Cigar Review – Partagas Piramides EL 2000, Nov 2000 “RAR” box code; Final Score – 88

Got another review here today.  This is a traded stick from a great BOTL, and a fellow CF member to boot.

He and I have done a number of trades now, and these were included a couple times before.  These Partagas Piramides were the first of H S.A.’s Edicion Limitada program, and as was the standard at the time, were cigars that were not in the normal portfolio of the brands chosen (the top 5 Habanos brands), and were made using wrapper leaves aged at least 2 years (which is longer than normal, and in later years of the program, this changed to being all leaves being used aged to this minimum).

Past their prime though?  Let’s see…

Reviewed Cigar:  Partagas Piramides LE 2000

Box Date:  Nov 2000

Factory / Manufacture Code:  RAR

Packaging:  25-box, standard dress box

Price per cigar:  N/A (trade; from Bahrain Ritz-Carlton)

Length:  6 1/8″, or 156 mm

Ring Gauge:  52

Format:  Piramides

Weight:  14 grams / 0.5 oz

Construction/Appearance & Pre-Light:  These are a slightly rustic, mangy looking cigar.  They have that circa-early-2000’s Partagas wrapper – leathery, wrinkled, bark-like in appearance, but with a lovely toasted tobacco aroma.  These early EL’s don’t seem to have quite the level of wrapper that’s been used in more recent years.  That said, the wrapper on this one wasn’t too bad – it was slightly dull and matte-looking, but this piramide was nicely symetrical and had some beautiful bunching to it.  There were some slighly veiny spots, but no soft or hard spots – the weight and construction of it felt quite nice.

After clipping the head, the draw on this was slightly more resistive than I wished for.  At cold, there were hints of old wood, all-spice, and a tinge of anise root / black licorice.  Hmmmm – interesting…

Opening Impressions:  After a lighting up and initial draws, the draw was actually quite nice when lit.  There wasn’t a ton of smoke with this, and it wasn’t overly viscous on the palate.  Slightly citric-acidity there on the taste profile.  Smell of fine and overly-dried herbs burning.

First Third:  Into the first third, this showed some hints of pepper on the couple of retrohales I gave this cigar, but it was extremely finite.  This cigar was very minimal on the powerhouse presence of pepper that my last one of these had (to the best of my recollection – my Cigar Dossier is packed up somewhere).

Frankly, I was already a bit disappointed with this cigar at this point.  I was hoping for a bit more.  It seemed to be looking at me, longing to be smoked, leaving me eagerly anticipating that which would come to pass.  But…meh.  There was a dark, old wood tone in there – almost like an old chunk of walnut wood was slowly being burned.  A fragrant-ness that was there, but not of the blowing-your-socks-off-kind.  And, since that wasn’t there, that aged refinement that some cigars get, gloriously aged LGC, QdO, old-school Monte or HdM, this cigar just simply didn’t have that there either.  Almost like the seco leaf, which imbibes that in a cigar that’s aged for a decade or longer, almost like it was forgot to be put in this cigar.  There was none of that perfumey, tea-like, aromatic class to this cigar.  And, being a Partagas, I was really hoping for one or the other.

Second Third:  Into the second third, things somewhat continued.  I began to notice that the burn was not impeccable.  I had to do a number of relights, and if I left the cigar alone for more than a minute, it easy petered out.  Got me thinking it was kinda like a hot date gone wrong – and if I left her alone for more than a moment, she’d wither away and die on me.  Got to be that feeling that it was almost a chore to keep her entertained.  Gawd, I hate that!

But then…

Some improvement!

About mid-way through the cigar, started to get a tinge of candied orange peel.  That citrus, sour, orange rind tone, being smacked back and forth on my palate by some wet, aged, old leather.  The smoke’s lack of viscousness continued.  Beautiful, rich, white ash.  Minimal smoke between puffs, but a decent amount with each pull.

And suddenly…

White pepper.  Ahhhhhh!  Just a few hints of it, fading in and out, but it was there.  Not the dense pepper that I was hoping to get, but it was showing up for the event finally.

Final Third:  Into the final third, it just kept growing and carrying on from the middle of the cigar.  White pepper, sour preserved orange rind, dark walnut wood smoldering in the fireplace, some wet leather drying over the hearth.

Damn, this was starting to get better and better.  Then…it was done.

Finishing Comments / Overall Impression:  I wish the whole cigar was like the 2nd half.  This was almost a night and day cigar; like two cigars wrapped in the same wrapper.  I was thinking in the first half about how 14 years might have been too much for this blend, how it’s Partagas essence might be all but evaporated into the hands of time.  But then, the 2nd half of the cigar made me a believer again.  If it was all like that, man, with the aged refinement hopefully coming into play more, it could have been wonderful.

Alas, it was just what it was.

Final Score:  88

Total Smoking Time:  1 hr and 35 minutes

Date & Time Smoked:  November 9th, 2014; lit up at 3:50 pm, done at 5:25 pm

Paired Beverage:  Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos and Coke

Last Meal:  Meat & cheese cracker plate lunch, w/ elk meat summer sausage, 12:20 pm

Smoking Conditions:  Climate-controlled garage, 21 degrees Celsius, 72% RH

Thanks for reading my review.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers all.

Cigar Review – Ramon Allones Grandes 2008 RE Espana, Oct 2008 “TEB” box code; Final Score – 93

So, as I needed to get the swing of things rolling again, I’ve got another review here – a wonderful stick, the RA Grandes, which was the 2008 Regional Edition for Spain.

It’s a delicious behemoth…

I enjoyed this during a visit with some good ol’ buddies of mine.  A couple of guys that I’ve known for more than two decades now – we all go way back, grew up separately initially but found each other in high school, have since stood up at each others’ weddings, have got into WAY too much trouble together, etc.  I’ve always been told to make sure I have good friends outside of my work environment – guys that I don’t have to worry about “talking shop” with, and moaning about little things, etc.  Guys that I can rely on to get my headspace out of the sights, sounds, and smells from work, and get me back to civilization / “normal” reality in my off hours.  Guys that I can just be myself with.  Guys that help keep me grounded and sane (yes – it can be a full-time job sometimes).

Some great buddies.   Its always great times when we’re hanging out together.  And we shared some wonderful cigars…

Reviewed Cigar:  Ramon Allones Grandes, 2008 RE Espana

Box Date:  Oct 2008

Factory / Manufacture Code:  TEB

Packaging:  10-box, varnished 8-9-8 box, numbered boxes (box # 8888 of 12000)

Price per cigar:  $22.50 USD (online vendor, 2012 purchase)

Length:  7 1/8″, or 180 mm

Ring Gauge:  49

Format:  Pacos / double corona

Weight:  16 grams / 0.6 oz

Construction/Appearance & Pre-Light:  This is my first of these.  Bought these a few years ago, and honestly forgot about the box until recently.  Picked the first one I saw, middle at the top.  This cigar was just amazing looking.  A beautiful cigar.  Oily, dark silky wrapper, stellar looking cap, wonderful bunching at the foot.  There appeared to be a few veins, but it seemed to be just some oil streaking to the wrapper leaf from the bunched up folds of the binder leaf below.  There was a noticeable soft spot, right smack dab in the middle of the cigar, about an inch in length.  I was going to keep my fingers crossed, therefore.

After clipping the head, noticed that there was that impeccable “divot” that are frequently present in well-rolled larger-format cigars.  The draw at cold was dead on and with just the firm resistance I was hoping for.  Soft spot be damned!  Tasty too – at cold, there were hints of fresh leather, rich, dark molasses, and extremely dense rich tobacco tones.

Opening Impressions:  After a lighting up and initial draws, the draw continued to be just perfect when lit.  This thing belched out loads of fragrant smoke – wow, what a wonderful experience on the first puffs!

First Third:  Into the first third, the story continued along, building like a grand orchestra crescendo.  The smoke had a dense, velvety texture on the palate, almost like a creamy Greek yoghurt that coated your taste buds with a tangy sweetness.  This thing was full body, full flavours.

Looking for that RA core of “stewed fruit” or christmas / rum cake.  Not quite there.

Getting hits of damp leather, rich tobacco.  Some fruitiness there, maybe???  A few relights…

Second Third:  Into the second third, the burn was wonderful.  Needed some cosmetic relights here and there, but the smoke quality and flavour cornucopia was spot on.  Just wonderful.  This was gearing up to be a wonderful experience.

Then, a few hints of a carbon, or pencil-lead tone.  Yuck.  Realized I was smoking my way through the soft spot.  Smoke volume and creamy density was still nice.  Some more touch-ups with the torch.  Thankfully, this sour spot was only fleeting in time and negative flavours…

At the halfway mark, once through the soft spot, it really opened up.  Started to get a sweet wood tone, almost like a nice cherry-wood smoked meat.  Just a richness and voluptuousness to this cigar that was hitting the spot for me.  Even my smoking companions were saying, “Damn, that smells good, what is that?!”

Final Third:  Into the final third, it just kept building.  Smooth, rich, dense, and flavourful.  Big bold hits of rich leather.  Started to feel the sweetness almost blend with a light cocoa tone – almost rolling into a cherry-tinged chocolate truffle.  Cream flavours and texture rolling around again.

Finishing Comments / Overall Impression:  This thing was a long voyage, and well worth the price of admission.  I took my time and really savoured this cigar, smoking it right now to the spicy and hot nub, until I was forced by the heat to put it down.  The creamy texture and flavour to this, with the leather and woody sweetness, made me savour the time that I spent with this, accompanied by my buds.

It took me forever to get through it, but never did I feel like I was rushing it, nor taking it too slow.  This was a cigar that kept giving in spades, and let me truly get to my chi place and “become one with the tabac”.  It was great.  These are harder to find now, and are a princely-costing stick.  But, the enjoyment, the size, the sheer smoking time enjoyed out of it, makes every part of it worthwhile.

These already have some great age on them, but with the richness that’s there, the oily-squishiness that’s still exhibited in these sticks, these have the legs for many, MANY more years to come.  I think it will be amazing to see what these do at the 10-year mark, and think they’ll be epic once they’re in that 12-15 year timeline.

Final Score:  93

Total Smoking Time:  3 hrs and 5 minutes

Date & Time Smoked:  November 8th, 2014; lit up at 9:15 pm, done at 12:20 am

Paired Beverage:  Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos and Coke

Last Meal: Hamburger helper & garlic bread w/ cheese, 5:30 pm

Smoking Conditions:  Climate-controlled garage, 23 degrees Celsius, 68% RH

Thanks for reading my review. Hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers all.