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 last from my friend Stewmuse, who is also an amazing sushi roller. Half Ashed host Kip Fisher sent the cigar.
“Because he is, clearly, a cruel and heartless taskmaster, I have a third unbanded cigar from Kip Fisher to review. Cigar “C” was a 6 x 48 (corona gorda?). Like the Daruma lancero he sent, this also had an oily, medium dark wrapper with some slight veining. I will again say it was Ecuadoran, as it looked nearly identical to the previous cigar and that was correct. This cigar had a consistent firmness and drew and burned perfectly well. It did show the creases from the mold used, but that didn’t harm the actual smoking experience at all.
Blind Cigar “C”
This cigar started decidedly creamy, with only a hint of pepper/spice, and actually got fairly mild soon after lighting. I thought it would go downhill from there. There was very little flavor in the mouth and only showed definition in the retrohale. The ash was grayish white and very firm (throughout). At this point, I would have said this not Nicaraguan, but likely Dominican tobacco.
There is not much to add about the second third except that some pepper, very pleasantly, did start to grow.
In the third section, however, the cigar really came to life. The spice continued to build, adding a sweetness that blossomed into a decidedly orange citrus flavor. The fact that I was actively getting this specific taste surprised me, and I imagine more refined palettes would be knocked out by it. These flavors continued for the rest of the cigar, and I was REALLY enjoying the time smoking. Total duration for this cigar was just over an hour.
My final guesses for ingredients would now have to include some Nicaraguan tobacco along with Dominican, plus whatever provided the orange spice. This was an OUTSTANDING cigar and one which I would love to have on a regular basis. Never having gotten this citrus taste before, I don’t really have a manufacturer guess, so let’s say… AJ Fernandez, since that’s a Kip fave. How’d I do, Captain?”
Here is Kip’s response…
“This is a cigar I have reviewed, and we’ve featured as an early CotW on the show….the Fuente 858 SunGrown! It does have Dominican tobacco in it, and it does have an Ecuadoran wrapper. As for further details – they’re pretty sketchy. Fuente doesn’t reveal much more about what’s in their cigars (although I know for a fact they use a hefty amount of Nicaraguan tobacco, and still grow there as well).
The citrus thing you had going on is a huge reason I love this cigar. I just wish I could get them a little easier.
That being said, they are FAR easier to get the past two years than in the past. I don’t know whether consumers have moved on to other things, or if the Fuentes are making/releasing more, but they’re not too hard to find these days. I can think of three shops that have them on the shelf right now. They’re also running a bit cheaper than previous years as well (~$6.30 in the Tampa market).”