So, I’m Stuck At “Boredom”…

Yup. Stuck at CFB Boredom…er…Borden. Back at the academy for my “coach officer” course, for lack of a better word.

Winter here sucks. Right smack dab between all the Great Lakes, the temps have been frequently fluctuating, with lots of little annoying snow squalls. Morning PT, heading through minus 20 Celsius temps, DEFINITELY makes for an interestingly cold-slap-in-the-face wake-up.

But, more money added to the paycheck soon enough with this, so it all pans out in the end.

Hard to get personal computer time lately – much less smoking-and-reviewing time. Looking to get reviews going again shortly – I’ve had a number of nice goodies sent my way lately by some generous BOTLs and SOTLs, and as well, it was pointed out to me that I’m still slacking in putting up the news about the two new jars being released soon from San Ramon Producciones.

Hope things improve shortly on the smoking-time and smoking-weather front. Looking forward to trying the Trini Vigias and the PL Picadores soon too.

Cheers all.

Cigar Review – Cohiba Robustos Supremos EL 2014, Sep 2014 code; Final Score – 94

Well, here we have it.  The donkey-cock LE extraordinaire!!!!

Damn this cigar is huge.  Is it bad when, as a man, you’re starting to feel emasculated looking at a cigar like this hefty???  I love me a good Cohiba (especially when they’re super fresh, or nice and aged).  Hell, going against the norm, I frequently like the EL releases.  But this thing is ridiculous.


Go to a zen place.

Open up my mind to the possibilities.

Some of us were graciously gifted some of these when in Havana back in November for the Encuentros Partagas.  Ironically, like is typical with Habanos S.A. lately, being that this cigar is a 2014 edicion limitada release, OF COURSE they wouldn’t actually have been available yet when we arrived in Havana at the tail end of November.  But, a few mastercases of these were spotted in the last few days, and while I deleted (D’oh!) the picture from my iPhone upon my return to the frozen north, I believe the Sep 2014 UME code is what they were, with the mastercase showing number “X of 66” or so with that code.  And, these have been starting to flow out to the worldwide markets the last few weeks finally.  Yup – right on time, H S.A.

I’ve got a couple of these Cohiba EL RS’ though, and this’ll be my first one.

Please be gentle, EL’y, it’s my first time…

Reviewed Cigar:  Cohiba Robustos Supremos EL 2014

Box Date:  Sep 2014

Factory / Manufacture Code:  Unk. (lost the damn code, but I think it was UME or something like that)

Packaging:  Comes packaged in a varnished slide-lid box of 10-cigars

Price per cigar:  Gawd awful (this sample was graciously gifted)

Length:  5″, or 127 mm

Ring Gauge:  58

Format:  Frankenstein’s version of a magnificos / honkin’ fat robusto

Weight:  15 grams / 0.5 oz

Construction/Appearance & Pre-Light:  This cigar…was damn right gorgeous.  Dark, Colorado maduro wrapper.   No veins, no imperfections.  Stunningly marbled-looking wrapper with a lovely oily sheen.

An EXTREMELY flat head punctuated this cigar.  Construction feel was quite nice.  A pleasant firmness, with just an ever-so-slight soft spot at the foot.

The new Cohiba wrapper is sported on this guy, and with the double bands, there’s a lot of real estate taken up by shiny gold things.  Also, the one construction flaw that I found (and I had to really look) was that the bands had just ever-so-slighty-too-much glue on them, and they were stuck fairly firmly onto the wrapper where the seams on the bands were.

After a cut and at cold, mmmmmm!  Tones of those Dutch windmill cookies – they’re like a gingerbread cookie, with a healthy dose of nutmeg and other sweet spices in them.  This cigar at cold was those.  Though the draw at cold was definitely pretty free-flowing and not as restrictive as I would have liked it to be, the flavour at cold was wonderful.

What WASN’T wonderful was CUTTING THE FUCKING CIGAR!!!!  Wow, what a clusterfuck that was.  I like my Xikar double-guillotine cutters.  Well, this cigar, with its giant 58 ring gauge did NOT want to get cut.  I really needed a giant punch cutter for this thing.  While I managed to do it without destroying the head of the cigar or my sanity, it was a bitch of a time to cut the giant flat head on this thing and not cut too much off, which would have made it a complete wind tunnel.

Opening Impressions:  Quite nice.  Faint wisps of smoke from the lit foot, just to let you know it’s burning, but then LOADS of mildly creamy smoke with each puff.  A profile of EXTREMELY rich, toasted tobacco, with some sweet spices laying on the sidelines a bit.

