El Baton robusto review
First, the smell test: rich dark corojo maduro wrapper leaf with a great bouquet (my nose loves the smells I getting, but I still can't pick out particular scents yet; later I pulled one out and smell it closely to my nose and found hints of fruit namely raisins). But, I have been fooled before by the bait and switch.
Sadly, I had noticed these in the lower bargain bin shelf-just tossed there-but, tonight I inquired and found they were closeouts. I inspected them all and found they were hard and knotty despite the employee's boast their humi was 65 degrees-old dog food is still old dog food, I surmised. These stick had been neglected and were past their sell by date. So, this was going to be an adventure I gladly accept because the upside would be my first major multiple stick purchase, if I could stomach them.
Past reviews on these sticks were mixed and dated (like 2009). Yeah, this was going to be great fun or the last time you'd hear from me.
Well, here we go.
I was hit initially with a load of heavy peppery flavor and harsh tone which built up quickly in the back of my throat. I take swig of water to clean out my throat. The flavor mellowed slightly, but was still a bit harsh (scratchy on my throat). The draw was surprisingly great and smoke rolled into my mouth fully, but the pepper flavor was intense. I did taste some creaminess on my tongue, but was still concerned about the harness in the back of my throat. The smoke while not thick, was plentiful due to the easy draw. Again, it appeared to mellow out (but still in the 1st third). The strong wind played havoc with the smoke blowing back into my face, sadly its a light smoke...reminiscent of steam.
The next draw surprisingly washed away the bitterness in my throat-good. Now we're cooking w gas. The next puff was very creamy-like a first kiss. Great clean smell from the tip up close gave off a light earthy smell, like heavy dew (peat moss, I later learned), but the creamy taste is building. This is a good smoke. The stick burned evenly, but a light cherry resulted in a slow burn. Tasting the hay (which I later found out was better described as peat moss). The smoothness is mixed with a creamy taste. Still light smoke, but its 48 degrees (feels like 41) and 21 mph winds. Ash is funky, but hanging tough. Flavor still smooth and pepper makes a return, but me still likey.
Almost to the 2nd third and the pepper is rising, but that's ok its a pleasant punch for a mild smoke. Ash fell off halfway through, but getting better smoke and flavor. The flavor wave is faint and I haven't tasted the nuttiness, raisins and fruit that so many reviews mentioned. The spice has been there from the start. A real slow smoke-I mean Gluefoot in the fifth race at Santa Anita slow-but makes for better value (halfway through) and getting stronger (appreciated). So, I've been smoking about 45-50 minutes. I would need to put these in humi for a minute. Took a swig of water and was left with pepper and spice, that quickly dissipates but leaves a heavy aftertaste (not a problem). Again, the smoke is reminiscent of steam, it quickly catches the wind and fades (again not a problem). Still a very calm smoke, now except, I'm doing my best tea kettle impression. This has been a complex dance. I appreciate the 54 gauge (it fits my mouth perfectly on each puff). This is a sturdy stick (I appreciate good construction). At the end of the halfway point and doing reasonably well (about an inch from the band and good smoke coming out-a mellow flavor-but, still there w a hint of spice. This damn wind is playing havoc with me and the temperature is past nippy (49 degrees). Caught the nutty flavor there for a minute, its present w a nice texture, but not over powering. I take a good draw and hold the smoke in my mouth for 15 secs and exhale a billowy cloud-hello, sexy creaminess. I repeat. Back to steam, but no major flavor change, just earthy richness. I repeat. The foot is burning a little uneven, but no problem. Strong peat moss flavor is welcomed, never found the sweetness, but again no problem, nuttiness returns. I sit the stick down to take a leak, 90 secs later, stick still lit w a smoldering cherry a few puffs and back in the game. I take a swig of water and take a strong draw, the exhale was a strong blast of steam. The pepper and spice try to resurface, but fades quickly.
Last 3rd (1.5 hrs into the smoke). The nutty earthy richness returns...faint smoke. I taste raisins...well, I'll be jiggered. It looked like it went out, but I knock off the ass and puff a few times and blow on the cherry and am greeted with a slight fruity flavor, going to be a nice finish due to a good plume of smoke on the exhale (real nutty flavor now). It's trying to reward me at the end-good girl. Heavy billows of smoke now. The draw has been exceptional. The finish tries to be harsh but never gets there which is good. Down to the nub and going to finish (I pulled the ring off and stuck it in my pocket-a good sign-especially since my tongue has a slight tingle). Nubbing with the smoke smelling like earthy peat moss-a good way to finish. Still getting great draws with a mouth full of smoke. Nubbing and drawing good smoke still from a solid tip-an endless smoke-this stick wants to stay around til the sunrise-fine by me (a sweet embrace from momma). 2hr 20 minutes in and still drawing smoke-wow!
Conclusion: This was a popular stick when introduced in 2009-2010, but I assume competing in a burgeoning premium cigar market it got lost in in the wave of the next newer sticks. This smoke isn't for everyone. It's highly spicy and peppering in bursts, but overall smooth throughout. But, finding sticks that are flavorful, but smooth throughout allows me not to sour on this cigar experiment.
The secret word is cigars!