Cigar Review: MBombay KeSara Vintage Nikka

Cigar Review: MBombay KeSara Vintage Nikka

Bombay Tobak
Country: Costa Rica
Wrapper: Ecuador (Connecticut Des Florado Vintage 2002)
Binder: Ecuador
Filler: Dominican Republic & Peru
Size: 6 1/2 x 46
Strength: mild-medium to medium
Price: $12.00

Overall Rating: 9.3

MBombay cigars have earned the #4 spot on our Top Ten Cigars of 2014 and the #3 spot on our Top Ten Cigars of 2015. How exactly does Mel Shah follow up that kind of success? By releasing a limited production tweaked version of the MBombay KeSara named after his wife called the MBombay KeSara Vintage Nikka. Featuring a 2002 vintage Ecuadorian Connecticut Des Florado wrapper and tobaccos aged three additional years over the standard KeSara, the Nikka is limited to 250 10-count tins for a total production of 2,500 cigars. Like everything MBombay has produced the Nikka has earned high marks, and will certainly be worth seeking out for the discerning cigar enthusiast.


Pre-Light: The Bombay KeSara Vintage Nikka is quite visually appealing with a smooth slightly oily wrapper, pigtail cap and covered foot. The Ecuadorian Connecticut Des Florado wrapper is nearly the exact same color as the gold trim on the MBombay band. There are a few noticeable veins and a very slight bumpiness to the cigar’s wrapper. As always, the MBombay band is a work of art, however this cigar does not feature the larger oriental carpet like MBombay band that some MBombay cigars have, which is a little disappointing for a cigar as limited as this.


From the wrapper of the KeSara Nikka comes a mild mix of honey, nuts, hay and espresso aromas. Due to the covered foot of the Nikka, there is little difference in aroma between the foot and the wrapper. The pre-light draw allows flavor of leather, nuts, coffee, oak and hay.


Burn: The Nikka’s construction is certainly top notch. A great draw allows through plenty flavorful smoke. From beginning to end the MBombay Nikka burns even. There’s a pleasing roasted nut aroma to the burning cigar that is quite enjoyable.


Flavor: Starting off with a slight creaminess to it, the MBombay KeSara Nikka begins with notes of almonds and walnuts. Almonds and walnuts are joined by notes of oak, leather and sweet hay. On the retrohale, very mild pepper blend with hay and floral notes. Just the slightest hint of sweet citrus occurs in the background of the flavor profile of the Nikka. The transition to the second third of the cigar sees the mix of pepper and creamy nuts become even more prevalent. Flavors of grass, citrus, oak, earth and mild coffee all occur during the second third of the MBombay Nikka. At the halfway point of the Nikka there is a slight increase in the pepper notes. During the transition to the final third of the cigar the citrus, pepper and leather notes all move to the forefront. Cedar, oak, hay, earth, coffee and mild chocolate all occur towards the end of the last third of the MBombay KeSara Nikka.


Overall: The standard KeSara is hard cigar to follow, with it’s awesome blend and #4 ranking on our Top Ten Cigars of 2014, so I was a bit apprehensive when Mel Shah told be that he was releasing the Nikka. I should have know better, because MBombay has been putting out great cigars, and the KeSara Vintage Nikka is no exception. Full of nut, coffee, hay, citrus and pepper notes, the Nikka has a wonderfully creamy flavor profile. The extra aging has tamed the strength in the Nikka, compared to the original KeSara, making the it even more appealing to a wider array of smokers. Yet, the mellower strength does nothing to dull the Nikka’s depth of flavor. Personally, I found the Nikka to be an impressive mild-medium to medium bodied cigar that goes great with a morning cup of coffee. The Nikka will be the cigar I smoke with my father later this month for his birthday. Those who enjoy the other MBombay cigars will find the KeSara Vintage Nikka much to their liking.


Pairing: I suggest trying the MBombay KeSara Nikka for the first time with a bottle of sparkling water, which is what we pair with all our cigars during their initial review. A cup of medium roast coffee or a creamy cappuccino will pair especially well with the Nikka. Those looking for something a bit stronger will find a sipping rum such as a Kirk and Sweeney 12, Zafra 21 or Ron Zacapa 23 will all go nicely with the cigar. The Aberlour A’bunadh Cask Strength, Glenfarclas 17, Glen Elgin 16 and Glendronach 12 Original will all compliment the Nikka quite well.


On a side note: There’s something interesting that I noticed on cigars from several companies at the 2015 IPCPR in New Orleans, small holes or slits in a cellophane. The MBombay Nikka makes use of this feature, and it’s an idea I’m quite fond of. While we’ve all heard the cello “breaths,” there have always been arguments over storing cigars with or without cello. (I personally do both, depending on what I’m storing and where I’m storing it.) I like this idea of perforated cello as it makes for the best of both worlds. Kudos to MBombay for being at the forefront of this trend.


Reviewed by Jonathan David (@JonDavid1210)