As you can probably tell from your amazing observation skills, this review is over the ITC Emerald. A candela wrapped cigar from Rocky Patel. It’s one of the first releases from ITC which is actually a brand Rocky Patel had run previously but had died off.
Well now they are back in full force.
Before you ask, no the cigar isn’t “unripe” or something because it is green. The process to make candela wrappers is time consuming and somewhat labor intensive, but if you want to read more about the history of candelas then check out this previous article: https://www.circlecitycigarclub.com/post/candela-wrappers-green-cigars.
For the abridged version, stay right here with me.
Candelas used to be incredibly popular but over time became a rarity. Not many smokers wanted them anymore. They were viewed as “too mellow” and not “real” cigars. Of course, in the normal way of American’s need to be the manliest of all men, we as a society decided candelas weren’t good enough. We’ll only smoke maduros or something that kicks you on your ass.
But to that ideal I say nay!
There is nothing wrong with enjoying a nice candela cigar. They are rather rare now and very flavorful. My best analogy for this concept is coffee or alcohol. Why is it the “manly” thing to only drink black coffee or a beer? Call me whatever name you want but I enjoy my Starbucks flavored lattes and “fruity” mixed drinks. After all, those mixed drinks usually have twice the alcohol in them and they don’t taste like liquid bread!
But I digress. This is a cigar article after all, not a hot take on American society.
To start everything the Emerald of course catches the eye with its immaculate candela wrapper and simple, yet unique band.
I use my go –to guillotine cut and take a cold draw. It tastes just like freshly brewed green tea and gives me fresh sensation on the palate.
As I light the Emerald, I soon realize the guillotine might have been a mistake. The Emerald has such an easy, open draw that I almost struggle to get any smoke at first. It’s like trying to drink water through 5 straws, takes a lot of effort for not much result.
However, the Emerald doesn’t seem to care that I’m struggling because it is just billowing out the purest white smoke I’ve ever seen from a cigar. It’s like I’m puffing little clouds out of my mouth!
Needless to say, I’m thoroughly enjoying myself at this point so I go for a decent sized retrohale. After all, the Emerald has been incredibly smooth and mellow.
Well that was a mistake.
For all its mellowness, the Emerald packs a peppery punch if you don’t use some moderation.
So after I learn my lesson the hard way, I do a more conservative retrohale on my next puff. This one is MUCH better. The pepper is still there but it is hiding in the background. Instead the flavors I got were like a buttery sweetness. Almost like a smooth toffee candy. That flavor lingers on the roof of my mouth like I just had a hard candy.
As I wrap up the Emerald, its flavor profile stays pretty consistent. Every now and then a nutty flavor comes and goes. It tastes like an unsalted walnut or almond. Just a pure flavor without additives.
The Emerald finishes as smooth as it started and leaves me glad I bought a pack of 5. This is definitely in my top five or so cigars and I’m going to restock as soon as I’m out.
Personally, I got mine from a website so I don’t know how common they are at brick and mortars but if you find any, I highly recommend grabbing a couple.
You won’t regret it.
P.S. I also highly recommend that beer.