Well, here I go again, most probably gushing over another Paul Stulac cigar. I’m his bitch, plain and simple.
Yesterday, I reviewed the brand new Classic Lord of Albany Natural. Today it is the Maduro.
Paul has been so appreciative of my reviews that he has, twice, sent hookers to my home as way of thanking me. Now that’s not payola. Why? Because my wife was home both times and the service changed from, well you know…to two women kicking the shit out of me.
I appreciated the thought.
Again, both cigars have the exact same blend stats except that on the maduro, the wrapper is fermented and aged longer.
Yesterday was a lot of fun. The Natural was just that. A great cigar. I would buy some but they aren’t on the market yet. No word on that yet from Paul.
Under Paul’s advice, I waited two weeks before I smoked and reviewed this stick. He felt they might be a bit green. But either he was right and all yesterday’s cigar needed was that two weeks, or he worried needlessly. And Paul does worry. He is so consumed by his blends that I envision him wringing his hands like Ophelia. From Hamlet, not The Band.
OK. Construction is great. Even better than the Natural. The Natural had a bit of a rustic look. The maduro does not. Clean as a whistle. Seams are almost invisible. Very few spider veins. A dark brown wrapper. Perfectly constructed cap. Nice and oily with just a small amount of toothiness.
I snifferoo and detect less aromas than I did on the Natural. I get cocoa, coffee, spice, a light sprinkling of cinnamon, cedar and leather.
I clip and light up.
The first puffs are sweet. With a small dose of pepper. Like the Natural, it is probably just warming up for the kill. It’s earthy. It’s one of the things I like about maduros is that earthiness.
Smoke spews and the burn line is a bit raggedy but that’s my fault due to my sometimes shaky process of lighting the stick.
The earthiness dominates at the start. Totally different from the Natural. I’m making these comparisons, not good over bad, but rather to differentiate between the two blends for the reader.
This stick, like the Natural, is jam packed with tobacco and, thereby, a slow smoker. The 6 x 44 Natural took me about an hour and thirty to smoke yesterday.
It’s a gorgeous day in Wisconsin. It’s 10am and already 77 degrees. My wife will probably go out back and sun herself; for all of us Cheese Heads have flounder-like pale white skin. It is supposed to rain today and so my only source for photo light is the dining room window. Clouds keep obscuring the sunlight at a moment’s notice driving me crazy trying to get some good shots. I’m keeping my Glock 30 nearby in case I can’t take it anymore.
Oh yes, the cigar. The sweetness from the wrapper is really running on 12 cylinders. There are some background flavors of earth, cocoa, coffee, cedar, spice, and leather; but at the moment, a non-descript sweetness is driving the bus.
Mind you, with all my rambling, I’ve not passed the first half of the first third of the cigar.
And then the doors open…..my beloved creaminess jumps into the fray like a sky diver splatting on the ground. It’s big and spread out.
The opening of that gate allows for the other flavors to follow suit in its wake. In an instant, red pepper hits a grounder to centerfield. The sweetness is actually becoming the strongest sweetness I’ve smoked. It’s not a flavored sweetness like those grape cigars you bought at the liquor store when you started out; no, it’s an intense earthy sweetness that doesn’t seem to have boundaries.
The ash on the maduro is close to snow white with flecks of Bela.
The cigar is developing the myriad of flavors but isn’t quite at the complex point yet. The Frankenstein monster is not quite done.
The sweetness never stops building. But it is never cloying. The pepper was much stronger on the Natural. Here it lays back a bit more than I expected.
I am closing in on the halfway mark. The maduro wrapper, in conjunction with the Nic binder and fillers, make for a more chocolaty smoke. It reminds me of a milk shake. Not an egg cream. The cocoa is heavily influenced by the creaminess, making it milkier.
At the halfway point, the flavors build quickly. Like the Jeffersons, they are movin’ on up.
I have no idea when these piggies are going to market so I will miss this stick. And at only around $6 a stick, I will stock pile in case Paul gets a rabid case of STD and cannot control the business anymore.
I truly enjoy flavor bomb cigars. Some smokers don’t. They prefer a more straight ahead cigar that is more Cuban-like. I enjoy that type of blend as well. I don’t remember the flavor bomb being so popular a few years ago. This seems to be something relatively new. I don’t know if it is a trend, by accident as more sophisticated farming, or by intent.
The Natural and the Maduro are two different animals. They have a common thread of being flavorful, the sweetness, and style and finesse.
Knowing Paul a bit, I imagine him knocking his head against the wall as he perfects the blends he envisions. He is a perfectionist. And this makes him crazy. Like a fox. I’ve never known a blender so engulfed in the end product. Really.
Paul is a young man. I can only imagine what the future has in mind for his brain and ideas for formulating new blends. Of all the boutique blenders out there, I am watching Paul with the highest of interest.
The last third begins and the complexity hits the palate. Flavors become one. No single flavor outshines another. The cigar is now extremely smooth and balanced. The long finish has me doing the lip smacking thing.
I thought I would have a favorite between the two blends. I don’t. They each have their own distinct character and live in their own respective worlds. Instead of favoring one over the other, I relocate this to mood. What am I in the mood for?
The creaminess begins to make a move to the front of the line once more. The earthiness is very prominent again. A deep richness occurs.
I should add that like all of Paul’s cigars, there is no loose leaf at the cap. Nothing pisses me off more than a cap begins to shred by the halfway point….forcing me to grab some scissors and remove the mess.
The last third is a dream of nuance. The strength, which started as medium, is now full bodied. The red pepper has quite a kick now. It has surpassed all the other flavors. But the creaminess and the cocoa are right behind.
I’m getting a Garcia Blast in the last couple of inches. Woo Hoo. The nicotine has kicked in and my hands are shaking as I type. LOL.