Ashton Estate Sun Grown
So I finally broke down and bought this Ashton ESG at my local B&M, UPtowns. For years I have walked right past this section of the humidor, because honestly I always thought that Ashton cigars were overpriced. $20 per stick just seems too expensive to me. But I finally decided to go down the rabbit hole and pick one up. After doing some research and learning more about the ESG, which stands for Estate Sun Grown, I began to understand why it costs so much.
The wrapper leaf for the Ashton ESG is grown at Chateau de la Fuente. The wrapper leaf has never been used in any other cigar blends. It was created by master blender Carlos Fuente Jr. of Arturo Fuente cigars fame. What’s interesting about this cigar is that they release a new size each year. Each size created that year will be created for the next 5 years, then after all all 5 sizes have been created they will all be available for annually . I know, it’s a little confusing, I had to re-read that a couple of times to make sure it made sense. Hopefully it does. So I picked up the 21 Year Salute, which is a 5.25 x 52 parejo. I’m really looking forward to this cigar especially since I spent twenty bucks on it. So let’s hop into the review and see what it’s got going on.
If you’ve never seen an Ashton ESG then you’re in for a surprise. It has one of the most intricate and beautiful bands I’ve even seen. Full of gold trimming, lots of bright colors. The middle of the has blue gradient O, that has the name Ashton sitting in the middle of it. On top of that there is a golden figure, almost angelic looking in nature. At the bottom of the blue circle there are pink flowers on each side. I’m not sure if they are meant to be crown of the tobacco plant (the actual flower part) or if they are simple another form of flower. There is also an ESG stamp towards the bottom, right above the Estate Sun Grown lettering that ties everything together. This band has so much going on that it’s hard to keep it all straight. It’s beautiful, complex, and eye catching all at the same time. If you see it on the shelf you definitely won’t miss it that’s for sure.
Looking at the barrel on this cigar is absolutely stunning. It’s a beautiful milk chocolate color. Almost velvety in fact. There are few seams that I can see in the construction of the wrapper, but not a single vein that runs through it stands out. They are visible, nothing big enough to really notice. I’m loving the look of this cigar thus far. It appears to be very well constructed and just down right gorgeous on the outside.
Taking a look at the foot of this Ashton ESG one of the edges seems to be pressed slightly. I’m not sure if it was slightly box pressed due to the fact it probably set in the box in the humidor for a while or what. The rest of the barrel doesn’t have a box press to it at all. I’m hoping this doesn’t affect the smoking quality of it. I don’t think it will, but you never know.
The head on this cigar has a beautifully placed triple cap that looks flawless. As I said above this cigar just looks fantastic and I’m starting to understand why its price point is $20.
Once I nip the cap off I wanted to test the dry draw and see if that ‘pressed foot’ was causing any issues. I took the first cut and I couldn’t draw much air through the barrel. So I nipped it again and still not much air was ported through the barrel. I decided I wouldn’t cut it anymore and I’d just wait to see if it would open up once it was lit. I began pinching the barrel to see if there were any soft spots that might indicate possible burn issues along the way. The barrel had a nice firm bounce back. Not a single spot to be found. I’m ready to light this thing up and see what it’s got in store for me.
As I suspected, as soon as I fired up the foot this Ashton ESG began puffing perfectly. Not a single draw issue to speak of. I got it going pretty good and then let it set and calm down before I took another puff. In that time the wrapper burn down close to a quarter of an inch. I was surprised at how fast this cigar was burning without me even puffing on it. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, I’ve just never picked up on a cigar burning that quickly. I hope it doesn’t burn that fast the whole way. It’s like I’ve lit a $20 bill on fire and I’m just watching it go up in flames.
The first third burned absolutely perfect. The ash lasted nearly two inches. It was on the most beautiful ashes I’ve ever seen. It looked as if the ash had a protective wrapper around the ash keeping it in tact. I just sat there watching it burn and taking it all in. The second third was more of the same. Just an excellent draw and burning perfectly straight. Nothing negative that I can say about this cigar thus far.
I burned this Ashton ESG this all the way down to the nub. I had maybe half of a inch left to hold onto this thing when I got finished smoking it. One of my favorite things about this cigar is how consistent it was. The burn, the draw, and the smoke output on this cigar were all just phenomenal.
So we all want to know, what sort of flavors do you get out of a $20 cigar? Well to be honest, I’m not sure what to expect. I know that this wrapper is Sun Grown, so I’m expecting a nice dose of spice from it. Especially coming from the Dominican I would expect some spice and earthiness to it. So lets see if that’s what we get or not.
During the pre light I was able to pick up some sweet cocoa and molasses notes on the foot. A very sweet aroma was the initial scents that I picked up. Not much spice to found yet, but I rarely pick up spice on the pre draw. There wasn’t a ton of flavor that came through the barrel during the pre draw. Partially due to the fact that it wasn’t pulling very well before the fire was taken to it.
However, during the first third of this Ashton ESG, thats when the show started. The spice was apparent after the first couple of puffs, and I thought, oh man I’m about to be in for a spicy ride. This cigar has a very floral retrohale. The spice is definitely the dominant note. I’m picking up on some savory undertones though, and a bit of nuttiness. Not really picking up on the earthiness like I thought I would.
The second third everything seemed to intensify and the cigar began to give off even more spice on the retrohale. To be honest it’s a little too much spice for me. It was slightly overpowering and took over some of the other notes. I was able to pick out a certain note of wood throughout though that added a nice bit of depth to the spice that was hitting me. The floral notes were still there in the retrohale, they were offered up as an appetizer to the spice in the retrohale. I just wish I had something to put the fire out from the spice. During this third, the Ashton ESG has really built into a full bodied cigar.
The final third brought more of a consistency with the flavor intensities from the second third. The spice was still dominant, but it wasn’t any less intense from the previous third. I was hoping for it to calm down a bit and sort of fade out. It didn’t really do that, which is fine, I’m sure that’s what the master blender wanted it to do. I’m just saying for me personally I would have liked to see a slight drop in intensity for my own enjoyment.
All in all some decent flavors from this cigar. It built into a full bodied cigar fairly early in the second third which is a little early from other full bodied sticks that I’ve smoked. The spice was clearly dominate and if that’s something you’re looking for then you won’t be let down by this stick.
Would I Buy It Again?
Possibly. $20 is a bit to drop on a single cigar, but it was enjoyable.
Is It an Every Day Smoke?
Not for me.
Would I Buy a Box?
Potentially. It has some beautiful packaging and it’s definitely box worthy if you have some extra coin laying around.
Definitely a 9 out of 10 for me. Everything was great about this cigar except for the price point. I know I’ve harped on that a lot on this review. But I can honestly smoke quite a few other cigars for less than $10 that I enjoy just as much. So there’s no reason to spend twice as much on a single cigar. I also thought the spice was a bit too dominant on this stick. I like a good balanced cigar, but I think this thing just had too much spice on it. I have to say it is one of the most beautiful cigars I’ve ever smoked though. From the band to the foot everything about this cigar looked amazing. So my final thought, if you have an extra $20 to spend, pick up this Ashton ESG and give it a chance. It might be right down your alley, but if you’re more budget minded you might want to take a look at something else.