It’s always a treat to review a cigar you’ve never heard of before from a producer you might not know as well (in this instance, Drew Estate’s La Gran Fabrica factory). It’s an opportunity to go outside your comfort zone; to potentially get a fresh perspective, and maybe even find a new go-to cigar. That’s why this article features the Archetype Initiation Corona, a cigar produced by Ventura Cigar Co. This is also a nice change of pace for yours truly by virtue of it being the first time in a long time reviewing a corona size.
- Cigar Reviewed: Archetype Initiation
- Vitola: Corona
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
- Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
- Filler: Nicaraguan Habano
- Length: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 46
Aesthetics Construction, & Feel
The Archetype makes a memorable first impression by way of being rather unusual. The cold odor is an interesting mixture of bread and earth. The stogie itself is incredibly tightly packed. On the bright side, this also means that this robusto is guaranteed to be soft-spot free, making a fully even burn all the more likely. Additionally, the wrapper is quite smooth in texture and is rolled together absolutely flawlessly, from the foot right up to the cap. With this kind of initial impression, I’m quite curious.
Flavor & Smoke Characteristics
Given its especially tight packing, the Archetype Initiation predictably starts off with a draw that’s a bit too tight for comfort. In fact, the draw seems to be so tightly put together that the filler constricts the cigar’s own flavor profile; a barely discernible and slightly under-matured combination of salt and cedar. Another consequence of the tight packing is that the draw has no texture to it, leaving little to no sense-based indication of whether or not the cigar is being smoked in the first place. Additionally, the entire first half of the body becomes heated up quickly, and the burn has a tendency of fizzling out quickly as well. However, the smoke clouds are surprisingly mildly thick for such a tight draw, and the evenness of the burn is absolutely flawless from the get-go. And in spite of the incredibly tight draw, the retrohale has a robust element of spice to it.
This is where things begin to improve. The flavor profile takes on a nice hint of coffee in the background to compliment the salt and cedar in the foreground. Additionally, the draw begins to develop a smooth, creamy texture that helps to make the flavor profile a bit more prominent. And what’s best of all is the cigar begins to emit that immensely satisfying crackling sound at the foot that I know and love so much. The Archetype Initiation suffers two major setbacks on the second third, however; the wrapper unexpectedly begins to unravel slightly near the foot, and the burn eventually begins to canoe, albeit only slightly. The second third fortunately ends on a slightly more positive note, as the robust spice that had been absent from the retrohale near the end of the first third makes its way back and advances onto the palette.
Point of Convergence
The cedar wood that had dominated the flavor profile since the very beginning now begins to intensify and expand beyond the flavor profile, marking the palette with a strong wood aftertaste. The burn finally evens itself out in time for the flavors to converge, but the wrapper sadly continues its streak of mild unraveling right up until the end. What’s more, the convergence of the flavor profile’s various notes are sadly obstructed by a draw that, in a move I thought impossible, becomes even tighter than before. Yet, this tightening is followed by thicker smoke clouds than before, which offers a certain degree of consolation.
The Final Verdict
From a draw tight enough to constrict the flavor profile to a wrapper that boasted less structural integrity than the wrapper’s appearance suggested and everything in between, the Archetype Initiation was riddled with problems from the get-go. Yet, there is a silver lining to this tale. The positive elements of this cigar were not only satisfying, but unique; the burn was remarkably even throughout, and when it canoed, it was barely noticeable before it corrected itself. The way the spice was able to weave its way into every area of the smoke was also a first, and the creamy coffee texture on the draw was to die for. In short, the Initiation has a very long way to go, but its got a great start on the path to perfection.
Time: 51 minutes