Homework, Part 1

One of my job duties with Burns Tobacconist is trying out new blends and evaluating them as to whether I think they should have a place in the store. That isn’t to say I have the final say…just that my opinion is taken into consideration. On a recent Saturday, I was handed quite a few new (or new to me) sticks by one of our brokers and I decided I should treat them like homework…although this is definitely one of the most enjoyable homework assignments I’ve ever had. Actually, since reviewing cigars was what paved the way for me to work there in the first place, I look at writing about them for work as a “full circle” experience.

Wilson-Adams Cigars was founded in my old stomping grounds of southern California in 2011. One of the principals of the company is actually a regular at Maxamar, my hangout when I go out there (and Keith’s hangout about 100 days a year). Their history is presented on their website:

In 2011, we traveled to Estelí, Nicaragua where we visited the Plasencia family and formed a lasting partnership. Instead of utilizing smaller factories, we chose Plascencia due to their vast storehouses of tobacco from almost every growing region in the world. The family owns farms peppered across Central America from the island of Ometepe to the gorgeous fields of Honduras. After many back & forth trips to Nicaragua and some 40 blend iterations the White Label (Habano) was born and launched in 2012. A year later we launched our Red Label (Sumatra).

I got samples of both the Habano and Sumatra blends and gave them a puff while I sipped on some fine Kentucky Bourbon…


I got the Habano in a Lancero vitola and it proved to be pretty fantastic. The burn was perfect and the flavor was one of the best I’ve had in a very long time from a new company. I picked up on the earthiness you’d expect from Nicaraguan leaf, but there was a citrusy tangy quality that made me think of Peruvian tobacco, a touch of cedar, and a very nice peppery burn.

Even though it was my second cigar of the day (and I had smoke 5 or 6 each day the two days previous) this cigar cut right through and delivered a very fine smoking experience that I could recommend to just about any of my Nicaraguan-loving customers. I think this is a line we will have to seriously consider finding room for.


The Sumatra definitely had the better appearance with its dark brown wrapper and predominantly red band. It started off with cocoa powder and earth, along with a mild dark fruit sweetness.

This medium-to-full-bodied smoke was good, but for me it wasn’t great. The flavor was strong, but it just wasn’t quite in my wheelhouse. Still, I’m thinking this cigar could find a dedicated fan base and I’m interested in seeing how it would smoke in other vitolas.

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

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  • Mark VanSledright

    I have yet to try these cigars. I have heard good things about both lines and the new Mr. Wilson as well.

  • Miguel Rocha

    I like the way the Habano sounds!

  • foozer6976

    nice review, always good to hear about smaller brands as oppose to the big boys all the time, a lot of boutique blends out their that are gems but they just don’t have the marketing dollars for the hype!! you should do some reviews on stogies that aren’t as well marketed but are fantastic smokes !

  • czerbe

    I would recommend doing what I did with Homework… give it to others to do for you… so send me those cigars I’ll do all the work and let you know :)

  • Texican

    That Habano does sound great! Thankfully I know just what to get the next time I go to The Underground!

  • Craig

    Agree with the rest, Habano sounds good.

  • Swede214

    Have not heard about these cigars, I like Habano, I might like Wilson-Adams.

  • atllogix

    Good to hear you enjoyed the habano lancero, I’ve got a few of these, just haven’t gotten around to them.

  • Jeff Cierniak

    Always looking for a new lancero to try, this will have to be added to my list.