1502 Cigars is one of the more recent brands to surface on the cigar market. Owned by GPC (Global Premium Cigars) and distributed in the US by House of Emilio, it is quickly becoming one of the more recognizable and revered brands as well. Hailing from Nicaragua, GPC has used mostly tobacco from that country in the other three lines (Ruby, Black Gold, and Emerald), but has decided to release a puro sometime this year. Enter the Nicaragua!
Upon checking the GPC website, I found there was no real information about this release other than a link to a short press release on Halfwheel’s site. All it said is that this will be a Nicaraguan puro and the release date is sometime in 2014. It also mentioned adding other vitolas to the existing lines. However, the GPC website does give the background on the name 1502:
When Christopher Columbus discovered Nicaragua in 1502, he not only discovered a paradise land where natives with their rich cultures lived, he also discovered a new world full of riches. Riches such as gold, silver and many precious stones. But most importantly was the discovery of new and exquisite flavors, which undoubtedly conquered the same conquerors.
There is more there, but I think this gives you a good idea. As far as the Nicaragua release is concerned, I was sent this sample, along with other sizes of the other lines, for my review site. Since I have been more active here lately, I decided to review this and the others (coming soon) for Stogies on the Rocks!
The usual disclaimer: though I am grateful for the samples, 1502’s generosity will not play a part in how the cigar is evaluated.
Unlike the other 1502 lines, the Nicaragua is a little simpler. Not that the others are extravagant, but they have solid, bold colors with gold print on the band against a darker shade wrapper. This one has a light, natural wrapper, almost as light as a Connecticut wrapper, with a white and gold band. The two almost blend together. I am not sure if the band is just for the pre-release or not, but I would rethink the white background if it were me.
The wrapper has a few minimal veins and smooth seams. The cap is flush and there are no cracks or tears. The foot has extra wrapper that almost encloses it. Only the very center is visible, but it looks to be well packed throughout.
Unlike the other three lines, the 1502 Nicaragua is not box pressed. It is a standard parejo shape.
The 1502 Nicaragua looks like it is well constructed and feels like it too. The stick is a little spongy, but feels like it is packed with plenty of tobacco. The wrapper feels very smooth with only a few minor bumps. The band is snug but slides off without tearing the wrapper.
The foot has a light hay aroma, as does the barrel. After clipping the cap with my CRA cutter, I give it a few dry puffs. Again, more light hay! I am a little concerned because the pre-light draw is a bit tight, but I know that it doesn’t always mean it will be once it’s lit.
After going through the whole pre-light ritual, it’s time to light this stogie up! I was at a cigar shop so I took advantage of having some cedar spills at my disposal. It lights up quickly and evenly. To my pleasant surprise, the draw opened up right away, allowing me to get lots of smoke on each puff. It stayed that way the whole time.
Something weird happened in the first third of the cigar. A scorch mark developed about a ½” above the burn line. It was the only one, but I can’t remember seeing that happen before unless I did it while lighting it. Though strange, it didn’t seem to affect the flavor at all.
In the second third, the burn gets a little wavy, but corrects itself in the final third. The ash is mostly white with some black. It lasted about 1.5”. Pretty solid!
This 1502 Nicaragua, though rather unassuming in appearance, has been pretty solid in function and smoking. From the name I get one impression of how the flavor will be, but after looking at it, I have a new idea. It can either be a strong pepper bomb, as meek as a lamb, or maybe somewhere in between. Let’s find out!
From the beginning, I get the hay note that I detected on the pre—light draw. It is much more pleasant than I thought it might be. Additionally, there is white pepper, nuts, and a touch of graham cracker. As this section moves on, the white pepper becomes a more floral spice, especially on the retrohale.
The second third sees the white pepper/floral spice really develop. Alongside that combo, the graham cracker and nuts continue. There is also a dry wood and tangy note that develops that both dries my mouth a bit and makes me salivate, in a good way.
The final third is where the wood starts to take over. It does make my mouth a bit dry. The other notes are still there as well, but more in the background. However, this doesn’t last, as the tanginess and nuttiness both come to the forefront at different times. Then, the wood dominates again at the end.
Overall, the 1502 Nicaragua is quite an enjoyable, complex cigar. It is medium in strength and medium-full flavored. Smoke time was just over 1 hour 30 minutes.
Would I Buy It Again?
I have to say yes just based on how I enjoyed it. However, I do not know what the MSRP is so that may be a factor depending on what it is.
Is It An Everyday Smoke?
Yes, I think it is ideal for most occasions.
Would I Buy a Box?
That would depend on the price. I could see getting a box though.
The 1502 Nicaragua is not your typical pepper-bomb that the country has become known for. It is balanced, complex cigar that has plenty of flavor but isn’t going to make your head swim. Though I would be even more apt to highly recommend it if I knew how much it was going to retail for, I feel confident in suggesting it for others. 1502 seems to be gaining a great reputation in the marketplace and I feel like this is another winner in their lineup. Now, the important question…when can we get some more?