Meeting the Infamous Enrique Sanchez
So I get an email that my local cigar shop is having a Davidoff event and it was going to be packed full of people. I just just got done working a 12 hour shift and was not feeling up to going to a crowded event with all the noise and tv’s and overall drunken debauchary that normally occurs at these events. I decided to take a right on that street instead and head over to an alternative cigar shop slightly more secluded and less likely to have any cigar event. Well I was incorrect in my assumption for peace and quiet, but I wasn’t disappointed. Quite the opposite in fact...
So I head over the the “quieter” cigar lounge and as it turns out there was an event going on by 1502 Cigars, and low and behold an old familiar face appeared playing cards with some of the regulars. As I found out shortly after he lost his hand in the second round, apparently he is not much of a card player. After he gave up his seat at the card table I saw him walking by and I greeted him just to see if he remembered me. Turns out he did recognize me from the past. So we sat together, smoked cigars and just started talking; as men do from time to time.
Now I had met Enrique a couple of times in the past from the Chattanooga tweet up events you have heard me and the guys mention before. However, since he is usually on the run meeting other people and trying to promote his brand I hadn’t really sat down with him in a comfortable environment and just shoot the breeze. We talked about a variety of things such as our love for cigars, classical music, fine dining, FDA regulations, etc etc...
One interesting piece of information that you aficionados may find interesting, was when we were discussing about his portfolio of cigars was his very special 1502 XO. So I picked up a 1502 XO Robusto Gordo from the shop and I had heard and read several great reviews of this cigar, but never tried it myself. Enrique told me I was smoking one of the first 1502 XO cigars from his own private collection. Now that sounds pretty exclusive but to be honest everyone else had the same access and I’ll tell you why. He said that that cigar blend was not originally supposed to be released to the general public and he had this blend of cigars created for in his own personal humidor. However, because the FDA chose option 1 last year on the legislative voting for regulating cigars, he was forced with a choice; either release that blend pro bono before the legislation passed, or let it be lost forever before the FDA swung down it’s mighty hammer. He also chose his option 1 and my goodness I am glad he did.
Now a little about what makes this cigar so special is that it’s 90% Nicaraguan with fillers from all four regions of Nicaragua; Codega, Estelí, Jalapa, and Ometepe. The XO cigar is made with fillers from 18 year old tobacco stashed away in one of Nestor Placensias’ warehouses as leftover tobacco from blends of years past. Enrique saw opportunity for this tobacco and after about 18 months of hard work he finally created his masterpiece , the 1502 XO.
I smoked that cigar from beginning to end and the retrohale was smooth, the flavors and intensity transitioned like Beethoven’s 1812 Overture, and I didn’t even need a drink of water because it never dried my pallete or my throat. Like a well orchestrated symphony, the 1502 XO starts off at the first third with some midrange brass, some strings and little percussion. Not enough to scare you, but enough the capture your audible interest for the future. The second third relaxes you with woodwinds, strings and light percussion. This is designed so you don’t lose interest, but are still enjoying the complexity and controlled intensity of this music, I.e. flavors and strength of XO. The last third picks you back up for the crescendo with all instruments at full attention; dynamic string section flying overhead, fortissimo brass, and drums to remind you why you fell in love with this cigar in the first place.
Notes of bread, vanilla, toasted almonds, and chocolate are noted in my tasting, but you might taste otherwise. There is no denying by the detail in the band work, the flavor transitions, and clean box pressed style (as most of his cigars are), and the cleanliness of the smoke, you know you have something special in your hands.
Relax and Enjoy