Wrapper: Mexican Cuban-Seed Oscuro
Size: 5.625 x 48 “Beso”
The cigar has superb construction which shows off by its perfect burn and draw. The color of the wrapper is like a dark chocolate Snickers bar. Seams and veins are impossible to see. The stick is very, very oily…with some toothiness.
The sniff-o-rama detects some mild milk chocolate and newly hewn wood and leather.
I clip the cap and light’er up.
Smoke pours from the foot. The Garcia spice blast takes place. But in a much tamer way than most of his other blends.
I get flavors of cocoa, toast, wood, and red pepper. There is some definite earthiness. A lovely sweetness shows up…with some dark fruity flavor; but the spice and coca still dominate. The ash is rugged and hangs on like a champ. The char line is near perfect. The strength is medium right off the bat.
The fruitiness, about an inch in, turns out to be black cherry. A nice compliment to the cocoa…all we need now is some creaminess but this has not shown itself yet.
The cigar leaves the first third and it becomes complex, well balanced and with a nice long finish. My lips smack from the sweetness.
The second third is about depth of character. All the aforementioned flavors have ramped up in every respect. The spice is much stronger. The cocoa is tempting me to grab a Diet Coke for the chocolate phosphate experience, but I stick with bottled water.
At the 1-1/2” mark, the ash relents and falls into the ashtray, and not my lap. I have more cigar burns in my clothes than a prisoner at Gitmo. So I have a set of clothes I wear just for reviews. Stupid? Like a fox. A stupid fox.
The black cherry sweetness has moved to the secondary position behind the spiciness with the cocoa and earthiness right behind.
The power has increased closer to full body. The draw continues to be just spot on.
So far, there is no creaminess on the horizon…I fully expected this and am getting none.
The cigar burn line continues to be heroic and saluting at attention.
The gold and multicolored bands need a mention here. Garcia went way out on a limb with this. They are shiny and gorgeous. And probably added 50 cents to the price of the cigar.
The last third is home run time….the flavors coagulate into an amalgam of all the flavors mentioned heretofore, and perfect the balance of the stick. And then it happens…Creaminess shows up. I would have liked it to have shown up earlier as it would have accented the other flavors, but it is what it is.
The sweetness really shines now with the addition of the creaminess. The cocoa rears its head from the background. There is a nice bit of cedar in there somewhere. The spice is making my tongue tingle. Sort of like eating….uh…something else that’s spicy.
While red pepper almost always dominates a Garcia cigar, and this cigar no exception to the rule, the flavors are bouncing off of my palate like laser tag.
This is an extremely enjoyable cigar. I bought this on Cbid and paid only $5. I just checked to see what they are going for now and the dumb shits are bidding at retail price. Go figure.
The last couple of inches are dumping flavors on my palate like a snow shovel.
In summary, this is an excellent cigar that doesn’t need extensive aging in your humidor. I’ve only had this stick for a week and it shines like the 4th sun of the galaxy Fugeddaboudit.
This is a perfect representation of attention to detail and the finest use of Nicaraguan leaves with a Mexican wrapper. Just brilliant.
And now for something completely different:
We had decided to record our album in a high falutin’ recording studio: Sunset Gower in Hollywood. $250 an hour in 1981.
Rick Tunstall, our band leader, composer, singer, and guitarist had managed to get hold of world famous, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer, Hal Blaine.
I had worshiped this man since I was 16. By reading the liner notes on all of my favorite albums, he was part of a rhythm team that played on all the Simon & Garfunkel albums, all of the Mamas & Papas albums and just about everyone in the music business. He is a brilliant drummer. If you look at a photo of Hal’s drum kit, it is the exact same as Ringo’s kit. Ringo copied Hal’s set up…and in fact, Hal played on quite a few Beatles songs.
Rick and I were already at the studio. The cartage company had arrived with Hal’s drum set. They worked like clockwork to assemble it properly….and then The Man showed up.
I had been in contact with all of my rock n roll heroes while I played in the English band, Curved Air in the mid 70’s so I knew how to keep my cool..but with Hal, it was difficult.
The man was not very tall and had a slim build. He is Jewish so I let him know I was, as well….what was I thinking?
We kibitzed for a while and we explained the tunes we would be recording.
Hal sat at his kit fine tuning the set up. He reached into his stick bag hanging from the snare and pulled out some sheet music. He motioned me over and showed it to me.
It was the drum sheet music written by hand. By Paul Simon’s hand. It was “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” I was in shock. Hal let me hold it. I stared at it like it was the Holy Grail.
We rehearsed the first song one time and Hal had it. Just before we hit the “Record” button, Hal said to me, “Phil, you’re a pretty good bassist. Have you done session work?”
I gurgled something that basically meant no.
“I can get you some work if you want?”
I think that meant, “Would I? Hell, yes”
We spent a month recording an album’s worth of material. And Hal was there for about 2 weeks to do the rhythm tracks.
Hal and I would sit in the booth while things were between tracks. He told me stories like he was Uncle Remus. He could drop names like it meant nothing to him at all. He told me inside stories that had me in rapture. Meanwhile, my partner Rick, took me into the lounge and proceeded to scream at me…”Do you know that the 15 minute story Hal told me cost us $85?”
I bowed my head in shame but I didn’t care.
And Hal was true to his word getting me big session work in L.A. He later went on to become my mentor doing all sorts of things for me at my own recording studio in Long Beach. We became good friends. He took scale money from me for recordings that made me a big shot in customer’s eyes.
It was the most wonderful time. Maybe I shall tell some of his stories in another review.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS