Eric's Occasional Quirky, Often Irreverent Reviews.

EchambersEchambers B'Ham Posts: 4,102 ✭✭✭✭✭
Graycliff Crystal Series
Robusto
An Ode to Sweet Memories

Smell, perhaps even more so than any of the other senses, is intrinsically linked to memory. Some argue that this is because the olfactory nerve (the nerve that processes smell) is located so closely to the hippocampus, which is responsible for processing memories. Others argue that it is an evolved trait essential for the survival of a species.

Memory of smells also tends to be the most vivid. Survivors of rape sometimes struggle with describing the physical attributes of their attackers but can generally describe their smell with a high degree of accuracy. Likewise with combat vets, abused children, and other survivors of trauma. Car crash survivors often can describe the smell of fuel and blood and not much else.

Memory of smells is also among the most permanent, least permeable memories. Contrast this to visual memory: Apart from those with eidetic memory we often “misremember” what we see. Lawyers either love or hate this fact depending on the where they sit. In contrast, we rarely misremember smells -- the smell of the first girl I really kissed, the smell of the Coconino National Forest driving north of Phoenix, the smell of the Pacific Ocean, the smell of my newborn son and daughter...you get the idea.

It’s no wonder then, that the the first thing I noticed about the Graycliff Crystal was the smell. A sweet honey smell -- not the overprocessed “comes in a plastic bear” honey, but real honey, still warm from the hive. There use to be this little roadside stand just off the highway on my way home from University that sold honey by the quart jar. This was at the beginning of the boutique food revolution where you could order clover honey, blackberry honey, raspberry honey, apple honey, and so forth depending on the source of the bees’ nectar. Nevermind that most people couldn’t tell the difference between blackberry honey and raspberry honey! This honey was different, though. Stan, (the honey man) would roll his eyes if you ask what “kind” of honey his was but when pressed would tell you where he placed his hives (often places like Jed’s orchard or Maybell’s peony garden.)

The Graycliff Crystal has an easy draw which is good because it is still morning and I don’t want to have to work at this. It’s considered a medium to full smoke but for me it swings more towards the mild but that could be that I suspect that it has a little age on it given the light amber of the cellophane. It produces moderate amounts of smoke but the ash is flaky and weak, covering my shirt with its detritus more than my ashtray. Overall, though, the burn is right on.

Other reviewers have picked out notes of caramel but I don’t get it--neither literally nor figuratively. In fact, the only sweetness comes from the honey notes but that’s on the nose not that palette. Graham cracker, perhaps. Halfway through there is a little spice but only on the retrohale.

In the second half, the burn continues strong and the flavors pick up a bit. There is a little more spice now and the taste is bigger and more complex. If only my memory for taste was a strong as my memory for smell I could be more definitive in my description but whatever I am tasting is as ephemeral as the smoke it produces. A nut perhaps? But which one? I tried cleaning my palette hoping that would help but the flavor remains elusive.

Last inch and I can’t find my nubber (and it needs a touch up to boot). I almost give up but manage to touch it up, warming my eyebrows in the process. I’m glad I did too because this cigar finishes strong with consistent spice, albeit, mild, for the first time but only if I let the smoke linger a little longer than normal. My fingers are burned but it’s a good burn and I have no regrets other than wishing my memory for things and places allowed me to find my nubber so I could smoke this stick just a little bit more.

Here is what I smoked:

image
-- "There's something that doesn't make sense. Let's go poke it with a stick."
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Comments

  • RainRain Posts: 8,958 ✭✭✭
    First
  • EulogyEulogy Bay Area, CAPosts: 2,392 ✭✭✭✭
    It's nice to see you're keeping your reviews going.
  • SleevePlzSleevePlz Goodrich, MIPosts: 6,249 ✭✭✭✭
    Very cool Eric. Going to enjoy reading this thread on occasion :)
    LLA - Lancero Lovers of America
  • EchambersEchambers B'Ham Posts: 4,102 ✭✭✭✭✭
    La Aroma de Cuba Edition Especial
    Toro

    Cigars are meant to be smoked, no doubt about it. But sometimes the cold draw is so alluring it becomes nigh impossible to bring a flame to the foot. Such is the case of the La Aroma de Cuba Edition Especial whose sweet, mildly chocolate bouquet makes my mouth water. I could do this all day, drawing and writing, writing and drawing but I have to remember that as good as the cold draw is, the smoke is even better.

    I toast the foot, albeit reluctantly, light, and draw in the plentiful smoke and let in linger in my mouth, coating the tongue and soft palette with its pure tobacco goodness. The first draw is milder than I remember, even for a first draw, but the flavor is clean. The draw is good, smoke production fair, and the ash is tight for the first inch or so before is falls clumsily off into the ashtray (my La Aroma de Cuba ashtray, as it turns out).

    Much like a snake sloughing off old skin to be reborn as a fresher more vibrant form of itself, the flavor of the EE really wakes up after the ash has dropped. There is almost harshness to it, most notable on the retrohale but it doesn’t last long and is most like a result of an inpatient smoker rather than a flawed blender or roller. The first third ends with a transition to a definite woodiness that lingers for a while.

    Through the second third and into the last third I expected, based I am sure on a faulty memory, a little more complexity but the flavor is one-dimensional. Now this isn’t to say that it is not full of flavor, only that the flavor is not particularly complex. Lack of complexity is not necessarily a bad trait, in my book—in fact it allows one to more readily focus in on the flavor that is there without having to work hard. In other words, this is a great smoke for a nascent reviewer like me. Smoke production picks up a bit but it is still wispy. The burn remains true.

    This is an easy smoke to nub and that’s exactly what I did. Half way through the final third I pick up a little bit of vanilla but it’s slight and something I have to work for; by the time I am ready for the nubber (which I have found since my last review) there is no mistaking the honey to the exclusion of the wood I noted earlier.

    The true test for any cigar, of course, is if you would smoke it again, and the answer for me, is “absolutely.” Is it my favorite smoke? Well, no. Not even in my top five or top ten. But I do like and in the end that’s really all that matters, yes

    Here is what I smoked:

    image

    -- "There's something that doesn't make sense. Let's go poke it with a stick."
  • EchambersEchambers B'Ham Posts: 4,102 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Montecristo Connoisseur Edition Texas
    Corona Gordo?
    Sweet Texan Memories

    I have Texas on my mind and inevitably when I think of Texas I think of one of my first middle school crushes: Teresita Hernandez. Teresita was a recent transplant from Texas and sat next to me in biology. God knows I wanted her bad but in middle school I was awkward and unsure of myself. I want to believe it was mutual and that she too was too shy. One day we were waiting for class to start she offer me the book she was reading. I began reading from her bookmark, the story of two young lovers making love for the first time. I blushed, she blushed, and we were, quite literally “saved by the bell.

    I didn’t start the day thinking about Terisita but I was digging through my humidor looking for something to smoke I found a Montecristo Connoisseur Edition, Texas, and now that is all I can think about. Thirty-five years later I still blush a little thinking of those young lovers try to consummate their love for the first time. “Go slow,” she said, “it hurts a little….”

    The cold draw is sweet but elusive, lingering in the mouth for just a moment and then its gone – like the brief flash of panties as the girl across from you uncrosses her legs and gets out of her chair. You crave more but deep down you know you’ll be left wanting. The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper is milk chocolate but without the sheen. Two prominent veins ride up most of the length of the sticks. They remind me of scars and I trace the length of them with my fingers.

    The first inch or so tastes of wood and leather with a very slight spiciness that coats the roof of my mouth for the first few minutes or so then dissipates. A slight sweetness, of chocolate, perhaps, lingers on my lips at the exhale teasing me just a bit. The burn is razor sharp with the exception of a slight undulation caused by the larger of the two veins. Smoke production is minimal but the ash is strong.

    Moving past the first inch the two veins are wracking havoc on the burn line to the degree that “line” is too liberal a term. The ash, as a result is arching upward as if praying to the great Monte in the sky. I know any moment now it will drop so I move the ashtray a little bit closer. Leather, now, is the dominant taste, almost to the exclusion of anything else. If you want to know what “leather” tastes like and you don’t want to smoke your belt, shoes, or wallet, this is the cigar for you.

    Halfway through and the burn is out of control but a quick touch up seems to solve the problem. Leather is still there but it is no longer the prominent flavor. There is far more complexity now, so much, in fact that I am having difficulty picking out anything distinctive. There is spice on the retrohale but that’s not surprising and not particularly interesting.

    In an effort to identify the flavors I realize I am smoking too fast so set it down for a little bit and try to occupy some time by searching for Terista. She lives in Everett, a city about an hour away. Would she think me strange if I called her now? Probably
    The pendulum has sung to the other side and now and I am forced to relight. The next few draws are hot and acrid and I curse myself a little. To make matters worse the nicotine has kicked in and, in spite of a full stomach I am a little light headed. I want to call it quits but I realize the theme of this story is courage and wonder how I will feel in another 28 years if I let this go.

    As it turns out I don’t really have to make a decision. It continues to struggle to stay lit so just before I might be inclined to reach for my number I call time-of-death on this Texan, close my browser, and reach for a nearly empty bottle of bourbon.
    -- "There's something that doesn't make sense. Let's go poke it with a stick."
  • EchambersEchambers B'Ham Posts: 4,102 ✭✭✭✭✭
    There are Two Things I Know.

    What I smoked: Arturo Fuente Hemmingway Best Seller
    When: January 21, 2015
    Where: In my cold, cold garage next to a heater.


    There are two things that I know for certain: it’s cold outside and my nipples hurt. Although the science is a little sketchy, I posit that the two issues are related. First, though, I need to step back.

    Many of us have heard that “correlation does not equal causation” which is a fancy way of saying that just because two objects vary in relation to each other doesn’t mean that one things variability was caused by the other’s. Thus, while the rate of inflation might be correlated with the average length of men’s hair doesn’t mean that one caused the other to happen. Everyone who has taken an introductory statistics class knows this. But it’s wrong, sort of. It would be more correct to say, “correlation might indicate causation but probably not.”

    So what does any of this have to do with my sore nipples? I believe that my sore nipples were caused (indirectly) by the cold. Let me explain. The skin, under normal situations is actually pretty loose. Try pinching a little skin right now. I’ll wait. See? I told you so. When your skin gets cold it contracts (pulls in) and your skin gets tighter. Don’t believe me? Repeat the pinch test after soaking your hand in ice water for a little bit. This is part of the reason we get goose bumps and the reason your nipples get hard when it gets cold out. Interesting factoid: part of this process is called a poliomotor reflex, not too dissimilar to what happens to a porcupine when it brandishes its quills. I digress.

    So, it’s cold out, my nipples get hard, rub against the inside of my shirt, and chafe a little in the process. This is why they hurt. As certain as I am that it is cold and my nipples hurt I am equally certain that if it was warm outside I wouldn’t have this trouble. (that and I suppose if I lost a little weight my shirts wouldn’t fit so damn tight).

    Why am I telling you about my nipples? So that Rain’s panties get a little moist? Yea, I admit it, that’s part of it, but thinking about my nipples on the drive back from my doctors naturally led me to think about the Arturo Fuente Hemingway.

    The Hemingway, of course is a perfecto with a nipple. It’s rolled with a Dominican filler and binder and wrapped in a Cameroon leaf. I’ve made no bones about the Short Story being one of my favorite-of-all-times smokes and a just slightly bigger the Best Seller is not much different.

    The Hemingway is woody with bit of spice on the exhale. The Cameroon wrapper, I think, tempers the spice quite a lot—this would (obviously) be a very different smoke if this was a Dominican puro. Like all the AF I’ve had the construction is flawless and damn forgiving when I accidentally cut it a little too aggressively. Or when I ripped a piece of the wrapper off with the band. The ash stays tight for well over an inch and only breaks when I give it a little flick, mostly to save my sweater.

    As we all know, the shape of a cigar adds a lot to the flavor and overall experience of a cigar. If you don’t believe me then try smoking a DPG Blue robosto and a DPG Blue lancer at the same time. The perfecto adds another layer of complexity to the experience because it changes shape as you smoke it – starting off with the first few minutes where essentially you’re smoking the nipple, before it widens out then back down again. It’s like a roller coaster in this respect, albeit a very slow one, taking a little over an hour per ride.

    Throughout, the core flavors didn’t vary much though their relative intensity did—going from a sweet mild to a less sweet medium., then back to mild with little residual spice. It ends a little milder than the middle, and a little less medium then the start and with just a bit over an hour, leaves me plenty of time to apply a little more lotion to my nipples.

    Here is what I smoked:

    image
    -- "There's something that doesn't make sense. Let's go poke it with a stick."
  • EulogyEulogy Bay Area, CAPosts: 2,392 ✭✭✭✭
    Excellent as always, I'm glad to see you doing reviews again.
  • StubbleStubble T E X A SPosts: 3,467 ✭✭✭✭✭
    You made me pinch my nipples......but seriously, very glad to see you doing these again!!
    Hey, you gonna eat the rest of that corndog?
  • EchambersEchambers B'Ham Posts: 4,102 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Stubble:
    You made me pinch my nipples......but seriously, very glad to see you doing these again!!
    Quote of the year!
    -- "There's something that doesn't make sense. Let's go poke it with a stick."
  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,205 ✭✭✭✭
    Echambers:
    Stubble:
    You made me pinch my nipples......but seriously, very glad to see you doing these again!!
    Quote of the year!
    Nice. I decided to honor the thread in another way...I smoked one of my "nipples" this afternoon. Very good smoke. I prefer the maduro version, but the regular ones are great, too.
    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.
  • EchambersEchambers B'Ham Posts: 4,102 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Martel:
    Echambers:
    Stubble:
    You made me pinch my nipples......but seriously, very glad to see you doing these again!!
    Quote of the year!
    Nice. I decided to honor the thread in another way...I smoked one of my "nipples" this afternoon. Very good smoke. I prefer the maduro version, but the regular ones are great, too.
    Excellent!
    -- "There's something that doesn't make sense. Let's go poke it with a stick."
  • StubbleStubble T E X A SPosts: 3,467 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Echambers:
    Stubble:
    You made me pinch my nipples......but seriously, very glad to see you doing these again!!
    Quote of the year!
    Oh dear God.....Hey, did you ever find you nubber?
    Hey, you gonna eat the rest of that corndog?
  • EchambersEchambers B'Ham Posts: 4,102 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Stubble:
    Echambers:
    Stubble:
    You made me pinch my nipples......but seriously, very glad to see you doing these again!!
    Quote of the year!
    Oh dear God.....Hey, did you ever find you nubber?
    I did, thanks for checking!
    -- "There's something that doesn't make sense. Let's go poke it with a stick."
  • EchambersEchambers B'Ham Posts: 4,102 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Romeo Y Julieta
    Bully
    Ode, to Grandpa Jeff

    I didn’t intend to do another review so soon, nor did I intend to review this cigar. While I am at it I might as well admit that I didn’t even intend to smoke this cigar until about 15 minutes ago. About an hour and a half ago I got a call from my sweet. We were both at work,. My sweet works about 30 minutes from the two we live in and I work about an hour away. As my sweet was walking into a meeting that she was facilitating she got a call from her daughter’s school—her daughter was in the nurse’s office complaining of a tummy trouble. “Go to your meeting,” I said, “I’ll call my son to pick her up and I’ll head strait home.” I could tell from her voice that she was relieved and grateful. A little while later she sent me a message, “thanks for being there for her, my love.” (See, I call her my “sweet” and she calls me her “love” aren’t we so damn cute???)

    I looked at her message for a minute before I sent one back, “No need to thank me sweet, this is what it means to love.”

    My grandmother taught me long ago that love is a verb. It is not just something your “in” it’s an action, it’s something you do.

    So, thinking about love, I grabbed a Romeo y Julieta 1854 Bully from the humidor and headed out to the garage Maybe it’s because I was already thinking about my grandmother that I preconditioned myself to also think about my grandfather. But whatever the reason when I cut the cap and took a long and deep cold draw that’s exactly who I thought of. My grandfather never smoked cigars that I am aware of, but he did smoke a pipe with Sir Walter Raleigh tobacco and something about the cold draw reminded me of that.

    The RyJ is not the most imaginative smoke but neither was my grandfather. He was steadfast, consistent, loyal, and a lover. His grave marker reads, “you surrounded us with love and beauty” and no truer words could have been etched on his stone.

    Consistency is probably my favorite characteristic in a cigar. I absolutely love trying new things but when I come back to a favorite cigar I want the experience to be just what I remembered. The RyJ is like that for me. It has a good clean taste of tobacco (duh, right), with a very mild pepper on the tongue with a little leather on the back of the throat. If I concentrate really hard I can pick out a little wood but *** me if I can tell you want species.

    Cigars, in my experience, tend to do one of three things after you light it (1) stay pretty much the same throughout, (2) get stronger, or (3) mellow out. For me, the RyJ mellows out about half way through. I rather like the smoothing out as I savor the last inch or so. Kind of, I suppose, a little like my grandpa who started him life full of fire and ended very much the gentle man. Here is what I smoked:

    image
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    -- "There's something that doesn't make sense. Let's go poke it with a stick."
  • StubbleStubble T E X A SPosts: 3,467 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Very nice Eric!
    Hey, you gonna eat the rest of that corndog?
  • EchambersEchambers B'Ham Posts: 4,102 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Stubble:
    Very nice Eric!
    Thank you, brother.
    -- "There's something that doesn't make sense. Let's go poke it with a stick."
  • EulogyEulogy Bay Area, CAPosts: 2,392 ✭✭✭✭
    Great review, Eric.
  • SM0K3YSM0K3Y Posts: 1,114 ✭✭✭
    Great review, RyJ was my goto cigar for my whole life (like most non-serious smokers, pick one brand and roll with it), until I started this hobby for real last xmas. I was wondering about the bully, definitely gonna try now
  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,205 ✭✭✭✭
    Luke, I am your father.
    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.
  • avengethisavengethis Sorry, I ate all your bacon!Posts: 5,298 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I believe I know somebody how has some feral flying pigs.  I've been trying to pry them from his hands for a little bit now.  I really enjoy the dirty rats as it is a bit quicker of a smoke but still provides great quality and flavors.  I have recently split a box with another member and am glad I did.
    Team O'Donnell FTW!

    "I've got a great cigar collection - it's actually not a collection, because that would imply I wasn't going to smoke ever last one of 'em." - Ron White
  • Bob_LukenBob_Luken already sucked before joining forum,.....just sayin'.Posts: 6,749 ✭✭✭✭✭
    "Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!”
  • onestrangeoneonestrangeone Austin, TxPosts: 2,444 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Another great review Erick. You have this writing thing down
  • EchambersEchambers B'Ham Posts: 4,102 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I believe I know somebody how has some feral flying pigs.  I've been trying to pry them from his hands for a little bit now.  I really enjoy the dirty rats as it is a bit quicker of a smoke but still provides great quality and flavors.  I have recently split a box with another member and am glad I did.
    I drove to this place because they "found" a box of each.   I got there too late for the feral flying pigs.  Damn. 
    -- "There's something that doesn't make sense. Let's go poke it with a stick."
  • jarublajarubla Posts: 2,328 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Good read, Eric! I enjoy your writing style

    -Jay
    “There’ll be two dates on your tombstone and all your friends will read ’em but all that’s gonna matter is that little dash between ’em.” -Kevin Welch
  • EchambersEchambers B'Ham Posts: 4,102 ✭✭✭✭✭

    As a child growing up in the 1970s, I use to devour biographies. It didn’t really matter who I was reading about, if it was about someone that had actually lived I wanted to read it. I read about presidents, explorers, inventors, soldiers, and sports stars. Growing up these books inspired me. They made me believe that I could do deeds worthy of being written down for time immemorial. Like Kit Carson (or was it Daniel Boone?), I could kill a bear, pull out its guts, and sleep in its carcass to stay warm.

