Cigar Review- Paul Stulac White Blinding Light

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

Binder: Sumatran

Filler: Nicaraguan

Size: 5 x 54 Robusto

Body: Full

Price: $12.00-$13.00

I have to thank Paul Stulac. Paul has been extraordinarily kind to me in giving me a leg up in some of his new blends.

He has been generous not to just me, but to my Face Book group: Cigar Freaks (https://www.facebook.com/groups/cigarfreaks/) …where he donated a $300 box of these cigars for a contest we have running until November 10.

The box sits in a humidor in my living room and I wonder and conspire to think how can I explain to the Freakazoids that entered the contest how those cigars disappeared in some sort of freakish gardening accident. Unfortunately, I am not much of a schemer and I am afraid I will have to give them to the winner of the contest.

So here we go…

I am going to make a bold statement here….The Paul Stulac line of cigars has become my desert island cigars. Paul has held the level of quality so high as to not only please his customers, but to please himself. I cannot think of another line of cigars that consistently meet the standards of quality that these sticks match. Now on with the review.

The White Blinding Light debuted at the 2012 IPCPR convention. As with all of Paul’s cigars, there was a lot of buzz and hubbub about it. I’ve been an unabashed fan of the Stulac brand for some time. In my eyes, this man can do no wrong. He knows exactly what the experienced and sophisticated smoker wants in a cigar.

Granted, the cigars aren’t cheap for us worker bees, but they are worth every dime and then some. I’ve tasted plenty of $15.00-$25.00 cigars that couldn’t hold a candle to this brand.

I did read one little blurb online that said this is Paul’s strongest cigar yet, so I am downing a bowl of cereal as I don’t think I should smoke and review on an empty stomach. I don’t want to find myself, half way through the cigar, running around the living room, arms akimbo. While telling myself this will go away, this will go away.

Construction is excellent. It is as solid as a rock with some give to it, of course. Seams are tight and there are some barely noticeable veins. I think it is either a single, or double, cap but the cigar is so seamless, it is impossible to tell or frankly, there just isn’t much info about the cigar online.

The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper is a dark coco bean color. I don’t see a reddish hue that you see so often in an Ecuadorian wrapper but the Habano part of the blend is probably the reason.

I sniff it and get doses of hay, baking spices, a wonderful dark cocoa that is very strong.

So I punch it and light it up.

Smoke fills the room instantly. The draw is perfect. The char line is dead nuts.

And a big blast of red pepper hits me. Wow. I love spiciness. The more, the better. And this stick starts out with a fireworks display. Right away, my sinuses clear up and my nose begins to run. Yeah baby, bring it on. While the nomenclature for this cigar is a robusto, it is a big robusto with that 54 ring gauge.

Half an inch in, I get some creaminess….and then the dark cocoa. Since I love the chocolate phosphate experience, I might have to grab a Diet Coke and use that instead of water. I grew up on egg creams in a Jewish household and this is about as close I’ve come to reliving that as an adult.

There is campground smokiness to it…outdoor BBQ flavor that lingers in the background.

And the cigar starts on its travels of the flavor carousel by getting a sweet tobacco component.

Like all Stulac blends, the cigar hits you with its mighty potential during the first third…and then gets down to business in the last two thirds. I am getting all sorts of little flavors that dart in and out. A bit of clove…a tad bit of buttery pie crust..

I test the ash, which is black and gray in color, and it seems tough as nails and I might have to punch it off.

I take a swig of water and the flavors ebb and flow. The cocoa and creaminess are just beyond my capability of describing the experience…and this is an experience. One thing Paul has done is to make sure each cigar is a smoker’s experience. I prefer to smoke his cigars in private, without distraction. I don’t want to miss a single morsel of flavor.

Some cedar replaces that smokiness. And now it’s smoky cedar. I’m starting to get a buzz. I am just ending the first third and I’m getting a buzz. Woo Hoo!

The second third gets more interesting. There is boldness now. The flavors are just explosive. And the cigar screams “Dive, Dive, Dive.” And the complexity digs deep. And swallows me up so that there is nothing else existing but me and the cigar.

The spice is still very titillating. A deep, dark earthy, richness envelops the flavor profile.

The second third is about nuance and finesse. And boldness all at the same time. Flavors jump out at me, like the cocoa and creaminess; while other flavors hang back…like some anise and cinnamon. There is a subtle sweetness I can’t identify. My lips smack trying to identify it.

I am at the point that I must remove the large, gorgeous band. It seems a shame.

The last third is all about benevolence. The cigar’s flavors aren’t so bold. But now entangled within themselves forging a flavor of one-ness. Yeah…I’m an old Hippie.

What I mean by that is that the spiciness has tamped down a bit…allowing the prominent flavors of cocoa, creaminess and sweetness to move forward to the head of the line. This cigar is so well balanced that it makes me want to laugh out loud from joy of sex..I mean tobacco.

I walk away from my laptop and sit at the bay window in the front of our house and just stare out while just enjoying this stick. It is windy and slightly over cast. And very cold…about 22°. It’s too early for snow. And I get the shivers at the thought of another winter in Wisconsin. I’m way too old to shovel snow out from under my truck after a storm.

While this cigar is most definitely in the full position, it is never harsh or bitter. It is smooth like my tushy.

The cigar begins to dwindle down to nothing. Like most Paul Stulac cigars, it ruins me for the cigars I plan to smoke throughout the rest of the day.

I’m sure that with some serious aging in my humidor, this cigar would unfold all sorts of additional flavors. And here is another thing about the brand. It is in step with what sophisticated smokers want…light one up the first day you buy them and they whisk you away. No simple tastes of just potential; the full experience. And with a box, you have the luxury of letting most rest and do their thing.

In summary, if you like your flavors bold and intense…while moving slowly to deep complexity, this is your cigar. I hope all of you get to experience this stick at some point. You deserve it.


And now for something completely different:

Normally, I would brag about being a rock god back in my youth, playing with a big name rock band and living in London.

Not today. This one is for people interested in how things go together..for little guys who loved their Erector sets and Lincoln Logs.

Watching the World Series reminded me of a story that was as close to life and death as any time in my career in commercial construction.

1996- The company I worked for had a lucrative contract to do all the foo foo gingerbread work in Chase Stadium in Phoenix….at the time, called Bank One Ballpark.

It if was stainless steel, aluminum, copper, brass or bronze. We fabricated it…but just the fancy shmancy stuff..like hand rail and decorative items. A few million dollars’ worth of foo foo.

When the general contractor got wind that I had a structural steel background, they came to me to fabricate and erect the cable wire supporting the backstop behind home plate…About a million bucks worth.

The design of the cable that would support the netting that would protect visitors was the most complex thing I had ever seen as a structural engineer.

The cable was ¾” diameter stainless steel wire. This is a pattern of how dense the cable is.

The architect chose to use swaged fittings that the cable would fit into…sleeker, he said. Swaged means that instead of the wire cable being attached mechanically to the fitting, it was compressed inside a long tube. And that compression could withstand thousands of pounds per square inch. This is what it looks like.

I hired a firm out of San Diego to sub the work out to. I had worked with them and trusted them.

The cable did not go in until the ballpark was nearly complete. So I stood and watched as a stadium was built before my eyes. Armed guards were placed around the perimeter of the newly laid sod to keep construction workers off of it.

As the cable went up, with the longest one being 380 feet long….there were 3 surveyors working together. Each tightening of the cable had to be coordinated. So sixteenths of an inch were important. Slowly, the cable lifted from the ground until it was eventually in place.

There must have been at least another dozen cables that pulled the big cable back to the second tier seating area. I watched as the cable was finally tightened to within a gnat’s ass of the specifications.

This diagram shows the bird’s eye view of the stadium with the red lines showing where the cables were.

I shook hands with the crew and they split.

Less than 15 minutes later, I heard a cannon shot. The swaged fitting in far right field had failed and exploded allowing the cable to shoot back to home plate like a rubber band….all the while hitting hundreds of polymer plastic chairs for fans one after another….The chairs exploded, they flew into the air, they were dislodged like dominoes…and the ones the cable barely touched left a half round circle on the top of the chair where the cable barely touched it.

In horror, I watched as dozens of workers were exactly in the path of the cable missile. The cable danced and swayed as it shot to home plate….missing every single person in its path.

The whole stadium worth of workers had heard it and a lot saw it happening. I saw a lot of guys drop to their knees and cross themselves afterwards.

Needless to say, afterwards, there was a shit storm. A new design was put in place using swageless anchors that attached the wire cable mechanically. 4 sets of engineering firms were brought in to check the one before them as the new cable and fittings were re-installed.

And because I hired the outside company, the owner of my company naturally assumed this whole brouhaha was my fault. And I spent a week in the pouring rain supervising dozens of workers. The sliding roof was not watertight yet and it just poured into the stadium. I got sick as a dog and the owner would visit and laugh at me.

But after a week, we got ‘er done.

I still have the anchor that failed that day…as a reminder that the distance between life and death can be measured in 32nd’s of an inch.

I managed to grab the failed anchor and later had a subcontractor weld it to a round stainless steel plate as a souvenir.



Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

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