Vlada Stojanov, the man behind Bespoke Distribution, is a certified sommelier. For those who may not know what that it is, it’s someone who has been trained to taste. That may be an oversimplification, but it’s essentially correct. The testing to become a certified sommelier is intense. Vlada has parlayed that training into a successful career in the cigar industry. From distributor to blender and brand owner.
Vlada is also one of my oldest friends in the cigar industry. In fact, I’ve known him longer than I’ve been doing the podcast. He was one of the “industry guys” in an online cigar club I was once a part of. So, when I found out that he was releasing his own cigar, I was very excited. In our interview with Vlada, he mentioned how excited he was to work with this new Honduran tobacco leaf.
*THE SAMPLES SMOKED FOR THIS REVIEW WERE PROVIDED BY VLADA STOJANOV (I have bought a different size and the Premier Cru and will review those at a later date).
SIZE: 6″ x 60
FACTORY: Fábrica Centroamericana de Tabaco S.A.
WRAPPER: Mexican San Andres
FILLER: Honduran, Nicaraguan, Mexican
Small Batch Cigar
The Studio Lounge
September 3 @10:00am
70° & 70% humidity
HOW MANY CIGARS SMOKED:
RELEASE TYPE Limited
ORIGINALLY RELEASE DATE March 2023
Typical Box Size: Boxes of 10
Production Totals: Unknown
o Gordo (6″ x 60)
o Robusto (5″ x 50)
o Toro (6″ x 52)
As stated before, Vlada is a certified sommelier, so it’s no surprise that his first line would bare the name…or that the band and branding pay homage to his background. The band is a striking red wine color with gold accents. On the sides of the band are grape vines in the gold accent. Its very well done and has air of class and sophistication. It fits the sommelier motif perfectly.
The Mexican San Andres wrapper is rough to the touch; like fine grit sandpaper. There is a slight oily sheen, but I wouldn’t say that the wrapper is oily. Each sample had a few visible veins and one had a watermark, but nothing concerning. The BDX had a some give when gently pushed between my fingers. The cap appears to be expertly applied.
The wrapper has a faint hint of chocolate, but not much else. The foot has a nice musty note, along with fig, bread, and sweet tobacco.
The draw on all three cigars felt like it was a bit on the open side, but should not pose any issues. There’s a sharp fruit note that I immediately notice. Hints of nuts and bread follow behind.
The smoke is thick and creamy. It coats my palate and has a very pleasant mouthfeel.
>> Caramel, Baking Spices, Black Pepper
>> Fruit, Avocado Oil, White Pepper
Avocado oil, wood, baking spices, and a fruity sweetness begin the middle third. White pepper on the retrohale. The cayenne pepper from the first third is all but gone. The sweetness that started building at the end of the first third has melted into the background, giving way to more bitter notes of wood and coffee. There is still an overall smoothness to the Somm BDX. The sweetness seems to fight with the bitterness. It isn’t unpleasant, just unexpected. The burn remains steady and the ash compact. The caramel note makes a comeback, providing a touch of sweetness to balance out the bitter notes. The burn decides to wonky after I deposit the ash, but quickly evens up. Sweet cream adds its voice to the chorus.
>> Sweet Cream, Baking Spices, Black Pepper
Sweet cream, charred wood, baking spices, and salted butter begin the final third. Dark chocolate adds some depth of flavor to the BDX. Black pepper on the retrohale. Baking spices begin to come back to the forefront. The burn line is very wonky, and while it has self-corrected throughout, this final third seems to be a challenge. The ash is still compact, though it does have several large flakes coming off of it. The BDX has an almost beefy quality to the final third that is balanced out by rich, creamy sweet notes. A hint of espresso and wood close out the final third.
RATING & FINAL THOUGHTS
The flavors of the Somm BDX flow from sweet, to bitter, back to sweet, before finally landing on savory. It is a rich and creamy flavor experience that really only had one moment of me scratching my head. The middle third seemed to fight against itself for half of that third. The sweet notes didn’t mesh well, in my opinion, with some of the overly bitter notes. Thankfully, that only lasted a few draws.
The Somm BDX’s burn was frustrating beginning in the middle third. What started as a great burn devolved into a wonky, flake-riddled adventure. Each cigar required at least one touch up, while one needed more than three. In each cigar smoked for this review, it seemed to occur around the middle third.
0.75 / 0.80 … Craft & Aesthetic
0.50 / 0.50 … Pre-Light Characteristics
0.45 / 0.50 … Lighting Process
6.80 / 7.70 … Smoking Experience
0.40 / 0.50 … Personal Enjoyment
COMPLIMENTS & CRITIQUES
SMOKE LIKE A SOMMELIER.
The Somm BDX is a flavor bomb of complex and nuanced experiences. While your mileage my vary, this reviewer found the notes of caramel, avocado oil, chocolate, sweet cream, and baking spices to be intoxicating. Sure, the middle third had moments where bitter notes of wood and coffee fought with the much sweeter notes, but that did not last very long. My real lone complaint is how much each cigar began to flake off ash in the final two thirds, with it becoming maddening by the end. But let’s be honest, if that’s the only thing I’m complaining about, just don’t wear black. Go try the Somm BDX Gordo! You won’t regret it.