The Emperor and Me

Peep this — the word cigar comes from the Latin word cicala, which means “large insect”.

When the Spanish started discovering cigars in the 1700s, they turned cicala into cigarra, since cigars resembled the shape of a cicala. The French put their spin on it and called it cigare, and by the 1800s the English were calling them cigars.

Today it seems the cigar world is returning to its Latin roots. The house of Casa Magna has resurrected the Roman Emperor Trajan, who ruled from 98 to 117 AD.

Don’t get over excited — he’s not coming back from the dead. This time around, Trajan has come back in the form of a cigar.

Hailing from Nicaragua, Casa Magna has released a limited edition collection, called The Three Good Emperors.

Trajan is the first instalment. Known for presiding over the greatest military expansion in Roman history, Casa Magna has gone all-out to make sure Trajan’s cigar stands out. For starters, it’s shaped like the letter “D”. Then there is the binder — a 2007 limited edition Jalapa sun-grown wrapper noted for its lovely aroma and rich sweet flavour. The seeds of this wrapper are Cuban in origin, but are grown in the Jalapa Valley of Nicaragua.

Only 1000 boxes have been made. I can consider myself fortunate to have snagged one cigar. By the time I went back to get a box, they were gone.

But not all is lost. The second good emperor, Hadrian has been released. But we will discuss that another day.

I paired my Trajan with Crown Royal.

Canada has been producing rye whiskey for over a hundred years, and we take whiskey production quite seriously. Heck, we even helped smuggle booze to the United States during prohibition. Crown Royal is a perfect example of how Canadians do it right. I pour a glass on the rocks, and while the ice settles in, I tend to the cigar.

The size is a nice 5.5 X 60. The “D” shape makes it a bit awkward to cut, but I manage. It’s worth noting the smell of this cigar before it’s lit: dark chocolate and coffee.

The construction is flawless. There is a thin paper band at the bottom of the cigar that looks nice for presentation purposes. I remove it, and then light. Right away, the Trajan gives off a smooth creamy taste. A few puffs in, and fl avours of rich chocolate set in. I sip the Crown Royal, it’s smooth texture compliments the Trajan.

I am amazed by the consistency of Trajan. Usually cigars have different flavours in the first, second, and third segments. This one remains consistent throughout. Paired with the cigar, the flavours of the whiskey are vanilla, caramel, and oak. The medium body texture suits the cigar well and does not overpower it.

Cigar enthusiasts will be happy to know that it will not cost you a king’s ransom to purchase a Trajan. At around $10 a stick, it’s tremendous value for this premium tasting cigar. Emperor Trajan would be quite pleased with this cigar, so on his behalf, enjoy this optimus cicala.

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