Boutique Wednesday Cigar Review: Argenti Exile


Size: 6.75×50, Churchill

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Strength: Medium-Full

 Price: Box of 20, $115.99

Grade: 9.1

The first smoke I fired up from Berger and Argenti, the Entubar, blew me away. Let’s just say my expectations were high on the Exile as well. The packaging alone is enough to get anyone excited.

The Exile brand was developed with the intention of emulating pre-embargo Cubans and the foot of the cigar is wrapped in a newspaper headline from 1962, proclaiming the Cuban Trade Embargo enacted by JFK—previous versions of the Exile were wrapped entirely in the paper. The Exile was the first brand created by Michael and Al Argenti via Cuban Imports, which was formed after Michael left Tabacalera Perdomo. Since the recently announced partnership with Enrique “Don Kiki” Berger of Cuban Crafters, creating Berger & Argenti, the Exile now dons a thin B&A wrapper beneath the original Exile label. Also available is the Exile Wired, which we will review in the near future.

Every Wednesday we’ll be reviewing what we consider a boutique cigar; a cigar produced in short runs, typically only sold to brick and mortars, and overall just a little less known. We hope you enjoy! And feel free to send us some suggestions, we always love those!

Now, on to the Exile!

Pre-light, 1.9:
The packaging on this Exile is eye catching to say the least. The double band and wrapper around the foot is appealing and really draws you in; it is almost like unwrapping a gift. The wrapper is smooth with minimal veins and the cigar is constructed well with good weight, no soft spots, and a beautiful cap. The pre-light aroma on the Berger & Argenti stick is of sweet tobacco and some spice at the foot. The cold draw continues this flavor profile with no surprise notes thrown in.

Burn, 1.7:
With the Chuchill toasted, the Exile produces a nice amount of smoke with a very comfortable draw. The medium gray ash holds well and is very tight with no flaking. The only deduction in this category comes from a slightly uneven burn at the beginning of the second third and continuing for the remainder of the smoke. The Exile has a cool burn throughout and only heats up as I get toward the nub (yes, I nubbed it).

Flavor, 2.7:
The first full draw on the lit smoke produces notes of leather and tobacco but no spice. The first third continues this trend, but as we continue the tobacco becomes earthier and is very full flavored with a long finish. Toward the end of the first third, I start to pick up some spice on the lips after exhale. The second third of the Berger & Argenti is smoother with a hint of vanilla and a continued long finish on the palate.  This cigar really coats the mouth well. The final third of the cigar produces some notes of dark wood with some spice on the lips. The finish is diminishing as we get down to the nub.

Overall, 2.8:
Berger & Argenti have done a great job with this Exile Churchill and especially at around $5.70 a stick.  The flavors and complexity presented are in line with the price point and, combined with the excellent presentation, this cigar really stands out.  I look forward to smoking a few more of these in the near future.

(Total: 9.1)