Yes, and I will probably be posting the reviews first because Russ is not as lazy as me and I didn't get any in the mail today. I will be putting them in the mail late tomorrow so they will go out with the first collection on Monday.
Alright, well, Russ's package arrive today. True to form, he was obscenely generous, as he sent me five cigars to review instead of the four we agreed upon, as well as an extra stowaway for my own enjoyment. So a huge thank you to Russ; one of these days I'll best him in generosity.
Just got done smoking number one, as I have the afternoon off today:
It is a corona/Lonsdale type size, small ring gauge, with a really attractive chocolatey brown wrapper. The smell of the foot is what I expected, kind of a dark cocoa/roasted tobacco type of smell that I generally associate with Nicaraguan cigars.
Cut and light was very easy, and the thing burned perfectly throughout, razor sharp burn line. The predominant flavors were a bit of cocoa, wood, black pepper, and roasted tobacco taste. Dark, but not exceedingly so. There was a lovely, sweet, chocolatey/cinnamon type smell from the smoke coming off the foot, which made this an enjoyable cigar even when I was only holding it in my hand.
The pepper increased until about halfway, at which point it tapered away. Lots of smoke production, and a perfect draw, not too tight and not too loose. That can be a challenge sometimes with small ring gauges, but it was not in this case. I would put the cigar at medium-full in strength (more toward the medium side), but the flavor doesn't coat the palate for a long time like some cigars. Not a bad thing really, just something I noticed. Toward the end, about the final third, the flavors all melded together wonderfully and it finished nicely, with a hint of bittersweet cocoa.
So. I am guessing that this is some sort of AJ Fernandez production, but I'm not sure what. It definitely seemed Nicaraguan to me. I have decided I don't like trying to rate cigars numerically, but I would buy this cigar again at the right price. Definitely very enjoyable.
So that's my take on this one. Very nice cigar, and I can't wait to smoke the others. I'm going to try to get another one in tonight.
Number two from Russ. Did this a little while ago and now I'll copy my write-up over here to the forum.
As you can see, this is a large cigar with a pigtail cap, which immediately narrowed down the possibilities of what this could be. I think I know what it is now that I've smoked it, and while I wouldn't be amazed if I'm wrong, I would be a bit surprised. This is a very unique cigar, and because of the unusual flavors, it was difficult to review it. But here's trying.
There were some draw issues early on, but that's not unexpected since it's a perfecto shape. The draw got much easier once it got past the initial narrow tip. There are some grassy, sweet flavors to this cigar, and I get a taste every other puff or so that reminds me of Oriental pipe tobacco. Definitely a very unusual flavor profile for a cigar. There is a slight tingle to it, but I wouldn't call it pepper really. There is also a flavor in there that is something like citrus, maybe grapefruit.
There were some burn issues, but they were not difficult to correct. They didn't detract from the smoking experience much, if at all. There is a predominant kind of piney taste to it, again, very singular. I am really struggling to find words to describe the flavors of this cigar, so I will have to leave you with my impressions that it is grassy, slightly sweet, hint of Oriental pipe tobacco taste, and just very very unusual. I regret to say that this is not really my favorite thing I've ever smoked, but that's no knock on Russ or his tastes at all. Sometimes different people just have different tastes, you know? I would certainly smoke one of these again if someone gave me one, but I would seek it out actively.
My guess is that it's a Gurkha Cellar Reserve. I have had one of those before, albeit in a much smaller size, but the pigtail cap and extremely unusual flavor profile is what makes me think it just has to be one of those. I'd be surprised if it was something else.
So this one was a tough one for me. I never like to give a negative review, but I couldn't get into this one that much. Just "not my cup of tea", if you follow me. Still, a very nice cigar for someone who has a taste for this sort of thing, and it's so unique that everyone should at least try one.
Since it's late, I'm not going to text Russ and find out what it was. I will just let him fill us in tomorrow at a more decent hour. Thanks for this one Russ, it was a very interesting smoke and I'm glad to have tried it, even if it wasn't my favorite.
Blind cigar number 3 from Russ. Beautiful medium brown wrapper, slight box press, I'd call the size a toro. The foot smells of sweet, toasty tobacco. It hints at being a really tasty cigar.
Got it lit easily, and the draw is perfect. The flavors are barnyard/earth, rich toasty tobacco, and leather. The flavors are quite deep even early on, and there is a slight hint of sweetness. Overall, the start of the cigar is excellent, and I'm excited about smoking this one. Seems to be right in my wheelhouse. Smoke production is plentiful, and the smoke is velvety and thick on the palate.
As the cigar progresses, the burn is razor sharp, and the construction is perfect. Just an expertly rolled cigar in every way. About halfway in, the sweetness has increased noticeably, turning into a honey-like note accompanies the toasty, deep tobacco taste beautifully. This is a really excellent smoke, and it is exactly the type of thing I hope to get when I light up a cigar.
The cigar continues to deepen in flavor as it progresses, getting even creamier and more velvety on the palate. There is a sort of cinnamon-like element to the sweet part of the flavor profile now, and the toasty flavors just get better and better. It's hard to describe just how well blended the flavors of the cigar are. This is a cigar that I would be proud to give someone as a gift, but honestly, I don't think I could ever give away a cigar this good. Just another example of how generous Russ is.
Rounding the bend into the final third, the good things about this cigar just get better and better. As I said, this is the type of experience I hope for when I light up a cigar. The honeyed, toasty tobacco flavor just coats my palate. The key word in describing the flavor profile here is tobacco, and very high quality tobacco at that. It just gets better and better until finally I can't hold it anymore without burning myself, and it sucks to have to put it down.
My guess is that this is a CC. I'll be damned if it's not. But if it's not, then that's all the better for me, because that means it's easier to get. Still, it really has the signature CC flavor profile to it as far as I can tell. I'd put it at medium-full to full in strength, and it is just bursting at the seams with flavor. Cigars like these are the reason I keep spending money on cigars.
Thanks a million Russ. This is far and away my favorite so far. A real treat. My words really do not do justice to what a pleasant experience this cigar was to smoke. Again, it's too late to text and find out what it was, so I'll have to wait until tomorrow.
Lol. Get some of these for sure. The main thing that made them seem, uh, illegal, was the honeyed taste and the lack of pepper. I'm a big Pepín fan, so I appreciate pepper, but I appreciate even more a cigar that can blow you away without it. Headley Grange fits the bill. Great smoke. I'm glad I was wrong about its origins myself, means they're easier to get.
Alright, here is cigar number 4 from Russ. Picture isn't working right now, but it is a torpedo/piramide shape, medium brown, about six inches long, ring gauge probably 52 or so. Cut and light was no problem, and the draw is just right. Smoked this cigar while listening to Mischa Maisky, first the Bach Cello Suite No.1, and then Haydn Cello Concerto No.1 in C Major. Just in case anyone cares.
The main tastes are of cedar/wood, earth, with a slight sweetness. It has a pleasant sort of musty thing going on, but that's not the best description. I don't know how else to say it though. The flavor profile is nice and smooth and harmonious. It is not in your face, but it is very good. There is very little pepper to it, if any. It is toasty, but not as bready-toasty as the Headley Grange. Different, more woody.
About 1/3 into the cigar, a light stewed fruit note appears, and the smoke gets thicker and chewier, with the flavor profile becoming more rounded. It still has the main core components of wood and earth, but the stewed fruit note adds to it nicely. There is occasionally a flavor that reminds me of Turkish pipe tobacco. Not the same as Turkish by any means, but reminiscent of it, if that makes any sense. The cigar continues to build in body and complexity as it burns, as one would expect. It is definitely quite a good cigar.
The rest of the cigar, the flavor profile remains fairly constant, but the stewed fruit increases just a bit. Still mostly wood, earth, and toasty tobacco, with that light sweetness and slight Turkish tobacco taste. Very nice cigar, and the experience is well-rounded and a pleasure to smoke. As far as body, I'd put it at medium to medium-full, and the flavors were all singing in harmony at the end. It wasn't as much of a gut-buster as Russ had warned me that it would be, but maybe that's just me. I was expecting it to be a bit stronger after his warnings.
