Blind Cigar Review: Mbombay | KeSara Vintage Reserve Nikka

This cigar was reviewed blind (no bands) by a panel of at least 4 reviewers. They did not know what they were smoking beforehand. The scores are an average of all the reviewers' scores with outliers removed.

Cigar Info

Cigars, for , is a way of life. Their philosophy is very simple; use of the best quality tobaccos and make the best quality cigar.

represent the most admired cigar culture of Cuba. From selecting the best of the best quality of different tobaccos used to the aging process of the cigars, are taken into consideration. Their cigars are rolled in Costa Rica by some of the most experienced cigar rollers they claim. The band for their cigars, portray the most detailed and artistic nature of our small industry.

The KeSara Vintage Reserve Nikka is an extension to the KeSara line released in December 2015. KeSara is one of ’s regular production cigars. The original line debuted 2013 with additional lines added in 2014. The KeSara features a blend of Ecuadorian, Dominican, and Peruvian tobaccos. The KeSara Vintage Reserve Nikka builds upon the experience of the original KeSara by incorporating tobaccos aged an additional three years. The end goal of the Vintage Reserve Nikka is to deliver a richer cigar experience.

was founded by Mel Shah. Shah got his start in the cigar business as a retailer in Palm Springs, California. After spending over a decade in cigar retail, Shah decided to become a producer of cigars. Shah had a vision for how in terms of how he wanted to ferment tobaccos and roll his cigars. The challenge was to find a factory to carry out his vision. This led him to Costa Rica and the factory, who would become his manufacturing partner for his brands.

Blind Cigar Review: Mbombay | KeSara Vintage Reserve Nikka

Vital Stats:

Vitola: Corona Gorda
Length: 6.5″
Ring Gauge: 46
Country of Origin: Costa Rica
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Des Florado
Binder: Ecuadorian Havana
Filler: Dominican Republic and Peru
Blender: Mel Shah
Number of reviewers: 4Steve (ThaGreatWazoo) Gregg (McGreggor57) Matt C. (Big Matt) Matthew T. (A Huge Nerd)
Price: $12.00
Age: 6 Months
Release Date: December 2015
Contributed by: Mbombay Cigars

Blind Cigar Review: Mbombay | KeSara Vintage Reserve Nikka

Initial Impressions

Appearance: 93

“What a nice cigar to just hold and look at. The vitola was very well built and looked extremely clean. There were no loose wrappings and the cigar had a nice firmness to it.” -Steve (ThaGreatWazoo)

Aroma: 89

“There was a semi sweet aroma coming off of the cigar, almost floralish. There was a hint of Earth and mineral coupled with a slightest pepper undertone.” -Steve (ThaGreatWazoo)

Blind Cigar Review: Mbombay | KeSara Vintage Reserve Nikka

Blind Cigar Review: | KeSara Vintage Reserve Nikka

First Third

Flavor: 90
Strength: Medium
Body/Complexity: Medium

“There was not much strength to the beginning of the cigar, which was very fitting for the flavors that were coming off. A slight subtle citrus coupled with a floral background made for a pleasant beginning. The retrohale was very calm on the senses and made it just a little bit more enjoyable. Very nice beginning.” -Steve (ThaGreatWazoo)

“Immediately hit with pepper, cream, cedar and chocolate. Retrohale is a cream puff and effortlessly pours out of my nose producing dried fruit, baking spices, coffee and nuts. This tastes like an expensive cigar. Balance of flavors is perfect and the finish is long lasting. ” –Matt C. (Big Matt)

Blind Cigar Review: Mbombay | KeSara Vintage Reserve Nikka

Blind Cigar Review: | KeSara Vintage Reserve Nikka

Second Third

Flavor: 92
Strength: Medium
Body/Complexity: Medium

“Citrus joins the cedar adding an oily lemony peel note to the profile. This works surprisingly well with the floral finish. Near the end finds some allspice which seems a little out of place in the mix.” -Gregg (McGreggor57)

“Not even joking around, this is one of the best cigars I’ve smoked in 2016. The flavors are zinging all over my palate and the body and complexity are deep. I taste pepper, coffee, dried fruit, cinnamon and all spice. I believe this is a multi country blend as I think I detect Dominican tobacco and quite possibly some Pennsylvania leaf. This is a cigar that would compete very well in the European and UAE market. Graham cracker, vanilla, milk chocolate, nuts, toast, baking spices, and cedar are on the retro. ” –Matt C. (Big Matt)

Blind Cigar Review: Mbombay | KeSara Vintage Reserve Nikka

Blind Cigar Review: | KeSara Vintage Reserve Nikka

Final Third

Flavor: 93
Strength: Medium
Body/Complexity: Medium-Full

“A heavy floral influence takes over the final leg. Assorted baking spices and cedar remain in the mix. The fading leather creates a sharpness of flavors on the retrohale.” -Gregg (McGreggor57)

“I was hoping for another slight increase in strength in the final third and this cigar delivered. The smoothness gently transitions into a bold richness. The intensity of flavor is only enhanced by notes of roasted nuts and toasted bread. At the very end a unique flavor of brown sugar and vanilla show up to close things out. ” –Matthew T. (A Huge Nerd)

Overall Impressions

Draw: 94

“The draw was close to perfect from start to finish. Which is impressive for the size and shape of this vitola. ” –Matt C. (Big Matt)

Burn: 93

“One light. That’s it. No relights. No touch-ups. No attention needed whatsoever. Combine that with an absolute razor sharp burn line and ash that held long and came off solid. This is how a cigar should burn. ” –Matthew T. (A Huge Nerd)

Construction: 89

“As stated prior, the construction was near flawless and was pleasant to look at and smoke. No issues with the cap or wrapper. Just a great build on the cigar.” -Steve (ThaGreatWazoo)

Overall Strength: Medium
Overall Body/Complexity: Medium-Full
Overall Experience: 95

“I thoroughly enjoyed smoking this cigar. The only wish I have is that it had a little bit more complexity to the flavor profile and strength that was producing. But, I definitely recommend given these a little bit of rest and enjoying as much as possible. This cigar will fit in most smoke’s flavor profile and will offer enjoyment throughout.” -Steve (ThaGreatWazoo)

“While the flavors transitioned and mixed it up a bit, I found them to be lacking in balance. The cedar and citrus in the middle was interesting but the developing allspice seemed out of place. The total package, however, was good enough to grab another one.” -Gregg (McGreggor57)

“This cigar is definitely ready to smoke now. I think this blend will have legs too and I will definitely be aging some of these cigars when I find out what it is. This cigar had the perfect balance and its complexity is thru the roof. Kudos to the blender and the team behind this cigar as you made my day, and I’ll be seeking these out no matter the price. ” –Matt C. (Big Matt)

“When you have copious smoke output filled with a delicious flavor profile complemented by smoothness, richness, complexity, transitions, and a perfect burn… I say bravo! I greatly enjoyed this cigar. ” –Matthew T. (A Huge Nerd)


Smoking Time (in minutes): 70

  • Appearance 93% 93%
  • Aroma 89% 89%
  • First Third 90% 90%
  • Second Third 92% 92%
  • Final Third 93% 93%
  • Draw 94% 94%
  • Burn 93% 93%
  • Construction 89% 89%
  • Overall Experience 95% 95%

Total Score - Excellent


Matt C.Big Matt)929590929797959097
Matthew T.A Huge Nerd)8588909295951008895

To view the complete scores and notes, click here.

Blind Cigar Review: | KeSara Vintage Reserve Nikka