Helen Keller once said, “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”  In my darkest time, one cigar has prevailed as my trusty companion. 

Ashton VSG.

Its one of the world highest rated cigars by any measure and offers an unparalleled smoking experience. Although that last sentence sounded like a bunch of corporate marketing mumbo, jumbo… I promise that is my own opinion, not paid for by anyone!

I measure a cigar on its construction, visual appeal, flavor profile, draw and most importantly its consistency from cigar to cigar. My first Ashton VSG smoke was in the summer of 2005, 6 years after the line was introduced by the Levin family. Although the Levin family distributes the cigar under the Ashton nameplate, the cigar itself is hand rolled in the Dominican Republic by the house of Arturo Fuente.

Over the course of the next 9 years, I have probably smoked over 200 of these fine stogies and have yet to complain about one. The consistency of the smoke is bar none the most reliable of damn near any cigar I have tried over such an extended period of time.

Here is what the folks over at Ashton have to say:

“For those who desire a powerful and intoxicating flavor with a complex rich finish, look no further than the Ashton VSG. The VSG is blended exclusively for Ashton by Carlos Fuente Jr. using 4 to 5 year old aged Dominican tobacco taken from the finest and most fertile plants. The distinct flavor of VSG comes from its wrapper grown on a private estate in Ecuador owned by the Oliva family where this proprietary wrapper leaf is grown for the Fuente Family exclusively for Ashton VSG. The leaf is taken from the higher primings and matures slowly by sunlight filtered through the region¹s natural cloud covering. The result is the rich intoxicating wrapper which has made the Ashton VSG the most in demand cigar on the market today.”

The cigar has a semi-dark maduro wrapper and offers a medium to full-bodied smoke. Its flavor profile ranges offers Earthiness up front with dark chocolate undertones. The draw is excellent from start to finish and you get a taste of heaven at the top of the second 3rd of the smoke.

It has a beautiful band with fine ornate details appropriately matched to the quality and regal smoking experience of the VSG. A huge contributor to the success of this label is the variety of sizes available for nearly all smoking preferences. In total there are nine with the shortest being 4.375″ and the longest stretching to a whopping 7.5 inches in length. The gauge variety is as robust ranging from 44 at the smallest to 60 at the fattest. 

Price for a cigar as decorated as the VSG is in what I call the upper-middle price range for an everyday smoke, $12 – $25 depending on the size of the cigar. I compare most cigars to the A. Fuente Gran Reserva which is one the best under $7 dollar cigars known to man.

I have been buying Ashton VSG’s from Tobacco Habana in Houston for years… I believe that’s where I bought my first VSG at their recommendation. However its a seller, so most cigar shops will at least carry a few varieties.

In the next post along this line, I will talk about the Ashton ESG; Estate Sun Grown which is the rarer offshoot of this line with even more of an exclusive tobacco used for its construction.

Until then, enjoy your smoke!

This article is a repost from the Houston Cigar Life archives. It was originally published on August 1st, 2014

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