Wrapper: Brazilian Maduro
Size: 7 x 58 Skull (Salomon)
I want to thank Paul Stulac (http://www.paulstulaccigars.com/home.html) for sending me samples of his cigars. And I want to thank Joe Baker of Cigars In Review magazine (http://cigarsinreviewmagazine.com/index.html) for coordinating the whole thing.
The cigars are available in five sizes based on a single blend: Angel (Robusto) 5 x 58, Ghost (Toro) 6 x 58, Phantom (Torpedo) 6 x 53, Skull (Salomone) 7 x 58 and Cross (Gigante) 7 x 64.
The cigars come with all Nicaraguan binders and fillers. The wrappers come in two types: Brazilian Maduro or Ecuadorian Habana.
The cigar band has a golden skull on it. Very ominous. Most likely, men who ride bikes were the intended audience.
I do the sniff-o-rama and smell cedar, some sweetness and cocoa. Since there really is no foot on this style, there is no aroma intensity where it should be.
Construction is solid as a rock. But with just the right amount of give. The Brazilian wrapper is very oily. There is an appropriate amount of veins making the stick a bit rustic. And the Salomon shape is gorgeous.
I clip the cap. I also clip the foot to make it easier to light.
The first taste is red pepper. And then cocoa. A creamy sweetness. And a dark espresso. I’ve already smoked two of them and fell in love with this boutique stick.
I haven’t let the sticks rest the proper amount of time. They taste just fine to me fresh from the cellos. I can only imagine what they taste like with some age…which I will do with the last gifted stick.
Paul also included an unbanded mystery stick that is his newest blend. Very hush, hush right now and I haven’t a clue about its pedigree. So I will let it rest until Paul is ready to divulge info on it.
Smoke just pours out of the tiny foot. The draw could not be more perfect.
The cigar hits medium body right away. And it’s just a carnival of flavors. At only half an inch in!
The spiciness gets stronger. It is overtaking the other flavors. Since I have smoked two before this, I know that the spice will tamp down a bit later as the other flavors explode. So I enjoy the high level of spiciness, while it lasts.
I should address the cost of these sticks. They ain’t cheap. But to their advantage, they belong in the same family as Illusione, Viaje, and Tatuajes. This is a very sophisticated cigar that aficionados will enjoy and savor. This ain’t for your golf or shooting buddies. Unless, you’re really bucks up, of course.
The burn is really slow. I am glad. So much to savor. At the 1” mark, there is red pepper, cocoa, creaminess, nuttiness, espresso, cinnamon, and dried apricot.
The ash is hanging tough.
I really like the header on Paul’s web site. It says:
No Tales of Tobacco Fields
No 100 Year Traditions
Knowing how chocolatey this stick will get, I’m tempted to grab a Diet Coke for my Chocolate Phosphate experience….but I don’t. There are so many flavors intermingling that I don’t want to overshadow them with the cola flavor.
As the first third comes to an end, the creaminess is all consuming. It does tamp down the spiciness nicely. I keep looking over at the ciga, in the ashtray, and it keeps getting smaller. Bummer.
The second third is everything from the first third, just amplified. It is very complex. The spiciness ramps up near the end but the other flavors meld into a wonderful mélange.
The last third pulls out all the stops. The flavors explode and leave a mess all over the floor. Or was that the dog?
The dried fruit component is very strong. The cocoa is streaming along like a fast train. The creaminess is buttery smooth. Never gets harsh or bitter. No signs of a nicotine buzz until the last inch.
My overall impression is that this cigar meets the needs of a $10 cigar. It is an experience. Paul Stulac got the right people at the right time to blend these cigars. He’s accomplished what most boutique cigar makers can’t….a DAMN fine cigar. And I know this because every boutique blender has, at some point, sent me their cigars. I can count on one hand the good ones.
This cigar towers above the rest. Treat yourself.
And now for something completely different:
“How I Became a Temp Rock Star-1974”
“How would you like to come to Europe with us this Summer,” asked Skip and Debbie?
“We are going to buy one way tickets and go. We thought that we would form a trio of you, me and Travis and head for Greece. And live off of our music. Whatcha’ think?”
My head spun. What a nutty idea. But I was 23 and stupid. I had a steady girlfriend, 3 years younger than me, with her 2 year old daughter. I called her and told her of my plans. And then asked if she wanted to come with me? She said yes. Oh God. What have I done?
