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Flatbed Panacea Green Robusto

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For years now, I've ridden motorcycles through Amish country, past slatted barns where tobacco hangs on rods to dry. The ravishing hearty odor of a barn like that is indescribable to those of you who do not ride through Lancaster County, or those who drive through it unwittingly trapped in the hermetic cage that is a car. That odor is a meaty, earthy, invigorating experience. You wonder: Where's all this great leaf go? I always thought cigarettes until I began smoking cigars, and discovered that Pennsylvania Broadleaf gets rolled. That made a light bulb go on.

So in the heat of Summer I embarked on a search for the great Pennsyltucky stogie. I visited the oldest tobacco shop in America, Demuth's, in Lancaster. Alas, shuttered. A couple years back Demuth fell victim to our death tax. I hunted down John Hay in Intercourse PA. Smoked an inch and said "Gack!" I visited the 150 year old cigar factory in McSherrystown PA. Sampled their Tuscorora, FX Smith, Muniemaker, Betsy Ross, Breva. I even got hold of some PA leaf and rolled my own. Each of these productions seemed as though they were driving toward that tobacco barn in a fast car which wrecked in a ditch along the way.

The Flatbed Panacea Green Label PA Broadleaf trotted out to that same barn slow and steady in a horse and buggy and arrived the way God meant it to happen. Hearty, earthy, invigorating, strong, honest. I am thinking this must be how American cigars were made before wage laws and EPA regs and crippling taxes and cheap transportation from Central America made it impossible to invest the time and care it takes to age this PA leaf and treat it right. I am thinking this was what Ulysses Grant would have smoked. Pennsylvania fermented like four years in Bucks PA.

Of course, they had to send the leaf to the Dominican to have it rolled.

Just look at that, though. Innat meaty lookin? The wrapper is thick and strong and brown as an old paper bag. The odor is rich tobacco barn with a flavor to match. Tight packed and heavy. The guy at the Cigar Volante booth down in Rock Hall kept trying to talk me into a bigger version, cause they have much fatter and longer, telling me that bigger would make more and cooler smoke. But I like robustos. (No clue why; maybe I'll figure that out too some day.) Anyway, it uncapped easily, and drew fairly free considering how tight packed it felt. Drawing cold, I could taste the triple ligero filler. Leather.

Now, the previous Flatbeds I smoked, I lit then fresh after Rock Hall. They'd sat for a super humid weekend at an outdoor street fair. This one, on the other hand, I stashed for a couple months. That made a big diff in the burn. Cause I toasted the foot of this one and it lit clear across with just half a match. When I turned it around to blow on the foot, there was no need -- red from side to side. Flavor hit me immediately with hearty leather, meaty earth, concentrated barn, and some kind of wood I can't identify -- driftwood from a bonfire, a little salty. Smooth rich retro like tobacco barn. Just a hearty tobacco experience. A knife edged burn. Tight light grey ash that fell at each inch. The finish on each puff was mild hay barn. This is the first cigar I've had where I think I could identify the experience smokers call balance.

About an hour in, I started to spit. That's when I discovered I was hitting it too hard. I slowed down, it cooled down, lost the spit, stretched it out another forty five. Burnt this thing down to barely enough to grab with thumb and finger. Had somewhere to go, too, but just couldn't lay it down to go there. Makes me want to age some Tuscororas four years and see what they taste like then.

So after I dropped the nub in my nub jar, I looked up some reviews of this thing on line, to compare what I got with what others described. Could not relate to those reviews at all. Some spoke of chocolate, other of vanilla, others of mint, others of cedar. I had no idea what the heck they were talking about. But this detail was odd: I got a minty stinkfinger right after putting this thing down. Didn't notice any while smoking it. A hearty hay barn flavor remained in my mouth for hours. I made some espresso in the evening to enjoy with that.

I give this four out of five stars.

“It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)


  • RainRain Posts: 8,958 ✭✭✭
    Very nice review, I like your style.
  • Gray4linesGray4lines Posts: 4,691 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Sounds great. I will look for these; it's everything I enjoy in a good cigar.
    LLA - Lancero Lovers of America
  • HeavyHeavy Posts: 1,591 ✭✭✭
    Nice review. But I must admit, everytime you review one of these Panacea's, at first glance I think the title is about a flatbread sandwich from Panera; I was really exicted about this one as it appeared to possibly have green chiles and/or tomatoes.
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