    By the time I was in middle school, though, I had dismissed biographies a picked up fantasy books: Ursula Le Guin, J. R. R. Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander now filled my bookshelves. Looking back, I now see that the dramatic shift in genres grew out of a growing dissatisfaction for “truth” as it was portrayed in biographies. Indeed, it was a reaction to the very idea of the biography itself. But why this reaction? And why did the pendulum swing so far in the other direction?

    Biography is a direct manifestation of hegemony. We’ve all heard the phrase, “history is written by the winners,” and so too are biographies written by, and about, those in power. Don’t believe me? Imagine, for a moment, if Kit Carson’s biography was written by one of the Navajo, Mescalero, or Apache Indians he was sent to “suppress.” Would he still be portrayed as a hero or would we know him as the “butcher from the East?” This kind of angst was too much for my middle school brain so I went as far away as possible from the biography and ended smack dab in the middle of black things, orcs, and cauldron-born, and other things that couldn’t possibly be true. Right?

    As an adult I’m still not a fan of biographies but because of my love for history I muck my way through one or two a year. Not, however, without a fair dose of skepticism and a sprinkling of fact checking when things just don’t seem right.

    The Cigar

    Today I am smoking the Biography by Frank Herrera. Herrera Cigars is a small boutique brand that garnered some praise for his La Caridad del Cobre and La Charada lines and a little more for the Biography but is otherwise not very well know. The cigar comes in three sizes: the Robusto (5×52), the Toro (6 x 54) and the Gordisimo (6 x 60). I chose the Robusto for this review. I’m not entirely sure how long I’ve had this or where it came from but the cello is yellowed.

    Origin: Dominican Republic, Pinar Del Rio Factory
    Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca
    Binder: Dominican
    Filler: Nicaraguan and Dominican
    Source: Unknown
    Retail Price: About $6.00 but I’m not sure you can find them anymore.

    Appearance

    The Biography has a dark, almost black wrapper with prominent veins running the length. The wrapper is dry but not overly so with just the slightest sheen. It’s been resting for a while, as evidenced by the yellow cello I slid off, but I have no idea how old or where it came from. Overall the cigar is firm to the touch with the exception of a thumb-sized soft spot in the middle of the second third.

    Flavor

    There is a prominent dried fruit taste on the cold draw with just a touch of spice on the lips and roof of my mouth. Once lit, there is an abundance of smoke in the first third. The black ash holds tight for 3/4 quarters of an inch before a quick flick sends it unceremoniously to the bottom of my ash tray where is shatters, coating the bottom, lightly, like volcanic ash. The draw is fine, perhaps a little loose owing to the soft spot in the middle third.

    The spice from the cold draw is gone, as is the dried fruit, replaced by roasted nuts.  Which kind you ask? I haven’t any idea.

    By the second third the spice returns, albeit much more muted, to dance with a mild, sweet, bread flavor. Smoke production decreases markedly. The ash also suffers. The soft spot now makes it nigh impossible to keep lit so after the third time reaching for my lighter I give up, toss it into the ash tray and think about what else I might smoke this afternoon.

    Conclusion

    When I head out to the garage to smoke, I will light my cigar, turn on Frank Sinatra, and ease into my chair in hopes of an hour or two of solitude. And about once every two weeks that solitude is interrupted by my kids, my wife, a neighbor or two, or (more likely) by some forgotten commitment, suddenly remembered. Had this been one of those days and I experienced fumas interruptus before I got through the first third I might have a very different opinion of this cigar. But it wasn’t the case and as a result my opinion is marred, not by a bad tasting cigar but by poor construction. Would I give this another try? Perhaps, but likely not. The flavors were fine but not spectacular and with so many other good cigars, and so many I haven’t even tried, why bother?


    -- "There's something that doesn't make sense. Let's go poke it with a stick."
  • BigshizzaBigshizza Posts: 15,109 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Now that is a great honest review!! Well done!
  • Amos_UmwhatAmos_Umwhat West TNPosts: 4,454 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Eric, I have to say, I love your reviews.  Well written, spot on.  Thanks.
    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.  
  • EchambersEchambers B'Ham Posts: 4,102 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thank you gentlemen. 
    -- "There's something that doesn't make sense. Let's go poke it with a stick."
  • EchambersEchambers B'Ham Posts: 4,102 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Full Moon Fever

    There is a lot of mythology around the full moon. The most prominent, of course, is that of the werewolf. Once bitten by a lycanthrope, the story goes, you will be thus afflicted every time the moon is full. This mythology dates back 1t least to Gervase of Tibury and perhaps as far back as the early 30’s (as in 30 AD).  While perhaps an extreme interpretation the transformation into a werewolf is a hop, skip, and a jump from a more primal myth that the moon heightens moods in some crazy way – indeed, the terms “lunacy” and “lunatic” are rooted in the Latin “luna” which means “moon.”

    The most interesting myth, in my mind, is the Inuit story of the moon god Anningan. According to this legend Annigan is so taken by his sister the sun, and so frustrated that she repeatedly rebukes his advances, that he catches up with her and rapes her. This only further ignites his desires and spend the rest of eternity chancing her around the sky.

    The idea of rape in mythology, of course, is not novel: Greek and Roman mythology is full of it and it evens shows up in a few Norse myths. Ogin, that **** devil, thinks nothing of taking what is not his. And now, while rape is one of the most common crimes on many reservations, it is nearly absent in Native American or First Nations mythos. My guess is, or perhaps my hope is, that Farkas was not thinking about rape when he blended, rolled, and marketed his Full Moon cigar. Nor is it on my mind other than as a prologue to this review…

    The Cigar

    Today I am smoking the 2015 Full Moon by Viaje.

    Origin: Nicaragua
    Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
    Binder: Nicaraguan
    Filler: Nicaraguan Aganorsa
    Source: SBC
    Retail Price: $14 but I think I paid $10

    The Review

    The Full Moon is a beautiful cigar with a gorgeous triple cap and a dark, oily wrapper with few prominent veins. It has a closed foot which I tend to light rather than remove so I can’t comment on the cold draw.

    The burn during the first third is wavy but corrects itself after an inch or so (only to fall back to its undulating beginning later on). There is quite a lot of spice in the first third as well as strong notes of bitter chocolate and burnt toast. Not quite acrid but not quite pleasant either. The spice builds during the first third but then falls away rapidly and is almost smooth – not what expect at all from a Viaje, and certainly not one called “Full Moon.” Perhaps this is intentional, though, and is meant to represent a waxing moon..

    There is a slight fruitiness to the start of the second third. The burn, which had corrected itself earlier is now all catty-wonkers and the ash is flaking so much it looks like a flower in bloom surrounding a tight core. While I am not one to ash a cigar, preferring instead to let the ash drop off natural (often on my shirt) I nonetheless give this a gentle flick. This necessitates a retouch with my lighter but seems to fix the problem for now. Spice remains in the second third albeit muted and the slightly fruitiness is replaced by the taste of unleavened bready (by this I mean it doesn’t have the yeastiness of leavened bread).  The second third is much more complex than the first third and as a result I find it difficult to pull any other individual flavors from the mix. It is also growing less intense overall, settling nicely into a medium-full cigar.

    The final third is moving toward one dimensionallity. Gone is the spice of the first two thirds and the complexity of the second third. As I pull of the band I notice that the wrapper is unraveling a bit but not so much that I have to put the stick down. I have to relight one more time to fix some burn issues but its more of a hassle than anything else.

    Conclusion

    As rule I like Viaje stuff but with the Full Moon I wanted it to be better than it was. It most certainly wasn’t bad (and I will definitely smoke another 1 or 3, but for the price point I expected much more.






    -- "There's something that doesn't make sense. Let's go poke it with a stick."
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