Seems odd that I’m just getting around to reviewing the latest release from 262 Cigars. There’s a good reason for it, though. Last year Keith was given the opportunity to smoke a pre-release sample for review and he wasn’t the biggest fan of it. It showed up at my local tobacconist about the time we started our big remodel…basically tearing down the old store and building something completely new in the space left. I smoked one when they showed up and it didn’t do much for me, either. I figured I’d come back to it at some point, but one thing led to another and it took 6+ months to do so. When I did, I found a much different cigar than I had remembered…but I might be getting ahead of myself.
The Allegiance is made in the Esteban Carreras factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, using Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers, a Nicaraguan binder, and a Brazilian Mata-Fina wrapper. As for the cigar’s name, this is what the company’s website had to say:
The Allegiance name, while stirring many connotations for many people, is 262’s official “line in the sand” campaign. While all of their previous brands have been named in support of their overall cigar revolution theme, Allegiance is meant to take on a stronger tone. State by state, town by town, and at the Federal level too, we are seeing a growing opposition to our cigar culture. Attacks are being made on all sides; industry, tradition, and art. Their intentions are clear, the line has been drawn, and it’s time to declare a side. Inaction does not excuse you from siding with the enemy. So, where does your allegiance lie?
Even those who end up not liking the blend should like the sentiment. It is definitely time to see the government at all levels stop interfering with our right to enjoy a legal product, especially when they are frequently taking away the rights of private business owners in order to ban smoking. Get involved, folks!
The first thing I noticed about the Allegiance was the band…and I’m sure that was by design. The band is fully 2.5” wide, which is close to half the overall length of this vitola. I could conceivably light up the cigar with the band on it, but I would have to remove it within 20 minutes or so to continue burning it (“No! Smoke it to the band then buy another one!” Clint Aaron seems to be yelling from the sidelines.). The 262 company tagline of “Smoke the Revolution” is front and center under the “Allegiance” name, while the Allegiance tagline of “The line is drawn” is on the back side of the band.
The small amount of wrapper leaf that shows from under the band was between milk and dark chocolate in coloration, it had a slightly velvety touch to it, and smelled light earth and cocoa powder. The foot had just light earthy notes, along with a touch of pepper. The cold draw was excellent, tasting of earth, mild chili peppers, and cocoa powder.
The 262 Allegiance flared to life with a solid earth and wood note, as well as abundant pepper spice and touches of anise, raisin, and cocoa powder. As I burned into the first third, I noticed the ash was almost as white as the band around the cigar.
As I got into the second third, there were vegetal notes mixed into the earth and cocoa powder, a decrease in and anise and raisin and the pepper held on fairly steadily.
In the last third, I got a lot more pepper and a resurgence of cedar notes. Other than that, there was a good amount of earth and vegetal flavors, but little in the way of cocoa powder or dark fruit.
I had no construction problems; draw was perfect, ash was tight, burn line was even.
The price is great on the Allegiance and the experience was solid; I call that good value.
Clint Aaron and the blenders at Esteban Carreras did a great job bringing a new experience to the 262 line-up with Allegiance. It is a complex and satisfying cigar with a medium body that I can see coming back to again and again, especially in this Corona vitola, which is always one of my favorites for any line.