This is an interesting new blend by Gran Habano and George Rico. The design team decided to come up with a brand new series under the moniker of S.T.K.
The cigar is supposed to come in one size only, yet CI has 3. Go figure. And only 1000 boxes were put into production. So this is a very limited cigar. Which belies the price tag of less than $8.
The first thing that strikes you upon seeing this cigar is the extremely bright, and exotic, cigar band, secondary band, and foot band. These are bands that the International Space Station can see.
In fact, the bands cover a very well made cigar. One that is Bambi brown with only a few veins, invisible seams, a slight oily sheen, and smooth to the touch. And it has a well-made single cap.
I clip the cap and seek out aromas. The freshly cut cap gives out an array of aromas. There is spice, baking cocoa, coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, very strong cedar, leather, oak, and graham cracker. No, they left the kitchen sink out.
Time to light up.
The first puffs are sweet. With a wedge of graham cracker. Hold the fruit. There is a milk chocolate component that is intriguing. The draw is spot on. The char line is wavy.
This is a good tasting stick. There are forefront flavors of spice, cocoa, cedar, and graham cracker. And there are background flavors of leather, cinnamon, and oak, and even a floral component.
At the one inch mark, the cigar becomes creamy. And upturns the balance of flavors. It mixes them up.
The creaminess brings on a fruit component. Cherry. Black Cherry. Bond. James Bond.
The stick is striving for flavor bomb status and is piling on flavors without strain or urgency. This stick has its own unique way of doing things. It is not acting like the stereotypical Nicaraguan blend. It is very different and I now see, and understand, why George Rico went through so many blends before deciding on this one.
The first third ends with a successful impression. No. I can’t do the Riddler. It begins the second third with a great goal of cigar brilliance. The damn cigar is so delicious that I want to eat it. I have no criticism except for the wavy burn line. But never comes close to becoming a canoe so I leave it alone and let it do its thing.
Too much emphasis is put on a “razor sharp burn line.” I don’t understand it. The best cigars I have did not have that so why is it important when the online stores pump the hell out of the P.R. Machine? Does it mean the cigar is better than another cigar without the sharp char line? The whole thing is ridiculous.
So it’s wavy. I’m wavy, too, by the end of a full bodied cigar. And I’m perfect. (What? I didn’t hear what you said.)
The second third and then the halfway point are oozing flavors: spice, cream, cocoa, coffee, cedar, wood, leather, cinnamon, tobacco sweetness, and black cherry.
I don’t believe you can stuff anymore flavors in one cigar.
The last third is a fire storm of flavor. It is bursting at the seams with a flavor profile full of interesting components.
Before writing my review, I took a look at the big shot reviewers version of this cigar. Some liked it and others gave it a so-so outcome. It just goes to show you how different all of our palates are. I consider myself to have an excellent one. Where some reviewer doesn’t taste what I taste, it’s no big deal.
Have you trained your palate like a baby seal? Or do you just shove the stick in your mouth and get on with your business? Like anything else, practice is the key. Having written over 1100 reviews, I have trained my palate to taste things that I may not have tasted long ago and far away.
When I first opened my recording studio, I didn’t come close to having the ear that I had a year later. Finely tuning senses is fun and exciting. And I urge you to review your own cigars. I’m not telling you to start a blog. But if you write down what you taste; giving great focus to what you are smoking, you will see your palate improve. Yes, it seems like homework. But you will reap the benefits of having a great palate and be able to taste things that some of the very lame reviewers do not.
And then there are the people who have perfect palates naturally. I hate them.
This cigar is knocking my socks off. I am closing the second third and while the strength is still at medium, the cigar is dropping flavor bombs right on target. I don’t rate my reviews with an arbitrary number. I leave that to the pros. Those guys have drop dead palates. Although, I often disagree with them when they “dis” a specific cigar.
The last third sees the flavors become more distinct. The balance is perfect and the cigar has had a long finish since the first third. It’s a shame that these cigars won’t be around very long.
The creaminess has lead the charge but now the black cherry and sweetness match it. The cocoa is in the background. The coffee is gone. The cedar, cinnamon, wood, leather, and graham cracker are in the background now. The strength begins to get some wood going. The nicotine kicks in and I’m beginning to see double. Truthfully, this is how I like a cigar. It’s a lesson in character building. The cigar focuses on flavor. Perfect. The body is medium. Perfect. And then, near the end, the tower of power kicks in and gives the whole thing a big lift. That’s how I like my cigars.
While I do enjoy powerful cigars like the Illusione brand, starting off at full bodied sometimes gets in the way of picking out flavors. Plus, I don’t have a constitution for a full on strength experience for the duration of the cigar.
The cigar is very full bodied now. Yet the flavors are still pumping out goodness.
I consider this cigar in the perfect price point. It is a special cigar. It is a limited edition. And if the Ricos were greedy, they could have charged a lot more. Good for them for thinking of their patrons’ wallets.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS