As Luciano Cigars continue moving forward in the cigar industry, they introduced Foreign Affair as a core line early this year. As many know, the company started as ACE Prime in 2019 and later partnered with Crowned Heads, which was a strong alliance in the past. Since the split between the two last year, the company has been growing and making changes under the new name: Luciano Cigars.
This project, Foreign Affair, took over a year to finalize. The cigar is a tribute to the globalization of the cigar industry. It was developed by Luciano Meirelles, Frank Cossio (the co-owner of Astorian Cigar Co.), and Mike Dounoulis (Luciano Cigars’ regional sales manager).
Luciano Meirelles, CEO & co-founder of Luciano Cigars, elaborated on the project in a press release:
“There is something extraordinarily magical that occurs in the shared space of smoke, cigars, and people. It’s as if barriers are bridged, and guards lowered. The experience goes beyond language, culture, gender, or any sense of otherness. Varied pathways lead to this common ground, a sacred ambiance where we can connect and understand that no matter how foreign we may be to one another, the humanity in us overwhelms our perceptive differences. Those once strangers to one another are brought together, under the influence of a worldly cigar.”
Luciano, Cossio, and Dounoulis all came together, each using their individual strengths for this project. Luciano brought his talent for blending; Cossio, his attentive palate; and finally, Dounoulis’ creativity. The Foreign Affair project looks to embrace the travel idea and bring people together under the common language of cigar smoking.
Foreign Affair Toro Extra Breakdown
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Nicaragua | Ecuador
Filler: Nicaragua | Costa Rica | Dominican Republic.
Factory: Luciano Tabacos S.A. (Nicaragua)
Production: Regular Production
Vitola: 6½? × 52 (Toro)
Price: $11.80 (MSRP)
Foreign Affair comes in 24 count boxes, being a regular-production line for the company. The other sizes include Corona (5?” x 42 | $9.50), Rothschild (4½” x 48 | $10.35), and Belicoso (6? x 54 | $12.50).
The Foreign Affair Toro Extra has a light, rosy brown color to it, with a soft feel and smooth texture. It has minimal oil and toothiness. Light, gentle seams and veins are noted. The band has a retro throwback feel, reminiscent of an old airline logo. There is gold font and outlines of black and red. The center is a retro globe with a golden leaf in it. It should be noted that the original look had a three-leaf tobacco design, but by final release it was changed to just one golden leaf (likely due to the similarities with Joya de Nicaragua’s logo).
The 24-count boxes come in classic wood with the same retro band logo on the box, having a quad-shaded pattern of differing levels of stain on the wood. The packaging does catch the eye and has a nostalgic look to it.
Click images below for full resolution
Starting the process, the smell at the cap of the cigar has a floral note, but moving towards the foot of the cigar, an intense cinnamon smell comes off. After cutting the cigar, the cold draw offers a primary flavor of hot cinnamon (not an artificial flavor, but more of a rich, spicy cinnamon). Taking time to toast and light the Foreign Affair, a musty flavor hits first with notes of Italian bread dipped in olive oil. There is an oily texture to the smoke on the palate, and the retrohale has a light red pepper spice.
The burn of the cigar remains even throughout (though there are some inconsistencies from sample to sample, as evidenced from the image above), having some occasional re-light issues from time to time. The ash is a layered white color, staying on for 1.5 cm at a time. I did have cap construction issues on some samples that I smoked for this review, with the cap fraying and coming undone. The overall draw is a little loose, which might be from the cap coming apart.
As the Foreign Affair continues to progress, the flavor changes to toasted bread with some increase in saltiness. There are lingering floral notes, and the retrohale becomes a stronger and bolder red pepper spice. Finally, approaching the end of the cigar, there is a salty bread/dough flavor with a mixture of a musty, earthy, almost mushroom-like flavors. The closing retrohale is medium red pepper spice. It was an interesting smoking experience in that you could really detect many flavors from the different tobaccos used, but the flavors did not combine together to bring a unique overall experience that felt greater than the sum of its parts.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
The Foreign Affair was an average smoke; I would smoke it again, just not that often. I liked that I could pick the flavor notes and relate them to the tobaccos used. The red pepper from the Nicaraguan, the earthy and floral notes from the Ecuadorian Sumatra, and the bread notes from the Dominican tobaccos. The issue was the flavors didn’t blend together to produce something new and exciting.
Body: Mild / Medium
Smoke Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Pairing Recommendation: Mezcal cocktail | Earthy herbal tea | Pilsner
Purchase Recommendation: Pick up one and go from there
Enjoyable doughy Italian bread and olive oil flavorsNice saltiness on the lips and palateCool packaging resembling a retro 1950’s travel design
Cap construction issuesRe-light issuesProfile lacked sweetness