Over at the Half Ashed forums we have a little “cigar pass” going on. Each person involved sends two unbanded cigars to another person in the “Blind Review Pass.” For the next few weeks I’ll be posting (with permission) those blind reviews. If you have never smoked a cigar blind, or unbanded, I would highly recommend it. Get some friends together and trade cigars with the bands removed, or have your wife take some bands off a few sticks in the bottom of your humidor. You’ll be surprised at how much a band can affect your perception of a cigar.
Today’s review is Half Ashed host’s second unbanded. From Kip…
Dimensions: 4.375” x 50 ring
Color: Medium brown; slightly rumpled wrapper
Complexion: Slight oil and somewhat smooth. No discernible tooth.
Pack: Evenly distributed throughout
Prelight: Draw was a bit tight but tolerable, providing bright sweet woodsy flavors cold. Aroma faint but lightly cedar
Overall Construction: B+. A well made cigar.
At first puff, the cigar gave some mildly off flavors – like it was a bit young. This subsided after a few minutes, however. Once gone, it is replaced by a lemony tartness. In these early minutes, I struggled with the draw more than I initially expected – I got some “burnt” flavors that I expect are likely from my overpuffing trying to get more smoke/keep it lit. The cigar was flirting with overheating by the time I got to the end of the first half-inch. It was very hot well behind the burn line. I slowed down more at this point, which seemed to help some (although it brought about more relights, so it may be a moot issue). By the beginning of the second inch I got the burn in check, and was rewarded with a delicious (and unique) caramel-butterscotch flavor. Though not entirely foreign to me, it’s something I rarely encounter. I’m feeling like zedman is throwing me a curveball with this cigar. It’s not familiar, yet not-quite-unknown either. It feels like the very early DPG Blue, before the blend was kicked up a few notches (but I don’t believe that line ever came in this size). Once the draw/burn issues were worked out, the blend was about as cohesive as any I’ve had – the flavors all centered around a common palette, ranging from the sweet light baking spice to the (occasional) caramel. There’s a bit of a tingle with retrohale, but very little sharpness/spice overall.
By the final portion of the cigar, the family of flavors has widened a bit, taking a noticeably more woodsy tone. It was still very enjoyable, just in a different fashion. It finished strong with this woodsy core and just about zero spice.
I’m again at a loss. With my suffering batting average for unbandeds recently, my confidence is shaken. The tone of the flavors made me think Nicaraguan, but the diminished spice seemed uncharacteristic of most current manufacturers down there. It didn’t display the sweet/sour interplay I’ve grown accustomed to with some of Craig’s Cuban contributions (although not far off…maybe I’ll reconsider this). Maybe Dominican? It was somewhat akin to a few of the Fuente-made Ashton products from years past, although I’d stop short of pointing at left field with that guess.
Great googly moogly Kip. You are so close at some times, then pull away a bit later.
These are far from young, as I got them in ’13, but the box code was from ’06.
I feel that over the 2 years that I have had them, they have turned completely into a cedar bomb, just like you said; woodsy. I like the fact there there is very little spice left, and thus makes this a hard guess now.
Your cigar in question was:
Tatuaje La Riqueza Short Robusto Cabinet ’06
The cabinet selection are where it’s at. I think I would prefer, now that I have experience with them, to get and smoke them fresh with that power.