Cigars International produces 41 types of blends in their Blend Lab category of house brands. Each cigar is blended, in tandem, with the employees at CI and farms in Nicaragua.
CI is pretty secretive about all of their blends and only gives out the minutest amount of information. I have tried about half a dozen of them and found them all to be quite good.
A weird quirk is that you can only buy them in singles. So no deals. I got mine on Cbid and saved $3.00 on the $7 retail tag.
This model, the YP-5754, is one I’ve not tried but it gets great reviews on CI’s web site. Of course, CI only allows positive reviews. Critical reviews are never published. While I’m not crazy about Famous Smoke, at least they have the integrity and cajones to allow any criticism.
The price point ranges from $4.00-$8.50. With most of them falling in the $6.00 range.
I shall refer to this cigar from now on as the YP.
The Salomon or figurado is expertly crafted. It is packed with tobacco. Seams are near invisible, veins are minor, the cap is impeccable, and the Salomon shape is just perfection. The PA Broadleaf wrapper shimmers with oil. And has a lot of toothiness.
I clip the cap, and foot, and find aromas of dense, dark chocolate. I guess I am on a streak as the last few cigars I’ve reviewed were cocoa bombs.
It also smells like those European candies that are made up of dark chocolate and brandy. I also smell spice. Potent spice that makes my eyes water as I type this.
Time to light up.
The draw is very tight and I stop to use my cigar awl to open it up. That is done and now I have a perfect draw.
The first puffs are cocoa, cocoa, and more cocoa. And then the cigar goes out on me. This is a weird bird. I can’t keep it lit. I know what you are thinking. I pierced the wrapper with the cigar awl. But I did not. I am a professional and I know what I am doing. LOL.
I cannot for the life of me figure out why it won’t stay lit. Although I might have a reason. When I used the awl, it appeared that the plug was in the first inch of the foot. As it won’t stay lit, I wonder if there is a void in the tobacco that I punched through. So I clip the cap and remove the tapered portion of the foot. It seems to have helped.
I am getting a big wallop of red pepper now. Garcia style. My eyes really tear up water scoots down my cheeks like after a good He-Man cry.
So, what we have so far is a two trick pony of cocoa and spice. It tastes like Mexican Mole sauce which uses chocolate in the ingredients.
These two ingredients make way for some earthiness and burned oak.
As this cigar is a very slow burner, I shall come back to it at the beginning of the second third.
A transformation occurred during the first third. Creaminess appeared which tamed the spice considerably. Meanwhile, the cocoa is full bore. The oak is very prevalent and a new flavor of baking spices occurred.
The char line is nothing to brag about. While it did not need correction, it was very wavy.
This is not a very complex cigar. If your tastes run to enjoying the main flavors of spice, cocoa, and cream; then this baby is for you. If you want more, try another cigar. But I could be hasty in that determination as I have only begun the second third.
I am at the halfway point. Same ol’, same ol’. It is a pleasant tasting cigar but does not challenge the senses. I can see no reason for this stick to be priced at $7.00. Maybe several months of humidor time will fix this, but I’ve had it for a month and it should be a show off by now.
The problem with choosing from the 41 blends is that when you find a really good one, if you forget to write it down, you will never remember which was which.
It’s a shame that there are no reviews of these cigars other than CI’s web site. Their effort to bring premium cigars to market is a brave effort. And should be applauded.
I begin the last third. The body has been medium up to this point. And now it reaches out for medium/full status.
The creaminess increases and the spiciness lessens. The delicious cocoa remains the same throughout. A nice sweetness arrives.
As I peruse the CI page with all 41 cigars, I see several cigars that are out of stock. I would write these cigars down as they are clearly popular and therefore some of the best cigars offered within this category.
There are no major changes and no additional flavors. It makes me wonder why they would go to all that trouble to craft a Salomon and not cram it full of flavors.
The char line freaks out on me and I am forced to correct it.
I don’t have to nub this cigar to have an opinion of its quality. It is a blend that wants to be better. And maybe in a few months, it will. I bought 3 of them. So I will let the others rest and come back to this review for an update.
It is impossible to count on the in house CI reviews to make a decision on any of these cigars. The customer reviews like this cigar to the second coming. All sorts of comparisons are made. The problem with customer reviews is you have no idea of the background of the smoker.
I am glad I paid only $4 instead of $7 for this cigar. Cbid doesn’t put their Blend Lab cigars up for auction very often. I don’t understand that. If they want people to try the huge variety, then give people a chance to buy them at discount prices. It will only enhance the opportunity for customers to go to the CI site and buy more.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS