The ESG line is the most expensive cigar released by Ashton. When deciding between the ESG and VSG, many people usually end up opting for the Ashton Virgin Sun Grown because of the slightly lower price point. In fact, I’ve probably done the same many times as I really enjoy the flavor profile and quality from a VSG. However, this review will give another indepth perspective of the ESG and perhaps cigar smokers will reconsider their decision when choosing again. Another thing to consider is that the ESG is very similar to the Opus X except that the Opus X has a shade grown wrapper while the Estate Sun Grown is obviously Sun Grown. The binder and filler are almost alike if not the same as well.
From Ashton’s Website:
Robert Levin and Carlos Fuente Jr. have teamed up to create the Ashton Estate Sun Grown, or ESG for short. Such a special occasion called for a very special cigar. The ESG uses a unique Dominican wrapper grown on the Chateau de la Fuente farm in the Dominican Republic. This wrapper has never been used on any other cigar. The blend is the creation of Carlos Fuente Jr. who is a master blender and has created the most sought after cigars in the world. With ESG the bar has been raised once again.
Every year, Ashton will introduce one size of Ashton ESG for the next five years. In its debut year, a 6.75 x 49 size was introduced. In the second year a 5.25 x 52 has been added along with the continued limited production of the first year. And so it will continue for three more years until 2010. From then on, all five sizes will be produced annually and made available to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Ashton.
Ashton ESG 20 Year Old Salute Review
Wrapper: Dominican Republic (Sun Grown Rosado)
Binder/Filler: Dominican Republic
Size: 6.75 x 49
Smoke Time: 2 hrs
In humidor since: August 2010
Location: Tasty Tobacco Shop
The ESG has a nice medium color wrapper that falls right in between the VSG and Opus X. While the cap is beautifully done and clean, there are various glue spots on the cigar itself. I’ve noticed this issue on a few of the God of Fire and Opus X cigars. The band is intricately done and rivals the Forbidden X/Opus X in terms of details and surpasses them in regards to the vibrant colors used. When I performed the squeeze test, a bit of the wrapper actually cracked. Even though the small bit of wrapper was protruding from the cigar, it was very minimal in damage. In fact, the cigar burned right through this issue without any problems. However, this is something that also occurs on Opus X and God Of Fire and I believe it’s because the wrappers are very fragile.
I made a very clean cut across the head but I get the feeling that the wrapper just feels fragile to me. Keep in mind, this is just an observation as I go through my routine. The cold draw is very good and figure it will open up nicely once lit. As I brought the lighter closer to the foot, the cigar accepted the flame with open arms, lighting up brilliantly. For the first 1/2 inch of the smoke, I was considered that the cigar was burning too fast but this slowed down soon after. The draw opened as expected just tight enough so I put some effort into the cigar but open enough where it reminded me to just sit back and relax. The ash was beautiful, lasting over 2 inches at some points and this was very similar to an aged Opus X. There was a steady stream of smoke throughout the review and each exhale was filled with creamy smoke. As mentioned earlier, the burn was sensational and almost razor edged.
The wrapper smells of cedar and a hint of cinnamon while the foot gives off that sweet aged tobacco smell. The initial draw has that leathery and spiciness that immediately reminded me of an aged Opus X. The cigar just feels really smooth and brings up memories of when I smoked the 2006 Opus X BBMF. In the first third, I am picking up cedar, leather and a floral sweetness with spice on the long finish. The flavor profile feels cohesive and mellow.
In the second third, I am still tasting smooth leather and a floral sweetness with the spice following up not far behind. While the overall flavor profile hasn’t changed, there is a nice variety of notes and complexity. As I approach the later half of the second third, there is a sweet flavor different from the floral notes that reminds me of hints of caramel.The last third opens up with notes of wood and leather dominant while the spice isn’t as prevalent anymore. Of course, no sooner than I say this does the spice return when taking very long draws. On normal draws however, I feel the ESG’s true flavor come to the front with a certain mellowness to it. The cigar finishes up nicely with leather, wood and an underlying sweetness once again.
- This is a medium to full bodied cigar that is complex and full of flavor
- I can easily see how comparisons to an aged Opus X can be made as they both use similar wrappers and binders/fillers.
- The price tag is high especially since Ashton also makes a wonderful cigar by the name of VSG by as much as $6-8 dollars less depending on the size
- I think this is a phenomenal cigar when it has some rest/age under it’s belt. If possible, buy a five pack or more of these ESGs and let them sit in the back of the humidor
- I was also a critic of the ESG but I am certainly sold on an AGED ESG.
- Removing price from the equation, I think it is certainly a toss up as whether or not I’d grab an Opus X or ESG