Friday, April 25, 2008

Retro-Smoke: The Griffin's Special Edition XX

Today's cigar review is truly a retro-smoke. Yesterday I had the day off, and it was a perfectly gorgeous day; sunshine and temps in the mid-70's. What to smoke? I reached into my humidor and came up with a Griffin's Special Edition XX. We're talking vintage 2004 here - the very first edition of The Griffin's Anniversary cigars. I didn't even know I still had one of these.

I took it out on the deck, paired it up with tonic & lime juice, and enjoyed one of the most sublime cigars I've had in quite a while.

Here's the funny thing. In preparing for today's blog, I had some trouble finding the blend, so I googled the cigar and found my own review from a May 2004 article titled "Outstanding Cigars of 2004:"

The Griffin’s Special XX
Size: 5¼" x 52
Strength: Full
The Griffin’s Special XX was made in limited edition (only 3,000 boxes) to celebrate the luxury label's 20th Anniversary. The wrapper is a specially-cured Ecuadorian Connecticut with a well-balanced, vintage Dominican tobacco blend. The aroma is rife with cedar fragrance and just a scintilla of vanilla, plus the ash is hard as nails. The smoke is moderately sharp with a very rich, woody taste, leaving notes of pepper and spice on the palate. Comparatively speaking, it’s a marvelous fusion of the milder Griffin’s Classic and the more robust Griffin’s Fuerte.


Now, let's fast-forward back to yesterday. You may have noticed that I classified the 2004 cigar's strength as "full," which it was considered at the time, but the cigar I smoked yesterday was as mild as it gets. However, many other factors I described held-up over almost four full years of home-aging.

The cigar was marvelously creamy, and that little hint of vanilla was still in there, too. (I remember thinking that the smoke reminded me of a thick, old-fashioned vanilla milkshake.) The ash also remained very firm throughout. A sweet, cedary flavor dominated the smoke, and the pepper and spice notes had all but disappeared until the very last inch. Actually, I believe this sudden peak in sharpness was attributed more to the fact that most cigars tend to juice up and turn a little sour at that point, because the smoke as a whole was not the least bit spicy.

I'm pretty certain that was the last Griffin's XX I'll ever get to smoke, but at least I'll remember it fondly. Now I have to see if I've got a XXI, XXII or a XXIII hidden somewhere.

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