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Staff Reviews

Villiger Exclusivo USA Staff Review

Grant T. Thompson's picture

Grant T.

“Where are the closeouts?!” If you’ve done your due diligence on my Holt’s profile page, you’ll find my favorite quote front and center. I couldn’t help but smack my hands together, like a cartoon villain plotting to unleash a catastrophic plan, when I inspected the latest batch of Villiger boxes to arrive on the dock of our palatial closeout annex. Before my very eyes: primo, newly minted closeouts of Villiger Exclusivo USA rose as high as the heavens in immaculately sealed stacks, and today I’m smoking a gorgeous 6-by-52 Toro to offer my first impressions.

Mind you, there’s nary an imperfection to be found on a single cigar, despite the insanely reduced prices – up to 63% off MSRP! When I found out the original asking price for Villiger Exclusivo USA was around fifteen bucks apiece, as opposed to the paltry $5 per cigar I’m getting them for today, I became the giddiest glutton this side of the Mississippi. Within seconds, I extracted a razor blade from my battle-worn Swiss Army Knife and sliced through the cellophane on a fresh box of Toros.

Villiger Exclusivo USA cigars were originally blended and released for the chosen few brick and mortar stores that make up the TAA – Tobacconists’ Association of America. Essentially, the TAA is an aristocracy of cigar store owners, and when they pool their money together, they receive special discounts and perks, like access to limited-edition TAA cigars made by manufacturers who support them, i.e., Villiger. Most small-batch smokes made for TAA members fail to meet my meager budget requirements – unless, of course, demand fails to materialize, and monumental discounts are applied to the price.

When the Holt’s buying team found out Villiger Exclusivo USA was officially on the chopping block, they exercised an ultra-shrewd, ultra-frugal strategy to score a truckload of these Nicaraguan handmades for a fraction of the cost. An oily gingerbread-hued Nicaraguan wrapper leaf, grown from Cuban-seed tobaccos, encapsulates a vintage blend of Nicaraguan long-fillers assembled in a trio of flawless formats. I’ve chosen the Toro for today’s review due to its universal appeal and ideal smoking duration. Villiger Exclusivo USA cigars are packaged in mahogany-colored cedar boxes, and each cigar is finished in a shiny red, gold, and white band.

A perfunctory inspection of the foot reveals a raw aroma of pepper, molasses, and wood. A few innocuous veins blanket the otherwise spotless wrapper, and the cigar appears put together by an expert craftsman when I gently squeeze it from head to foot to appraise its density. The tidy cap on my Toro effortlessly slides off when I pinch the blades of my straight cutter around it.

Villiger Exclusivo USA opens with hearty notes of coffee and spice, but nutty nuances come into play soon after the cigar is fully lit. Velvety clouds of smoke escape into the open space over my desk in cool and easy draws. Although the ash is flakey at first, it stabilizes as I puff through the first quarter.

A pleasant profile of leather and cocoa balances the earthy and somewhat mineral-like foundation of Villiger Exclusivo USA. The cigars were aged a good long while before I got my hands on one, so I’m skeptical to suggest resting them longer will make much of a difference in the taste. Villiger is better known for its European machine-made lines like Export. The company has only been making premium handmades for the past ten or fifteen years, but some of them have garnered accolades recently. Overall, Villiger is known for cranking out rudimentary value cigars – and that’s why they appeal to me. They’re consistent and easy on the pocketbook. After forty-five minutes of smoking, not a lot has changed. Straightforward notes of cocoa, coffee, and pepper continue to roll over my palate and impart a partially nutty, partially bitter aftertaste – everything I expect from an uneventful but affordable smoke.  

I’ve reviewed other inexpensive Villiger cigars, like La Capitana and Trill, both of which come in bundles. Exclusivo USA is more refined. It’s not a hoity-toity top-shelf smoke, but it’s good enough to go into a proper box, although I wouldn’t shell out anywhere near the original price. The deep discount makes Exclusivo USA a palatable Villiger specimen and one I can afford to stick in the coolerdor and share with pals without worrying about what I spent. My advice is to add a box to your next order and smoke them casually. You’re getting a one-hundred-percent premium long-filler blend, handmade in Estelí, Nicaragua, for an unfathomable discount, friends.

Until next time, long ashes to you!


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