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Staff Reviews

Villiger White Forest Staff Review

Grant T. Thompson's picture

Grant T.

Oh boy, I’m as giddy as a border collie behind a herd of Holsteins! Today’s a rare occasion where I’m smoking a cigar that comes in a box, friends. I’m reviewing Villiger White Forest, and I’m lighting up a chunky 6-by-60 Gordo – a fatter size than I normally smoke – as a show of enthusiasm.

It’s not often the higher-ups at Holt’s allow me to stray from the bundle aisles in our majestic, humidified warehouse. That’s because they know how important it is for me to score the biggest discounts and pay the smallest price per cigar possible when I’m surveying the perfect specimens for my next review. Villiger is a brand that straddles the market, pumping out an array of premium boxes and inexpensive bundles across its vast portfolio. Previously, I’ve sang the praises of budget-friendly Villiger bundles like La Capitana and Trill, but today we tour the top shelf to find out if White Forest is a worthy cause for thrifty connoisseurs, like yours truly, or if it’s too hoity-toity to handle my meager budget.

Villiger is an old-school European brand best known for its machine-made Export cigars. The folks at Villiger have been steadily growing their premium handmade division in America over the past decade. The critics in Cigar Aficionado have bestowed impressive ratings on Villiger’s La Flor de Ynclan, La Vencedora, and Black Forest cigars, the predecessor to the White Forest I’m smoking today.

Unlike Black Forest, which is swaddled in a thick and oily San Andrés wrapper, Villiger White Forest is finished in a silky, butterscotch-blond Connecticut Shade wrapper. Inside, a prized assemblage of premium Dominican long-filler tobaccos is patiently put together by skilled artisans in the Dominican Republic.

When I pop the shiny clasp on a fresh box of Villiger White Forest Gordos, clad in gold-and-white bands, I’m humbled by the sight of the ten perfectly plump Gordos that occupy the top row. After I pluck a prime candidate from the lineup and slip off the cellophane, a pleasant bouquet of cedar, cereal, and fresh hay perfumes my nostrils.

Before I smack my lips too eagerly, it’s critical to cut a fat cigar correctly. You can’t just squeeze the cap into a standard cutter, or you’ll crack the wrapper leaf. I secure my White Forest Gordo between the blades of a Xikar X8 big-ring cutter to ensure a pristine cut. Once the cap is excised, the cigar’s creamy and nutty cold draw stimulates my taste buds like a gourmet vanilla shake. 

Lighting a fat cigar requires more patience, too, to make sure the excess binder and filler tobaccos combust evenly with the wrapper leaf. After teasing my flame over the foot of the cigar for minute or two, luscious clouds of white smoke float over my computer screen like a seductive fog. Villiger White Forest imparts an approachable profile of cedar, cashew, and coffee bean with hints of honey and café con leche on the back end.

Nutty notes of cashew, almond, and chestnut mingle with a scrumptious foundation of white cocoa powder and oak as the first thirty minutes end. Because the Gordo is thick, it burns slower. Smoke the best fat cigars when you’re not in a hurry. If you want proof Villiger White Forest is well made, look no further than its firm ash. Despite the cigar’s girth, I’ve only tapped the ash off a couple times so far. Tangy hints of baking spices and pepper mingle with delicious notes of smoked honey in the second half.

After the band is off and I’m slowly savoring the final inch and a half of the Gordo, its creamy and mellow flavors of cedar and nuts persist with velvety texture right up ‘til the end. If you’re prospecting for an attractive, mild handmade for a paltry price, Villiger White Forest delivers the goods for under five bucks apiece for the Gordo. Normal retail is $300 for a 20-count box, but when you factor in the huge discounts your pals at Holt’s offer, we’ve dialed the price back to under a hundred bucks for a whole box.

Allow me to plead with my value-obsessed brethren – stretch your budget by a buck and step up your game to acquire a handsome box of Villiger White Forest lickety-split, friends. There’s plenty of summer left to savor this sublime smoke with your feet up on the back porch.

Until next time, long ashes to you!


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