Cigar Review: Pier 28 Habano

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This offering features an Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and ¬†Nicaraguan and Dominican long fillers. The size reviewed here is a 6″ x 46RG Corona Gorda vitola.

First light reveals a perfect draw and putting off ample medium/full body smoke. Flavors of a very dry hay/grass followed up by a bitter pepper and bright cedar on the retrohale (man I hope it gets better; not my preferred flavor profile!).

Settling into the first third we get many of the classic Rosado shade Habano flavors – unsweetened cream, leather and nuts still with a background tinge of the hay. The bitterness has worn off while the cedar and pepper remain.

We see a very welcome transition in the 2nd third as the hay wears off and a bright dried pineapple note joins the other flavors. The hay rears is ugly head again in the back so I ended it prematurely at 55 minutes which is still not a bad time for a small ring gauge. Subtle nicotine strength.

On the plus side, this cigar was well-constructed with a very straight burn. Short ash, but that’s to be expected with a small ring gauge. High quality self-adhesive band that was easy to remove.

If you like the above flavor profile this is definitely one to check out, but for me personally this one missed the mark. I imagine some would enjoy it though. If you like that sort of dry, vegetal flavor profile definitely check this one out though. Rating: 3/5.

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Cigar Review: Mr. Brownstone

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This offering from Esteban Cabrerras features a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper over Ecuadorian Habano binder and Nicaraguan long fillers. The size reviewed here is a 6″ x 52RG Toro vitola.

First light reveals a slightly snug draw but producing ample smoke. Medium bodied flavors of a light earth, maple syrup and oak with a peppery/spicy finish.

Getting into the first third the body seems to waver between medium and medium/full. We see the same great flavor profile as the first light but with an added dimension of a milk chocolate toward the start of the draw and the sweetness coming up a tick. The smoke has a thick, chewy quality on the palate and is very smooth. The flavors are well blended with no one flavor dominating.

Getting into the 2nd third we see a subtle shift as the earthiness takes on more of a very distinct leather note as it takes on a rich creaminess. Everything else remains and the draw opens up to even what I would consider slightly loose by this point. The final third doesn’t see any additional changes and keeps the flavor profile consistent, with the exception of the body now being solidly into the medium/full category. Ending at 1 hour and 15 minutes for a solid burn time for a Toro vitola and entering only a subtle nictone strength.

Excellent construction with a near razor-sharp burn, but the paper band was a real pain to get off – I had to grab it under the foot to tear it off (sacrificing a tiny flake of wrapper leaf). Ash holds on about an inch at a time.

This was a solid offering all around. It would have been a 4.5/5 if not for that stupid paper wrapping (which adds nothing to the cigar and is pure marketing BS), but the issues therein cost the cigar a half point in my final ratings so it came out to 4/5. It is a highly recommended cigar that would go great any time of day and whatever you want to pair it with.

Cigar Review: Sindustry Black Works Studio SE2019 Lancero

This offering from Black Label Trading company features a Mexican San Andreas wrapper over Nicaraguan Habano binder and Nicaraguan long fillers in a 7″ x 38RG Lancero format.

Slightly snug draw but producing ample smoke. Medium/full body. Lots of flavors out of the gate. Toffee, cinnamon, black pepper. A touch of raisin. A heavy oak lingering on the finish. Lots of nasal burn on the retrohale.

Getting into the first third is more of the same. Draw opens up to normal at this point. No one flavor stands out – they are blended perfectly. Very complex but there’s a slight grit to the texture.

We see a significant transition in the 2nd third as the oakiness morphs more toward a smoky, meaty quality. The pepper also takes on more of a cayenne note. It’s very substantial and the finish lingers forever. The raisin notes also morph into a distinct yeasty bread. It’s almost like a totally different cigar now.

The last third was very zesty, spicy and slightly acidic. There’s also a metallic quality. Very interesting to say the least. Ending at 55 minutes for a reasonable burn time for a Lancero and entering a medium nicotine strength.

Absolutely flawless construction with a near razor sharp burn all the way down. Ash drops off quickly but that’s to be expected with a Lancero.

This was quite a complex stick. Very spicy too. Too bad Lanceros burn fast because I’d have loved more. This is a Privada Cigar Club exclusive so if you want in on this be sure to sign up! Rating: 4.75/5.

Side note: this is my 600th post. Kind of hard to believe.

Personal Anecdote: Ice Cream for Dinner

I think it’s safe to say I’ve been put through the ringer this week. It all started Sunday when my feisty yet lovable alley cat Cairo passed away suddenly in the early AM. That just set the tone for the week right there as multiple other misfortunes befell me – the onset of a cold, more work stress (like I’ve never been put through before) and just the general depression that surrounds this particular week every year (I’ll let you deduce what depresses me around the same time every year).

Anyway, I’m just totally feeling out of it after all that. Feeling crabby, depressed, just general feeling like shit. In times like this, sometimes the only way to ease one’s troubled soul is to drown one’s sorrows in wine and ice cream. In times like these, only a hefty red wine and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream could possibly do the trick, so that’s exactly what I had for dinner tonight:

Let’s face it, nobody makes ice cream like B&J’s. Their ice cream is absolutely unparalelled (at least in this part of the world). With a dark flavor to go with a robust red wine, that will take the sting out of even the worst torture. So what if the pint is 1,200 calories? Who’s counting anyway?

