1502 Black Gold
1502 Black Gold
Image: Supplied

A friend of mine, who I consider a true cigar ‘aficionado, swears by 1502 cigars, owned by Global Premium Cigars - a Nicaraguan owned tobacco company that prides itself on its Nicaraguan history and heritage. Global Premium Cigars, headquartered in Miami, in the US, was founded by its leader Enrique Sanchez Icaza in 2011. It is named after the year that Christopher Columbus supposedly ‘discovered’ Nicaragua (I won’t get into the politics of that).

Other than the GPC Cachito, which is one of my favourite short smokes for when I don’t have a lot of time, I have been walking past 1502s for some years now.

Truth be told, even though I sampled the three main 1502 tobacco lines under the Blended Selection category, namely the 1502 Emerald “Fina Fuerte” (Fine Strong), the 1502 Ruby and the 1502 Black Gold years ago, I am not sure why I had not returned to them until now. Usually, I will find ‘my cigar’ within a particular brand’s offerings having sampled a lot of what they have to offer, and what I have access to.

1502 also added the limited run 1502 XO ‘Aged Masterpiece’ which contains 18-year-old tobacco, as well as the 1502 Nicaragua and Blue Sapphire, which are both puro, meaning the tobacco is from one country, in this case Nicaragua. The 1502 Nicaragua uses tobacco drawn from the main tobacco growing areas of Esteli, Jalapa, Condega and Ometepe, each with distinct characteristics while the Blue Sapphire’s is made with tobacco from Esteli, Jalapa and Condega.

Of the 1502 Blended Selection and Nicaraguan Puros Selection, Emerald (mild) comes first in terms of strength, followed by the Nicaragua/Blue Sapphire, Ruby and Black Gold. On the website, Enrique Sanchez I is quoted as saying, I like to start my day with an Emerald, then I enjoy a Ruby after lunch, and a Black Gold to end the night.

Being a lover of full-bodied cigars, I have found the Black Gold to be the one for me, in particular the 152mm by 56 ring gauge Conquistador. It comes in various vitolas including Perfecto, Toro, Lancero, Corona and Robusto. Made in Nicaragua, the Black Gold has a Mexican San Andreas wrapper, a double Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan long fillers.

1502 Anniverssay Selection
1502 Anniverssay Selection
Image: Enrique Sánchez Icaza / Linkedin

It is a box pressed cigar with a simple yet luxurious black and gold band that truly complements the deep brown, dark chocolate coloured maduro wrapper. The design is also carried over onto the box, particularly the blackish-brown ‘burnt’ outer.

When smoked, the black pepper flavour kicks in after a couple of pulls as well as hints of citrus and cedar wood when retrohaling (breathing smoke out through the nose). I found that as I got to the end of the first third and started on the second, the cigar settled down into a smoother smoke, while retaining black pepper, wood and nut flavours.

The pepper is consistently prominent throughout the smoke with other flavours subtle, making it hard to distinguish the different layers, even in the last third. There is also a sweetness to the Black Gold which combines with the lingering gentle bite of the black pepper which could also be interpreted as chilli. All of this makes for a truly characterful smoke.

When smoking it during the day, paired with ginger tea, which complemented the flavours wonderfully, I can see why Enrique Sanchez Icaza would end the night off with the Black Gold. I wouldn’t want to follow it with anything else.

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