Paul 79 – Deep rich chocolate color wrapper with Minimal veins, very sharp pointed foot, well done cap, no soft spots, in face it is as hard as a tent peg, mild tobacco and dark fruit aroma on the wrapper, excellent cold draw with some resistance, dark fruit and sweetness on the cold draw. First 1/3: Ash, bitterness, leather, medium amount of thin smoke, earthiness, sour, medium strength, light body and a somewhat unpleasant long finish, scalloped burn, the light gray ash falls at 1/8”. Second 1/3: leather, bitterness, dryness in the mouth, canoeing burn, thicker smoke. Last 1/3: Some pepper on the retrohale, leather earth, sour fruit, grapefruit, bitterness and a foul aftertaste. Tossed it with about an 1 ½” left.
Rob 97 – This is an oscuro short torpedo. It has a very oily slick wrapper with absolutely no veins and completely invisible seams. Pre-light aroma off the wrapper is classic ‘barnyard’ with a tinge on sweetness from tomatoes. It is quite heavy for its size and extremely firmly packed. After slicing off the cap it yields a huge lip smacking take on pasta sauce. Upon getting her toasted and heated up – draw is starting off a hair tight, but that makes sense based upon the firm pack. I’m getting a slight drift of smoke from the foot and more than ample amount on the draw. There is no sweetness on the palate, more of a meaty tobacco nuance. However, that sweet tomato’y essence in coming through on the retro hale. The cherry is glowing red and the burn is razor sharp. Ten minutes of smoking, and I’m only 1/2 inch in! Wondering what this baby is going to do at its sweet spot? At the 3/4 inch mark, the stick has morphed. It is extremely smooth, and the meatiness has subsided and I am left with a silky expression of a super premium cigar. At 1 inch down, the ash is holding on tight to its sharp burn. The flavor has shifted to a caramel sweetness. Finally the ash has dropped off in a single chunk. The foot is bellowing with smoke. The retro hale is now conforming with the sweet caramel on my palate. With only 1/3 of the stick left, and even though it is a slow burning cigar, I am disappointed that there is only a small amount left. The sweetness has taken a back seat to a cocoa wash over my palate. The cigar is still quite firm, and even with the glowing red cherry, it is staying remarkably cool. There has been no spice so far, but now a singe of black pepper is coming through. The slick, oily wrapper is still shining bright as the stick is nearing its end. The cocoa has remained and added a coffee note which has lasted to the end, which is still creamy and smooth. I am smoking this cigar to the nub, and holding on to the final remnants with my ‘Perfect Draw’ tool. I envision this cigar, not around the campfire joking with friends, but rather in a a formal jacket after dinner in the library with a fine very old spirit.
Jim 84 – This torpedo shaped robusto has a nice medium brown color where you can distinctly see the veins of the tobacco leaves and is visually a nice looking cigar. It looks like it was flawlessly rolled and as well as packed very firm with tobacco. Initial smoke is very strong with a zesty spice in the back of the throat. Flavors started developing quickly. This has richness to the flavors of earth, leather, coffee and black pepper. Draw is labored despite cutting twice. Burn is wavy but relatively straight. Strength is definitely increasing as I progress. I had to cut again (third time) to see if I could improve the draw. As I approach the halfway mark, the spice has lessened and I’m getting more of a strong espresso flavor with an earthy finish. At this point I think the flavors are a getting a little too strong and overbearing for my taste but I want to give it chance to balance out. However, it never balance out. It might just need some aging to help with that balance of flavors that I desired as I think this cigar has a chance to improve.
Artie 88 – This cigar is the shape of a bullet or a miniature artillery shell. Its cap is super pointy then the sides quickly become parallel. I’ve never seen a cigar like it. The color is a rich shade of chocolate brown, and the foot shows no stems. A guillotine cut reveals a nice easy draw, but only a mild cold draw flavor. Once lit this stick puts out a ton of smoke. The initial flavor is strong…black pepper and bitter orange peel. As I smoke the first third, I struggle to pick up other flavors as the spice fades away. This is a rather one dimensional smoke of low complexity. At the mid point there is no obvious transition and the cigar is somewhat uninteresting. Towards the nub it is more of the same. This is a smooth cigar and well made, but i would have liked something more complex. The excellent construction and burn helped my overall score.
Will 89 – A good looking 5 x 54 “bellibusto”, wrapper is dark and looks sun grown, very oily sheen. Densely packed and heavy in the hand. The cold nose is lots of pepper and leather, 2 sneezes. Cold daw is tight with lots of spice. Upon ignition I immediately can taste the ligero and lots of it. I retrohale and regret it, this stick is powerful. This little fatty is raw power out of the gate, good thing I had a late lunch, Not much smoke but the flavor is big and powerful. The ash was a bit bloomy early on and corrected itself and finished strong. This stick was begging for a single malt or a craft bourbon, strong but creamy sweetness on the finish. Solid smoke.