Bite Size Review: Flor de Selva Colección Aniversario No. 20
We’re excited at 99 Cigars to welcome in the New Year and while we each have our own resolutions, I think we’re agreed that from a company perspective, we simply must smoke more cigars. Yeah, we’ll take the bullet. Kicking off just our third year, we have our sights set on more of, well…everything. I knew when we started building our Review Bullpen for 2020 that there would be no shortage of great selections. Not by a long shot. But, I also knew that I would insist that the first 20 include a little something from our Honduran friends at Maya Selva Cigars. Actually, a couple of somethings.
In case you’ve been living under a rock and are not familiar with Maya Selva’s work, you’re not alone. Maya has recently committed to setting up shop here in the US after focusing over 20 very successful years in Europe, Asia and beyond. Maya got her start in the cigar industry after a chance meeting with none other than Nestor Plasencia and before long she launched her first cigar, the namesake Flor de Selva, in 1995 and opened her own factory, San Judas Tadeo factory in Danlí, Honduras.
Last year we not only gushed about Selva’s Villa Zamarano Reserva we also jumped at the opportunity to be one of the first to highlight the new packaging – an aluminum beer, ahem, cerveza, can. Since then, we’ve had some of Maya’s cigars on our radar, but sadly just couldn’t squeeze them in. So, resolution No. 1? Highlight more of these highly underrated stogeys. And we kick things off with Maya’s commemorative Colección Aniversario No. 20. Like many in Maya’s portfolio, the No. 20 is a Honduran puro and is one of several extensions of Selva’s acclaimed Flor de Selva line. Initially launched in 2016 in just a lancero vitola with limited distribution in France, the No. 20 memorializes Maya’s 20th anniversary crafting cigars and is now a regular production line.
Even after more than a year percolating in our humidor, our No. 20 is still enticingly oily which accentuates the rich, caramel hues of the Jamastran skin. The cigar is solid throughout and is on the hard side. Featuring a double cap and almost invisible seams, chocolate and vanilla aromas from the wrapper and foot tease like a Carls Jr. commercial. The cold draw is open with moderate restriction – just a click away from perfect in my opinion. The draw offers a light layer of a dark fruit essence on the palate.
The initial profile delights with a nutty center and draw swirling behind retrohale notes of crème, leather and black peppercorn. Insanely smooth (verbatim from my notes), the No. 20 balances well with a spicy finish of baked bread and espresso layers. Hints of kola nut and chocolate are not far away, and a nutty, savory wood character permeates the finish. The savory character is just marvelous (cue Billy Crystal’s SNL skit). Transitions fluctuate between medium and full intensities and maintain a woody nucleus. Complexity is highlighted by a smoky character, lots of chocolate and oak with hints of nougat. The spice is dialed up as you smoke and the No. 20 ends on an earthy “note.”
Combustion is near flawless and the ash – I had to grind on this thing to push the near 2” ash off. Clearly, the packed nature of the 4.5” Robusto makes it a slow burner, so no hyperventilating. This cigar is smoky, savory, rich and delicious and will pair well with just about any whisky/ey. It also pairs nicely on a slow, sunny Sunday afternoon or with compadres around a fire pit. We’re glad Maya decided to treat us here in the US with her bounty and while many of you may not have yet heard of Maya Selva, you’re not gonna disappoint anybody when you break out these babies during your next celebration. – In Fumo Pax!
Did you Know: Born and raised in Honduras to a French mother and Honduran father, Maya spends most of her time in France.
- Profile: Med-Full
- Vitola: Robusto
- Length / Ring Gauge: 4.5″ x 50
- Purchased: Direct
- Origin: Honduras
- Wrapper: Jamastran Habano
- Binder: Olancho and Azacualpa
- Filler: Honduran
- Blade: Xikar Xi1
- Fire: S.T. Dupont Minijet
- Price: $11.20 [Box $112.00]
- Humidor Age: 15.5 mo.
- Box: 10
- Other Vitolas: Egoísta [3.5″x56], Petit-Corona [5.5″x42], Tempo [6″x60]
N O T E S
Smoke Time: 1:22
Draw: Mostly open
Construction: Caramel hue; near seamless; oily; double cap; minimal veins; uniformly solid; sturdy, not soft; holds very strong 1″+ dirty gray ash; solid smoke producer; slow burner.
- Wrapper – Chocolate
- Foot – Cocoa powder; vanilla
- Cold Draw – Dark fruit essence
- Initial: Nutty center; rich notes of creme, leather and pepercorn; robust, spicy finish of baked bread and espresso; hints of chocolate and a light spice on tongue; lush hints of kola nut on the retro; a nuttiness and wood notes added to finish; body becomes more savory.
- Transition: Still medium bodies with a woody core, but maintains a nutty finish; smoky character with heavy chocolate and oak notes; persistent spice on tongue; residual notes of black pepper with a cedar tang; intensity increases; nougat hints on the retro.
- Transition: Still wood-dominant, but maintains intensity; subtle return of kola nut layer; finish more earthy with a baked bread overlay; spice increases with residual chocolatey hints.
Touch ups: N/A
- 5 packer
- Yard ‘gar
- NR [No Recommendation]