Review: Partagas Serie E No.2 Is a First Class Cuban Cigar

The Partagas Serie E No.2 is part of the Partagas regular production line produced by Habanos S.A. It is the largest gauge cigar produced for the Partagas family. Though this is a younger cigar in the Partagas portfolio, it has become one of the most sought-after cigars in the lettered series.

The boxes that were opened for this review were from August of 2018, aged in a cabinet humidor at roughly 65 RH before making their way to me. I let them rest for a little over a month before pulling three cigars from the box. Each cigar I reviewed was dry boxed for 5-6 hours before smoking.

OVERVIEW

VITOLA:   Duke
SIZE:   5.5″ x 54

ORIGIN:   Cuba
FACTORY//BOX CODE:   MSU AGO18

WRAPPER:   Cuba
BINDER:   Cuba
FILLER:   Cuba

STRENGTH:   Medium – Full

SOURCE/ONLINE STORE:   
Gift from a friend

ENVIRONMENT

WHERE:   
Backyard Patio

WHEN:   
Afternoon on a weekday

DRINKS:   
Ginger Beer

WEATHER:   
Beautiful California afternoon, temps are in the sixties, almost no wind and the relative humidity is in the twenties.

WHAT’S ON:   
Starting a new book My 60 Memorable Games. A chess book overviewing sixty of Bobby Fischer’s most memorable games and his notes on each game. 

PRODUCTION

RELEASE TYPE  Regular Production

ORIGINALLY RELEASE DATE  Officially released by Habanos S.A. February 2011, but did not begin hitting the markets until mid-August of the same year.

TOTAL PRODUCTION
Typical Box Size:     Available in two box sizes and a tubo pack. The boxes come in quantities of 5 and 25. Both boxes being semi boite natural boxes. The tubo packs come with 3 cigars, each packaged in an aluminum tube.
Production Totals:  Unknown

VITOLA BREAKDOWN
Duke is the only Vitola for the Serie E No.2  (5-1/2″ x 54)

RESEARCH & BACKGROUND INFO

  • The Partagas Serie E No.2 was exclusively created to build a larger ring gauge for the Partagas line. 
  • The Partagas Serie E No.2 is the only regular production Cuban cigar to be offered in the Duke vitola.
  • There was a special travel retail release of the Serie E No.2 which came in a leather bound travel humidor of 10 cigars.

BAND DESIGN

The Serie E is banded with the Serie E No.2 band, which is specific to each of the lettered series in the Partagas line. The band is a glossy red paper band with embossed features. The band has four embossed lines running parallel to each other — two on the top and two on the bottom. Centered between these horizontal lines is the series name, manufacturer and origin of the cigar. These  details are embossed and printed in metallic gold ink, which really stands out against the red body of the band. This is one of the more eye catching bands in the Partagas line, and it really stands out on the shelf of any humidor.

PRE-LIGHT OBSERVATIONS

CONSTRUCTION
This is a large cigar, which means there’s more leaf for the smoker to judge for any imperfections and a lot less room for error on the manufacture’s end. The examples I reviewed really exemplified how consistent of a product that Habanos S.A. produces. 

Each cigar in the box of five I reviewed had a beautiful light brown (claro) wrapper, with no visible imperfections to note.

AROMA
As to be expected, the aroma on the foot and body of the Serie E is dominated by sweet cedar. With so much cedar to cigar contact, it’s only natural that the cigar would pick up so much from the box. There was a bit of wet hay on the foot once you get past those cedar notes.

COLD DRAW
The cold draw falls into the same vein as the aroma. The cedar dominates the cold draw, there are some milk chocolate notes and a slight cooling sensation that creates a minty end note. 

SMOKING EXPERIENCE

LIGHT & DRAW
Cut:  Guillotine Cut with a Xikar Xi3 
Fire:  Soft flame butane light using a Colibri Julius

The ease at which this cigar lights is what you would expect for a quality Cuban cigar. After lightly toasting, the foot lights completely and evenly with just a few puffs. The burn experience is consistent through the whole cigar. The burn is effortless and doesn’t require any special attention or adjustment.

SMOKE
This cigar puts out smoke in volumes. From the moment it was lit the Serie E never stopped producing. The smoke is thick, velvety and had enough oil to coat the palate with each and every puff. 

