Wrapper: Sumatran 2003
Size: 7 x 50 “Concerto Churchill”
I always seem to have an Aging Room M356 or two in my humidors. I keep buying them and smoking them. They are reasonably priced and they are excellent cigars.
Now comes the third in the line, launched at the 2012 IPCPR trade show: Aging Room Small Batch Quattro F55 Concerto Churchill. It was rated 93 by our beloved Cigar Aficionado. And I acquired it from Atlantic Cigar. The blend comes in a total of 5 sizes. No one is left out.
This is the first of the trifecta to be box pressed. And due to the rarity of the wrapper, was only made in small batches.
The mystery of the sub-name is explained thus: The F55 represents February and the 55 for the 55th day of the year…which is February 24th. Rafael Nodal did the same thing with the M356.
I don’t usually buy the big honker cigars like this one. The reason? It usually takes forever to age properly in my humidor. I’ve only had these cigars in my possession for a week but my gut tells me I will get a huge chunk of its potential for this review which will allow me to look into my crystal balls and tell you only the truth.
Construction is quite good. The box press is well done. Seams are very tight. Only a few veins here and there. The single cap is perfect. I examine my 5 sticks and I cannot tell if it is single capped or triple capped. There is a bit of tooth and some oily sheen. The lines are so seamless, my old crotchety eyes can’t tell. I blame it on the mescaline in 1969.
I do the sniff-o-rama and detect notes of coffee, cedar and a nice sweetness from the tobacco. The aromas are much muted and barely noticeable giving the cigar a clean finish. As this is primarily a Dominican cigar, I have no expectations of a lot of cocoa.
I snip it and light up.
A spiciness emerges first. And then a nice, rich coffee taste.
Due to the size of this cigar, I figure it will be a 2-2.5 hour cigar, so I will be putting it down now and then to allow me to smoke it and then come back to the review.
The coffee brings a bit of creaminess with it. The spiciness is omnipresent yet not overpowering as a Nicaraguan cigar might. The body starts at a classic medium.
The char line is dead nuts perfect at the half inch mark. The stick felt perfect in the hand and I had prognosticated that it just might burn perfectly. Now that I’ve said that, it should all go to shit shortly.
At the 1” mark, the cigar is proving to be very enjoyable. It is relaxing and flavorful. And I am looking forward to the cigar’s future as it burns to ashes.
I am approaching the first third’s end and the flavors have remained the same. Very enjoyable, but no change. That’s OK. This is a big cigar and plenty of time for transitions.
I hit the halfway point and the cigar is at a steady medium body. The spiciness has ramped up and the coffee and creaminess are at an even keel. I would not call this cigar a flavor bomb. It is a pleasure to smoke because of the muted flavors and the richness of the tobacco. Plus, due to its size, it really should have been allowed several months to age in my humidor before reviewing it. But I taste huge amounts of potential.
I move into the last third. Some orange zest appears giving it a different flavor profile. The flavors go from muted to way out front. The cigar decides to really kick in. The red pepper grows stronger as my nose begins to run and my eyes water. I begin to shed tears over my keyboard. LOL.
And then wonder of wonders; cocoa! Huge amounts of it. I was not expecting this and it is assuredly welcome. Now we’re talking.
The flavors continue to become wide screen. And maybe by the time I’m down to the last couple of inches, it will become Blu-ray.
I made sure to eat my Cheerios before reviewing this cigar since there was an opportunity for the nicotine spins on such a big cigar, but so far, the medium strength is perfect.
I stop typing and just sit back and enjoy. I’m verklempt.
I come back to the cigar as the last third begins to wane. The last third is “it”, baby. Now it’s a flavor bomb.
The strength at this point begins to increase. I am a bit light headed. Woo Hoo.
The cigar finishes a champ. Flavors are on overload. A wonderful cigar.
And now for something completely different:
More on Rock n Roll Hall of Fame drummer, Hal Blaine. I spoke of him in the context of Phil Spector at the tail end of my La Aroma de Cuba review.
Hal was a special man to me. Hal was part of the L.A. Wrecking Crew. A group of musicians that were hired for their expertise and cohesion in the studio. I really don’t know if they ever played out together, but they did create magic in the studio. The bassist, Carol Kaye, was my bass teacher when I was 19. She and Hal played on most of the Beach Boys songs.
The list of Top 10 songs Hal played on is endless. And he worked a lot with Phil Spector. And he was my mentor and friend. I was 32 at the time. He played with everyone; literally. He could tell stories about my heroes like no one else. I loved to hear him talk. And he was a bona fide story teller.
He told me he was at Sinatra’s house when Tommy Sands met Nancy Sinatra and he could see they fell in love immediately. Jesus Alou!
Hal lived the typical rich musician life. Lots of wives and kids and during the time I was close to him, he lived on his yacht which was docked in Marina Del Rey, CA.
At the time, I had a TV show with a local DJ on a major rock station in L.A. He did the interviewing of early 1960’s musical acts and I wrote and produced and directed.
We were lucky enough to get Hal to agree to be on one of our shows. And we also got Darlene Love of the Blossoms fame. As well as Danny Glover’s wife in the Lethal Weapon movie series.
As fate would have it, both of them did an Ed Sullivan Special together. It was Nancy Sinatra in Vegas for the whole show. Darlene and her Blossoms did the backup vocals and Hal was on drums.
And Hal bought a 1968 Sony video recorder and player so he could watch the show afterwards. This thing was like a boat anchor. It was reel to reel. And I had the chore of getting it converted to ¾” format. I had to borrow the video recorder from Hal to take it to the transfer studio.
So off I went to his boat with no idea how heavy this thing would be. And it was a long walk. I was on the light side back then. And this thing must have weighed 50lbs. I sat with Hal and we kibitzed for a while and then I left. To this day, my right arm is one foot longer than the left because of carrying that recorder.
I went through the motions and accomplished my ordeal. Then I reluctantly dragged the thing back to the yacht. When I got there, Hal asked me to hold on to it for a while because he had no room for it on his boat. WTF!!!???
“Hal! Look at me! I weigh 98lbs and this thing is making me a hunch back!”
Hal laughed. And shook his head. I told him that he must make me lunch to gain the strength to lug this thing back to my car. He did. Lox and bagels. Ummmm.
I lugged this damn thing back.
Long story, short….The show was a rousing success. We had wonderful shots of Darlene and Hal playing while Nancy did “These Boots are Made for Walking.” And they were completely at home in front of the camera.
Every now and again, I would mention to Hal that I would be happy to bring his recorder back. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Hang on to it a little longer, bupchik.”
So now, over 30 years later, the recorder is in my living room. I use it for a bomb shelter.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS