Partagas Serie E No. 2

I'm pressing on through with my goal of trying out the Top 25 lists of 2016, and the Partagas Serie E No. 2 hold Cigar Aficionado's No. 3 spot, so I'm quite anxious to give it a try. After this tasting and review, my count will be: Cigar Aficionado Top 25: 5/25; Cigar Snob Top 25: 4/25. Still a ways to go, but I'm quite looking forward to the journey.

Cigar: Partagas Serie E No. 2

Vitola: 5 1/2” x 54

Price: UNK

Origin: Cuba

Wrapper: Cuba
Binder: Cuba
Filler: Cuba
Body: Medium

Rating (out of 10): 8.9

The Serie E is a beautiful reddish-brown in color, with very slight knobs and light veins. It is almost entirely perfect, save for a part in the wrapper along one of the seams, exposing the binder. It sports the classic, red-and-gold Cuban Partagas Series band, which is simple and minimalist in its design. I always love that sight of a Cuban Partagas. It is slick with oil, and I find it hard to stop running my fingers along the surface of it.

Save for the opening in the wrapper, the construction of this stick is otherwise perfect. It is neatly capped, and punches easily, allowing a perfect draw.

The cigar smells earthy and chocolatey, with a barnyard fertilizer aroma at the foot. Sure, you wouldn't want to smoke something that tastes of manure, but cigars are odd, and oftentimes taste great when the cold aroma smells like fertilizer or compost. So, I'm pretty excited.

First Third:
The cold draw is perfect, and tastes of leather and cedar. Once lit, there's a creamy sweetness behind a body of cedar and hay. There's also the faintest suggestion of salt and pepper on the finish, and a woody, slightly peppery retrohale.

A couple of burn issues early on, and I had to give a touchup or two along the way. The ash is mostly solid, and a medium to dark grey in color. Thus far, there is no smoke exiting through the break in the wrapper, so it seems more eyesore than anything.

Second Third:
Progressing into the second third, a bit more of a black pepper spice is coming through, blending with the cedar.

The part in the wrapper has started to widen slightly. I'm a bit concerned that as the core of the cigar heats and expands, it might begin to come apart. Another touchup was needed around halfway.

We're getting right up on that break in the wrapper now, and it looks as though it's about to try and unravel. Hopefully it doesn't take the entire back half of the stick with it. This is a nice, tasty cigar, with a mildly spicy zing to it, and I'd hate to have the only one I have come apart before I finish reviewing it.

The pepper fades from the flavor profile toward the halfway point, but still lingers on the aftertaste. The primary body of flavor is cedar and hay.

Final Third:
Multiple touchups were needed to correct the burn as I worked past the split wrapper, but
the cigar is still completely intact as we move into the last third, and it looks like the problems are past us now.

The flavor is nice and creamy here, maintaining its flavor of cedar and hay. The finish is both earthy and spicy.

Closing Thoughts:
This one was kind of a battle. It's a great cigar; perhaps not my favorite as far as Cuban Partagas are concerned (the Serie C No. 3, Edicion Limitada 2012 that I snatched up in Singapore last summer had a much nicer, much fuller flavor, in my opinion), I quite enjoyed it. The only drawback, as it turns out, was a pretty major one. That split wrapper is not the kind of quality I've come to expect from Partagas, and I'm inclined to think it was an outlier. However, it was the only one I had to smoke, since getting my hands on them without deploying anymore is pretty tough. Nevertheless, it did hold together where a lesser cigar would almost certainly have come apart entirely, and I would absolutely smoke one again, if I had the opportunity.