We landed in Amsterdam with our one way tickets. We figured it would motivate us more if were stuck and penniless. A stupid plan.
After 6 weeks in Europe, we were broke. We figured the dough we brought with us would last for months. With what little dough we had left, we decided that if we were to be poor, and on the streets, better we were in a country that spoke English. So we took the ferry from Calais, France to Dover, England….everyone puking the whole way. The English Channel is one of the roughest waterways in the world.
After a few weeks of spinning our wheels and checking “Melody Maker’s” musician want ads every day, we were really, really broke. The girls found gigs as maids in a hotel. So we were able, at least, to eat.
I called a phone number for the roadie gig, that was also the phone number for the bassist wanted gig. I was dying for any job.
The voice on the other end I suggested that I try out for the band and if I didn’t make it, I could look at the roadie gig. So an audition was set.
There was trepidation from my friends. We had come as a group…sort of. Travis got drunk and wrapped his bike around a tree, a block from our house one late night, and splattered his leg into a million pieces. He spent months in a VA hospital and our plans got all fucked up. But the tickets were paid for and we decided not to scrap the plan.
I had 5 English Pounds left on me. I spent half of it getting to the audition in St. John’s Wood. The home of Miles Copeland III. It was a block away from Abbey Road Studio. (Stewart lived a couple doors down in a flat. And we would sit on the stoop and watch tourists trying to get that famous crosswalk photo….but it was a busy street and English drivers made it a point to run down tourists.)
I was ushered downstairs to the practice room. It was encased in glass and I saw them playing with another bassist. As I entered the lounge, my heart sank. There had to be at least 20 other bassists waiting their turn. As I sat and listened to the same songs being played over and over again to test the bass players, I played my own versions in my head.
I could hear the whispers of the other guys as they discussed who was sitting and waiting with us. Apparently, players of note had arrived and the other players felt it was becoming a waste of time. So did I. So I got up, grabbed my bass, and left.
I got as far as the driveway when Stewart Copeland came after me.
“Hey douche bag! Where do you think you’re going?”
I told him I didn’t do cattle call auditions. He insulted me again and grabbed my arm and pulled me back downstairs. He told me to sit down and shut the fuck up.
My turn finally arrived. With the words, “You know, we’ve been playing the same shit all day. Why don’t you give us something to play?,” the color and blood drained from my body.
So I tied my balls to the hitching post and played something very jazz fusion-like. They joined in and we went to town.
At the time, every bassist in England sounded like Chris Squire of Yes. Very technical, but no soul. I on the other hand, had been playing like the players on the CTI label in America. Funk and jazzy. Very Stanley Clarke-ish.
They went nuts over me. We kept playing and I played my ass off in the time allotted.
When we were done, I was introduced to everyone. The keys player was Darryl Way. A very famous violinist with the group Curved Air. Who?
I had no idea who that band was. That’s because, while Curved Air, was huge in Europe, they had bombed in America. They sounded like a cross between “Jefferson Airplane” and “It’s a Beautiful Day.” Both bands had chick singers and were considered progressive rock.
But this was not Curved Air. Miles grabbed Darryl from Darryl’s own band, “Wolf,” and said he’d build a great band around him. Me and a singer were the last members needed. We became “Stark Naked and the Car Thieves.” We played out a couple times for a pittance.
One day, Darryl comes to rehearsal and says we have to put the band on hold for a couple of months because Curved Air had a record deal that had to be completed with Decca… so they figured the easiest approach was to do a live album. Go on tour as Curved Air with the original members, record a couple of gigs and voila! An album.
“Kohn. You’re going to be the bassist.”
Huh? (My favorite expression.)
Rehearsals began in Covent Garden in London’s vegetable warehouse section where a very cool rehearsal studio existed. They knew the music. I didn’t. And it was complicated. All the players had serious classical backgrounds. The violinist and keys player are now world famous composers of symphonies and operas.
So most of the rehearsal time was spent drinking tea and eating biscuits(cookies).
I thought we were doing club gigs until we drove up to the Round House in London. Seated thousands and we headlined.
I remember freaking out because since I didn’t know the songs very well, I had cheat sheets on a music stand. No music stands at the Round House.
And then I remember, “Ladies and Gentlemen….For the first time in 2 years…CURVED AIR!!!!
“1-2-3-4,” screamed Darryl.
(As it turned out, the best album I did with Curved Air was the “Live” album -still available new on Amazon, ebay, and everywhere else. Type in “Curved Air.”)
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS