Alfonso Gran Seleccion
Costa Rica Cigar Review

Cigar Review: Alfonso Gran Selección Estelares

From Nelson Alfonso and Selected Tobacco comes Alfonso Gran Selección. The cigar is aged in cedar rooms while raising and lowering humidity to allow the cigars to age while taking in the different types of cedar. For Alfonso Gran Selección this process takes five years and their final aging is done in rooms lined with French Oak.

Nelson Alfonso the man behind Selected Tobacco has changed the definition of ultra luxury cigars with his releases that bring high end packaging with exquisite cigars together. In my past cigar blog endeavors his cigars such as Alfonso, Atabey, Bandolero and Byron have scored extremely high.

The release of Alfonso Gran Selección is extremely limited with only 200 boxes per size released.

Cigar Review: Alfonso Gran Selección
Size: 5.5 x 54 Estelares (Gran Robusto)
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
Binder: Peru
Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
Debut: November 2023
Box Count: 25

The Cigar: The packaging for the cigar is a dark lacquered box that could serve has a humidor in a pinch. It features a push button latch in the front but the packaging is to be expected from Nelson Alfonso who designed the Behike branding amongst others for Habanos S.A. He also designed the Padron 50th Anniversary humidor as well as countless cigar jars. The band of black, gold and mahogany has the appearance of two bands although it is one. The wrapper is loaded with oils and only has the thinest network of veins. In the hand the cigar is firm but feels light in the hand.

The Taste: The cold draw of the Alfonso Gran Selección has notes of oak and cedar with a subtle hint of figs and vanilla while the aroma from the foot sees additional cedar and raisin sweetness. Once the cigar is lit there is a subtle warm spice alongside figs and molasses to start on the first puff.

As we smoke the first third  notes of cedar which serve as the focal point for the first inch before they are joined by fleeting notes of espresso, cinnamon and figs. The retrohale helps open up some of the sweetness adding a bit of caramel to mix. As the first third comes to a close notes of oak begins overwhelm the palate

In the second third, the notes of cedar become secondary with French oak taking over as the dominant profile.  Secondary subtle notes of espresso and figs remains but are even less noticeable than the first third. Through the first two-thirds the cigar lacks the complexity and depth that many cigars from Selected Tobacco showcase.

The final third sees the wood notes take a backseat and elements of caramel, espresso and molasses with cedar and oak in the background. The retrohale has wisps of vanilla and pepper with oak on the lingering finish. The final third is the most interesting part of the cigar and if the first two thirds shared these attributes I would say Nelson did it again but sadly the cigar took too long to develop.

Conclusion: The Alfonso Gran Selección like the Byron 1850 is aged in French Oak aging rooms and this is where I have a problem. Both of these cigars fell flat for me in comparison to the original. Perhaps it is the same reason I am not a fan of bourbon that sees secondary finishes with various staves or different barrels. These added wood components take away from the cigar and/or bourbon. I find myself wondering how this cigar would be without the French oak which isn’t a traditional cigar aging component. Finishing with different woods staves is a growing trend in the liquor industry and I hope it doesn’t become one in the cigar industry. If you are a fan of wood heavy cigar notes this one is for you. For me, give me the original release any day of the week.

Score: 87
Price: $42.00 (Before any local or state taxes)

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