As far as a guess, I really don't know. If you made me guess, I suppose I would just say Nicaragua to be safe, lol, although it really didn't seem like an obviously Nicaraguan cigar. Maybe Dominican, actually. I kept saying to myself, "Damn, this thing seems so familiar, but I just can't quite place it." I feel like I've had one of these before, but I just can't put a name to it.
Thus concludes another overly verbose cigar review from yours truly. I'd say that, out of the four I've smoked so far, this one would be behind the Headley Grange and the Tatuaje, but ahead of the Cellar Reserve by a lot. Each cigar I've smoked so far has been very different from the previous one, and it's obvious that Russ put a lot of time into choosing these. Thanks again Russ!
Dude! I thought it reminded me of an Opus! That just seemed like a really ballsy guess, so I held back. Did I pick up enough of the flavors, do you think? Definitely smoked it slow; took me an hour and a half.
And I have a fifth one to review thanks to Russ's unforeseen generosity, but I have instructions to smoke it inside or on a calm, non-windy day, and today is supposed to be lots of thunderstorms. So I may have to wait. It looks good though; little Lancero thing.
Nice dark brown wrapper, very firm to the touch. Was a little worried about that, thought I was gonna have some draw issues but there was none. The burn was perfect and the ash held on for a good bit. This was about a 5x50/52 cigar, the perfect size for me.
Ok let's get to the reviewing, like always no 3rds just flat out review. There was a lil spice when I first lit, not over powering but it was there. The smoke was creamy, and coated my palette. I am still tasting this one as I type. There was a nice tobacco flavor to this cigar that was there the entire smoke. Also some nice bitter chocolate at times a long with cedar. The ash was a nice dark gray, a lil flaky but when it fell it fell with a thud.
If I was a guessing man, I would say Pepin had his hand in this one, hell might just be a Pepin, it had all the Pepin-ish things I have come to love. I don't think it's a Pepin Black, but I am going to guess...
Legado de Pepin
Thanks Mount, that was a wonderful cigar to start off with.
Yeah, they can be had for cheap. That's why I bought them in the first place. They need a couple of months of sitting time to be as good as that one was, but it's worth the wait for sure. And that's why I sent that one to Russ; I was hoping he would think it was something more expensive than it was, and it worked. That's the beauty of this thread.
Long, skinny Lancero, obviously. Draw was a little bit tough at first, but that was not unexpected since it's so long and such a small ring gauge. It got easier and easier though.
This cigar was a treat. Rather than give an overly verbose review like I normally do, I'll shoot for being more succinct (and more readable, hopefully). Flavors stayed pretty consistent over the length of the cigar. Main flavors were a nice, earthy tobacco flavor, slight sweetness, a leather character, and a spice note that was something like nutmeg or something along those lines. A little cinnamon, maybe.
I was getting a little tingle on my lips from smoking this. Not sure if that was the cigar or what. There was a really cool, nutty flavor that emerged about halfway through and remained throughout the cigar, something like pecans. Very nice, unusual little flavor note that I wasn't expecting. This cigar had a straightforward, punchy flavor from the wrapper, which was attractively rustic. Overall, it was a very enjoyable cigar, and a departure from the norm for me in a lot of ways.
I'm going to guess one more time that this was a CC. I just can't think of any NCs that are in that vitola and have that barnyard earthy tobacco taste and that nice smoothness with a little twang to it. So that's my guess, but watch me be wrong again.
Hard to say where this one stands in the ratings. All I know is that the Headley Grange stole the show with this shipment from Russ. The rest of them were great cigars, except for my personal incompatibility with the Cellar Reserve. But even that is a great cigar, just not one that I enjoy that much myself. This was a very generous package, and I enjoyed reviewing these cigars immensely. I would do this every week if I could.
Thanks again Russ! Look forward to finding out what this one was.