Ashton "Classic" Review: Back to Where It All Began...

When the great American cigar boom got underway in the 1990s, the Ashton brand really took off. One of the primary reasons for this success was its "Classic" line of cigars, which to this day remain highly revered.

With their buttery, Connecticut shade-grown wrappers, and immaculate tasting Dominican filler and binder, the Ashton Classic is one of those cigars that truly has lived up to its name.

Being that it's been a hot minute since I last puffed on one of these resplendent cigars, I revisited Ashton's Classic line, this time opting to smoke the "Prime Minister" form of the traditional Churchill cigar type. 

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Unlit Impressions

Ashton Classic Prime Minister Churchill

At first glance, the "Prime Minister" appears to hit the Churchill cigar stereotype straight on the nose in regard to size. However, unlike the regular Churchill version of the Ashton Classic, which has a 52 ring gauge and a 7.5-inch length, this variant sports a 48 ring-gauge and is 6.88-inches long. 

The unlit nose on this particular premium cigar blend is a true delight. A tangy, marmalade-like aroma is accompanied by hints of toasted whole-grain bread fresh from the oven and generously buttered. Very enticing all around.

Initial Smoke

Ashton Classic Prime Minister Churchill

Sliding into the first half of an Ashton Classic is like easing into a warm bubble bath. You never think you really need one until full submersion has been achieved.

Those unlit hints of buttered toast, citrus, honey, and vanilla all immediately come parading across the palate. It's a very welcoming start to a mild cigar that is anything but boring.

2nd Half

Ashton Classic Prime Minister Churchill
On the backend of the first half comes a slightly different sort of smoking sensation. One where notes of cedar, roasted tree nuts, and toasted tannins take the lead.
Don't worry. All of those citrusy, vanilla-like marmalade nuances are still sitting atop that heaping mound of buttered toast. It all just happens to be served upon a plank of Spanish cedar at this point.
This gives the middle of the slim Churchill a subtly pleasant evolutionary stage that feeds fluidly into the finish of its cigar flavor profile.

Parting Puffs

Ashton Classic Prime Minister Churchill
Approaching the final third of the Ashton Classic "Prime Minister" means abandoning sweet citrus in favor of toasted grains and tannins. Every now and then you might get a quick whiff of that clementine-like flavor from the first two-thirds, but it remains fleeting.
Instead, you get a more rounded mouthfeel, and a cigar flavor profile that is all toasted wood with a hint of vanilla. There is nothing bland about the parting puffs of this Ashton Classic, just a very clean, refined finish that makes you regret that the ride is coming to an end.

Ash / Burn / Smoke / Draw

Ashton Classic Prime Minister Churchill
Although the ash on Ashton's "Prime Minister" did flare out a fuzz as the burn evolved, it did not flake, with the white core of the ash holding firm the entire time.  

Burn rates were even, but progressed slightly quicker than expected and ran a little hot. Probably due to the narrower ring-gauge of the cigar.  

Smoke was in ample supply, and provided a very rounded mouthfeel with a medium-length finish and a clean aftertaste.

The draw was spot-on throughout.

Final Thoughts

Ashton Classic Prime Minister Churchill
Smoking an Ashton Classic after more than a decade was a real delight. The "Prime Minister" is concocted from the same premium cigar blend as the rest of the Classic line, a welcome reminder as to why it is still revered as one of the best mild cigar blends ever rolled.
From its enticing unlit impressions and flavor-matched initial smoke, to the smooth transition midway to allow additional tannin notes of freshly milled cedar, there is very little to dislike about the Ashton Classic "Prime Minister."

Cigar Stats

Cigar Ashton Classic "Prime Minister" Churchill Natural
Wrapper Connecticut Shade
Tobacco Binder/Filler Dominican/Dominican
Factory Dominican Republic
Size Churchill
Strength Mild-Medium
Pairing Drink Japanese Grapefruit Soda
Rating 4.2/5

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