Review: Sans Pareil Purple
We recently reviewed Aaron Saide’s La Instructora Perfección and while it was a solid smoke, we concluded that it came up short of it’s namesake’s lofty promise. So, when we had the opportunity to have a go with one of his flagship, Sans Pareil (French: translated “without equal”), offerings, we thought this might serve as a mulligan on the whole ‘perfection’ thing.
Both Sans Pareil and La Instructora were launched at the 2017 IPCPR show and both are a shared vision of Saide and blending partner, Jochy Blanco. Sans Pareil Cigars are considered super premium cigars with some blends/vitolas commanding equally super premium pricing up to $80+ per stick (the 13.5” Gold lancero is breathtaking, though).
Saide is reportedly brutally unapologetic about his creations often reinforcing his view that if you can’t afford it or don’t get “it”, please move along. All this hyperbole comes from a line introduced barely a year ago that will compete, at least on price, with limited and proven sticks from Davidoff, Fuente, and Padron.
Limited in production, many of Sans Pareil’s blends do incorporate unique, rare and well-aged tobaccos provided by Blanco and, let’s face it, combined with Blanco’s unique blending touch, you can be sure it’s going to be enjoyable. The Sans Pareil line features 4 primary blends: Red, Blue, Gold and Purple with the Limited Cabinet launched earlier this year.
The Ecuadorian Sumatra-wrapped Purple was our first choice. The plain, colored foil bands on the line figure into Saide’s vision that the cigar is so good, there’s no need for flashy packaging nor poignant prose. This petite corona is clothed in a marvelous bourbon-colored, seamless Sumatra wrapper and offers wonderful hints of green tea and honeysuckle. The draw is on the tight side, but would improve as it burned. The roll and aesthetics are excellent otherwise.
On first draw, the initial profile is savory and zesty offering hints of licorice/anise, black pepper and caramel. There is lots of toasted nuts on the retro, a light spice and a wonderful oaky finish. Transitions feature earthy and woody profiles with an uptick in spice in the last transition and a nice fade into coffee and espresso-like finishes. While complexity does fade after the initial profile, the wonderful accents of salted caramel and sweet cedar in subsequent transitions balances the stronger oak and earth notes. Combustion is superb with nary a burn issue and a straight-edge char. The Purple holds a nice 1”, near-white ash and is incredibly smooth.
I found the Purple to be tasty and very enjoyable and while it hit home runs in presentation, construction, combustion, texture and balance, the moderate complexity and a limited flavor palette does not play up to Saide’s claims, or price. There are just too many sub-$12 stogeys that simply offer more uniqueness. Still, keep a few around for a surefire smooth, yummy splurge.- In Fumo Pax!
Did you Know: Sans Pareil’s Gold is the blend that got the line rolling and is only rolled in a single vitola: a 13.5″x40 super lancero ($80 ea. / box of 5 $400).
- Profile: Medium
Length / Ring Gauge: 5.7″x34
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Cutter: Colibri V
Lighter: Colibri Firebird
Humidor Age: 6 mo.
Other Vitolas: Belicoso [6.125″x52], Laguito [4.5″x30]
Smoke Time: 1:03
Build: Lumpy; single vein; seamless; good give without being soft – uniform girth; bourbon-colored wrapper; near white ash; holds 1″ ash.
- Wrapper – Light honeysuckle, green tea, caramel
- Foot – Caramel, cocoa powder
- Cold Draw – coffee, cocoa
- Initial: Zesty profile with black pepper, hint of anise and toasted nuts on retro; oaky finish; caramel on draw with light spice; smooth; profile adds leather with cedar/coffee finish;
- Transition: Woody profile, black pepper, light spice; nuts and salted caramel; coffee finish;
- Transition: Earth and wood profile; uptick in spice; espresso finish; sweet cedar on retro
Complexity: Very Good
Touch ups: None
Weaknesses: Draw on the tight side initially, but improves.
Recommend: 2. 5-packer
- Go-to (boxworthy)
- 3rd stringer (keep 1 on hand)
- Smoke a banana instead