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.