The seams are easily visible as they are a bit raised, while the head is finished off with a well applied set of caps. There are two bands, with the primary being the traditional band for the brand while the secondary band is a black and white strip which denotes the line name. The aroma from the wrapper is smoky wood while the foot brings a mix of cedar and cardboard. The pre-light draw is quite interesting as it hits me as sweet sawdust.

Pre-light Experience

This VegaFina 1998 VF 50 possibly has the faintest aroma I have ever come across. I am picking up some earth and raisin bread notes on the foot and wrapper, but that is all. There are veins present throughout, and the cigar has some soft spots here and there. The wrapper has a nice dark Colorado coloring and the bands are uneven on the cigar.

Pre-light Experience

The VegaFina 1998 VF 50 is double banded, with the secondary band indicating ‘1998’. The wrapper is dark chocolate in color, and there is a general lumpy appearance throughout and on the cap. For aromas, there was a faint white glue and cedar. From the foot, sweet mild tobacco and mild hay.

Pre-light Experience

The VegaFina 1998 VF 50 has an oily wrapper texture. The color is of a Colorado Maduro shade. Veins are roughly pressed, seams tight, bunch and roll loose and head well wrapped. Aromas from the wrapper give spiced tea, cedar and baking spices. Aromas from the foot tell rich nuttiness and a hint of white pepper. Cold draw gives inviting red pepper spice and cedar.

First Third

The cigar begins with a slightly stale cedar and light wood bitterness. At a quarter inch in, a slight mustiness joins the profile. The retrohale brings musty and stale cedar. At an inch in, some burning paper joins the stale cedar, mustiness and light bitterness. The strength in this third was mild-medium.

First Third

The first third opens up with notes of freshly cut wood, grass clippings and a combination of two cylinder engine oil and gasoline. There is this faint mineral quality and charred meat profile on the finish as well and it is unpleasant. Strength and body right below medium.

First Third

Dry cedar and mild baking spices open the first third. Sweet hay comes through a few puffs later, with mild sweet cedar settling on the post draw. Mild graham cracker joins the retrohale as the first third settles in. Chocolate joins the profile by the 20 minute mark.

First Third

The first third has a lot of sweet and creaminess in the form of vanilla wafers. With this also are subtle baking spices and a hint of effervescence. Retrohaling replaces the main sweetness with baking spices and cedar. The finish is medium in length with baking spices and minerals. Strength and body is medium.

Second Third

The second third continues with the stale cedar, mustiness, burning paper and light bitterness. The retrohale is musty and stale cedar with a slight bitter bite. At an inch in, the bitterness picks up a bit. The strength in this third bumped up to slightly below medium.

Second Third

The second third shows some remarkable improvement and I am getting some earth, coffee, cream and cashew notes. There are still some grass clipping qualities, but nothing like in the first third. Like before, medium in strength and body.

Second Third

Cedar and mild chocolate takes the cigar into the second third. Dry cedar on the post draw. By the halfway point, mild baking spices take up the center of the profile.

Second Third

The second third still has that great pastry/cookie like sweetness and creaminess. The baking spices and minerals are elevated as well, adding greater depth and a lengthier finish. Strength and body remains medium.

Final Third

As the final third begins, the bitterness now has the lead over the stale cedar, mustiness and burning paper. The retrohale remains musty and stale cedar with a slight bitter bite. At three quarters of an inch in, all of the components become even, but the bitterness has a long finish. At an inch in, a slight pine note joins the profile. The strength in this third remained at slightly below medium.

Final Third

The final third delivers a profile of minerals, harsh earth, grass clippings and wood. There is little complexity and little enjoyment. In terms of strength and body, medium for both.

Final Third

Mild toasted earth and some cedar move the review into the last third. Mild cedar moves into the post draw after a few puffs.

Final Third

The baking spices and minerals continue to pull forward, but the profile is still every bit sweet and creamy with vanilla wafers. Strength is reaching towards medium plus and body finishes the same medium.

Burn

The burn was slightly wavy at times, but never needed any attention. The cigar burned very fast, but the ash held to the halfway point and then again to the end of the cigar.

Burn

Burn was very good throughout. Even burn line.

Burn

The cigar burned like a champ with a straight burn and ash holding on up to two inches at the longest point.

Burn

Burn performance was overall good but not without faults. Uneven burn, causing a few touch-ups and unburnt wrapper portions were the two main issues.

Draw

The draw was a bit looser than I prefer.

Overall

I believe that poor construction is what led to the experience I had with the VegaFina 1998 VF 50. First, the cigar was very light in weight which probably contributed to the slightly loose draw. The cigar burned very fast and gave notes of burning paper and bitterness which tends to happen when the bunch is too loose and the cigar is underfilled. I’m curious to see if the others had better constructed cigars and can report on the flavor profile that the cigar should provide. Pretty disappointed in this experience for a brand I’ve enjoyed and feel that it is an underrated performer in the Altadis portfolio.

Draw

Draw was a little loose for me. Not a problem, but too loose in my opinion.

Overall

For someone who has been a fan of VegaFina and praised the line, this hurts. The VegaFina 1998 VF 50 was a disaster from beginning to end. The flavor profile was horrendous. I actually smoked this cigar in other vitola offerings, and those were bad as well. Definitely not a cigar I can get behind or even recommend. What a shame for VegaFina. If this was a European release and did well, I am shocked!

Draw

The draw is slightly resistant, roughly 1-1/2 to 2 notches into the resistant spectrum.

Overall

The VegaFina 1998 VF 50 had me conflicted with an overall average score that I feel delivered above average flavor performance with impeccable construction. At this price point, I don’t think I would reach for it over other offerings in the marketplace, but it’s a fairly balanced and subdued flavor profile that light to medium bodied cigar smokers might gravitate towards. Total smoking time was 1 hour and 29 minutes.

Draw

The draw on the other hand was perfect, striking the ideal air flow.

Overall

A solid short smoke. I loved the sweet and creamy pastry-like vanilla wafers note. The backing of baking spices, cedar and minerals was just enough to tie the profile together. The VegaFina 1998 VF 50 is not a complex cigar, but one of those cigar experiences where it makes you nod your head a couple times and say, “man, that was good.”

Aaron
Seth
John
Jiunn
AveragePre
Light
AveragePre
Light
AveragePre
Light
Average
SubparFirst
Third
PoorFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
Good
SubparSecond
Third
AverageSecond
Third
AverageSecond
Third
Good
PoorFinal
Third
SubparFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
Good
Very GoodBurnVery GoodBurnAmazingBurnGood
Very GoodDrawGoodDrawVery GoodDrawAmazing
SubparOverallSubparOverallAverageOverallGood

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

3.73

Cost/Point

$2.30

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

3.93

Cost/Point

$2.19

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

5.95

Cost/Point

$1.45

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

6.97

Cost/Point

$1.23

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: VegaFina 1998 VF 50
Jiunn LiuTeam Cigar Review: VegaFina 1998 VF 50

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