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Are cigars a commodity for the masses, or a luxury for the privileged? If you have to travel to Nassau, Bahamas to the Graycliff Hotel and Restaurant to get a specific cigar, undoubtedly that cigar is a luxury. Fortunately those of us in the masses can take moments of privilege and enjoy an extraordinary product like a Graycliff Cigar. Made since 1997 right at the hotel’s cigar lounge, the company currently employs 16 master rollers that are each repsonsible for 1 specific size that they excel at. The raw material, from just about every tobacco pruducing country outside Cuba, is used to create 7 different blends. Quality should be high based on the pretensions of this brand; luxury abounds at every step. Based on two samples we tried recently, the quality is very high indeed.

There were 4 cigars in our sampler, 2 each of the Proffesionale Blue Label and Chateau Grand Cru Purple Label. All of them were the unique 46 by 4 1/2″ Piccolo size. The Blue Label is a blend of Nicaraguan, Honduran, Brazilian, and Ecuadorian filler, with an Indonesian wrapper. The Purple Label is Costa Rican, Honduran and Nicaraguan filler, with a Nicaraguan wrapper. The cigars are a delight to touch and look at, very well constructed examples.

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The descriptions of the cigar blends on Graycliff’s website could not be more spot on than they were in these 2 blends. The Blue label is for Indiana Jones types, deeply earthy, leathery and a bit rough around the edges, but extremely well composed. Richness abounds but the cigar has an underlying elegance and composure that never fatigues the palate. It is rare for cigars of this strength and earthiness to finish so clean. There was very little dryness or lingering bitterness on the palate created by the Blue Label. The Purple Label is for the James Bond types, racy and seductive, a baritone of balanced sweet roasted nuts, nougat, cocao butter and spice. Outstanding complexity of the subtle manner is the hallmark of the Purple Label.

I feel that the vitola of these samples deserves extra mention, as the Piccolo may be one of the most practical cigars I’ve ever come across. Designed for a shorter smoke at 4 1/2 inches, slightly slimmer than a robusto and with a conic head shape that allows cutting to the perfect draw, they combine all of the perfect elements of other casual smokes. Unfortunately this size is quite rare.

Thanks to Tex Cigars for the rare opportunity.

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