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Cigar Review: La Gran Llave

After a two year hiatus, former President and Chief Executive Officer of Berger & Argenti, Michael Argenti has announced the collaboration between himself and cigar impresario, Abdel Fernandez of world famous AJ Fernandez Cigars on the creation of a new and exciting cigar line called LA GRAN LLAVE.  Argenti has been in the cigar business for over 25 years, functioning as Executive Vice President of Tabacalera Perdomo S.A., President and Chief Executive Officer of Cuban Imports and most recently, as President and Chief Executive Officer of Berger & Argenti. 

La Gran Llave cigars

LA GRAN LLAVE is offered in five sizes, ranging from the diminutive, but powerful, Corona Extra (4 ¾ X 48) to the elegant and decadently rich (7 ½ X 55) Double Corona. When asked about working with Abdel Fernandez, Argenti had nothing but glowing praise. “Abdel could possibly be the finest cigar maker of his generation. From his growing operations, to pre-industry and his state of the art cigar factory, his enterprise is nothing short of remarkable.”


The LGL has a firm feel to it, the Mexican San Andres wrapper is dark brown in color with a slight marble look to it. The wrapper was showing slight seam with minimal tooth. Box pressed the Vitola has two bands, the first or primary band is colored in red, black and gold. Around a center square reads “LA GRAN LLAVE” with two cursive L’s in gold right in the middle on a black background. Red accents on a black background with gold trim round out the rest of the elegant looking band with “IMPORTADO” on one side with a gold key on the other. The secondary band is red with gold trim reading “RESERVA NO or ONE” with a number/letter combo “E560FE”, a nice touch is the embossed LL’s that covers the secondary band. Pre light aroma produced notes of cedar and earth with sweet nuances of tea. The cold draw produced a flavor of natural tobacco, cedar and earth.


Upon first light is an initial blast of black pepper and bitter char. After the first 4 or 5 draws a complex flavor of almonds and coffee become prominent. Other background flavors of woody cedar, leather and muted pepper are giving the vitola a long spicy and balanced finish. The retro is producing white pepper notes right through the nostrils evolving into a dried fruit nuance.


Very impressed with the complexity and balance thus far! The LGL is producing flavors of aged tobacco with a strong nutty element, almonds and cashews notably. Pepper is at a minimal level but blending in perfectly. Background flavors of cedar, earth and coffee are adding to the mix allowing a long finish to the vitola. The retro is still producing white pepper with a raisin sweetness on the palate.


In the final third the black pepper increased but only slightly allowing the HIGH MEDIUM bodied cigar to never enter into the FULL bodied range. The complex nuttiness of almonds and cashews mixed with a natural aged tobacco element was amazingly enjoyable. Nuances of coffee, muted pepper and sweet cedar was the perfect complement to the aforementioned flavors. The retro was consistently producing white pepper blasts evolving into a dried black fruity flavor of cherries and raisins.


Just as the cigar looked and felt, the LGL had a solid construction. The v-cut produced the perfect amount of draw that almost seemed effortless. The burn line was razor sharp on both examples producing a solid black and grey ash that held past the inch point. Both examples required zero re-lights. The strength of the LGL stayed at the high MEDIUM BODIED range which allowed an array of balanced and complex flavors to be enjoyed on both examples.


The retro was consistent throughout starting off stronger with white pepper. As the cigar evolved the white pepper element decreased allowing flavors of dried fruit eventually turning into a raisin and black cherry finish on the back of the palate.

  • Black Pepper
  • Woody Cedar
  • Aged Tobacco
  • Almonds, Cashews
  • Coffee

Cigars for review provided by: Michael Argenti

Cigars smoked for review: 2

Cigar Smoke Rate: 94

Size: 5 x 54 (Robusto)

Wrapper: Mexican San Andres

Binder: Ecuadorin Habano

Filler: Nicaraguan Habano

Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez
Cigar Smoke – Est. 2010
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