Bite Size Review: Maya Selva Cumpay Churchill
We recently celebrated 99 Cigars’ 2nd anniversary late last Fall and as we continue to plan for the future one of our primary goals is to provide a greater volume of cigar reviews. Today’s review serves as our 200th post here at 99 Cigars, another great milestone for us thanks to you, the casual passersby, our loyal readers and followers – our great community. Even after an expected slow start and still very much considered the “new kids on the block,” we pledge to double that number during this year alone. We’re looking forward to many more milestones this year and beyond and we’re hopeful all of you will come along for the ride.
This will be our third review, in a list of many still to come, of a Maya Selva cigar. We previously raved about the largely unheralded brand, at least here in the US, after reviewing her Villa Zamorano Reserva in late 2018 and most recently, her Flor de Selva Colección Aniversario No. 20. A couple of things we’ve learned about these Honduran-made cigars is they’re well-made, ooze with flavor and value yet offer a modest presentation. Don’t get us wrong, Selva knows how to have fun too, just check out the Villa Zamorano review where we highlight Selva’s latest marketing strategy of packaging a sampler of cigars in an aluminum beer can.
Selva typically focuses on employing Honduran tobaccos for her stogeys, but for one cigar her focus turned to Nicaragua, specifically the tobaccos grown in the fertile volcanic highlands of the Jalapa valley. In 1999, Selva launched Cumpay, her first Nicaraguan puro, named for the Tawakha Indian word for a “rolled tobacco leaf.” Cumpay is available in 6 natural vitolas and a single maduro. Don’t be fooled by Selva’s relatively sparse portfolio as every cigar in it has received critical and community acclaim globally. Oh, and did I mention her cigars just recently made landfall here in the US just a few short years ago?
Selva’s Cumpay has a pretty high bar to reach set by the go-to Villa Zamorano Reserva and the boxworthy Aniversario No. 20, but something told us Cumpay was up to the task. Let’s start with the ridiculous low price, $6.88. For a Churchill. As expected, construction is near flawless highlighted by a seamless role, a tidy triple cap and a largely uniform firmness. The light pecan shell hue of the wrapper is a nice visual representation of the smoky, charred wood aromas from the wrapper and the vanilla and cocoa from the foot. The cold draw is open and offers hints of Worcestershire and raisin essence on the palate.
The big Churchill comes to life with a lush draw of peanuts and an overt nutty profile complemented by creamy notes of hazelnut, caramel and nutmeg. With a light spice on the tongue, Cumpay finishes with a toast and nougat flare adding notes of coffee late. The texture is smooth and at times, “chewy.” The draw becomes smoky as leather and oak notes are added late. Transitions feature robust, woody foundations as the body and strength go from medium to full. Blend notes go from tangy leather and dark fruit to savory toasted oats and oak in the final stretch all while maintaining a light character.
Construction and combustion are simply outstanding with some wavy burns coming at the end. Cumpay holds a strong, compact ash and is a generous smoke producer. My only gripe is that at the tail end the palette becomes dry and papery. Yet for less than the cost of a Baconator Combo Meal at Wendy’s, Cumpay is nearly two hours of Nicaraguan satisfaction, offering a delectable flavor wheel that takes you on a journey from medium-bodied sweet and tangy to full bodied and savory. So far, you simply cannot go wrong with a Maya Selva cigar. – In Fumo Pax!
Did you Know: Maya Selva Cigars is actually headquartered in France.
- Profile: Med-Full
- Vitola: Churchill
- Length / Ring Gauge: 7.0″ x 48
- Purchased: Direct
- Origin: Honduras
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
- Binder: Nicaraguan EstelÍ
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Blade: Xikar Xi1
- Fire: Colibri Firebird
- Price: $6.88 [Box 25 $172]
- Humidor Age:
- Box: 4, 7, 20 & 25 [Tubos, 16]
- Other Vitolas: Short [4″x46], Robusto [4.5″x50], Volcan [5.0″x60], No. 15 [Belicoso 5.5″x54], Corona [5.5″x42]
N O T E S
Smoke Time: 1:54
Construction: Nice triple cap; solid throughout, but foot a bit spongy; seamless; veiny; soft to the touch; lightly oily; pecan shell hue.
- Wrapper – Smoky, charred wood
- Foot – Vanilla, cocoa powder
- Cold Draw – Worcestershire, light raisins
- Initial: Lush draw of peanuts; nutty core around creamy notes of hazelnut; mixes additional notes of caramel, toast and nutmeg; finish of nougat, toast and coffee bean; chewy, oaky and very smooth; draw becomes more baked and smoky; hints of leather added late.
- Transition: Sweet, woody draw; robust, oaky foundation; maintains medium body; residual leather notes permeate retro and finish (w/coffee); tangy character with hints of dark fruit; hints of milk chocolate late;
- Transition: Fuller body; savory, profile of toasted oats; finish of wood and oats; maintains residual nuttiness; oak and cedar notes become dominant; slight increase in spice; remains light and airy on plate; becomes dry and flavors drowned out by an overt paper quality.
Touch ups: N/A
Weaknesses: Palette becomes dry and papery towards end
- 5 packer
- Yard ‘gar
- NR [No Recommendation]