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Martel's Marvelous Musings on Magnificent Miasmas of Merit



  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    Another quick hitting double review for the recordbooks:

    Rocky Patel Vintage '03 Cameroon Robusto
    I'm pretty sure I've had this sitting around for a little over a year from a COTM mix.  I had a period where I stopped keeping records and this seems like something that would have been in one of those mixes that came in that time frame.

    I don't typically like Rocky for two reasons.  First there are too many blends to keep straight.  Second, the majority of those blends I've tried have been not good.  I've been to a number of shops that have "custom" blends by Rocky.  I think they're all the same and they're all a ripoff. 

    This, however, was not my typical Rocky experience.  It had great Cameroon flavors.  Some cedar and a smooth finish.  It felt good in the mouth and retroed smooth. I smoked this on a rainy day while doing some prep work in my shed for Mothers' Day and in between moving some rocks from around the fishpond right outside the shed.  It smoked slow and didn't have any burn problems. I'd try this again, but not as a yard gar.  If I try it again, it will be to sit down and enjoy.

    Camacho Ecuador Robusto
    Same story on this as far as origin.  COTM in that one six-month period I subscribed to it.

    I've enjoyed Camacho when I smoke them FTMP.  Some of the older blends before the rebranding were fantastic.  I've enjoyed several of the new packaging Camachos as well.  That's not the case with this one.  I couldn't get past the blast of black pepper.  Maybe my palate was shot but I got nothing else and it was overwhelming.  I couldn't even power through to finish it.

    I will say that I'd been doing some landscaping and it was a windy day so I was really dried out which can mess me up.  But I was sitting on the newly assembled porch swing my wife got for Mothers' Day enjoying some time with her after prepping her new fish pond some more.  I thought a cigar would be a nice endcap to the day.  Unfortunately I picked this one.

    Oh, the pump for the new pond arrives today.  I look forward to sharing some reviews from beside it.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • Amos_UmwhatAmos_Umwhat Posts: 8,158 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Nice to see you reviewing again.  I liked that RP cameroon, too.  If it weren't for the COTM I'd have probably never tried it, because of the same RP problems you mentioned above.  The first couple RP's I had, Sun Grown and Vintage 1990, knocked my socks off.  I really liked them.  So I started trying others, which was hard to keep up because I couldn't seem to try them out as fast as they churned them out.  Long story short, I don't try the one's I don't know until I see a review from someone here.
    WARNING:  The above post may contain thoughts or ideas known to the State of Caliphornia to cause seething rage, confusion, distemper, nausea, perspiration, sphincter release, or cranial implosion to persons who implicitly trust only one news source, or find themselves at either the left or right political extreme.  Proceed at your own risk.  

    "There is nothing so in need of reforming as another person's bad habits."   Mark Twain
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    Ortega Serie 'D' Natural Robusto

    Wow.  This was another from the old COTM stash.  I don't think I saved the newsletter from this release so I don't know if it was the "premium" or what.  No matter, I really liked it.  It had over a year in the cooler when I pulled it out.  On this site it's only available in a box, but I'd consider going that route though my purchasing has been limited lately.  Good price for $20 if they're consistent.

    It was all umami-rich in feel and flavor.  Earth.  There was also chocolate and leather and coffee notes.  It was complex but approachable.  I could just sit back and relax with it, but I felt I could really analyze it if I wanted to.  One warning, the finish is longgggggg.  I'm talking about I smoked it slow, over about two hours.  (And it burned great with no touch-ups and only one time it was uneven.)  I finished about 10PM and an hour later brushed my teeth.  In the morning I ate breakfast with two cups of joe then brushed again.  And I still tasted the cigar.  It wasn't bad, though I was tired of it by that point.  So fair warning if that's not your thing.

    I really need to run across another of these to see if it's the same experience.  It's going to the top of my list for one-off trials that might make the top-10 if consistently this good.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    Caldwell's Blind Man's Bluff (Robusto 5x50)

    My smoking spot got rearranged.  I have to smoke outside or in my shed.  The shed is actually a large summer kitchen from the early 20th century that now gets used for storage.  I had a leather recliner in there, but my wife decided to clean it up and bring it into the house for extra seating.  No smells or stains on it so it worked out okay, but I had to start sitting in a lawn chair.  To mourn the loss of the cushion for my tush, I lit up a Blind Man's Bluff that had nearly two years of rest.

    The habano wrapper was very light on this.  I almost thought it was a CT wrapper for a moment.  A taste of the cap doesn't yield much nuance.  The smell of the stick seems a little like rich, earthy mulch.  I guess that's a good think in a decaying/fermenting leaf?  It was a slight smell and not unpleasant.

    After a long toast, this burned consistently all the way to the nub.  And this was on a humid day, so I was surprised at that.  I smoked slow but maybe a little faster than I normally would out of worry. No off flavors presented themselves.

    Flavors on this were mild to the point of being almost underwhelming.  There was enough there to keep me coming back.  It was a really solid stick for something on the mild side of medium in this price range.  No flavors dominated, but there was nothing off-putting in the profile, either. Typical pepper and wood for mild-medium.  Some spice-maybe nutmeg?  Smooth.  I could keep smoking these all day, but I wouldn't feel like I was missing out on something if I had to put it down for unexpected reasons.  Sometimes I want a cigar like that.  Enjoyable but not a unique experience.  If I found a deal on these, I'd jump on it.  This would be an approachable cigar for many who are unaccustomed to the art.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    Martel said:
    Aside from some no-label seconds sold to me by a B&M when I had one of my kids, some machine mades, and some other gifts along the way, my first real smokes have been Perdomo Lot 23. The first of these I received as a gift from my FIL upon completing a Master's degree. I smoked it on a windy moonlit night along an island beach on the FL-GA border while walking and talking with my wife. I remember enjoying that smoke, and so did my wife. So she wound up buying me a small humidor for Christmas. I think she's unleashed a monster.

    So, I was seasoning that humi, but had yet to receive my first shipment of smokes when New Year's Eve rolls around. Gotta kick off the new year in the right fashion, so what do I do? I log-in to the forums here and see that several BOTLs are lighting up Undercrowns. I make my way to the local B&M only to find out they don't have any. Not wanting to make a noob fool of myself, and not remembering what else is on my recommended list, I just ask if they have anything by Perdomo. Sure enough they have the Lot 23. I grab a couple Maduros in Robusto size and head home to start the festivities--I'm not crazy enough to venture out past 8 PM on New Year's.

    I don't remember much about the first Lot 23 I smoked before, except I kept having to touch up because of the wind. I want to make sure I've given them a fair shake now that I'm taking this smoking thing seriously and I have no reason to think I won't like them again. So, I light it up after a nice toast and immediately notice leather and pepper coming from the easy draw. I also see a nice, thick smoke rising from the cigar and note, "a burning cigar is a beautiful thing! (but not as beautiful as my wife and her smile.)" I actually did write that on my note page while smoking because it's true. And because my wife has decided to join me for the evening's cigar fix on our porch.

    The cigar needs lots of touch ups along one side, but the smoke remains cool in my mouth. About midway through another taste comes into the profile, a taste I describe as "mushrooms?" on the page. About this point, the leather lessens and the pepper increases slightly. I muse on the page:

    Rose Glow,
    White ash.
    The Craftsmanship.
    Curling, curling in the air.

    Now I note that the pepper continues to increase and I get a slight lemony acidity. I also note some hints of malt vinegar and caramel. These flavors mellow into a slight and simple sweetness right near the end. I also experienced some woodsy tones at this point. And the pepper begins to go way down. At one point I experienced a difficult draw, but the cigar worked past that and became easy to the finish.

    Just a couple of other notes before closing. First, I love the band on this cigar with its cream and brown stripes and text and blue-black line sketch of Tabacalera Perdomo. Second, and this hit me later as I remember happening the first time I smoked one of these, and then also happened when I revisited the stick for a third time, I got tremendously sick to my stomach. This stick is now labeled a gut-buster for me. It's not that it's particularly strong, or just that I'm a noob. I've smoked several other cigars which were far stronger that did not have this effect. Just a final note of warning about my experience. All in all, it was good while smoking it, but made more so by the companionship of my wife as she enjoyed me enjoying my new hobby and her generosity.
    Found my old cigar journal.  Thought I might use the quote function on some of these old reviews and add what they're actually about!

    Some are obvious from pics or text, but pics don't register in searches for specific cigars.  So, here goes.  I may not get all of them.  Sorry to those looking for new reviews, though in honor of my first, I might smoke a Lot 23 tonight.  I might have an older one laying around and I got a new one for Christmas.

    Perdomo Lot 23
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    Martel said:
    Just kidding; is there really any need to review a cigar that tastes like air with added chemicals?

    We've all tried them; some people love them. Found some small ones when I was looking for a quick cigar. I don't think it will age well, but the leftovers will probably sit in my humi for a long time.

    I guess I learned my lesson. If you can't take the time to sit down and enjoy, is there any point? I don't do this for the nicotine fix. I do it for flavor and relaxation. I do it to savor an experience, maybe with some good food and drink and friends. If I only have 10-15 minutes, is a cigar the best way to spend that, or am I not doing justice to the cigar? Either way, I'm going to reserve the smoking until I have proper time to sit down, unrushed, and enjoy. My next review will focus on something much better, and will actually talk about the cigar!
    Macanudo Caviar
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    Martel said:
    This cigar just looked awesome from the beginning. The giant band with a gold helmet and subtle black-on-black design in the background. The color and exterior construction on this 5x44 cigar have my senses engaged before it's even lit.

    I was drinking a venetian roast coffee while I smoked this on a rainy morning...my last day of vacation before returning to work.

    Now that the stage is set, the first draws seem tight-tighter than any of the other smokes reviewed so far. The flavor of those draws has a slight leather taste. The smoke is nice and cool. I note "this is seriously smokeable-smooth." As a comparison, the first third doesn't have as much in-your-face flavor as the Undercrown, but it is complex and subtle. Again, I comment on the smoothness in my notes with another comparison to the UC. It is smoother than the UC at this point.

    At 1/3, there is a sudden strong caramel flavor. I also note that this cigar requires a slow puff rate. If I try to smoke it too quickly, it gets an unpleasant acid flavor. But since the burn is smooth and easy, the slow puff doesn't matter. The smoke coming off the cigar is pleasant, but there isn't a large amount.

    I make it to 2/3 of the way down before the ash falls off of this one. It is also at that point that a mild woodsiness enters the flavor profile. Just past that point I begin to taste raw cocoa nibs or chocolate covered espresso beans. That means there is some bitterness, but not unpleasantly so and accompanied by sweetness. This cigar doesn't cause my mouth to water much. Some do, but this one does not.

    This cigar was great until the end. I kept smoking it until my fingers were warm and I was starting to get light-headed. The flavors were pretty consistent throughout--consistently good--even if not overly strong. This is certainly a cigar to smoke again sometime.

    photo IMAG0086.jpg
    Man O War Armada
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    I smoked this 5.5x54 Robusto as dessert after a fairly heavy meal of roast pork with a teriyaki sauce gravy served over mashed potatoes and salad on the side. It was accompanied by water. Before busting out the review, I want to comment on the Robusto. I really don't have a lot of experience with other sizes, certainly not ring size anyway. Mid 40s to mid 50s just seems like the right size for a cigar. Some of you large-ring guys may have to try and convert me. Same thing if there are any lancero fans out there.

    This stick felt very firm pre-light. The box-press shape was new for me, but I actually liked the feel of it in both hand and mouth. The cigar has a good eye appeal and my first note after lighting it is "Wow! Pepper!" That first taste was strong. The cigar also gave off lots of smoke. My wife didn't care for the odor of this one and left me alone on the porch to smoke it with my cigar notes and some other writing I was composing at the time. Too bad for her, I liked this enough to consider buying more. It is a definite try again cigar.

    The cigar mellowed some halfway or a little before. At this point I note how even the cigar is burning. I initially had some trouble getting it to light evenly. One stubborn spot just wouldn't glow, but once I got it going the thing never had trouble keeping-up or staying lit. The ash did fall a lot sooner than I would like, but I blame the fact that a cold front swept in and I was shivering quite a bit shortly after starting this cigar.

    Now well into the second third and approaching the final third, I'm noting more dark chocolate, some coffee, and eventually, cedar. There is a nice complexity that remains even as the cigar mellows a lot. Overall this has been a very nice smoke. The pepper comes and goes, but after the first few overwhelming puffs, it was just the right amount of pepper. Right at the end, I started to notice some green apple flavors adding to the complexity and interest.

    This smoke was great after my dinner, but it didn't last long enough. It burned pretty quickly. Then again, as cold as I got, maybe that's a good thing. If I had this cigar in anything much larger, I would expect it to give a decent gut punch, too. But I would definitely smoke this one again, if, in part, only to give it a shot on a more comfortable evening.

    photo IMAG0102jpg
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2018
    "By Tatuaje." I guess that makes this my first Tat. I found its construction to be very high quality. The cigar felt nice in the hand. A light touch along the stick gave the impression of felt or velvet on the fingers. Fuzzy, if you will. Not oily or dry. Different to the touch from other cigars I've had, for sure.

    I started smoking this on a walk with the family, but my wife stepped on something and decided to go in 'cause she was hurting a bit, so I sat down on the porch to finish. I didn't have my notes with me, so I recorded my impressions later, and didn't keep the best record of the smoke.

    This cigar had a lot of Leather and Black Pepper, but was balanced by a nice sweetness that clearly came from the Maduro wrapper. I initially thought this was going to be a strong cigar, but after sitting down with it, my wife suggested I enjoy a drink, too. I had been given a sampler of little airline-size bottles of different Jim Beam products and ended up with "Devil's Cut" to drink. As soon as I took a drink of the whiskey-90 proof extract from oak barrels-I knew it was a mistake to pair it with the cigar. It overpowered the cigar. While I could still taste the flavors of the stick, they were greatly lessened in power. The strength of the cigar was now more like a "medium" than close to strong. Because I started drinking before the gar really got going into the second third, I suspect the overall impression would have been more medium-strong than just the "medium" I got with the liquor or the "strong" I got initially.

    I did enjoy this cigar. And honestly, I feel like if I enjoy the smoke, it was a success whether or not I got a great sense for the subtleties and character of the cigar. I do want to explore and hone my palate, but I'm not overly concerned about drinking ice water with one cigar, coffee with another, and on the third sampling trying it with scotch or whatever. This whole process is for the enjoyment. Even though I enjoy the methodical nature of taking notes and making comparisons, I don't want to feel like I'm in a controlled lab environment either.

    So bottom line is, I will definitely try this cigar again (with water!) It was a smaller ring gauge, and the wrapper really shined because of that (and was still noticeable even with the Devil's Cut). It makes me look forward to sampling more of Pete Johnson's creations as well.

    photo IMAG0139jpg
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    Martel said:
    I hear these don't age well. I want to know how anyone is able to let them sit long enough to age. This thing was good.

    My wife gave this cigar to me as a V-day present. Yes, she went to a B&M (after asking me what I liked/wanted to try, so it wasn't really a surprise) and said she didn't want to spend over $40 (shows what I'm worth) and asked one of the ladies behind the counter for help. I got a tasty little present that included this cigar in a robusto size. I couldn't wait to smoke it, so we went for a walk and I lit up.

    The aroma of the stick is good pre-light. The pre-light draw is firm but not tight. It toasts nicely and lights well. There is quite a bit of smoke from the foot and a nice even burn.

    This cigar didn't seem distinctly different by thirds or any other division. The flavors flow, coming and going throughout. I was able to smoke this cigar for well over an hour, maybe even close to an hour and a half. I would have gotten out a toothpick if the temperature hadn't dropped which would probably have taken me to that hour and a half time frame.

    Flavors I noticed included chocolate, coffee, small tastes of black pepper, hints of bell pepper at times. Nut flavors included walnuts and cashews (no pecans this time). There was also cream and vanilla blending in throughout.

    Add me to the list of Liga whores...okay, maybe not. I did really like this cigar, but it's a bit out of my usual price range at the moment. On a straight-up comparison, it was one of, if not the best, cigar experiences I've had to date. In terms of value, I'll reserve judgment until I smoke another, but this was so enjoyable that I would say it is still ranked fairly high. Some cigars I've enjoyed less but still enjoyed, and they've been at a much lower price point. I need to find a balance between how much I want to smoke, ought to smoke, want to spend, and have to spend. In all of that, I want to enjoy what I'm doing more than anything. I enjoyed this and will definitely smoke it again, but probably on a special occasion.
    Liga Privada No. 9
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    This is a good sized box-pressd toro in 6x52 with a dark, reddish wrapper. It's not long before I find that this particular cigar is going to be a tale of "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." doowheedoowheedoo doo doo doo doowheedoowheedoo doo doo dwee

    The Good: looks, prelight odor and feel and initial light. The Bad: prelight draw was a kick in the face, the size is almost too much for comfort if you ask me; seemed larger than 52 and almost was too big for my stogie stand. The Ugly: Burn a litle uneven. Also, this thing got stuck in its cello. I tried to extricate it carefully, but it already had slight damage to the wrapper. To add insult to injury, the underside flap of the band was wrapped and glued to the wrapper as well, which of course I don't notice until trying to take it off, further damaging the wrapper. Thankfully, these difficulties didn't affect the smoke.

    There is lots of earth and leather at the start of this smoke with cedar in the air. It is meaty-literally beefy in flavor. It is robust. Some caramel flavors, too. Paprika-good smoky/sweet paprika that seems like a spicy paprika on the exhale. The ash falls 1 in. into the smoke. Still smelling cedar in the air, but more like oak in the mouth.

    The start of the 2nd third mellows a bit as the flavors blend. I start to taste dark cocoa powder in the back of my mouth. The intensity starts to increase again near the end of this third with some green pepper and other peppers coming and going in lesser amounts near the end of this part of the smoke.

    I notice more cocoa at the start of the final third. My 2nd ash doesn't fall until the midpoint of this final third. The ash was never good looking on this thing. It was always flaky and funky. The cigar required two touchups along the way-one major and one minor (for reestablishing an even burn).

    This was a good afternoon smoke on a cool, rainy day after a good lunch of red beans and rice, but I only had water to drink while I smoked it. This was gut good, but gave a slight spinny to my head. I'm pretty sure this had a little bit of age on it. It came from Jim in a welcome package and seemed like it was more mellow than some other reviews I've looked at since. Jim thinks it was probably around 6 months or so. There were hints of black pepper throughout but it was never overwhelming. The power was there but was mellow at the same time. One more bad to leave you with: this didn't last long enough for me! I really liked it, bottom line.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    I'm loving "Litto Gomez Style"! I smoked this while chillin' alone one afternoon while drinking some ice water. I received this little baby from the wife for V-day. She gave me two, and I've since received one from Jim "Bigshizza" as a contest prize. These won't be enough...

    photo IMAG0172_zps329a31cfjpg

    Pre-light this is a good looking little cigar. The reddish-brown color of the Sumatran wrapper, the oily look, the small chisel tip. The aroma of the cigar is mostly earthy. A lick of the cap reveals sweetness along with the earth. The chisel tip "popped" right open. No cutter needed. I know there are different opinions about how to open a chisel. The chiselito is so small, I don't think I could take a punch to both sides without taking off the end, so squeezing it open seemed the way to go. I might try a cut on the next one though, because it did seem to have some draw issues if my mouth moistened the opening too much.

    photo IMAG0170_zps8e6b8d4ejpg

    The cigar puts off a nice, steady amount of smoke with a small but constantly visible white plume from the foot. I initially have trouble identifying the flavor profile, but I really like it. There is pepper in this cigar, but it's not the predominant flavor and isn't overwhelming. The burn is a little erratic, but not annoyingly so even though this cigar did need one major touch-up.

    photo IMAG0177_zps60331d3ejpg

    Throughout the first third, the strength on this cigar steadily increases and does so into the second third as well. Despite this increase, the smoke is smooth. A lot of malty/grainy flavors become noticeable. I remember a line from Costner's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Friar Tuck says, "This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our maker and glory to his bounty by learning about... BEER." And cigars with good grain flavor.

