Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Review: Perdomo Small Batch Maduro

I’ve never been a short run or small batch fan of cigars because if I like something I would like to know I can still get it later. But sometimes things look too good to pass up.
Such is the case with Perdomo Small Batch Maduro. Nice and dark appearance to it with a nice sheen. I punch cut the beauty and walk outside to the first cooler weather of the year. It’s been a hot summer so this was refreshing. I sat out front with a nice bourbon and lit the cigar.

The first portion of the cigar begins with a nice draw and a very taste hit of spice on the first draw. Right after the zesty spice comes a nice round house of high content cocoa, a dark roast coffee mix and a very subtle velvety creaminess.
Moving into the first portion it is very noticeable that shortly into the cigar, the flavor transitions begin wonderfully as the coffee and cocoa begin to trade predominant places as hints of black walnut and a toffee sweetness begin to come into play. But even with these nice additions, the dark coffee and cocoa remain high. Moving toward the end of the first portion comes a nice touch earthiness much akin to the aroma you get from fresh turned dark soil. I grew up on a farm and that is perfume to me. The flavors switch so wonderfully in the cigar so far it make you anticipate the next draw.

Into the second portion of the cigar, the flavors from the first remain with the coffee taking the lead and the smoke leaving a nice velvety finish to the tongue. The sweetness shows a tad more as does the earth but both working nicely together as the cocoa acts a a flavor wrapper before the coffee.
As I draw long and deep on the cigar I look at this beautiful day and try to unload my mind of so many things I have to deal with. I have been search for just one day that peace can be the main factor of the day and all other thoughts can go on vacation but it won’t be today as thoughts of all I need to take care of flood my mind.

Moving now into the last part of the cigar, the smoke is bountiful and the aroma fantastic. All flavors are showing perfectly as the spice now comes back into play and what reminds me of tanned leather begins to show. The final puff of the cigar gave a succulent heavy smoke as the power house of spice, coffee, earth and leather poured ahead, with the black walnut and toffee sweetness following perfectly.

The Perdomo Small Batch Maduro is one great smoking cigar that is a nice addition to the Perdomo stable of smokes and one you should try.


All cigars reviewed can be found at Havana Smoke Shoppe in Jackson, Mississippi. Jacksons cigar store with the largest selection.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

La Imperiosa review

Yes i'm still here, just have not had much time to write lately, but now i'm back typing away. The cigar to day is a great one to get back to writing with, La Imperiosa from Crowned heads. After 30 years of smoking cigars I sometimes feel jaded, not looking for a new big win nor finding many surprises in new cigars, and that is my fault due to oversight and low expectations at times. I picked up several from my shop for a long weekend as I would finally have some me time and time to just relax. As of late free time has been non existent so this felt like a luxury. I had two full days off so the next morning after I awoke, I fixed breakfast as it was a Saturday morning. After a home made omelet, I poured coffee and walked out to the deck to enjoy the morning. This is a nice and dark cigar, some veins but nothing obtrusive, just the great look of the leaf. The feel of the cigar in the hand is good, subtle yet you can notice the sheen from the slight oils. I used my Xikar and make fast work, torching up the foot. Once lit, the first thing noticed was a burst of flavor that reminds me closely of black strap molasses and spice. This continued for about one fourth of an inch, then the cigar shifted. 

The first part of the cigar brought a velveteen smoothness with a hearty hard wood and black strap combo that delighted the palate. Soon into the first part of the cigar, you could detect a slight citrus flavor far in the background but yet noticeable with the flavors being given. This is not an average cigar, this cigar delivers to the palate a cavalcade of flavor that erupts in a non stop flood of torrential complexity that keeps your attention yet soothes the mind.

As I move into the second part of the cigar, I am perplexed yet enticed as hints of toasted French bread begin to unfold in the myriad of flavors being produced. There is also a slight saltiness that I assume comes from the toasted bread that appears, making the taste buds salivate in glorious expectation of the next draw from the cigar as hints of cayenne appear. This has become a hearty cigar, with flavors that satisfy the palate and leave no dull wonderment as to what is being derived in the smoke.

Moving into the final part of the cigar, the French toast and black strap, mixed with a dose of tangy spice, make for a velvety yet smooth smoke that coats the oral factors with a rich essence of tobacco that has been carefully cared for and blended. As the cigar begins to draw to a close, a noticeable spike in the intensity of the flavors is amply noticeable with a rush of exuberant spice, slight saltiness and the essence of the hard wood and molasses combining in a theatrical performance that dances upon the palate.     

I hated for this cigar to end so I was more than pleased I had brought extra home. The La Imperiosa from Crowned Heads is a crowning achievement in blending and construction, and if I may be so bold and use a baseball term, has hit it completely out of the park. 

If you have yet to try this cigar, search for it diligently at your local B&M. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in the slightest.

These cigars and all cigars reviewed can be found at Havana Smoke Shoppe in Jackson, Mississippi. The cigar shop with the largest selection in central Mississippi.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cigar Thoughts

Fine hand rolled cigars, what a fantastic tradition and work of art. There is something captivating about leaves of a plant, rolled into a shape then wrapped in delicate outer leaves and aged? Is it merely the simple act of placing a cigar in ones mouth and lighting up as habit like a typical cigarette? To the unlearned about the ecstasy of an age old class of smoking pleasure this may seem the case but it is oh so far from it.

Cigars themselves may to the novice seem like a glorified over priced status symbol that either the rich or those who are posers use as a way of saying “look who I am” but my how wrong they are.

Christopher Columbus wrote in his captains log that the natives of San Salvador smoked the leaves of a local plant. Rodrigo de Xeres, who was a lieutenant with the expedition, was the first known European to smoke the Indian's cigar. The natives in South and Central America did not smoke cigars as we know them, as they were wrapped in corn husks, palm leaves and other material. The Spanish people are given credit for creating the cigar industry. The natives called it “Ciq-Sigan” and the Spanish word “Cigarro” came from this. The cigar from its humble beginnings has grown in the ages to become one of the sweetest creations around. From the glory days of the great Cuban cigars to the fantastic products of Honduras, Nicaragua and other wonderful places of splendid growing climates. When you look today at all the companies that produce and sell cigars, you wonder how they can constantly come up with new ideas that have not already been done, seeing that the history of cigars dates back so far. But we must remember that we are talking about an ever changing industry, different year crops and breeds of plants, and fantastically talented blenders that have minds of genius.

I will not take time nor space to name all the companies but you must remember that there are those companies who have stood the test of time and whose products are consistently amazing, with their focus not being as much on profit even though that is the objective but on producing the finest cigars the world has seen. It is an ever fascinating thing that some produce sub par products, due to rushing production or inadequate blends, that wind up in the specials and cheap bins because the cigars never come up to those magical ratings that we all look at and pay attention to, while at the same time the ones that stand over the years garnishing ratings from the 80’s to the high 90’s are still the top groups in the industry. What are the others missing? Sometimes a new brand comes along that has a blend that is fantastic and is a grand success.

It takes time, talent and the love of the leaf to make a lasting impression on a cigar world that is inundated with a wide choice and variety that one can find out there. It takes companies that have a long and endearing history, a family tradition and the source of the product running in their veins. It takes the inner knowledge that no matter what price you put on it, no matter how fancy a band, no matter how heavy you advertise, if the cigar itself cannot stand to the taste of those wonderful pleasure seeking coinsures with taste buds that can detect anything from cedar, earth, coffee, and a myriad of other flavors then it will meander its way to the two fer bin.

Even though you can read hundreds of reviews, photos and articles on every cigar out there, always remember those are the opinions of one person. While reviews are a great guideline and should be read to see what the makeup and profile of a stick may be, the final choice is up to one person and their taste, and that’s you.

The pleasure of a cigar is in the craftsmanship of the creation, its construction, its makeup, its blending and the aroma produced. When you light up a fine cigar, you feel the joy that courses through your mind, releasing you from the cares of this world and transporting you to a place that lets you escape even if for an hour or two to a place of serenity and peace. You draw in the bounty of smoke that coats the pallet, igniting the sinuses and the thoughts that once invaded your consciousness disappear into a foggy after thought as the smoke dances in front of you like a dancer performing an erotic compilation of enticing moves that captivate your eyes not letting you go. As each puff is done, the flavors ever changing bringing your senses to a point of sheer bliss. This truly is the joy that only a fine cigar created by talented craftsman who take much pride in their work can produce. Every time you buy a cigar, think of what it took to make it, appreciate the craft, and enjoy the art of smoking a grand cigar.

Walk into a cigar shop, breath in deeply of the aromas that abound inside. Look around at box after box of wonderful cigars. As you see them in the box, remember they had a long journey to get there. Once you select one and light it, be glad that there are those dedicated people that you don't see who planted, grew, harvested, aged and stored, crafted, blended, watched over and rolled what you now have in your hand. Enjoy they great world of cigars.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Don't think, just smoke.

