El Galan Reserva Especial – Cigar Review

The El Galan Reserva Especial is a cigar from a relative newcomer, Felix Mesa.  It has a really nice looking wrapper leaf and fine box-pressed shape.  The draw is a bit tight after cutting, so we cut a little deeper than normal.  Once lit up, the dry smoke had a bitter coffee flavor, some earth, and some pepper on the finish.  In the second third the cigar starts to get sweeter, but returns to that overall bitter flavor profile.  Each of the 3 cigars had some construction problems with one of them continually getting plugged up.  Overall, they’re an affordable cigar with a really tasty second third.  That said, it’s a hard one to recommend with the construction concerns and an overly bitter final third.

StraightUpCigars: Rating:
Flavor and Taste: 17/20
Construction: 9/10
Wrapper: 5/5
Price Point: 9/10
Would I buy a Box: 4/5
Total: 44/50

Terry1: Rating:
Flavor and Taste: 15/20
Construction: 9/10
Wrapper: 5/5
Price Point: 9/10
Would I buy a Box: 3/5
Total: 41/50

IamDarren: Rating:
Flavor and Taste: 16/20
Construction: 7/10
Wrapper: 5/5
Price Point: 9/10
Would I buy a Box: 3/5
Total: 40/50


7:36 PM
StraightUpCigars: The El Galan Reserva Especial has an earthy smelling wrapper with minimal veins. The draw is a bit tight after cutting.
7:39 PM
Terry1: The draw through the torpedo tip is tight. I had to clip three times to get to point it would draw at all. Not sure if I can go deeper without the cigar unraveling. Getting an earthy, cedary note on the draw. I like the box press.
7:41 PM
IamDarren: My draw is about perfect, I probably clipped off about 1/3 of an inch of the torp.
7:41 PM
IamDarren: Getting a nice mix of leather, spice and a pinch of chocolate on the cold draw
7:41 PM
StraightUpCigars: Lighting up!
7:42 PM
Terry1: Lighting up.
7:42 PM
IamDarren: nice sheen on the wrapper, minimal veins. Sort of a soft box press. Hopefully the construction holds up. Lighting up!
7:45 PM
IamDarren: Lit up easily. Good draw with plenty of smoke production. Getting a rich earthy note with hints of spice and milk chocolate. Starting off nicely.
7:45 PM
StraightUpCigars: Very dry earthy smoke to start. Getting some coffee flavor and spice.
7:48 PM
IamDarren: After a few more puffs I’m starting to get a slight bitter coffee note on the finish that is lingering. Not very pleasant, but its not overpowering yet.
7:50 PM
Terry1: Draw tight after lighting. Took one more shallow cut off the head and now the draw is better. And it didn’t unravel, thank goodness. Lots of pepper in the sinus for me. There’s the coffee both of you mentioned, no bitterness, maybe some cedar and earth. Okay for the start.
7:52 PM
IamDarren: bitterness is coming and going along with the spice. Since this is a habano I’m thinking its changing as the wrapper burns. Flavors aren’t bad but I’m looking for some sweetness to balance it out. The earth and coffee are getting strong enough that is leaving a very dry sensation in my mouth. Taking more drinks of my beverage.
7:54 PM
Terry1: Same here on the drying of the mouth. Mine is starting to get a mild sweetness and it’s helping the overall flavor.
7:54 PM
IamDarren: this one does not like to rest for long. Once the resting smoke dies down its about ready to go out.
7:55 PM
IamDarren: flavors did improve with some extra rest between puffs but it almost went out on me
7:56 PM
Terry1: Ash is loose too. The initial half inch of ash just fell onto my lap.
7:59 PM
IamDarren: burn is getting lopsided on mine. Seems to quit burning if I don’t draw every 10 to 15 seconds. Don’t like cigars that I have to babysit.
7:59 PM
StraightUpCigars: Lost internet for a minute. Mine has picked up a sweetness that I am enjoying. The burn is uneven now, but the flavors are getting better. We’ll see.
8:02 PM
Terry1: The flavors on mine are getting better too. More sweetness to balance the other flavors. Burn is good so far. The dry mouth is annoying but gives a good reason to sip some bourbon.
8:03 PM
StraightUpCigars: I like that train of thought
8:03 PM
IamDarren: BTW thanks for the beer recommendation Matt! found a great Oatmeal Stout brewed by Tallgrass brewery in Manhattan KS.
8:04 PM
StraightUpCigars: Awesome, I don’t think I’ve had that one.
8:04 PM
IamDarren: I’m approaching the halfway mark. Strength is really mellowing. Bitterness is almost gone. Much more creamy now with a hint of sweetness.
8:05 PM
IamDarren: The beer is called Buffalo Sweat. I got the one with vanilla bean added in.
8:05 PM
StraightUpCigars: Oh I have had that one when we were in SD. Good beer.
8:07 PM
IamDarren: Either of you guys know a good Irish Whiskey. Thought about picking one up for St. Pattys day. I have had the regular Jameson but not much else.
8:09 PM
IamDarren: my cigar seems to be getting more bland with each puff. Flavors are getting very muttled. Bit of earth, spice, and sweetness but I can’t pick out anything distinct.
8:09 PM
Terry1: I’ve tried several and have not liked them. I find them almost too smooth, watery. I like the bold flavors of American whiskey.
8:10 PM
IamDarren: i read somewhere that most all Irish whiskey is triple pot distilled. And i think they use a lot of Rye.
8:13 PM
IamDarren: burn is lopsided and getting very flakey
8:13 PM
StraightUpCigars: I don’t know whiskey well, just know that I like it
8:14 PM
Terry1: I’m liking the flavors I’m getting. Creamy, some sweetness, some cedar and coffee on the finish. It’s better now than how it started. Burn is good on mine and I’ve been tapping the ash more often.
8:14 PM
IamDarren: lol. Well I am probably with Terry. I wasn’t a big fan of Jameson so I may spend my money elsewhere.
8:15 PM
StraightUpCigars: My burn has evened itself out. The sweetness has faded. It’s a bold earthy flavor with some spice and bitterness right now.
8:15 PM
IamDarren: Its also my wife’s birthday so I will probably find something we can both drink. She is more of a vanilla Rum drinker.
8:16 PM
Terry1: I’m too the point now on whiskeys where I walk right past the Irish and Canadian sections and go straight to the bourbons. Four Roses small batch is very good. It’s what I’m sipping now.
8:17 PM
StraightUpCigars: Ive still been drinking that trader Joe
8:17 PM
StraightUpCigars: s rum. Not the best, but dirt cheap and mixes well. Much better than other standard rums like Captain and Bacardi.
8:18 PM
IamDarren: I am partial to Woodford Reserve
8:18 PM
IamDarren: Knob Creek if I want something strong
8:20 PM
IamDarren: into the last third. Spice is starting to make a comeback. Other flavors are still very muttled. Hoping for more in the last couple inches.
8:21 PM
StraightUpCigars: I clipped a bit more off the end. It really opened up the draw and mostly eliminated any bitterness I had. Getting a tasty pepper flavor now.
8:22 PM
Terry1: Just finished a bottle of Woodford Reserve. Very good. Tried Elijah Craig small batch. That was very good too. Sweeter than the Woodford.
8:23 PM
IamDarren: I dunno. flavors have been so muttled on mine. The earth was nice up front when it was rich and strong but now I’m just tasting tree bark… or dirt… Its not terrible but not great either.
8:24 PM
IamDarren: now I have nailed it down, tree bark that has been buried in the dirt for a few years
8:25 PM
StraightUpCigars: At least it wasn’t covered in bear shit first.
8:25 PM
IamDarren: lol, good point.
8:25 PM
Terry1: Wow mine is nothing like yours. Still creamy with some sweetness and an earthy note.
8:26 PM
IamDarren: mine seems too moist or something. Doesn’t want to burn on its own. Have to double or triple puff if I let it sit longer than 10 seconds. Probably has something to do with it.
8:27 PM
StraightUpCigars: That cigar oasis has a mind off its own?
8:27 PM
Terry1: Yeah that might do it. Mine is burning fine, I am getting some tar building up and I’ve clipped the head a few times to get rid of it.
8:28 PM
IamDarren: haha. Actually I have only had to fill it twice in a year and it stays at a perfect 70rh all the time. Quickly falls into the 50s when I open the door and goes right back up after I shut it.
8:28 PM
IamDarren: I also left the humi beads in there for a buffer
8:29 PM
IamDarren: Smoked a Reposado en Cedros after lunch and it smoked great.
8:30 PM
StraightUpCigars: Nice, we’ve had those around forever. Nice mild smoke.
8:31 PM
IamDarren: Yeah I still had one left from when you or Terry sent them out. Was smooth and creamy. Great mid day cigar.
8:32 PM
Terry1: You might be ahead of me on the smoking. Started the last third and the sweetness has really dialed back all of sudden. Getting more of the wood and earth notes now. Not as good as the middle third.
8:33 PM
IamDarren: I may have to end mine a bit early. Keeps going out on me. Really having to work for each puff now.
8:33 PM
StraightUpCigars: Mine had picked up some body, more in the medium full now. Pretty low strength though.
8:34 PM
Terry1: I’m starting too feel some strength. It’s over the medium range for me now. But I’m a light weight.
8:37 PM
IamDarren: Mine is officially finished. First third was pretty good but it went downhill from there.
8:40 PM
StraightUpCigars: Mine’s not far from the end, I can rate anytime.
8:40 PM
Terry1: Middle third was best on mine. The ending is getting a touch of bitterness and overwhelming with charred wood and earth. I’m about done too. I can rate.
8:41 PM
IamDarren: Almost like each of us smoked a different cigar.
8:44 PM
IamDarren: This one could be hit or miss. Might get 3 good ones in a fiver. Hard to recommend.
8:44 PM
StraightUpCigars: Overall, these were affordable and smoked pretty well. I enjoyed the flavor on the first 2/3 the best. I’d try another one. It is a worry that all of ours smoked so differently.
8:46 PM
IamDarren: Agreed
8:47 PM
IamDarren: Thanks for sending it though. This brand wasn’t even on my radar.
8:47 PM
Terry1: Okay cigar flavors when you get them. The beginning and ending were rough. Construction was okay. Tight draw and some tar was a minor problem. I’m worried with the results we had, no consistency. I’d try one before buying a lot but you run the risk of getting one that’s bad.


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