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Staff Reviews

Argyle Banquet Selection Staff Review

Grant T. Thompson's picture

Grant T.

I just picked up my favorite clip-on tie from the cleaners, and if you assume I must be heading to a supper club, you’d be sorrily mistaken, friends. I’m smoking one of the highest-end cigars to ever grace my coolerdor: Argyle Banquet Selection. I’ve chosen a chestnut-blond 5-by-50 Epicure for this special occasion. 

You see, every once in a blue moon I’ll splurge on a box of cigars, in lieu of the economical bundles that populate my cavernous storage cabinets by a severe majority – but only if I’m dead certain I’m getting an irrefutable bang for my buck. That brings me to the soup du jour for my review – Argyle Banquet Selection. Argyle cigars have been beloved for years by bargain hunters like yours truly. Today, this budget-friendly brand includes nearly a dozen unique blends to satisfy a wide range of palates. Argyle cigars are handcrafted in the Dominican Republic, exclusively for Holt’s, by artisans whose attention to detail and quality is unsurpassed.

Most Argyle cigars are on the creamy, milder end of the spectrum, and Banquet Selection is no exception. What’s special about Banquet Selection, though, is the age and selectivity of the premium tobaccos employed to create this delectable recipe. An oily shade-grown wrapper, harvested from the finest crops in the fertile soils of the Connecticut River Valley, harnesses vintage long-filler tobaccos, from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, in four classic sizes.

Argyle Banquet Selection cigars come in elegant white boxes of 20, and every time I open a fresh one in front of acquaintances, they presume I’ve come into money. These cigars look like cigars only the aristocracy can afford. The truth is, this cigar is too nice for me, but because it magically still fits into the stringent criteria of my budget, I’m able to keep a steady supply on hand. A box of Epicures goes for around ninety bucks, or under $4.50 per cigar, after the generous daily discounts are applied at the Holt’s checkout.

When I extract an especially alluring Epicure from the top row of a new box, Argyle Banquet Selection exudes an excellent aroma of nuts, cocoa, and buttered toast with a touch of cedar. I can’t help but compare the cellophane on Banquet Selection to a nightgown on a supermodel. The cigar’s seamless wrapper tantalizes from under a pair of ornate cigar bands, and if I owned a tux, I would probably put it on before proceeding.

After clipping the cigar’s precisely applied cap and spinning the cigar around in my mouth a few times, mouthwatering notes of gourmet nuts, fresh coffee, and baking spices deliver a formidable preview. The draw is pristine. It’s clear the rollers who craft Banquet Selection cigars take immense pride in their work.

Savory notes of almond, cashew, and coffee bean mingle with hints of honey and vanilla bean after the foot is fully toasted. Silky streams of cigar smoke fill the atmosphere in my man cave with an irresistible room note. The texture is creamy on the palate while soft hints of spice coat my nostrils without the least bit of astringency. Banquet Selection seems too lavish to be a casual cigar, but the price tells a different story. How can a cigar this fine cost under five bucks?

Throughout the middle third, intricate notes of cocoa and cedar underscore the cigar’s mature taste. I feel I’ve done my Epicure a disservice by tapping the ash into an ashtray that isn’t made of Limoge porcelain. I hope I’m forgiven.

After an hour of purely epicurean pleasure, I’m forced to remove the cigar bands in order to fully absorb the nub. Nonetheless, it wouldn’t surprise me if the bands tasted great, too, if I left them on. Banquet Selection blows most cigars four times its deeply discounted price out of the water. If you know a hifalutin aficionado, hand them a Banquet Selection after you’ve removed the band and ask for their honest appraisal. The cigar’s finish is sophisticated enough to graduate from Harvard.

You could smoke this glorious cigar any time of the day, too. Argyle Banquet Selection is a universally appealing gem with a mellow but complex finish. I implore you to procure a box posthaste and watch your pals invade your coolerdor like ants at a picnic.

Until next time, long ashes to you!


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