Nestled away in a quiet little corner of our humidors we find some unassuming boxes labeled Villiger. A brand name that has been in existence for over 125 years in a small town in Switzerland where they have been famous for producing their line of dry-cured exports and other various cigars that are not seen in the United States. Much of the reason we don’t see their products is due to Villiger being a European company that markets mainly to Europe and Asia and their products contain Cuban tobacco. Though their name may not be familiar to us they sell well over 1 billion cigars annually worldwide!
Back in 2012, Villiger realized they really needed to get into the American market so they took their hugely successful pipe tobacco division (Villiger-Stokkebye) and shook it up a bit by renaming it Villiger North America. They began to produce cigars without Cuban tobacco for the American market. We experimented with bringing in several of their labels in 2013… some succeeded and some did not. The Villiger Colorado was the survivor of that round and was just awarded a 90 rating by Cigar Aficionado! Last year at the 2014 IPCPR show we picked up one of their new offerings know as the Villiger Cuellar Connecticut Kreme. So let’s take a quick look at these two labels.
The Colorado is simply a great smoke for those who enjoy the medium to full-bodied cigar with that hint of pepper and spice. This Nicaraguan puro sports a wrapper of Jalapa Colorado, a blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos for the filler, and a double binder of Esteli Habano and Ometepe Habano. The double binder with the unique flavor of Ometepe is what gives this smoke that wonderful aroma and taste. This burns extremely well and draws perfectly; if you haven’t had a chance to try this gem yet, make some time and get out to an ABC humidor!
The Cuellar Kreme is our latest addition and this smoke is very different from the Colorado. This cigar has an Ecuador Connecticut wrapper, a filler of Dominican tobaccos with Criollo 98 being the primary one, and a binder of Dominican Piloto Ligero. This combination of tobaccos is going to give a fairly mild smoke with just a hint of peppery spice from the binder. I smoked several of these and while for many cigar smokers this flavor profile is just what they look for, I prefer the richer and earthier flavors of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobacco. The Cuellar has a mild grassy flavor with hints of dry wood and a little cedar. Some hints of creaminess started to appear but just didn’t develop all the way. This is a great cigar for those who enjoy the mildness of the Connecticut wrapper and the dryer woody flavors of certain tobaccos.
So if you haven’t tried one of these Villigers yet you need to search them out in your nearest humidor… the Colorado for those who like their smokes a little stronger and the Cuellar Kreme for those folks who like an easy going mild and mellow smoke. You will not be disappointed!
Steve Mungeer, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits Category Manager: Premium Cigars and Craft Beer and Certified Retail Tobacconist
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