    The ash falls somewhere in the 2nd third. In this middle third I notice some general fruit flavors and some green bell pepper. A little leather also comes into play, but none of these ever overwhelm the other flavors in the profile. At the end of this third and moving into the final third some cedar and pine also get noticed. The cigar is nice and balanced and rich in flavor and feel throughout. Me likey! I want some scotch with my next one!

    photo IMAG0180_zpsc3d5e25bjpg

    Clearly into the final third, the earth, clay, and peat flavors become the most noticeable, but everything else just gets stronger, with perhaps, the green pepper and leather playing second fiddle to the earthy tones, but the leather comes and goes. At the end, there is a slight flavor of cocoa as well.

    The smoke time on this fairly small 5x44 was almost exactly one hour and fifteen minutes from light to nub. I only had three problems with this cigar: 1. It required one major touch-up. 2. The wrapper began to split/peel near the end. 3. It didn't last long enough! This is one of my favorite smokes to date, if not my favorite, ranking right up there with the LP#9. I'm still having some difficulty determining exactly what I tasted in parts of this cigar partly because the flavors were both complex and smooth.

    I give construction an 8/10-it gets docked more for the wrapper splitting than the touch-up. It would have been a 9 otherwise.
    Flavor gets an 9.5/10. I moved this up at the end from my initial 8.5 because of its increasing complexity throughout and because, despite it being fairly strong, it is never harsh.
    Strength is on the low end of "full" but is clearly beyond any simple "medium" cigar in my so far limited experience. It would have seemed much stronger if the flavors hadn't been as smooth.

    If you have not smoked one of these cigars, you need to do so. I might consider buying more of these, probably in a larger vitola, and make them my first aging experiment.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    Well, I smoked this of an evening after a dinner of meatloaf and fixins. Wanted something to relax with and picked up this smoke; a toro size. I've been smoking a lot of Nicaraguan cigars, but not so many Dominicans and I wanted to expand my tasting range and figured I'd start with this puro.

    photo IMAG0164_zps5274e3d1jpg

    The cap lick resulted in a sweetness and not much else, but sniffing along the length of the cigar let me pick up a smooth earthiness and mushroom aroma. The sweet, earth, mushroom aroma was matched by the taste of the pre-light draw. After a long, low, and slow toast, the first few puffs on this cigar were a delight. It was surprisingly mild at the start, with mushrooms and cream predominant. Burning leaves-a nice autumn flashback-were quickly added into the profile. The leaves were the predominant odor in the air to this point.

    photo IMAG0162_zpsceffc83ejpg

    The cigar leaves a thin line of smoke in the air at all times as it burns, but there is a copious amount of smoke on each draw from the foot and in the mouth. Once I'm a half to 3/4 of an inch down I start to notice oak. Not sure how I'm going to like this oak; I never like it in wine for some reason, but it's not overpowering here.

    After a great start (I'm like a hobbit, there's few things I like more than mushrooms!), this smoke just became so-so. The oak wasn't bad because it wasn't too strong, yet I might have preferred it stronger, in fact. It would have added some more body to the flavor profile. At the halfway mark I note "Really unremarkable up to [this] point." The cigar required several touch-ups along the way.

    Considering this thing burned slow-an hour and a half or more-it didn't start burning well until the last 15 minutes or so. I suspect I could have gotten another 10 minutes, maybe 20 at the rate it was burning, out of this stick, but I just stopped enjoying it along the way. It was kind of boring. I marked it middle of the road, or "fair" on flavor, and that's just because of the good start. It was a solid "medium" on strength, if not a little under. And construction was a shade under "fair" as well. It looked pretty enough on the outside, but the burn problems indicated something was wonky in the construction. Still haven't had any other Cohibas; I expect the Red Dot in the humi has got to be better than this one.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    My last attempt at a small, quick smoke was a miserable failure. This one was a success, but kind of an expensive one...just not to the level of Papas Fritas. One of the B&M's around here has a big walk-in and a smaller sliding door cabinet. All the LP stock is in the sliding cabinet, and I go there first considering if I should pick up another #9 or maybe go for the T52, when what do my wondering eyes see appear, a shiny silver tin with 4 tiny french fries. I grab one, turn it over and choke at the price tag. Most everything at this B&M is competitive with ccom; has to be considering the high sales tax here. But not these, I put them back and decide to try my luck in the walk-in without even grabbing a single LP of any kind.

    In the walk-in I take my time. The wife and kids are down the way eating a snack and getting some drinks after a long day of shopping, so I have some time before meeting them, and I look at everything. There's a rack tucked in the corner that also has some tins, and I see this pretty gold tin of Padron's with a sash saying "Maduro". I thing to myself, surely these are going to be more than the LPPF, considering they're not choppings and there's more in a tin, but no. $10 less. I decide to give these a shot.

    The next day is a little cold, but not too cold. And while I have some time I could blow smoking a longer stogie, I'm feeling productive and want to get some things done around the apartment before heading to work, so I crack open the tin for my first look at these beauties. I just put some laundry in the dryer and decide to make some joe to go with the smoke while I wait. It is morning, after all, and I need my caffeine.

    Upon closer examination, there are lots of bumps and unevenness to the wrapper, but the wrapper is rich and dark and oily, with lots of visible lines in the leaf, but not a single lumpy vein. Those bumps are from the inside of the cigar, I guess. I notice chocolate, coffee, and earth as I sniff the cigar and also from the pre-light draw. The cap on this is pretty small. I punched it, because I could center it, but my small punch was almost too big as well; that's the only construction complaint I have about this thing. I think I would have a difficult time with a cutter not taking off the whole cap, too, but I'll try to do precision surgery next time.

    At the start, this is nicely peppery on the back of the throat and in the nose, but it's not harsh. It is rich and earthy on the sides of the tongue and on the cheeks. I notice mushrooms and chocolate. It's like some sort of twisted dessert fondue! Just kidding. It is enjoyable; what I would want in a quick smoke, even if a bit cheaper would be nice. For such a small thing, it fills up my porch with smoke on each draw, and that smoke lingers nicely.

    I have a strong taste of coffee throughout the Padron, which might be because of the pairing, but IDK because it is a different coffee from what I'm drinking. It's very good. This burns with a razor edge and has a strong ash. The pepper increases in the second half some, to WOW! factor, but mellows again after a strong punch for a while. The smoke is super cool in my mouth, even until the nub, and right at the end I get some nut flavors, but not for long enough to really identify them, maybe Brazil nuts, maybe some almonds. I note along the way that "I want to bathe in clouds of this smoke...okay, maybe not." It was luxurious in the air and made me feel like I was in a nice lounge even though surrounded by the junk on my porch. The Padron Cortico in Maduro wrapper is a beautiful and tasty small smoke and lasts the perfect length of time to go with a big mug of coffee.

    I would love to hear your recommendations on quick smokes (20 minutes or less?) I've searched the threads and seen some discussion of this but would love to hear more input. I know some like Bandidos for the price, but I just can't justify buying something other than singles until I've tried it, and they only come in Mazo's of 60. What do you guys do? Do you just wait until you have more time, or do you have a favorite quick stick?
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    I've seen the talk and know people love these things for the most part, so I was glad to receive one to try...and now I may just be watching the sprint sale 'cause I know these pop up. Or I might just get a box.

    This little corona sized beauty in the habano wrapper with a twisted cap was soft to squeeze. I center my punch on the nub and have a good sized hole to draw from, but it is still a little tight. The wrapper has one large noticeable vein, but is otherwise good looking and oily brown with a hint of red clay to the color.

    There is some pepper that creeps up on you while smoking this cigar, which I notice more on an exhale-here it is really strong. There is tons of smoke and the draw becomes perfect once you get past the shaggy cap. The smoke even feels oily in your mouth. It's tangy with some earth in it, now. The ash is great and holds on until I'm about halfway done. The burn is razor straight.

    After a bit, the punch did tar up, and I had to fiddle with it to get it to open up again. I did have to touch up the burn at this point, but I blame myself for not noticing the tar build-up earlier. The cigar mellows some near the end, but the only noticeable flavor that ran throughout the whole thing was black pepper. It was predominant at all times, even though there were some other flavors that came and went.

    Definitely worth having around, if not my favorite smoke, would be a good weekly kind of smoke. I wouldn't save them for a special occasion and wouldn't want one daily, but I did like it.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    Note: I've edited several of my previous posts to add pictures, if that interests you at all. In reality it helps me. I'm going through photobucket and realizing that I don't know what stick some of my pics are. Oh well. I'll do a better job of tagging them in the future. Lesson learned.

    Now, on to the main event. The Joya de Nicaragua Celebracion in a Corona vitola. I received this from allsmokedup in order to do some reviews. There was some wrapper damage on this stick near the head, but it didn't have much effect on the overall experience. The cigar has a firm feel with a veiny and dry appearance. It gives off an aroma of butter and dirty mushrooms. There's not much taste to the cap before I take my cutter to it. There is a firm pre-light draw that tastes like herbs and butter.

    This is not a spice bomb to start, but it has some strength to it. I notice a lot of leather at the beginning more than anything. There is also some pepper under the leather. There is an aromatic herbal quality to this stick that I really like both on the draw and lingering in the air. I notice some campfire or burning leaves in my nose and a dry feel in the mouth.

    The cigar ashed at about 1/2 inch. Nuts. Not on the ash, but on the palate. Cashews or almonds. Probably toasted cashews...they fit with the buttery quality to this stick. The campfire flavors are gone, but are still evident to the nose. There is little to no pepper, and what there is comes and goes throughout the smoke. It remains dry, very dry, on the palate. Still, I really like this thing. It is a very cool draw and slow burn. A very enjoyable experience, and with its size, I am a little surprised because I expected a quicker smoke.

    The Corona ashes again after another 1/2 inch. 1 inch in, and I'm half an hour into this smoke. I start to notice more sweetness as the cigar smooths out. I must be in the sweet spot, because it is great now. I near some of the wrapper damage, and it starts to peel some. It's nothing to worry about and I don't hold it against the stick in any way. Poop happens. I do get a massive shot of bitterness and some tar around this point, and the draw is tighter for a bit. But it's still good. At the end of the second third, I notice something that isn't chocolate but reminds me of chocolate. I'm not sure how else to describe it. It's chocolatey but not chocolate.

    Into the start of the final third, I notice some more pepper, but it is still mild pepper. This cigar is smooth and makes me not want to think about what I'm smoking. I really had to force myself to concentrate on the smoke to write the review. This happens to me either when the stick is really boring or really good. This one is good. I just want to enjoy it and not think too much about what I'm smoking. On my note sheet, it asks for the occasion when I smoked this, and I entered this comment. "Occasion: Do I need one?" Absolutely not. I want more. This is a smoke I could get used to as a go-to kind of stick that would be good to share and to smoke myself. Despite it being cold on my porch, I wanted this to last longer.

    Funny thing is, I took pictures of this smoke, but my camera froze and caused my phone to restart and I lost all the snapshots. Oh well. I'll have to get some shots when I smoke it again.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    Blech. I did not like the taste of this and couldn't smoke it for more than an inch. Having said that, I loved the aroma in the air and would love to be around someone else smoking it. Odd combination, but there it is.

    Now that you've read the bottom line review, errr, make that top line review, let me give you a few more notes on this.

    photo IMAG0255_zps2116e302jpg

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    The cigar had an almost dusty feel to it and an easy draw. The foot was unfinished, and toasted easily. I had no problems lighting this cigar and the burn transferred to the wrapper quite easily. It was a pleasure to light. Here are three pictures of the unfinished foot...

    photo IMAG0261_zps0318ade2jpg

    photo IMAG0262_zpsd1ad044cjpg

    And band off...

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    This reminded me of doing wine tastings with my wife. She likes ungodly sweet and fruity wines that might as well be grape juice or fruit punch in my mind. I like something dryer with a lot of complexity. This cigar may have complexity, but it is overwhelmed by the sweetness and floral qualities. I was really hoping I might like this cigar as a change of pace kind of thing. I haven't tried any infused cigars, but this non-infused stick will get passed like a fruitcake if any more come my way. Fair warning.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    Smoked this almost ROTT from a March Madness deal here at ccom. I love this place.

    I've not really enjoyed the Connys I've smoked so far, for the most part. I like flavor, and they just don't have much. I know, I know, it's subtle. Anyway, I've had connys that were okay before this smoke, but this one was fabulous. I gave it near perfect marks for construction and very high marks for flavor. The strength was mild throughout.

    photo IMAG0269_zps3f7ab830jpg

    At first look after removing this from the wrapper, there are some almost green hues to the wrapper, which also seems to be translucent in spots, almost. It's mostly a nice golden color; it does have several seams and veins. The overall appearance is pleasantly interesting. I am concerned about one tiny bit of wrapper that got left outside the cap and some stuck to the band when I removed it. Neither proves to be an issue. The cigar smells lightly like tobacco and farm. The cap tastes creamy, and after the cut, the draw is just a little tight. I do get one or two flakes after cutting this one. Goes with the territory.

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    After a long slow toast while I sip my coffee, this lights and warms up well. It remains creamy and mild, just like the pre-light draw, but with distinct tobacco flavors. Into the first third, the cream becomes a cream sauce with the addition of salt and mild black pepper flavors. The ash on the foot is very white, which surprises me considering there isn't a lot of contrast from the wrapper. The cigar also puts out a good amount of smoke and just has a good overall feel to it, even though it is kind of on the large side at 6x60. As I retrohale in the first third-I'm really not good at this technique, yet-the cigar reminds me of a wood fire made from unseasoned, green twigs. There are lots of woodsy aromas in the air as well. The ash holds strong all the way through this third that has been marked by pleasant cream and wood flavors. It's mild but really tasty.

    photo IMAG0278_zpse66376abjpg

    Now at the second third, there is a hint of sweetness to the stick. Not much, but noticeable. The ash finally falls, and the only wonky burn I experienced with this cigar happens for a few puffs at this point. It evens out again on its own and I never have to even worry about it beyond noting it. I'm really enjoying this cigar at this point, if you couldn't tell. There aren't a whole lot of new notes in the second third, but the mixture varies as to what is predominant. It stays interesting and goes well with my Venetian Reserve coffee from Kroger (it's my go-to morning coffee). I also note that the 2nd ash fall also happens in this third and is much shorter than the first.

    photo IMAG0279_zps92f0e296jpg

    In the final third, the cigar picks up a little strength and a hint of bitterness. The pepper comes out in a little more strength and there is less cream and a touch more wood. But that reverses and the cream finishes out strong. The cigar had a perfect burn, or at least the best I've had in a cigar to this point. It was well constructed, and it had great flavors. This will be high on my list of favorites...certainly the highest rated Connecticut wrapper I've smoked.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    This cigar has a really high price tag as a single. I got a deal from March Madness for a fiver and picked it up with a mix of other stuff, including the Oliva from my last review. I wouldn't pay full price for one of these...not worth it. I'll let some age acquire and see how these are after a while.

    photo IMAG0281_zpsa03f1b30jpg

    Pre-light, this cigar has a soft foot and firm middle. The band was stuck to the wrapper...this is becoming common on some of my cigars. I smell hay and some molassesey sweetness, which I taste as well. After a toast and light, I notice a pretty harsh finish on this until it gets nice and warm. After 1/4 of an inch, it is much better, but my palate is reeling. I get the feel of pepper, but not much pepper flavor. It is woodsy and the ash is flaky. The burn on this is really wonky, and it eventually caught up to itself but is still very irregular.

    photo IMAG0282_zpsa3c038adjpg

    The second third begins with the third ash fall of this cigar. It is mellowing and smoothing out. We shall see. There is a nice feel to the smoke, now. Cedar is strong with a hint of citrus, maybe grapefruit. There is also some richness. Ohhhh, is this the elusive toasted marshmallow? Maybe just a hint of blackened marshmallow on a stick. There is also a slight bitter espresso flavor.

    The burn is once again really uneven. The flavors get harsh again, but not awful-harsh. There's something that fits about this harshness. Some people might like it, but it is an over-toasted, almost burned nut flavor that just isn't my favorite.

    Not nearly as nice as my last smoke. I'll try this one again after a bit more rest. This one only had a week or so, and I wonder how it will age. It could stand to have some mellowing and melding of flavors at time. I worry that there are construction issues with this cigar. Overall the construction looked decent, but I had so many burn problems, I ended up lowering the marks. Strength was a bit over medium. Flavor was what I had a difficult time with on this stick. Sometimes good and rich, at other times harsh and nasty.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    Coming from the folks at Ashton and Pepin Garcia, this little milder than medium corona was a really good smoke.

    photo IMAG0290_zps3a74c0eajpg

    The cigar is really nice looking, but there is a spot where the wrapper is peeling. Otherwise it is smooth and golden. It looks great on the Stogie Stand sitting in the morning sunlight on my glassed-in balcony. The cigar smells mild with nothing really overwhelming me to write about. Not a lot of taste from the cap. The pre-light draw is a little firm, but it toasts and lights easily and opens up quickly.

    photo IMAG0291_zps37b5f915jpg

    There is a peppery finish on this, but it doesn't hit you on the draw at all. There is a light wood aroma and taste. There's another flavor that I describe with question marks..."it tastes like sand smells??? not unpleasant, though." I know a lot of what we perceive as taste is actually smell, but there's a complex interplay between the sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami receptors and the olfactory sensors in your nose to create that perception. Whatever this is, I like it...and it has nothing to do with having a gritty feel! Pick up a handful of clean, dry sand sometime and breathe it in. Just don't sniff too hard. I won't be held responsible for sand in your nose.

    There is also an herbal quality to the smoke that comes along in the first third. At first I think Thyme and Sage, but I revise that quickly. It isn't sage, it's Rosemary straight from the bush. Nice and fresh and aromatic, but not overpowering. I'm reminded of going to college in SoCal, where the athletic center had these giant rosemary bushes right outside the entrance. They smelled so good. I take a retrohale at about this point. The retro hits hard on the back of the palate, but not so hard in the nose itself. Lots of walnuts. This cigar has a very cool draw...it's like inhaling the morning air in temperature. But it never has any burn problems and carries a tight, strong ash. Nothing in the smoke has been terribly complex, despite what my review may lead you to think. It's all been pretty straightforward.

    photo IMAG0292_zps179ffc87jpg

    Do you see the smoke in the sunlight in this picture? That's why I included it.

    This smoke is a fuhgeddabouditt kind of cigar, but it was anything but forgettable. It had a razor burn the whole way, with a clean, straight ash when it finally fell. I was interrupted in the final third and couldn't quite finish, which really disappointed me. But these things happen. I respected the gar and didn't attempt a relight. At under six bucks a stick, I really enjoyed this as a mild smoke; maybe not quite as much as I enjoyed the Oliva Connecticut Reserve (which, btw, comes in a lonsdale for some of you who like smaller rgs) but pretty close, and a bit cheaper (except for those lonsdales).

    I don't have time to post pictures right now, but I didn't want to fall too far behind on my reviews. It's been a busy week without a lot of time for smokes or writing out my notes.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    I'm pretty sure the plain red and white Tat band with the name in slanted script and several fleur de lis is the Havana VI. Picked up a couple of these from my local B&M for a really good price. They had several vitolas, but I stuck with the robusto.

    photo IMAG0304_zpsa888f814jpg

    I didn't take a lot of notes on this cigar. The cap tasted a little like cocoa. The cigar itself wasn't super aromatic pre-light. One cap fell right off when I cut the head. Hmmm. Never affected the smoke; it held together after that.

    This was kind of a smoke it and forget it cigar, too. It was a very quick burn, but tasted good without getting harsh. There was some pepper and maybe some bannana, but I marked that with a '?' on my notes. It was pretty consistent from start to finish. It was a good smoke.

    photo IMAG0309_zpsa61b3c7fjpg
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    I haven't had much time to smoke or write recently. I still don't, but I need the break from other things so I want to get up at least one review.

    This cigar has a little pigtail cap and an aroma of cream and wood along with something floral or herby. It has a perfect draw before a toast and light with matches.

    photo IMAG0184_zps9a04263djpg

    After the first bit of warm-up where I'm down into the first third a bit, it hits me that I've finally found the elusive toasted marshmallow. Yum. I don't need to say much more, but the smoke has an easy retro heavy on cream and nuts-cashews to be exact.

    One of the best cigars I've ever smoked, thanks to Medic from my Newbie trade. I'm not going to over-analyze this one. It was dangerously good, and may send me down a road I'm not sure I'm ready to travel...
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    This 4.5x44 cigar was nearly lost in the oversized band. As big as the band was, I worry about these retaining moisture. After I slipped it off, I checked it carefully for any spots or discoloration, but didn't find any.

    The cigar is rich, dark, and oily because of the Brazilian Habano ligero wrapper. It is also lumpy and has an espresso and cinnamon smell. I punch the cap and enjoy the easy draw.

    The cigar produces lots of thick smoke and tastes of toasted nuts and just plain old toast. The ash is a stark contrast to the dark body of the cigar--it is brilliant white by comparison. That ash does fall pretty quickly.

    The flavor matches the strength of the cigar. Both are strong. The flavor skated the edge of tasting "burnt" throughout. It never crossed that line, but it was right there. I did like the smoke for keeping me in suspense that way. It definitely had some meat, some heft; it produced smoke you could almost chew.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    Long and slender, but not skinny. Smells of cocoa and pepper with a sweetness when licked. Firm pre-light draw with lots of sweet chocolate.

    While smoking, I found this cigar to be very smooth but the flavors were difficult to determine. I really enjoy the smoke, but wouldn't think it was worth eighteen dollars. Glad I didn't pay that much for it...but that's because I like a steal. Maybe it is worth more than what I paid for this in a sampler from the sprint sale. I do like it, a lot. Did I say it was smooth? Nothing harsh. No flavor surprises, but nothing distinct about this one, either.

    The burn was crisp in the first third and beyond, never requiring a touch up. The Red Dot has a very smooth retro and the draw is cool in the mouth. Only once or twice did I get a funky "ashy" flavor. It is a really nice smoke in the fuhgeddabouditt category. Light up and enjoy without trying to remember much about the smoke because this one is all nuance with little in your face flavor, and the nuance is hard to determine.

    In the end, nothing blows my mind about any given point of this smoke, but it was really solid throughout and the total experience was positive in burn and flavor.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    Simple review...smoke it and you'll love it.

    Slightly more complex review...this had great floral flavor, was very smooth, and it had a very even burn throughout.

    Seriously, I don't want to rave over this cigar too much, but it is going straight to the top of my list. It was pretty delicately flavored, so I wouldn't smoke it with an overly heavy pairing, after another smoke, especially a strong one, or in the presence of heavy smoke from others. But for relaxing with a few bros or by yourself, this is one fine cigar.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    I smoked this cigar with a friend tonight. He had an Undercrown out of my collection. The DCM was from a bomb or trade. I will have to look up where I got it and edit this later. Since I was with a friend, I wasn't taking notes and want to get this down while it's fresh in my mind.

    First, the wrapper was spotty and not terribly attractive. It had some serious construction issues. It had a plug and a really tight draw. I need one of those tools. The wrapper came off the cigar, too. I was surprised I didn't have more burn problems, but I suspect it was well made otherwise and that saved it. Just a funky wrapper on this one.

    The toast on this took forever. I couldn't get enough draw to light the thing no matter what. I eventually tried my punch after cutting the cap and it gave me enough airflow to draw. I could feel that plug. Everything was really tight in just one spot. Once I started smoking, it loosened up some, but it took a while. The ash on this was really white and held strong. I got a lot of toast, butter and all. It was a good smoke for flavor up until the final third when it got a little to harsh. Smoke output was nice. I did notice some changes and complexity, but the buttered toast was predominate from beginning to end.

    Paired this with some cognac and had a lot of liga smoke hanging around so that may influence my tasting. I would definitely try one of these again, but if the construction issues are common with these, I wouldn't purchase them regularly. Flavor wise, it's about spot on for a mild-medium smoke. I think I would have really enjoyed this if not for having to hold it together the whole time I was smoking. Then again, it didn't just blow me away with flavor or overall experience, either. I guess it's hard to be objective about individual parts of this smoke when it had the one glaring issue. Oh well.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    Don't do this often, but I'm typing this review directly into the forum as I smoke it. This cigar has a really nice aroma. Musky. Floral. A touch of cinnamon. Really interesting. The wrapper is a light coffee with cream color and there's one darker raised vein visible. Think maybe of coffee where the cream isn't mixed all the way yet because it is far from a uniform color, even outside that vein. A lick doesn't give much flavor, but the draw enhances the floral qualities. Now, I'm ready to settle down with a light breakfast blend coffee and toast this sucker up for enjoyment purposes.

    This doesn't take much of a draw. Easy smokin'. Nice white ash after it gets going, but it doesn't look very strong. This robusto looks like it will smoke quickly, too. The burn is even, but it's going quickly, even as I watch it sit on my Stogie Stand. (Product Placement!)

    Some nuts, some cream. Smooth feel to the smoke in the first third so far. A little acidity on the rear of the palate and during retro. Maybe not quite a citrus flavor. More of a mild vinegar. Nothing as strong as white vinegar or as caramel as a malt vinegar. Maybe a cider vinegar, but very subtle. There's also a slight bitterness like almonds, but the rest of the nut profile reminds me more of peanuts. (In know, they're actually a legume and not a true nut.) A little toast flavor is also noted.

    There are some strange flavors in this so far, and I'm just getting to the end of the first third. None of them are unpleasant in combination. I've just never experienced a profile quite like this before. That is enough to keep me interested even if I didn't like it, but I do. Remind me to check who sent this to me and send a note of thanks. For a value Davidoff, this is a good thing so far.

    First ash happens right at the end of the first third. I didn't expect it to last quite this long. The cherry is a little ragged but mostly flat. I'm really pleased with the burn on this. Flavor doesn't go through much perceptible change after the ash, either. The floral qualities are revving up and moving to the forefront, and the bitter and toast flavors are dissipating to some extent. The retro is sharper, now, too. It almost makes me pucker.

    Another quarter inch of burn and this starts to mellow some more. I'm in the sweet spot now and everything is nicely balanced. Retro is still a little off, but the smoke tastes and feels good otherwise. The retro is necessary to bring out the flavors on other puffs, as it lingers in the nasal passages a bit.

    Second ash doesn't last as long.

    Wow, just got hit with a burst of sour and bitter right at the front of my tongue. INTENSE! But it passes after one puff. I've also noticed that the smoke coming off the end of this seems to be dusty, is flaking and rising with the rest of the smoke.

    I'm nearing the end of the cigar now. I'm not getting out a toothpick to finish the nub or anything, but I've enjoyed this smoke. Toast is creeping up in intensity again, and it's not my favorite flavor. I really like floral smokes, and this pleased me for that aspect, but it's faded fast and is barely noticeable near the end of the final third.

    I need to find a good source for these. I could see this being a regular, everyday or guest smoke.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    The first thing you notice about this Churchill is the rich, dark wrapper. It is certainly eye catching, and the deep burgundy and gold double bands almost blend into the wrapper, standing out just enough to add a touch of class and elegance. The wrapper is kind of blotchy, but not unattractive. It smells of molasses and a touch of fruit and spice. The cap tastes sweet but not overly so. The prelight draw is sweet and floral and very easy.

    Hmm, the cap peeled off during the first couple of puffs. It was still just evening out from the initial light! That will make for an interesting hour of smoking. I'm a little disappointed in this because it's a great initial impression on the flavor profile. This cigar proves, at least in its initial stages, that a dark wrapper doesn't necessarily mean an in-your-face, kick-butt strength or flavor.

    Still in the first third, there is a lot of earthiness to the flavor, now. I'm talking muddy clay. Some might think that's gross, but it's just a flavor, not like getting your face ground into the mud by the bully on the playground in fourth grade (not that I'd know), or even mud in the face while diving to save a goal on a nasty, wet pitch worn to no grass inside the six-yard box (which I would know). Just flavor here, and that's the closest flavor I can describe.

    This cigar smokes well, responding to a quick warm-up puff or two (in or out) and then a long, gentle, very gentle, slow draw. It burns a little unevenly in-between these puffs, but then it evens out on the long draw. I'll keep an eye on this to see how it does later in the smoke.

    I got called away right at the end of the first third of this cigar. Wasn't gone too long, but it had gone out. After a relight, I'm underway again. Taste suffered a little bit because of that for a bit, but it couldn't be avoided. I'm back in the groove now, and the cigar is still pretty tasty. Smoking slower than I expected, and I might not get to finish this one after the interruption. Oh well, I'll enjoy it while I can.

    I haven't mentioned the retro on this yet. It's rich and earthy, but not very harsh at all. There's even some creaminess to it. The smoke output on the cigar isn't very high at rest, but each puff lets off a nice cloud.

    Flavor on this was good through the second third as well, but it went out on me again. After the interruption, I had some burn issues. I gave up on it. I want to try another one of these. Going to try out a new (to me) cigar bar on Wednesday so I'll look for them and maybe complete the review then. If not, I'll try something new I can review here.

    ETA: Photos

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    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    photo IMAG0259_zps571bb655jpg

    I got this just about perfect-sized 5.6x46 cigar from Jim as part of a music contest for noobs prize package that I won 2 posts before I hit the contest post limit. Looking back at the winnings, it was quite the gift, thanks again, Bigshizz.

    So, it's been about four months since the contest, and I don't know how much time was on the stick before I received it. I was expecting a ton of spice, but there's not a lot there in the first third. I notice it pick up in the second third, though. It has that clean sand flavor that I've noted before in a couple of smokes. That's a background flavor. The stick smelled great pre-light, and I actually like the lingering smoke aroma, too. I don't know what the wife will say later tonight when she gets home because even though I'm out on our balcony, I have a feeling the smoke will creep inside and linger there, too.

    Pre-light draw was a little tight and I considered dry boxing for a bit, but I went ahead and lit up anyway. Outside of one touch up which was only necessary because I got distracted writing, the burn has been okay. The line isn't razor crisp or anything, but the beautifully mottled Habano wrapper is smoldering nicely.

    Okay, so I'm still in the second third and here's my overall impression. This is a good cigar. If every Opus X is like this one, the consistency would earn some good marks from me, but as it is, on a single trial, I can't say this is a smoke I'd want to pay for. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy it, but it's not living up to my anticipation, I guess. There's just nothing very exciting about the flavor profile. Nothing harsh. There is some spice and pepper, but it's not too strong. It's nicely balanced, and may be one of the better cigars I've smoked, but is it worth the price? That's what I keep asking myself. $29 retail on this site is a lot for one stick for me. The Diamond Crown Maximus I recently reviewed, at half the price, was almost as good, but it had some burn issues. It's superior to the 3x3, as well, but I know I've had smokes I've enjoyed just as much if not more. The Avo Classic comes to mind, as do the JdN Celebracion and LFD Double Ligero. Others, like the Tat Havana, are close. If I'm not mistaken, all of them can be found for (much) less than the Opus X.

    But it's not all about money. If I set that consideration aside, this is a very good, first-rate smoke. Pepper and spice get stronger with each puff, but so does the complexity, now that I'm in the final third. There's some more herbal quality and a pleasant pine/antiseptic feel in the mouth. (I can't believe I just called an evergreen-cleaning product flavor pleasant to the mouth, but it was.) At this point in the smoke, the retro has become a little strong for my tastes, but it had a decent retro in the first 2/3.

    So, some other observations and wrap-up. This cigar was packed tight, but the draw was not bad because of it. The white ash held nicely. No other problems with construction, either. It was a beautiful stick. Flavor was good, but not very complex until near the end. Strength was variable. It was smooth and on the mild side to start, but the intensity crept up until the end, which packed some punch. I have a nice buzz from this one, too, and I feel it just a little in my gut. Good thing it's about lunch time. Smoke time has been just over an hour. Will be an hour and 10 or 15 by the time I finish, but the nub is starting to warm up, as is the smoke, so I may not make it quite that long. This would go down as one of my top-rated smokes so far, but it wouldn't make a list of good values. There you have it.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • MartelMartel Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    I can hear it, now. "Goooooooooooooooooooooooaalllllllllllll, Goooooooooooaaaaaaalllllllllllllll!!!" I know some of you schmoes don't appreciate the beautiful game, but I happen to love it, and to celebrate team USA's current string of qualifier victories for the World Cup in Brazil, I was drawn to this smoke at a cigar bar that will be all of ten minutes from my new rental home, if our application is approved.

    I've heard some mentions about this cigar, but I wasn't sure exactly what to expect. First, it had a rich, dark smell. I could tell it would stand up to the heavy smoke in the lounge. I picked up a v cutter (no lick) which I've never used before. Didn't like it at all. Part of that is that it tore off the whole cap. Maybe that was the cutter, maybe it was the cigar, I don't know, but the whole thing came right off while I was lighting it.

    Okay, so strength is the hallmark of this cigar. It wasn't harsh, but it was stronger than I like because it is masking some subtlety I felt was there but couldn't detect under the circumstances. This was a little larger of a cigar as far as rg goes from what I tend to prefer. It's 56 rg and it was pushing comfort a bit; however it did have a nice feel in my hand.

    Since I smoked this last night, that's all I got. Strong, very strong, and rich flavor. Left we with a lot of aftereffect in the mouth. I'm all puckered up this morning and can really taste it. I only smoked about half the cigar because it got late and my wife was tired (we ate at the adjoining restaurant before the smoke) and so was I for that matter. That and once the whole wrapper started to peel I just lost interest in maintaining the smoke. Flavor is only part of this game. It may be the main part, but the intent is to relax and I don't want to work to hold my smoke together. I may revisit one of these again someday, because it was a good cigar for what it was. I can see why some people really like this cigar, if they're not smoking one falling apart on them. It was good and it was strong, but I'm not usually into the high octane strength. On occasion strength is fine, and last night would have been okay since I was in the mood for it, but it wouldn't be a regular smoke for me.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
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