by Tim Rollins
The Ashton VSG Spellbound cigars were born in 1985 when Robert Levin sought the creation of a marque cigar to revitalize his family’s Philadelphia-based company. Combining a Dominican filler with the finest Connecticut leaf wrapper, Levin unveiled a masterpiece renowned for its consistently high quality and aromatic excellence.
Continuous improvement and innovation have been the hallmarks of Ashton Cigars since its inception, and this visionary trait gave rise to the development and launch of the Ashton VSG in 1999. Retaining the excellent Dominican filler Levin’s company has always employed, the Ashton VSG would be made with the almost ethereal Ecuadorian “cloud leaf” wrapper, imparting a potency mellowed by a curiously sweet undertone.
The Ashton VSG has been consistently ranked among the best of the non-Cuban cigars since its debut. The VSG’s deep, rich, and dark color belies its tobacco’s affinity for the sun.
VSG is an abbreviation for Virgin Sun Grown.
Wrapper: Virgin Sun Grown Ecuadorian
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
The test draw was effortless especially for a very dense cigar.
The initial flavors were leather, cinnamon and light citrus notes. The finish was one of leather. It’s early so let’s see how it progresses.
About 1/4 inch in the flavors were leather, slightly sweet grapefruit citrus and vanilla. The finish is a citrus vanilla and some lingering pepper.
At about the one inch point the cigar developed a very nice richness. The vanilla became quite rich and it carried over to the finish.
Just a bit further the cigar developed notes of cinnamon. The burn is very even. The cigar has already shown signs of being quite complex.
The ash was very tight and easily got to 1 1/2 inches before it dropped off. The cigar is still very rich. It is full bodied. The pepper is nice on both ends. The finish has notes of ruby port and is very sweet.
Just a bit further the cigar had those ruby port flavors on the draw. They combine with the vanilla notes to give a very nice flavor. It seems the cigar changes almost every other minute! The cigar has flavors of ruby port, cinnamon and vanilla with hints of almond.
Just past the midpoint the ruby port flavors gave way to cinnamon and vanilla. The port flavors are still there but just subtle.
With about 2 inches left the cinnamon notes are in the lead. The vanilla notes round out the cigar. The finish is one of a thick, rich vanilla. Again the cigar has changed.
With about 1 1/2 inches left the leather notes are much more noticeable. The mix well with the cinnamon. The port flavors seem to be strong at some points and weaker at others. Vanilla seems to surround the other flavors. The pepper remains good on both ends. The finish is vanilla with subtle almond notes. At this point the cigar has been burning for 2 hours.
At the end of the cigar it had nice cinnamon notes with vanilla and subtle ruby port notes. The finish is one of thick, rich vanilla notes. This has to be one of the most complex cigars I’ve ever smoked! It is easily the best cigar I’ve had this year. I absolutely loved it!