First Third:  Into the first third, I realized what a brute this thing was, in many ways…

First, on the draw, it is a REALLY awkward feeling to draw on it – you feel like you’re going to dislocate your jaw or accidentally bite your lip, or something stupid like that; it really is that uncomfortably strange feeling.

Secondly, even with my big mitts, this looks like a giant cigar in the hand, and has some definite heft to it.  Hell, the bands seem like they were researched and strategically placed there by some engineering wizards, as holding this thing by the bands feel like a comfortable centre of gravity, and thereby ensuring you won’t sprain your wrist by simply holding this cigar aloft.

And lastly, this thing is powerful.  Definitely medium-full, and with a spicy kick in there.  Not necessarily a nicotine bomb, but definitely with all cylinders in overdrive.

Meaty, robust flavours continued.  Rich tobacco, gingerbread-like windmill cookies, sweet spices.  Some richly tanned leather in there too.  Some coffee goodness on the fringes.

Second Third:  Into the second third, and the crescendo kept building.  A lot of the same flavours were still there, but adding in some rum cake almost.  The burn was quite impeccable too, for how large a cigar this was, and how many variables can come into play to potentially lead to a wonky burn, especially in such a young cigar.  The draw was nicely firmed back up, voluminous smoke, nicely creamy texture on the palate.  Damn.

I started to think about how this reminded me of a cross between a 1966 and an RA Extra, two LE’s that I LOVE!  However, I was also thinking of how uncomfortable it was to smoke – made me feel all “duckface” every time I took a puff.  Gawd, my poor camera, LOL…

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Final Third:  Into the final third – finally!  Wow.  Chocolate and raisin tones come into play.  No more coffee or leather.

Not a single note of youthful harshness to it.  I know all the tobaccos used in the EL program have “been specially aged at least 2 years for fulfillment of the most discerning aficionados”, blah, blah, blah.  But, this is probably the first time that I’ve smoked an EL cigar, with less than 6 months of “box age” to it, and there have been no youthful harshness to the cigar.

Finishing Comments / Overall Impression:  This cigar, this blend, is just simply magnificent.  It works so damn well.  And I hate it, because it’s so damn uncomfortable to smoke!

Cohiba-esque, it is not.  There’s no honey, lemongrass, hay, etc., etc.  But it’s probably the best EL I’ve ever smoked with 6 months or less age on it.  This was simply an amazing smoke.

I won’t be buying any.  It’s just too uncomfortable to smoke.  Hell, if this were another piramide or canonazo / 1966, I’d scoop up more boxes than my precious RA Extras that I enjoy so much.  This could really REALLY turn into something with time.  It’s SOOOOO damn smokable and approachable now, but I am curious to see the progression at 3 and 5 years from now.

Final Score:  94

Total Smoking Time:  1 hour and 40 minutes

Date & Time Smoked:  January 4th, 2015; lit up at 6:15 pm, done at 7:55 pm

Paired Beverage:  Huff Estates’ 2012 Pinot Gris white wine, and followed by Early Acres Estate Winery’s “All Night Long” 2008 Merlot / Cabernet Franc (VQA Ontario wines)

Last Meal:  Medium chicken wings and cheesy garlic bread, 5:50 pm

Smoking Conditions:  Warm and cosy in the heated garage “man cave”, 21 degrees Celsius, 87% RH

Thanks for reading my review.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers all.

Cigar Review – La China custom shaggy-foot dalia, Nov 2014 roll; Final Score – 87

So, I haven’t really smoked a lot of La China’s customs, as much as they are storied.  I prefer from a number of other custom rollers’ sticks instead, but I do cherish Leopoldina’s on the blue moon occasion when I have them.  She’s a peach of a lady too – I don’t think there’s a person around who hasn’t got a big kissy kissy double-cheek smooch from her when you run into her at Partagas.

And so it was, whenever we bumped into her during this past November’s Encuentros Partagas in Havana.  This particular cigar, a shaggy-foot custom dalia, was one of the 8 or 9 or so different sticks that they gave out during the opening dinner.  And, I gotta tell you – most of us were somewhat impressed by the haul of cigars they gave out.  Generally, all just regular production sticks, but a number of them – D4, D5, 898, RyJ Short Churchill, La China’s custom dalia, and a number of others.  Frankly, I was quite surprised; I guess they (Partagas / Habanos S.A.) did somewhat similar during the trip I missed in 2013, but I know it was extremely lackluster in 2012.  Just ask Rob Fox what he thought about the Belinda and Troya tubos from that year, LOL.  Anyways, with a select few people “running the show” now as new blood into the organization the last few years, both the event and the handouts were decently impressive.

