Over the past few years, subscription clubs have gained a lot of popularity in the cigar market. Each has offered different value propositions along the way. There are subscription clubs that give cigar enthusiasts an opportunity to try different cigars that exist in the market, and there are also subscription clubs that provide the opportunity to try new, innovative and unreleased cigars. One such cigar club that falls into the latter category is Ultimate Cigars Club by Carlos Nodal. Carlos is best known as the son of Boutique Blends Cigar owner and Tabacalera USA Director of Product Capability, Rafael Nodal. After spending several years working in the cigar industry, Carlos has struck out on his own and has launched a subscription club known as Ultimate Cigars Club. Today we take a closer look at one of the blends offered by Ultimate Cigars Club, the Liga 223. This is a cigar described as one of the bolder offerings by Ultimate Cigar Club.
The mantra of Ultimate Cigars Club is “Our cigars are crafted using the most rare and hard to find tobacco leaves, making them exclusive and highly sought after. Each blend is carefully crafted in small quantities to ensure the utmost quality and flavor. So far, the blends have been packaged as Liga XXX – where XXX represents a blend number.
On Cigar Coop, we normally do not review subscription-only cigars, but many of the blends from Ultimate Cigars Club are also available outside the subscription service to enjoy. The Liga 223 is one such cigar. One reason why Cigar Coop has not covered assessments for subscription club cigars is the availability. The Liga 223 is available for purchase in limited quantities.
At this point let’s turn our attention to the Ultimate Cigars Club Liga 223 and let’s see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The wrapper of the Liga 223 is a San Andres Maduro wrapper that is said to be triple-fermented with extra age. This wrapper the envelops binder and filler. Ultimate Cigars Club describes the tobaccos used as rare and exclusive. The county of origin and factory are not disclosed.
Wrapper: San Andres Maduro (Triple Fermented)
Country of Origin: Not Disclosed
Factory: Not Disclosed
The Liga 223 is offered in one size – a 6 x 54 Toro. The cigars are available in 5, 10, and 20-pack samplers.
The San Andres Maduro wrapper of the Liga 223 had a classic chocolate brown color to it. There was some mottling that was present on the surface of the wrapper. There were also a light amount of oils on the surface. The surface of the wrapper had some visible veins. The darker complexion of the wrapper did a good job of hiding the wrapper seams.
Prior to lighting up the Liga 223, a straight cut was used to commence the smoking experience. Once the cap was detached, it was on to the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw delivered a mix of cocoa, earth, and a subtle sweet cherry note. Overall this was an impressive and satisfying pre-light draw experience. With the pre-light draw ritual completed, it was time to toast up the Liga 223 and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Ultimate Cigar Club Liga 223 picked up where the pre-light draw left off with notes of cocoa, earth, and a sweet cherry note. This was soon joined by notes of white pepper and cedar. The chocolate and earth notes moved into the forefront. The white pepper and cedar settled in the background. The cherry notes were for the most part a background note, but from time to time, these notes crept into the forefront. Meanwhile, the retro-hale delivered additional layers of white pepper and cedar.
As the Liga 223 progressed into the second third, the chocolate and earth notes remained primary. As the cigar passed the midway point, the chocolate notes receded into the background leaving the earth notes as the sole primary note. There was also an increase in the pepper and cedar notes on the tongue. The chocolate note was the most distant secondary note.
During the final third, the earth notes remained primary. The pepper notes were now the most prominent of the secondary notes. This was rounded out by the cherry, cedar, and chocolate notes. This is the way the Ultimate Cigars Club Liga 223 came to a close. The cigar finished with a soft, but cool nub.
Overall the Ultimate Cigars Club Liga 223 required touch-ups to maintain a straight burn path and straight burn line. There were more touch-ups needed than I prefer, but overall the touch-ups did their job of keeping the burn on track. The resulting ash was mostly a very light gray. This ash skewed toward the firmer side, but there was some minor flaking along the way. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
While normally I like a little resistance on the draw, there was a little more resistance on the Ultimate Cigars Club Liga 223 than I prefer. While I had to work the draw a little more, it wasn’t overly tight and it didn’t require any re-lights.
Strength and Body
The Ultimate Cigars Club Liga 223 opened up with medium to full strength and medium-bodied flavors. Both attributes had a gradual increase in intensity along the way. By the second half, the flavors of the Liga 223 moved into medium to full-bodied territory. While there was more strength in the second half, the cigar still remained in the second half of the spectrum. In terms of strength versus body, the strength had a slight edge to it.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
I really liked the banding on the Ultimate Cigars Club cigars. All of the cigars have a blue, gold, and red primary band with the Ultimate Cigars Club by Carlos Nodal branding. The secondary bands are simple black and white. I found this combination worked really well. One thing I liked was the information sheet that was provided with subscriptions.
I was quite impressed with the Liga 223. I found this cigar excelled in the most important category – flavor. The flavors deliver many of the excellent qualities one would expect from a San Andres Maduro/Nicaraguan blend. The profile of the cigar had a very nice balance from start to finish. This is a cigar that is on the bolder side, but it’s not too overwhelming. Given this is a bolder cigar, I’d steer this to a more experienced cigar enthusiast, but it’s a nice cigar for a novice that wants to progress to something bolder. Overall this is a cigar that I would smoke again. The price point is excellent for this cigar, as it will run under $10.00 per cigar. As a result, this is a cigar I would buy multiples of to keep in my humidor. This was a great first impression from Ultimate Cigars Club and if a subscription service is something that interests you, you may certainly want to give this a try.
Key Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Cherry, Cedar, White Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy Multiples
Price: $47.50 (5-pack), $90.00 (10-pack), $170.00 (20-pack)
Source: Ultimate Cigars Club
Brand Reference: Ultimate Cigars Club
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop
Originally posted on May 31, 2023 @ 7:17 am