FIRST THIRD
>> Leather, Citrus, Milk Chocolate

Right from the beginning, this is a beautiful cigar. The initial flavors straight off the light are mild cedar, some damp earth and maybe a hint of plain popcorn. There is a bit of a red pepper tingle on the palate, but most of that red pepper is on the retrohale. Smoke production is booming on the first third of this Serie E, even after resting for a few minutes there are no signs of it’s slowing.

Moving a little further into the initial third, you really get a sense of what Partagas is all about. The first thing that hits you is the flavor of leather, but this is not a Walmart wallet leather. This is an expensive, supple style of leather. For those of you who have played baseball, it’s similar to that expensive glove smell. Looking at you, Mizuno!

Once you move past the bold leather and wood, you can start to pick up of some of those more nuanced notes. One thing that marries with the leather very well is a slight citrus zest, that just works. And lastly, there is a nice milk chocolate flavor that lingers on the aftertaste.

If the first third is indicative of things to come, this is going to be a good cigar. The ash is still holding on well and the burn is razor sharp.

SECOND THIRD
>> Leather, Coffee, Sweet Chili

Just as I was getting into the second third of the cigar, the ash falls off. The burn is still even, with no touch-ups, and the smoke is still coming off in volumes.

The flavor profile is starting to transition a bit just into the middle third. There are still clean leather notes that seem to be the staple for this cigar. The milk chocolate flavors have faded, and they are replaced with a nice, creamed coffee flavor. The creaminess helps create a nice and even texture to the copious amounts of smoke the Serie E creates.

The retrohale also makes an interesting transition to sweet chili and a bit of citrus. It almost makes you wish you retrohaled on each puff; for those who do, you are in for real treat.

FINAL THIRD
>> Sweet Hay, Black Coffee, Citrus

Moving into the middle third there was a bit of a strength increase. Now in the last third, the strength is almost what I would consider a full-bodied cigar and it is most prevalent on the retrohale.

The main profile has taken another turn. That beloved leather note that I was enjoying so much has finally fallen to the wayside, but not in a bad way. One of my favorite things about Cubans is the sweet, dried hay notes you usually get from the wrapper and foot, and this is the flavor that dominates the final third of this cigar. The creamy textured smoke has continued, but the coffee has lost that cream and become more of a lightly roasted black coffee. The citrus is the only note that has been distinctly noticeable through each of the sections, accenting each one perfectly.

The burn line is still almost perfect, not a single touch-up required through the entirety of this Serie E. There was no issue removing the band, it slid off the cigar without taking any wrapper with it.

Finishing this Partagas, the notes have stayed consistent. There was a slight marzipan in the very end but nothing else significant.

RATING & FINAL THOUGHTS

FLAVOR PROGRESSION
The transitions in this cigar have been one of the best that I can remember. Each transition had at least one distinct note with subtle notes adding beautifully in each section of the cigar. The second third is where this cigar really shined. The flavors were easy to identify and each flavor brought something to each part of the palate.

BURN EXPERIENCE
This Serie E was just an absolute pleasure to smoke. The burn experience was flawless and the cigar did what it was rolled to do, burn. The burn line was clean throughout the entirety of the cigar. This cigar also fell in the shorter list of cigars that didn’t require one single touch-up.

RATING BREAKDOWN
0.80 / 0.80 … Craft & Aesthetic
0.50 / 0.50 … Pre-Light Characteristics
0.50 / 0.50 … Lighting Process
7.25 / 7.70 … Smoking Experience
0.40 / 0.50 … Personal Enjoyment

COMPLIMENTS & CRITIQUES

Serie E, and the E is for Excellent!

Just like the title implies this cigar was an absolute pleasure to smoke. I really had to dig to find aspects that I didn’t enjoy about this cigar. The construction is first class and the flavors really compliment my palate. With that being said, the only setbacks for me are the size and availability. The size is relative; though it may not be an everyday smoker for me, it may be for others. The availability is just one of those things the cigar community has had to adjust to since there has been an increased interest. All said and done, if you have the ability to purchase a single or a box, do it.

SIMPLY STOGIES RATING:  9.45 / 10.0