Usually I am not one to reach for a “special occasion” cigar or a super premium for a cigar review, however I decided to do things a little differently for my first review here at Mike’s Stogies. I actually had it narrowed down to about 3 choices and wound up selecting the J.C. Newman Diamond Crown Maximus Stanford’s 90th.
The Stanford’s 90th was released in 2006 to commemorate Stanford Newman’s 90th birthday. It is said to be a tweaked blend of the Dominican tobaccos in the original DC Max with an eighteen year old Cameroon wrapper. Production was limited to one thousand boxes of 20 cigars each in only one size, a 7×48 Churchill, which happens to be Stanford’s favorite vitola.
I was fortunate enough to be gifted this rare stick some time during the summer of 2007 by a good friend. So let’s see how it smokes with five additional years of age on it.
Once I removed the cello, I noticed the wrapper was almost flawlessly smooth. It had an aroma of cedar and hay. It was also slightly sweet. Once cut, the cold draw brought a more pronounced sweetness to the palate with hints of wood as well as cocoa. When lit, the first few puffs were full of leather, wood, a hint of spice and the sweetness again.
As the first third progressed, cedar became the most noticeable flavor on the palate, finishing sweetly with leather. The muted spice remains as well. The smoke in the retrohale is very smooth and creamy but it also has a very slight aroma of spice. As the final third is about to end, the spice starts to increase adding a very pleasant dynamic to the balance of the cigar.
As I burn into the middle of the cigar, I would say the combination of leather, cedar, spice and now a sweet cocoa create a near perfect balance of notes. Again the spice in the retrohale intensifies, but I would say it picks up an aroma of cinnamon as opposed to something more peppery. At this point, the wrapper did also crack, but that was not a result of poor construction or humidity. It was 95 degrees out so the split of the tobacco was not unexpected.
The finale of the Stanford’s 90th takes the cigar from a medium bodied to full bodied smoke. This progression has been subtle throughout the experience. Again, there is a harmony between the cinnamon, cocoa, leather, cedar and spice that has made this such a wonderful smoking experience and absolutely worth waiting for. Thankfully, once I smoked through the heat induced split, I had no other issues and the construction remained what I would expect from any super premium stick.
I am very glad that I did not let this cigar take up permanent residence in my humidor and given the chance, I would smoke another. It truly added a little something extra to an ordinary day.
Now, I can’t close without giving everyone here at Mike’s Stogies a big thank you for letting me be a member of the team. I’ve always enjoyed all of your reviews and I feel truly privileged to be a part of the site. Again thank you and good luck to Joe on his new endeavor with GC Puffs!