It is a nice sunny day in Milwaukee. But the -16° puts a crimp in it.
This cigar doesn’t get much respect. I remember smoking a few back in 2005, when they were released. And that was the end of that. I came into possession of this one from buddy, Rene Cardona. So I thought I would review it because the cigar sells…so someone likes it.
There are virtually no reviews online anywhere. This does not bode well. Will I sink another CI Conglomerate cigar? This cigar is made by someone but by no one that CI is proud of or they would say who it is. It’s an orphan. Although, I did find a cigar chat room review that said it is made by La Aurora.
Another reviewer, I’ve never read said that this cigar got a 93 rating. By whom? They don’t say. I’m sure if it had that kind of rating, it would be publicized. Reviewers on drugs.
Kusiscatalog.com says it is blended by AJ Fernandez. I found that in several places. And that Jose Blanco was the original blender. And that the brand died, in 2008, when Blanco left La Aurora and went to JDN. This same reviewer says the size of his cigar is a 6.5 x 10 WTF? Is he using inches and then switching to millimeters? And he calls AJ…JA instead.
Also, there have been three incarnations of this cigar; I, II, & III. I have no idea what CI is selling. Is it IV?
I found this quote from Alex Swenson, a big shot at Cigar.com:
“It’s a really solid smoke. Very nice flavors and slightly complex. Of course, at first I was going to try to compare it to the PD Series II, but since the new one isn’t a Jose Blanco blend and isn’t rolled at the La Aurora factory, it wouldn’t be a fair comparison.”
Well, that’s clearing it up. (???) The quote is from January 2011.
And I found this quote from December 2011: “The first two were Dominican puros blended by Jose Blanco and made by La Aurora. This one is out of Nicaragua, it’s been hinted by one of the CI muckety-mucks that this is by AJ Fernandez.”
So if you’re an AJ fan, like me, we may have been depriving ourselves of a good cigar. Or AJ demanded that his name have nothing to do with the advertising campaign.
OK. Enough of this crap. Let’s review the cigar for chrissakes. A CI copywriter does say this about the blend: “It begins with a bold, but well-aged, blend of hand-selected, long-leaf ligeros that are ripe with flavor and character. Full-bodied, but so smooth you might not even notice, Pueblo Dominicano cigars are among the most masterfully blended cigars I’ve come across in quite some time.”
Note: This paragraph is right next to where the whaddya-call-it that shows it’s medium/full, not full bodied like the above paragraph says. Do these guys even talk to each other?
Construction is nicely done. Solid. A beautiful single cap application. A coffee bean colored wrapper with a hint of red in the sunlight. A whole lotta veins,. The wrapper is very oily and semi toothy. The sandy brown cigar band has the name of the cigar…but something personal has been placed there: a dog lying in repose. Can’t tell what kind of dog it is..maybe a blood hound, or a mutt.
The first puffs are mild. The draw is fine. And then I am smacked in the puss with some nice sweetness and creaminess. A bit of black pepper lingers in the background. Cocoa rears its pretty head. Methinks, a flavor bomb is a’ comin’.
Within the first eighth of an inch, the cigar is spewing flavors like I blew chunks the first time I got drunk as a teenager on Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill wine. (Not quite the analogy I was looking for.)
Less than half an inch in, flavors are very bold: Creaminess, cocoa, sweetness, coffee, pepper, nuts, and leather.
I come to the end of the first third and this is a fine cigar. Not a high premium, but absolutely overloaded with pleasing flavors. I can’t complain about a single thing.
The strength has moved to classic medium. The balance is right on, Daddy-O. And it has a very long, lip smacking finish. I read in one of the chat rooms that the individual bitched that the bigger sizes didn’t bring that flavor bomb flavor profile the robusto did.
If AJ indeed blended these, he should not be ashamed. There is a minor San Lotano-ness about this blend. It has its similarities. And it is half the price as a San Lotano. Politics. Who knows, outside of the cigar insiders, as to why AJ’s name was not trumpeted when the PR machine got rolling?
Flavors have not changed. Except the pepper has diminished to almost nothing. The same flavors are there and in the same order. Just bolder. The char line is a bit wavy and needs a small correction.
The second third is nearly over. The spice has come back as red pepper instead of black. That’s how I like all my women. You ever been in a cockpit before? No sir, I’ve never been up in a plane before. You ever seen a grown man naked?
I am just past the halfway point. Summing up the stick to this point is that is a very flavorful cigar, very pleasant and enjoyable. It is not a San Lotano. It doesn’t have that complexity. But this is one of the best $5 sticks I’ve smoked. And if you go to Cbid, you can probably score these cigars for a couple bucks less. I’d like to get a box.
The flavors are: Creaminess, cocoa, red pepper, sweetness, coffee, nuts, black licorice (seen that a lot lately), leather, and baking spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and star anise.
There are no surprises with this cigar as it hits flavor bomb status almost immediately and sticks to those flavors throughout the smoke.
I remove the band and it’s a little Norman Rockwell painting of the dog lying on a wood slat porch with an open screen door and some sort of column to the left. Very nice.
The black licorice moves up the line just behind the creaminess and cocoa. Very strong flavor. I am getting a nicotine kick…my hands are trembling a bit while I type. Coffee makes its own surge. The spice moves to the back of the line.
This is a cigar you should try. The price is right and, no, it is not the cigar you show off to your friends…but it is certainly a good enough cigar to hand out to your moocher friends who will be impressed. The cigar could easily pass for a $6-$7 stick…in the robusto size.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS