The Vartan Reserva Special is a cigar that is only available as a part of the Cigar in the Bottle. Cigar in the bottle is a project made and sold by Johnny Soyak. The cigar was blended by Henke Kelner just for this release. The original cigar found inside Cigar in the Bottle was a special Opus with this newer Vartan version being sold since 2019. The Cognac found inside the bottle itself is the Grand Pommier XS VSOP. The cigar was blended to pair with the Cognac.
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. All of our cigars reviewed are shipped to the panelists with Boveda packs to ensure optimal smoking experience.
The blend for Vartan Reserva Special uses a Yamasa wrapper, Ecuadorian Sumatra binder, and Dominican fillers. It comes in just one size, a 6 x 52 toro. The cigar is said to have been aged 5 years before being placed in the bottle.
Interestingly, the Vartan cigar brand is the house brand of Ambassador Cigars in the Phoenix, Arizona area. The Reserva Special is not sold as part of that house brand.
Ring Gauge: 52
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Dominican Republic (Yamasa)
Binder: Ecuador (Sumatra)
Filler: Dominican Republic
Blender: Hendrik Kelner
Number of reviewers: 4 – Chad M. (Chad Tchad) Randy B. (randobush) Diana (ArmyRN) Allison T. (The Yoga Ash)
Age: 8 Months
Release Date: 2019
Contributed by: Ambassador Cigars
Initial Impressions – Vartan Reserva Special
“Think “brown crayon” on the shade of the wrapper that covers this standard 6”x52 rg toro vitola.
The cigar looks well put together with a tidy triple cap up top, and an open foot at the bottom, which reveals what appears to be….tobacco. I’m sure it is. Minimal veins, nearly invisible seams, and a hood firm hand feel. Now I’m done fondling it, and ready to flame up!” –Randy B. (randobush)
“I picked up some semi-dried oak leaves mixed with a slight hint of sour citrus. The dray draw produced a sweet oak wood and barnyard that was pleasant and unobtrusive to my nose.” –Diana (ArmyRN)
“This cigar starts off with a slightly salty taste on the lip from the wrapper & then the smoke gives way to a cayenne, buttery cream, cashew butter with white pepper in the background.” –Allison T. (The Yoga Ash)
“Getting a musty peppery flavor from this cigar. There are some creamy flavors on the after-taste of this cigar that coat the palate. Retrohale is some musty and very mild pepper flavor.” –Chad M. (Chad Tchad)
“Going into the second third, the citrus zest becomes more prevalent, adding a nice texture to the baking spice. The retro is full-on and adds a bit of cedar to enhance the full bouquet of flavor. There is a wee bit of strength coming in, as I feel my bald spot thinking about sweating a bit. No head change with the strength but def a med-full now. Ash is solid and holding into the second third. Construction is legit, draw and smoke output perfect!” –Randy B. (randobush)
“There was not much change or progression in the cigar. The cedar, oak and lemon notes remained consistent throughout and varied in their mixed intensities from time to time. The finish remained with a bit of smokey oak leaves but nothing really varied greatly.” –Diana (ArmyRN)
“Sliding into the last third, the robust notes of smoked post oak, salt comes forward backed by heavy cream, cracked wood with a light lingering of cayenne. The smoke in the last third has been quite billowy.” –Allison T. (The Yoga Ash)
“The last third was much the same as the previous two-thirds for me. The strength picked up some going into the last inch of the smoke but otherwise, the flavor notes remained unchanged and consisted of the cedar, oak, and lemon. The finish actually dropped off a bit as the strength of the cigar picked up.” –Diana (ArmyRN)
Overall Impressions – Vartan Reserva Special
“No draw issues throughout the whole experience of 1228. Just enough resistance to ensure the tasting notes didn’t get lost.” –Allison T. (The Yoga Ash)
“Good even burn; no touch-ups needed.” –Chad M. (Chad Tchad)
“Although this cigar was a fairly non-descript looking cigar for me, the construction held up nicely. This was a fairly long smoke but there were never any problems keeping it lit and even. The wrapper held up nicely with no cracks or lifts noted.” –Diana (ArmyRN)
Overall Strength: Medium-Strong
Overall Body/Complexity: Medium
Experience Overall: 89
“Pretty one-dimensional smoke not very complex. Basic musty, creamy flavor. Light pepper flavors as well; however into the final end of the smoke the flavors went flat.” –Chad M. (Chad Tchad)
“I spent the first third wondering if I really liked this cigar or not, despite its outstanding construction and performance. The second third, I’m satisfied that I am digging this smoke. The final third made me think is def a smoke that I would pick up again, but maybe not often. There are plenty of instances that my palate would say, “let’s smoke this one” depending on the fickle mood of my palate. At any rate, I don’t think anyone would be disappointed with this cigar.” –Randy B. (randobush)
“This was an okay cigar for me. Definitely would not be a cigar I would reach for often if for nothing else, its size. However, it was consistent and well constructed with a good burn. I prefer more complexity and progression in a cigar or if it is going to remain fairly one-dimensional, the flavor profile would have to be a bit different for me to want to keep revisiting this smoke. Consistent and reliable cigar for sure.” –Diana (ArmyRN)
“The experience was quite delightful with the complex notes of heavy cream, cayenne, salt, white pepper and more. The tasting notes danced around as I sat back and really enjoyed it. I do wish the burn didn’t have an issue though.” –Allison T. (The Yoga Ash)
Smoking Time (in minutes): 75
To view the complete scores and notes, click here.