But, that night was hampered by some fairly stiff breezes and some constant drizzle.  As such…I dropped this custom dalia right on the cobblestone-embedded Plaza de Armas during that night.  It got wet, and I ended up putting a good chunk into the side of the cigar up above the special Encuentros Partagas band.

So, I waited to smoke it until now.  Let’s see how it did…

Reviewed Cigar:  La China custom shaggy-foot dalia

Box Date:  Nov 2014 custom roll

Factory / Manufacture Code:  N/A

Packaging:  Single, from Encuentros Partagas opening dinner

Price per cigar:  N/A

Length:  6 3/4″, or 170 mm

Ring Gauge:  43

Format:  Dalia

Weight:  11 grams / 0.4 oz

Construction/Appearance & Pre-Light:  This cigar had a nice looking wrapper.  Classic medium-light brown, almost a colorado claro.  No veins at all, and no imperfections (aside from my dumbass move putting a dent in it).

Fancy Encuentros Partagas band?  Meh, okay – kinda cool.  But the bonus points always go to a shaggy-footed cigar.  There’s just such a cool show when you light it up.  It almost makes the cigar…an event (as if they aren’t already in my hectic life lately).  I just love the flare-up you get when getting a nice shaggy-foot custom going.

And with that – I didn’t even try it at cold.  Clipped the head, perfect cut, but noticed that this cigar is fairly firm near the head/band, but drastically soft throughout.  Distracted by the shaggy foot, forgot to draw-check and taste it at cold, lit ‘er up, and then…

Opening Impressions:  Bleh.  Windtunnel.  First puffs were like inhaling through a feather duster.  Some old dusty tones there (surprising for such a fresh custom!), and then mouthfuls of hot air.  Some massive puffs of smoke though, even if there’s absolutely no weight on the tongue to it.

First Third:  Into the first third, it was going the same.  LOADS of smoke drifting off the foot as it burnt, and tons of smoke with every puff.  But no creamy viscosity to it.  Some decent black pepper tones.  Light leather. Old hay.

The ash was quite soft and flakey.  It barely wanted to stay on in 1/4 to 1/3 inch.

Even with being a wind-tunnel of a draw, and being somewhat soft on the fill, it was burning fairly well.  It stayed lit on it’s own with me being distracted from it for about 3 minutes.  However, the next ashing led to the discovery of the dreaded “inverted cone” to the burn.  Poof, it went out.  Tamped down the end a bit, gave it a good triple-torch relight.

Second Third:  Into the second third, it was now starting to show a bit of enthusiasm.  Firming up.  Black pepper converting into a lighter white pepper, mixed with a bit of oak or walnut wood to the aromas on the retrohale.  Tons of smoke.  Medium-light body.  Still no viscosity on the palate – no denseness, which I so crave in a cigar.  One slight touch up.

Onto my second Coors Banquet.  Hoping for better.  Been up just over 28-hours now, coming off midnights, and after a long drive home through some crappy road conditions (ice, snow, freezing rain, fog, high winds – Christ, I’d love to get back to Cuba TOMORROW!!!)

Final Third:  Into the final third – finally!  A little bit of density to the smoke.  Some light tones of creamy coffee.  Two more relights in the last third, and another occurrence of an inverted-cone burn to be corrected.

Tamed down during the last two inches.  Kinda nice.  Leather and light pepper tones mostly.  Smoke thickened up a bit, and draw continued to firm up.  If only it started how it began.

Got to also “unbox” a relatively new toy – a S.T. Dupont X-tend lighter, in the Maori turtle tribal tattoo finish…

A lovely brown and black lighter with chrome accents that I’ve had been looking for (very envious of Claus’ one he snagged a while back!).  These have been out of production for quite a while, and I just happened across a seller out of Spain, I believe it was, who was cleaning out old stock.  Got this back this past summer, but just haven’t had a chance to really unbox it and put it to use.  Onwards to the next cigar then!

Finishing Comments / Overall Impression:  This cigar was my first in a bit, after working a long set after the Christmas break.  Wish it was more.  It was nice towards the end, and the blend tones were nice when finishing up, but with such a light roll and easy draw, it unfortunately suffered throughout.

Final Score:  87

Total Smoking Time:  1 hour and 45 minutes

Date & Time Smoked:  January 4th, 2015; lit up at 2:10 pm, done at 3:55 pm

Paired Beverage:  Coors Banquet

Last Meal:  “Mama’s Diner” peameal bacon and eggs breakfast, 8:30 am

Smoking Conditions:  Warm and cosy in the heated garage “man cave”, 19 degrees Celsius, 93% RH

Thanks for reading my review.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers all.