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 the second cigar from my friend Stewmuse, who is also an amazing sushi roller. Half Ashed host Kip Fisher sent the cigar.
“Before starting this review, I will mention that all of my reviews have been done, and will be done, while sitting in my running, heated Jeep, accompanied by a diet Coke. While typically a flavored beverage may not be the best choice, I don’t particularly like water with a cigar. I ALWAYS smoke cigars with this beverage (or root beer if I know it’s a strongly flavored cigar), and I can’t smoke any real length of cigar without an accompanying drink. I know. Big time wuss. Whatever…
Blind Cigar “A”
This is my second unbanded (of three) cigars sent to me by our glorious co-moderator, Mr. Fisher. It was the selection “A,” a 6 7/8 x 38 lancero. I have smoked very few lanceros previously, and have really never enjoyed one overly so. This cigar had a very small pigtail cap and featured a fairly dark, shiny wrapper, which I would guess to be Ecuadoran. It did have some thin, moderately pronounced veining that is similar to veins on the inside portion of the leaf, closer to the stem. It was still very smooth, though. The cigar was very straight and even, but it had a soft area from about 1/3 to 1/2 way down the cigar. I did not get a significant aroma from the foot before lighting.
I started this cigar by simply removing the pigtail, leaving a 1/4 inch draw hole. This was perfect for this stick, as the draw was good as it gets, free, with just a hint of resistance. The burn was fine throughout, never needing to be touched up or re-lit. The initial flavor was pepper, slightly sweet, and it settled in the nose during the retrohale. As mentioned in the previous review, I generally do this, as that’s where I get the most distinction in flavors and taste. This was not heavy pepper, but distinct. Everything to this point said “Nicaraguan.” I typically smoke steadily, as I’m trying to lock in the flavors, and the first 2+ inches went by in just 12 minutes.
As I got into the second third, where the soft area started, the pepperiness picked up, getting spicier, and this was settling somewhat in my throat. Soon after, the sweetness increased and the pepper abated a bit, though it did linger longer, and the flavor started to build on the back of my tongue. Toward the end of this section, the pepper continued to diminish and some anise crept in, especially when held in the mouth for a second or two before exhaling.
Pig Tail Cap
In the final third, I “decided” to inhale. Not really, but it happened and I thought I was going to die. Idiot. After that adventure, or perhaps because of it, the combination of pepper and anise melded into a VERY pleasant flavor combination that stayed until the end. The cigar’s duration was just under 50 minutes.
For the first half of this cigar, my thought was that it was pleasant enough, but pretty average. The second half, though, was really fine and I wished the cigar was longer. I do still think that this is a primarily Nicaraguan tobacco product, and, ONLY because of the My Father lancero show a few weeks ago, that this could be a cigar that Kip had left over (he also “must have” clipped the first half inch off so I would be fooled). Have at it…”
And here is Kip’s response…
“Good job on the wrapper…it is indeed Ecuadoran Habano! It overlies a Brazilian Mata Fina binder and Dominican/Honduran wrapper mix (sorry – no Nicaraguan here). The cigar was the Room 101 Daruma Mutante, produced at the Tabacos Rancho Jamastran. Excellent write-up!”
Room 101 Daruma