Last night I sat down to re arrange my main humidor and rotate the contents, while at the same time opening two smaller ones to move some things from one to another. As I dug through the various sticks, I was thinking about cigars, writing, the industry and people. I became fascinated with cigars years ago, the smell, the taste and aroma, the sights and creations to be found in large walk in humidors, the absolute art of the stick itself and the tradition behind it. The first cigar I ever had grabbed me and I haven't let go in thirty years. It is somewhat amazing to my though how one can go from just the raw delight in enjoying cigars as a novice to, after time, digging into every bit of information about companies, brands, regions, plants and the who, what, when and where of the cigars. I have written stories about cigars for years but only in the last couple of years have I started putting them out for people to see, for until then it was just a way for me to put my thoughts in a catalog for reference. I think that sometimes, we can get carried away in the business of things, just as in anything, and miss out on that raw joy known at the start. It may be possible as well that sometimes we take ourselves to seriously and miss out on the youthful exuberance we get at lighting up a new stick. You can over think anything and cigars are no different, from cap to foot or the complete structures of cigars. from every vein, variations in the wrapper color to every single note and nuance of flavor. Now to write about these items is one thing, don't get me wrong, you have to look at all those to do so, but not to the point that it is consuming or that the joy fades, or get to a point where we complicate the very process of what the creation is for. I'm as guilty as anyone of this. Once again, I'm not saying this is wrong, just that every now and then we should back up, forget what we know, pick up a fine cigar and just light it, smoke it and enjoy it, back to what it is made for, the pure unadulterated pleasure of the smoke. I think also we should never take our selves so seriously that we became oblivious to the fact that we don't know everything about it. I remember a few months ago, I was in a B&M in Jackson and was enjoying just looking through the multitude of cigars in a very large walk in humidor, sort of like being a kid in a candy store. While in there, two gentlemen walked in and one was new to cigars and it was all to obvious the other was a walking "I know the whole world of cigars" afficionado. I tried not to be distracted but could still here the conversation. I admired the new bee, you could hear the enthusiasm in his voice as he looked at all the different shapes, sizes and wrappers. He had chosen on off the shelf and asked his friend about it, who started telling him about the region it came from, the parts of the plant certain leaves were picked from, the style of the cap, how long it was aged, how to properly cut it to achieve adequate draw and then ran through the entire length of the stick telling him where various and many flavors make up the blend. After they looked at about ten different cigars, the look on the new bees face was that of sheer confusion, and the glee I saw when he walked in was gone. What a shame. Myself, I picked up a couple cigars I had not had in years and headed for checkout. After my purchase I stepped aside to find a chair to sit and talk with the owner while smoking and had just clipped the end of mine when the new bee walked up to the counter. I saw what he had in his hand and made the comment to him, "Thats a good one, enjoy". He looked at me and said, "I hope so, my friend said that it comes from a certain region and that I need to let it burn slow and...." you get the idea.
His friend was still in the humi when I sat down, and the new bee sat across from me. He held a nice cigar in his hand and looked at his friend still roaming around the humi and asked me, "Pardon me, but is there a proper way to start smoking this particular cigar? I'm new to this and want to really enjoy it.". I told him, "Stick the cigar in your mouth, light it and puff, and don't think just enjoy.". Its great to know all you can about cigars because there is a vast world of knowledge about it and some of the finest traditions and families involved, but here again, sometimes, just sometimes, forget what you know, cut, light and enjoy. Thats part of the fun of cigars. With so many companies and so many brands, from the big and well known to the new and to the small, some in it for generation, other just starting, each one producing a product that they spent time and effort to blend what they think and believe to be a great cigar is for a certain taste. Notice, I said certain taste, each person is different. By the way, while it is true that the cigar world is somewhat a community, its a community that should never be gated. On a whole, the people you meet in the cigar industry as well as those who write about it are some of the finest people you ever want to meet, with great kindness, business knowledge and as friendly a group of people as you ever could know. That being said, like in anything, every once in a while you find one that thinks in a very closed community way and that is terrible, because its whats outside the community that buys the product that gives you the opportunity to be in the industry. And to the consumer, remember one thing, that cigar you bought, that you ordered or walked into a B&M and selected, when you light it remember all that went into it, for its more than just leaves rolled up, its an art form. Thats one of the many great things about the cigar world, so many variations and flavors, shapes and sizes, brands and histories. But fellow B.O.T.L. and S.O.T.L. every so often, lets stop and clear our minds of the science and do just one thing.........

Cut, Light and Enjoy.