Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habana 2000
Binder: Dominican Olor
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
Size: 6.25 x 52 Belicoso
Jose Moreno is quite the character. A man in his 80’s has started a new brand: My Cuban Wheel. He delivers his cigars in wheels of 50, 25, and a 10 count sampler box of both blends in 5 different sizes.
From the web site:
“This figurado is a longtime favorite among cigar aficionados and is a “Cuban classic”. With its flicked, pointed cap, compact body and its thick 52 ring gauge the MCW Belicoso looks mean and meaty. The Belicoso size will amplify the power of this blend, giving one of the strongest finishes coming out in the MCW line. Not for the faint hearted, the Belicoso Liga 2 will be the perfect after dinner cigar.”
I have written a review of the Liga 1, which is the natural wrapper. This Ecuadorian wrapper is dark brown with the Ecuadorian red tint. Construction is solid. Seams are fairly tight and there are lots of veins.
The cap on the belicoso is very artistically near perfect.
I do the sniff-o-rama and can detect some grassiness, barnyard, cocoa and tobacco sweetness.
I carefully clip the cap, using my trusty Palio, and light ‘er up.
First flavor I get is burned nostril hairs because I lit the cigar incorrectly. Ouch.
The second flavor I get is sweet tobacco. And oodles of cocoa. Smoke pours from the foot. The draw is flawless and the char line is as well.
And Bam! Creaminess shows up right away. The body hits medium in stride. The sweetness mixed with the buttery smooth creamy notes are perfection. And then there is some nice new leather taste. A bit of cedar.
This is friggin’ delicious. While the ingredients in the Liga 1 and 2 aren’t that much different, the cigars taste completely different in style and format. The char line continues to be dead nuts.
At the ¾” mark, red pepper shows up. A tingling of the tongue and the sinuses empty.
I have bought these sticks before and they are basically ready to go on receipt. I am positive they will become exceptional with some proper aging but I have no discipline when they taste this good.
This is something new in the cigar industry: Jose Moreno actually asked his friends on Face Book what the cigars should sell for. And they replied in the hundreds. Of course, some idiots said $2…but most said $4-$5. And that’s exactly what Jose did. This is a first…the blender listening to the people.
During the first third, the flavors of cocoa, sweetness, creaminess and spice all maintain a stable equilibrium. No real spurts one way or another.
The burn maintains a pretty decent char line. And the ash is a dowdy black and dark gray. And seems to want to hang on.
A bit of fruity sweetness shows up. I have to scrunch my eyebrows to figure what it is.
It’s sort of a fresh red grape taste. Just laying there in the background as the spiciness emerges with some punch.
The first third is behind me and the second third brings on the interesting part of the cigar. Flavors erupt into stronger notes on the palate. The creaminess is in serious competition with the red pepper and the cocoa is right behind, screaming, “Get the hell out of the way!”
The body has stayed in the medium position. Strong spiciness can sometimes fool you into thinking that the cigar’s body is stronger than it really is.
At the halfway point, the cigar excels in its delivery of flavor. The spice has taken a back seat to the cocoa and creaminess and sweetness. That bit of grape flavor is still there thanks to the sweetness of the tobacco.
I have noticed that as I go through the sampler box of 2 blends and 5 sizes, the size makes a huge impression on the finesse of the cigar. The smaller blends are much more potent in the spice department. In the bigger cigars, the spice creeps up on you…allowing you to appreciate the other flavors while taking its time.
Have you noticed how difficult some cigar bands are in being removed from the stick? I always leave the band on when I smoke so as the cigar heats up, the glue loosens. But in a lot of brands I’ve tried recently, I’ve been forced to use a delicate knife to remove the band. Not here. The band comes off without a hitch, and no damage to the cigar.
I enter the last third. The flavors just explode with girth and punch. The creaminess and the sweet grape flavor are out of this world. Such a crazy combo. My tongue is burning. I love that. There is no such thing as a too spicy cigar. I know others don’t like the “spice bomb,” but I believe it really adds to the profile and a good cigar will allow its other flavors to expand at the same time the spice does so that while the red pepper may be strong, it never masks the profile.
The last third moves the body into the full position. My nose is running. And I have a bit of a spin happening. I should add that I had mentioned that the cap was well made, well, the proof is in the pudding. I haven’t had a single piece of loose tobacco come loose. Detritus proof.
The last part of the cigar remains cool and well balanced. A nice long finish. And no harshness whatsoever.
It is during the farewell performance of the cigar that I don’t want the flavors to stop. They are on top of their game. I have no idea how Jose managed to make a cigar this good for this price.
You need to try this cigar and once you do, you will be hooked like me. I am seriously considering getting a full wheel of 50 cigars next time. This is a great go-to cigar.
And now for something completely different:
A second chance at my dream….My old music partner, Rick Tunstall, and I are planning to record an album for a Paris based record label. The same label that represented us back in the early 1980’s.
1981. Rick on left..Me on right.
We will be doing covers of the famous Piedmont Blues songs of the 1920’s. Our versions will be very contemporized and special. What makes the East Coast blues songs different is that they are not the typical 1-4-5 standard arrangement of the blues. The chordal structures are very complicated.
I haven’t played with a band in 3 years. Trying to get over the age discrimination here in Milwaukee is impossible. This town is a wasteland for music. And the blues just ain’t played here. The young Turks of music in this town look at someone in their 50’s or older as outcasts….instead of depending on their experience and finesse. It is so moronic.
Rick lives in Powhatan County, Virginia. The album should have already been in the can but the record label allowed Rick to hold off because I would be his partner in crime.
Rick lives in the middle of nowhere on the grounds of a large mansion. The owners built an extension to their home so Rick could turn it into a recording studio with only the most modern and state of the art equipment.
Back in the day, I was a producer with my own professional recording studio. Thousands of bands came through there. And I owe my style of producing to what I learned from Rick while we played together earlier. Rick is a tough guy with a real stubborn streak. He has a vision and you better goddam get on board. As a result, few people are good enough for him to play with. Really.
Rick’s formative years were spent in New Orleans where he was part of the club band for every touring blues giant. So he played with every great blues artist.
The songs we recorded, back in the day, were way ahead of their time. And the recording of those tunes was arduous. Most sessions started at 10pm and went through the night.
Because of our advanced age, I figure just the opposite will occur this time.
And instead of coke, it will be Lipitor.
I plan to use my baby…my 1980 Schecter fretless for the recordings.
After we deliver the recording, there is a very good chance we will tour in Europe where this kind of music is much more appreciated.
The plan is to wait until the holidays are over and I will drive down there in early January. The album should take no longer than a month.
And I am girding my loins for what is in store. Rick will have his ideas and I will have to tap into his vision for my bass playing.
There will be no other musicians on the recording. We will play everything.
I so look forward to this. Music has been my love since I first played banjo at the peak of the folk music craze in the early 1960’s. I switched to bass when I was 15.
If all goes well, I plan to purchase a new electric upright bass for the tour. This will give the songs a more authentic feel.
So, my fingers are crossed that I can once more do what I love more than anything in my life: play music. Not a very exciting story, but I am super hyped and jazzed and had to share.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS