JR Cigars
VegaFina 1998 VF 54 - Blind Cigar Review

Cigar Info

In 2019, Altadis U.S.A. came out with a line to celebrate the year the VegaFina brand launched – VegaFina 1998. At the time it was only a line sold in Europe, and stayed that way until its U.S. debut in 2020. It is rolled at Tabacalera de Garcia in La Romana, Dominican Republic. Each cigar costs between $8.60 and $9.60 and comes in boxes of 10.

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.

VegaFina 1998 comes in three sizes: VF 50 4 1/2 x 50, VF 52 5 1/4 x 52, and VF 54 6 1/8 x 54. The blend uses an Ecuadorian HVA wrapper, Indonesian Java binder, and filler tobaccos from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Colombia. All tobaccos are said to be at least 4 years old.

Vital Stats:

Vitola: Toro
Length: 6 1/8
Ring Gauge: 54″
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian HVA
Binder: Indonesian
Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Columbia
Factory: Tabacalera de Garcia
Blender: Grupo de Maestros
Number of reviewers: 4 Sean F. (fullermaine) Kevin A. (Kevin A.) Allison T. (The Yoga Ash) Matt Cade (CadeTNCC)
Price: $9.60
Age: 5 Months
Release Date: September 2020
Contributed by: Altadis USA

Initial Impressions – VegaFina 1998 VF 54

Appearance: 88

“Stout larger ring gauge toro with a medium brown milk chocolate colored wrapper with an oily sheen. Seams are mostly invisible, and there are raised veins running throughout. The cigar has a very smooth surface to it. This cigar is very firm from foot to cap. Pre-light draw has hints of raisins as in the foot aroma, as well as coffee and floral notes.” –Kevin A. (Kevin A.)

Aroma: 91

First Third
VegaFina 1998 VF 54 – Blind Cigar Review

“Sweet tea notes on the cold draw. Once lit, notes of burnt toast come through.” –Sean F. (fullermaine)

First Third

Flavor: 91
Strength: Medium-Strong
Body/Complexity: Medium

“After experiencing a very dark sweetness off the cold draw (I’ll use Red Man chewing tobacco as a point of reference), I torch the foot and am greeted by a medium-strength spice through the nose that’s joined by a heavy mineral note on the draw. There is also a slight touch of cream on the back end of the draw that just rests on the back of your palate for a while after each puff. The retrohale spice begins to dial down strength-wise around the one-inch mark which allows a hint of cedar accompanied by some mineral to begin developing on the retro. Construction so far is very good with a smooth draw and nice burn.” –Matt Cade (CadeTNCC)

“The cigar starts off in the medium strength range. HInts of green tea, sourdough bread, and red pepper all with a creaminess underneath making for a smooth flavor profile. The retrohale has just a hint of red pepper, some cedar, and a vegetal note on the finish. This is starting off as a very flavorful cigar. The draw is just slightly snug, and burn is wavy but straight.” –Kevin A. (Kevin A.)

Second Third
VegaFina 1998 VF 54 – Blind Cigar Review

Second Third

Flavor: 86
Strength: Medium
Body/Complexity: Medium

“Starting the second third I got the burn all cleaned up as the wrapper was having a truly hard time to correct itself. Leather, red Cedar, sea salt and winter spices all mingled together before 1184 just put itself out. Then upon relighting a note of Red Hots cinnamon candies became very prevalent and the cigar went out again. ” –Allison T. (The Yoga Ash)

“A lot of bouncing notes. Everything from burnt marshmallow to bitter cocoa to pine notes coming through.” –Sean F. (fullermaine)

Final Third
VegaFina 1998 VF 54 – Blind Cigar Review

Final Third

Flavor: 88
Strength: Medium
Body/Complexity: Medium

“Cream, cedar, mineral, and a now consistent medium-strength spice lead the charge going into the cigar’s final third of life. Unfortunately, a harshness begins to arise with about an inch and a half to go and while it doesn’t completely kill the good times, the flavor profile obviously was far more enjoyable without it. The harsh aspect gets significantly worse towards the nub and I’m left with no choice but to drop the cigar down into my Stinky ashtray prematurely. Bummer.” –Matt Cade (CadeTNCC)

“The cigar jumps into the medium-strong range in the final third. Notes of chocolate, coffee, and roasted peanuts add to the notes from the previous parts of the cigar to make for a very flavorful and complex profile. Burn and draw are superb at this point, easily allowing a mouthful of flavorful smoke. The spiciness is very intense with lots of cinnamon in the final two inches of the cigar, almost like a Hot Tamale candy. Wow! ” –Kevin A. (Kevin A.)

Overall Impressions – VegaFina 1998 VF 54

Draw: 90

“A little snug at the start but improved throughout and ended up excellent.” –Kevin A. (Kevin A.)

Burn: 88

“With the bad draw, the cigar burned down evenly.” –Sean F. (fullermaine)

Construction: 88

“The construction of this cigar needs some help as it had to be relit because of the charcoaling effect that happens in smoking it. Also, the fairly large cavern in the last third was not helping the experience at all and maybe a better wrapper could have been chosen since the veins were so large.” –Allison T. (The Yoga Ash)

Overall Strength: Medium-Strong
Overall Body/Complexity: Medium
Experience Overall: 88

“Very bitter cigar with odd notes of dirt and pickling spice. Not a cigar I’d seek out or add to my humidor.” –Sean F. (fullermaine)

“This one was a winner for me. The flavors developed well as the cigar smoked along and the intensity increased. The cinnamon spice at the very end was an unexpected and delightful treat! I am typically not a fan of cigars this size, but I will definitely revisit this one again!” –Kevin A. (Kevin A.)

“Truth is, I am not a large cigar fan most of the time, but starting this cigar off I was impressed with the notes of dark Mexican hot cocoa, elderberry, creamy and leather with the great draw. Then coming into the second third it basically all changed with the cigar turning to charcoal and the wrapper not burning.” –Allison T. (The Yoga Ash)

“This was an interesting cigar that featured highly enjoyable flavors, nice transitions, and the finish was the star of the show… until that harshness crept in towards the end. That harsh, somewhat bitter aspect led me to slam the brakes on the smoking experience sooner than I would have liked and it’s disappointing because I was curious as to what the final act would be. Sadly, I’ll never know BUT the first two thirds were indeed very good and based on that alone I would be more than willing to give this particular cigar a second chance.” –Matt Cade (CadeTNCC)

Smoking Time (in minutes): 80

ReviewerAppear.Aroma1/32/33/3DrawBurnConstr.Overall
Experience
Sean F. 858585857878878578
Kevin A. 879090879090959090
Allison T. 909292858888858585
Matt Cade 879090908892909087

To view the complete scores and notes, click here.

VegaFina 1998 VF 54 – Blind Cigar Review

VegaFina 1998 VF 54
Summary
"This was an interesting cigar that featured highly enjoyable flavors, nice transitions, and the finish was the star of the show… until that harshness crept in towards the end. That harsh, somewhat bitter aspect led me to slam the brakes on the smoking experience sooner than I would have liked and it’s disappointing because I was curious as to what the final act would be. Sadly, I’ll never know BUT the first two thirds were indeed very good and based on that alone I would be more than willing to give this particular cigar a second chance." -Matt Cade (CadeTNCC
Appearance
88
Aroma
91
First Third
91
Second Third
86
Final Third
88
Draw
90
Burn
88
Construction
88
Overall Experience
88
88
Good