Partagas Seleccion Privada #1 EAT FEB 99


Van55
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As I recall, the Seleccion Privada were put on the discontinued list in 2002. An acquaintance of mine who goes by The Master at the Fuente BB strongly recommended that I get some before they became extinct and suggested that I get the oldest ones I could. That turned out to be a box from FEB 99, and I took a flyer. After smoking this one, I will have only 4 left in my humidor. I may have given away or traded some of the first twenty, but for some reason I have no memory, good or bad, from smoking examples from the box in the past.

Pre-light: This cigar has a medium brown wrapper with a nice sheen. There were noticable bumps and stems under the wrapper.

The cigar felt uniformly firm. The cap and foot were fine. The draw was dangerously close to too tight, but not unsmokeable. Flavors on unlit draw were not remarkable.

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First 1/3: My first impression was that this was far from a powerhouse Partagas. It was easy on the palate and through the nose. Smoke volume was a bit thin. Many longer cigars start out like that. OK -- pencil lead. I've seen this used to describe smoke flavor and seen people criticize it. But there's no doubt this put me in mind of the unmistakeable smell of pencil shavings in a sharpener. The early burn was sharp and "shoulders" characteristic of an aged cigar were apparent.

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Unfortunately the nondescript flavors of this cigar were completely consistent with the forgettability of past experiences.

I noted a stem that appeared to run the length of the cigar.

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1999 was the third year of dramatically increased production of Cuban cigars that began in 1997 and continued through 2001. Many claim, with good reason, is that these increases resulted in use of poor quality tobacco and inexperienced rollers. The product suffered in many cases, and this seems to be a perfect example.

The flavors, by and large, were muted and dull, with perhaps just a tad of pepper on the finish.

Second 1/3: I grew so bored that I began picking at the head of the cigar. Lookie what I found.

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I've found even larger stems -- almost twigs -- in other Cuban cigars. Perhaps the rollers don't care given their meager wages. But I don't think this cigar would pass inspection today.

Final 1/3. I decided not to smoke the last third. I just was finding no interest or enjoyment in it.

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Conclusion: A two smokering cigar. This is probably simply a very bad example of a Seleccion Privada, but it shows why people urge caution in the purchase of cigars from 1999 and 2000.

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It's often not the cigar that's the problem, but the cigars in your particular box. I recently finished a box of these from SEP 99 & enjoyed them. Not powerhouses, but solid medium bodied cigars with excellent burn, construction & peppery Partagas flavor. The most surprising thing about this box was how much better they were than a few examples from 96 sent by a friend. Those, while looking in perfect condition, had no flavor at all.

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Another great review Van.

I really enjoyed these cigars when I could get a well constructed box. Construction was a big issue with the Privada # 1 and it is a cigar that I would not purchase "blind" unless you had a vendor who could inspect and vouch for the particular box. Still, when all construction stars and moon allign it is a fantastic cigar.

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