For those unfamiliar, the PCA (Premium Cigar Association) Show is a yearly trade show that is attended by many cigar companies, retailers, and media personnel. Oftentimes retailers that attend the show get the opportunity to order PCA Exclusive cigars. The 2021 PCA Exclusive from A.C.E Prime Cigars is The Sergeant. From the A.C.E Prime Cigars Webpage, The Sergeant “pays homage to the military ‘dedicated to the heroes who fight in anonymity, the ones who self sacrifice out of deep rooted honor, regardless of recognition or acclaim.’”
Typically these exclusive releases do not catch my attention or pique my interest enough to purchase them. However, there are certain ones that do. This is an example of one that did for a couple reasons. First, A.C.E Prime and Tabacalera Pichardo have been killing it. Their releases have really hit my palate well and I felt that a limited edition from them would be worth seeking out. Secondly, the blend details on this intrigued me. The wrapper and double binder stood out as unique to me. I am anxious to get into this one.
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera Pichardo
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Corojo ‘99 Rosado
Binder: USA Connecticut Hybrid
Filler: Nicaragua (Estelí Ligero, Jalapa Viso, & Pueblo Nuevo Viso)
Vitola: 5 x 58 Robusto Gordo
Price: $10.50 MSRP
Release Date: November 2021
Company Website: www.aceprime.com
I cannot call upon past experiences with the wrapper or binder on this cigar, so most of these expectations come from the filler, previous experiences with the company, and my gut feelings. Overall I expect medium-full flavor and body with notes of pepper, earth, nuts, wood, and maybe some cream. I imagine the strength will peak around medium. I am going into this expecting to enjoy it, for whatever that is worth.
One look at the band makes the purpose behind this cigar clear. I really like the color choice and overall simplicity of the band. One knock to the band is that my phone does not like to focus on it. The cigar is surprisingly light for how firm the pack is and the large ring gauge. The wrapper is medium brown and quite smooth, but with some large veins. The cigar has a very faint scent with components of cedar, pepper, and chocolate. The cold draw is like a musty cardboard with some slight sweetness.
First light is very full bodied and flavored smoke with lots of charred wood, raw walnut, some pepper and maybe a bit of anise. The retrohale is full, but not aggressive. There’s a lot of dark sweetness and spices. About a quarter inch in, I did a small touch up to part of the wrapper because it was lagging. The draw became super sweet out of nowhere with just a bit of walnut and that anise note in there. I am really digging this profile. Approaching an inch in and the flavors and body have dialed back to medium. The cigar swelled and the wrapper split in the center. The burn is still wanting to waver on one side. Coming to an end of this third I drop the ash and touch up the burn. The profile has remained relatively unchanged.
I’m really hoping this wrapper holds in this third. Quickly the flavor comes back up to full. The sweetness and anise are still there and now there’s a bit of a tannic wood in the background with some cinnamon. The retrohale has a bit more pepper, some cane sugar, and a fruitiness I can’t quite pin down. Hitting halfway there’s a bit of that charred wood and walnut returning from the first light. There’s hardly any sweetness now, and there’s still a bit of tannins. Because I’m part way through the split, I’m doing a small touch up to make sure things get through okay. Coming to the end of the second third the char note dropped but the wood stayed. There’s still some walnut and a bit of a baking spice component. I don’t get any more tannins or anise at this point. I do need another touch up as one side is running a bit.
Getting into the final third, the retrohale is quite easy and starts with an oak and cherry then finishes with a fruited bread. The draw has some of the cherry and oak. It’s still holding onto that walnut and subtle baking spices. Nearing the band, the cane sugar is coming back in. Hitting the band, the tannins are coming back in a bit. The retrohale has dropped the cherry in place of a very bright sweetness. Coming to an end the flavor and body are full and the strength may be mild-medium. There’s some pepper appearing that lingers through the finish. The cane sugar is there at the very beginning of the draw and there is some wood and a bit of baking spices.
I must say that I really enjoyed this cigar. In recent memory, this is one of the more unique flavor profiles I have had. The sweet anise is definitely not something I get often, or really recall before, and that raw walnut note added a great balance to the sweeter components. I also enjoyed the moments when the cigar backed down the sweetness and showed more savory woods and baking spices. This cigar did have its burn issues throughout and that wrapper split was worrisome. However, I honestly didn’t mind the maintenance given the perfect draw and interesting flavor experience. I think this was a great blend for a limited edition as it offered a one hour and 35 minute, unique experience.
Try the cigar yourself at Small Batch Cigars and let me know what you think! Use code “Whiskey” to get 10% off your entire order. Plus, sign up and begin earning 5% back in rewards points with each purchase.
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