Welcome to another edition of my beer and cigar reviews where we take a look at some notable (and other not-so-notable) products. Let’s just get right to it! We’ll start with the beer reviews as we always do:
This is a pumpkin ale hailing from Strange Land Brewery in Austin, TX. It comes in at a fairly heavy for the style 8.9% ABV and an unspecified IBU or gravity rating.
Had on tap at Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House in Dallas, TX. Surprisingly dark pour for the style – a very deep red amber color; not unlike some porters. Nose consisted of notes of caramel, pumpkin and nutmeg. Palate follows the nose almost exactly but with the addition of a creamy note – think almost like pumpkin pie topped with whip cream. Spicy, warming finish. Smooth and easy drinking; very pleasing.
Though not the most intense pumpkin beer I’ve had, it was pleasant enough and I did enjoy it. I’d drink it again. Rating: 4/5.
Storm King Stout Nitro
Storm King is an American imperial stout hailing from Victory Brewing Company in Downington, Pennsylvania. It weighs in at 9.1% ABV and an unspecified IBU or gravity rating.
Had on nitro tap at Goodfriend. Pitch black pour with the typical creamy nitro head; the head appeared a creamy brown color and laces the glass like crazy. Aromas fairly one-dimensional consisting of pine, alcohol and a bit of coffee. Similar flavor profile too – dominated by a bitter espresso note and a piney finish. Maybe a hint of dark chocolate under it. Thick body with smooth carbonation and nitro mouthfeel; but the excessive bitterness made it a bit hard to drink.
I normally like this style but this one really missed the mark for me. I found it plain, dry and bitter. Part of it might be the nitro, but otherwise I didn’t really enjoy this one too much. Rating: 2/5.
I’m reviewing two different vitolas of this blend as an example of how ring gauge can have some affect but mainly I was just really hoping to like this cigar because it’s such a good value for money (as well as the rest of the previously reviewed JNV line) but unfortunately it was like a typical Connecticut experience for me.
Torpedo (7″ x 54RG)
One snip with the Cuban Crafters Perfect Cutter was all that was required to get a very open draw. Mild draw flavors of a subtle sweet cream. The finish and retrohale ramp up to mild/medium and bring in a zingy wood and a straight tobacco – kind of your typical Connecticut experience.
This stayed consistent start to finish, ending at 45 minutes for a very fast burn; not too unusual for a Connecticut. No nicotine strength. Great construction with a razor-sharp burn.
Lancero (7.5″ x 38RG)
First light revealed a perfect draw producing ample medium bodied smoke. Save for slightly more intense flavors the core blend was exactly the same as the Torpedo – a slight creaminess, straight tobacco and a zingy wood on the nose. This is a prime example of how the wrapper contributes so much of the flavor to the cigar and how ring gauge can affect the intensity of the smoke.
Perfect construction with razor sharp burn as above, but a very fast 35 minute burn time.
Honestly, if you’re a Connecticut lover I imagine these would be right up your alley, alas I’m just not. To me Connecticuts are just too mild and plain for my liking; I tend to prefer something with more substance and complexity. As such, please take the following ratings with a grain of salt: Torpedo 2/5 and Lancero 2.5/5.
Marrero Fuerte Gran Toro
The Fuerte in Gran Toro is a 6.5″ x 54RG box pressed offering from Marrero Cigars. Mad in Costa Rica, this cigar features an Ecuadorian Oscuro Habano wrapper over Ecuadorian binder and Costa Rican long fillers.
The first light revealed a very loose draw producing voluminous, thick, medium bodied smoke. Flavors of a smooth earthiness and a sweet creamy note. A balanced but not overbearing black pepper bite on the retrohale.
Getting into the first third the body flavors ramp up to medium/full and the earth moves more toward a leather, which mixes well with the cream. Also entering the mix are a medium roast coffee and a fleeting hint of cocoa. The pepper gradually dies down and is replaced by a metallic twang on the finish and nose.
The 2nd third remains more the same but the sweetness morphs more toward a caramel. The last third takes on a very heavy earth and leather, dropping the sweetness and bringing in a red pepper (as opposed to black), and joining it is a bright, aromatic pine on the retrohale. Ending at 1 hour 35 minutes for an impressive burn time, probably just right too – the strength matches the body at a medium/full in the end; resulting in a pretty serious buzz.
Construction was very good with a good burn line. The burn wasn’t totally razor sharp and did require a couple of small corrections but I won’t fault it for that – this is to be expected from very dark, thick wrappers on larger ring gauges.
This cigar was amazing. It was bold, complex and transitional and packs a punch. For about $8.50/stick this is a great bang for your buck compared to what you’re getting. Rating: 4.75/5.
That’s a wrap. Hope you enjoyed.