262 Paradigm Lancero
262 Cigars is a boutique brand that develops cigars to symbolize the revolution of cigar smokers versus the powers working against our right to freely purchase and smoke cigars. The company theme is “Smoke the Revolution”, and the name of each release is symbolic of a different facet of the call to arms against tobacco oppression. Even the company name, 262, is symbolic as well. It references February 1962, the month and year that JFK signed the Cuban Embargo. Of course, JFK made sure he got about 1200 of his favorite Cubans, H. Upmann Petite Coronas, before signing the embargo.
Clint Aaron, owner of 262 Cigars, was in Memphis last week to promote not only his cigars, but also awareness of the need for cigar smokers to stand together to protect their rights. If the message he delivers doesn’t grab your attention, perhaps the names and blends of the cigars he makes will. In addition to the Paradigm, there is also Ideology, Manifesto (Limited Edition), and Revere. Clint also has some other releases up his sleeve in the coming months.
The Paradigm, which alludes to a shift in the traditional thoughts and ideas around premium cigars, is the first release from 262. The Paradigm Lancero came a little after the initial release and has been well received by fans of the brand. It features quite a wide variety of tobaccos from Brazil, Honduras, Colombia, and Nicaragua and is billed as medium-full in both strength and flavor.
It can be found in shops for $8-$9. I picked this one up the night of the 262 event along with the new Revere lancero.
The 262 Paradigm Lancero has a dark drown wrapper that almost appears to be maduro. Again, this seems to be consistent among Brazilian wrappers. There are some small veins and visible seams. The cap has a little twist-tail on it as well. There is also a small crack near the cap, but not substantial. The overall appearance is somewhat rugged, yet alluring at the same time.
It seems I’ve gone from smoking cigars covered in large sleeves to one that barely has a band at all! There is a small band around the foot that is both simple and stylish. It is black and white with silver print. “Paradigm” is written within a banner near the bottom of the band. Since it is on the foot, I have to remove it before smoking. It slides off easily, but is not really loose. However, it does not tear the wrapper.
From looking at the foot and pinching the barrel, I determine that the 262 Paradigm Lancero is a well-packed, firm cigar. Due to the veins and seams, it is a little bit bumpy. Despite that, it is pretty smooth and silky.
The aromas on the foot are earth, black pepper, and hay. The barrel is earthy and cocoa.
Though some people just pull the twist off a cap like this, I still prefer to use my cutter. I want to make sure I get a good draw. And I do! There is really good airflow and nice notes of earth, cocoa, and hay on the pre-light draws.
I went with matches to light the 262 Paradigm Lancero. By the second one, it was evenly lit and continued to burn that way for the entire smoke. Like the pre light, the draw is excellent. Each draw gives an abundance of creamy smoke. Hell, the smoke even smells creamy coming off the stick. Very enticing!
Most people don’t think lancero when they think of best choice for a long ash contest. This one is no different. Though it is good for a lancero, it still starts to curl and get loose as it progresses. It is a nice white and gray, except for the end where it was lit. In this context, I think it was a pretty good ash.
With many lanceros I’ve smoked, I have had other vitolas of the cigar first and am eager to compare it to them. In this case, I have only smoked one other Paradigm and cannot recall specifics (does “It was good” count?) about it. I’ve spent more time smoking the Ideology, Revere, and Paradigm Lancero lately, so I am not really sure how it compares to the rest of the vitolas.
Like the smoke suggests, this is a creamy smoke. Where I usually get some type of pepper/spice on the first few puffs, this one delivers cream instead. There are also notes of earth, cocoa, wood, nut, and black pepper. The pepper is more present in the retrohale than on the finish, but is very smooth, blending well with the other notes.
In the second-third of this 262 Paradigm Lancero, a nice spice develops to balance the creaminess that was in the forefront earlier. There are still notes of wood, cocoa, and nuts as well. Everything is very smooth and creamy.
The final third continues with more of the same, but now the spice takes a backseat to the wood and nuts flavor. The retrohale in this section is very creamy with a mild pepper. The cream takes on a smokey grilled food flavor as it nears the end. The very end does get just a tad bitter before I run out of room to hold it.
As previously mentioned, the 262 Paradigm Lancero is billed as medium-full in both strength and flavor, but I have to disagree slightly. While the flavor is medium-full, I’d say the strength is medium at best. Maybe the smooth, creaminess of it threw me off, but I just didn’t feel like it ever got beyond this level. Nonetheless, it was damn tasty and I enjoyed every minute of the 1 hour 15 minutes of smoking time.
Would I Buy It Again?
Yes. I have smoked many of these and plan on smoking many more.
Is It An Everyday Smoke?
Yes. I would want something a little stronger for certain occasions, but this is a definite “go to”.
Would I Buy a Box?
Yes. A box of 20 is under $150.
262 Cigars is not a brand that should be dismissed as gimmicky or another dime a dozen, overpriced boutique brand. It is a brand that stands for something vital to every cigar smoker: Freedom. And with their message of freedom comes a host of quality cigars that are affordable and highly enjoyable.
The 262 Paradigm Lancero is, in my opinion, one of the better lanceros on the market right now. While some lanceros are just pepper bombs, this one is chock full of smooth, creamy flavor. Hopefully, there is a retailer near you that carries them. If that is the case, be sure to do so soon! You can thank me later.