Two of the cigars I represent made it onto the list of Cigar Aficionado’s “25 Top Cigars of 2015.” One was the Laranja Reserva by Eric Espinosa (recently blogged) and it received spot number 13. The other squeaked in at number 25 – Sublimes Robusto Extra. If I may:
“Sublimes began in 2004 as a local, Miami-made cigar, but didn’t become a national brand until 2011. Once the cigar began to get some exposure, demand made Sublimes too large for Miami and the operation moved to the A.J. Fernandez factory in Nicaragua. The blend is a combination of Ecuador Habano wrapper, a Corojo-seed binder and Criollo filler. The label on the cigar reads “Jaromirski & Co.” which is a reference to brand owner Thomas Jaromirski. Though the cigar is made in a large factory, Sublimes are still treated as a boutique brand. According to Jaromirski, only 90,000 are produced a year. The Robusto Extra was impressive in its ability to show both a strong and sweet quality with earthy carob chip notes balanced by a touch of toffee.” (Cigar Aficionado 2.16.16)
Ok. Now you have the blurb from the official grantor of the award, and now you’re going to get the official review from the broker of the cigar – me.
I’ve been representing Sublimes for some years now and when it gets into a shop it generally stays there and is ordered on a regular basis. What the article doesn’t tell you is that Thomas has reduced the number of the cigars he’s been offering. “Too many,” he once told me. So Thomas’s concentration can be focused on what I would call his most popular brand. I prefer to call it the White Label Sublimes.
Let me just say that working with Thomas has been a pleasure. He’s a class act from A to Z. In the very beginning we had our differences as to what a house account is, why is this a house account, the orders had to be produced by me so, say a store called in the order I was out of the commission. I didn’t care for that – at all. But over the many months that I’ve worked with him, we have grown to accept each other with a single purpose – sell the cigar and build the brand. Period.
Let me also continue to spray accolades all over the man by saying his attention to detail is second to none. Not only in the way the cigar is produced, but how it is sent to me when I request samples. Thick cardboard boxes, with the Sublime’s gold-lettered logo emblazoned upon the bright white box always arrive in perfect condition. Each shipment is adequately packed with popcorn (if necessary) and then each box is amorously wrapped in bubble bags. (Trust me there is a reason for this. He knows the cigars will get there in perfect shape.) And this goes for the tasting samples. His factory makes up the sample packs. I don’t have to do it. Plus he adds a cardboard brochure and a box of matches and places all of it in a zip-lock bag with the prominent logo printed on it for a most professional presentation.
Ok. You think I’m going for a spike in my commission? No. But the guy pays attention to detail, ergo his cigar. The cigar is consistent. It does not change. There is another more expensive well-known brand that has an impeccable reputation for consistency and I would say, without a doubt, that the Sublimes Robusto Extra is neck and neck is that category. When you light up a Sublimes, you know what you’re going to experience.
You’re going to breathe in a luscious aroma bathed in the subtle essence of cedar. A perfect pre-draw followed by a consistent draw throughout the smoke. The attention to construction can be seen in the rolled foot of the cigar. The cap is a work of art. The burn is near perfect, even in the chilly temperatures of the Midwest. That natural snow sculpture is for you folks in Miami.
The CA copy tells of “. . . earthy carob chip notes balanced by a touch of toffee.” Maybe toffee, but is it English or Honeycomb? Briefly, English toffee is made with butter and occasionally almonds, and honeycomb is aerated with baking soda and vinegar. If it’s there, and I can’t taste it, it would be the English variety. No sourness here.
And as regards the carob, (the dried ground powder from the sweet, edible carob tree plant that vaguely tastes like chocolate), I would guess the delicacy of the flavor was either imagined or noticed by a palate trained far better than my own. So I defer on that comment.
The ash is dark in color and builds and falls at its own pace. It’s not flakey and is not an annoyance even while walking. There is not a whit of bitterness and the only spice is likened to a half-grind of black pepper that’s noticed in mid-smoke. There is present a familiar lilt of cigars made at the Fernandez factory, so it must be something in the air.
The one dominant flavor is that of thin twigs. After the winter leaves, the tress have dropped thousands of these small branches to the ground and when Spring cleanup has begun, crunching them together and drawing in the aroma is what I find to be the most recognizable essence. Call it woody, call it whatever you want, but that’s what I get.
The Sublimes Robusto Extra is a solid, consistent, well-balanced smoke – and at 5 ¼ x 52 ring – the perfect size. I would have loved to have known what No. 26 was.