Yeah, fuck this week. Fuck life. Fuck existence. In times like this, it can just go fuck itself.

Cigar Review: Southern Draw Cedrus

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I’ve become a big fan of the Southern Draw line recently. Every one I’ve had to date has been a real winner, so when this one came in my March Privada box I was very excited to see another one of their offerings. The Cedrus features an Indonesian Sumatra wrapper over a Nicaraguan Habano 2000 binder and Nicaraguan and Dominican long fillers. The size reviewed here is a 5.5″ x 52RG Belicoso vitola.

The first light revealed a perfect draw producing plentiful medium/full bodied smoke. Notes of cedar, leather and pepper. Tiny bit of sweetness and a tinge of hot cinnamon clears the sinuses on the retrohale.

Getting into the first third we see more of the same. Pepper dials down just a little bit and a salted roasted nut note enters the mix. There’s also maybe a fleeting hint of cocoa on the tip of the tongue. Everything is bold and complex but well blended.

Into the 2nd third we see an interesting transition. The cinnamon drops off and is replaced by a zingy lemon zest. The leather also takes on more of a yeasty bread note along with a hint of banana  -think like a Belgian beer or banana bread type flavor. Still the same subtle sweetness to round it out.

The final third sees another fairly major transition. The nutty notes take on a very distinct toasted pecan note that takes over the palate. Sweetness drops off while the leather returns with a slight vegetal undertone. Ending at 55 minutes for a solid burn time from a robusto sized stick and bringing in a medium nicotine strength.

Flawless construction with a near razor sharp burn. Ash held on right to the first band. High quality self adhesive bands that come off easily and do not damage the wrapper.

Yet another solid offering from Southern Draw. Lots of complexity, richness and very transitional. I paired this with some of my Chila spiked coffee and it was a beautiful pairing. Ra.ting: 4.5/5.

My Love Affair With Pickles

Ever since I was a little kid I’ve been a sucker for all kinds of pickles – bread and butter, dill, fire and ice, hot/spicy, you name it. For those of us who are pickle lovers there’s just nothing that satisfies quite like the tangy, refreshing bite of a pickle.

Anyway, on the way into the office this morning I stopped by the Chevron station just before the office to grab my pickle as I always do – a Van Holten’s Hot Mama. The cashier who doesn’t ever remember my name but just knows me as “the pickle guy” joked with me and said “I think you single handedly buy our entire stock!” Of course I laughed about it but it’s probably true.

Anyway, that reminded me of my childhood. Part of my bedtime routine as a kid was to have a pickle before bed. Every night was the same. There was just something so comforting about the ritual. Of course, I didn’t know the inner workings behind it at the time (as I was not diagnosed as autistic until the age of 14) but all I knew is bedtime didn’t seem complete without my pickle.

Anyway, there was an evil side to it. My dad didn’t find it amusing at all. He thought I had formed a bad habit (said he who to this day smokes two packs of cigarettes per day) and officially banned me from it. Luckily my great-grandmother (rest her soul) saw how uneasy it made me and how I just didn’t sleep well when I was denied my pickle so she started going behind his back to honor my ritual. I sort of “outgrew” this before I was diagnosed (thank goodness – if I hadn’t, given that she passed away before I received a diagnosis I wouldn’t have slept a wink thereafter).

Anyway, I don’t exactly have a pickle every night at this point (and being a busy adult in corporate America half the time I’m up answering emails at 10:00 PM or later because being a slave in corporate America your job never stops) but I still try to have a bedtime ritual of sorts when I can. I don’t always get it and the days I don’t have time for it I sleep like shit but what can you do?

Anyway, I have to wonder – do you have a bedtime routine? Did you as a kid and/or do you still? I’m truly curious. Let me know.

Cigar Review: PCC Room 101

This offering is available exclusively from the Privada Cigar Club. You can read the description here (middle column):

The first light reveals a perfect draw putting off plentiful medium/full body smoke. Flavors of nuts, earth and leather are the prominent notes. There’s a bit of a pepper on the nose and lingering on the finish.

The flavors are much the same into the first third but we also see a semi-sweet dark chocolate enter the draw. I’m also detecting a faint vanilla extract on the tip of the tongue. Everything is exceptionally smooth and well blended together. Smoke is very thick and chewy on the palate.

Into the 2nd third the same smooth, rich flavors remain but are joined by a fleeting hint of pineapple and the pepper dialing down a bit. The final third sees another slight shift as the pepper morphs into an aromatic rose petal which is very prominent on the retrohale. I now also get more of the citrus notes described also. Ending at 1 hour flat for a solid burn time for a corona size and entering just a subtle mild/medium nicotine strength.

Absolutely flawless construction featuring a near razor sharp burn for most of it. I did have to give it a large touch up about halfway but likely due to the weather conditions. Ash holds on about a third at a time. Poor quality paper band with lots of glue though. It shredded when removing it but did not damage the wrapper.

All in all this was a beautifully crafted cigar. Smooth, rich and complex flavors. Blender Matt Booth and Brian Desind of PCC did a spectacular job with this one. Rating: 4.5/5.