Good buddy, Scott M. gifted me a couple of these sticks and I am looking forward to trying one for the first time.
The PR says the sticks are aged in charred rum barrels. Doesn’t say for how long, though.
This is a real redwood tree of a cigar. It is huge!
The ding-a-ling rollers didn’t make the effort for the main cigar band carrying the name of the cigar: Diesel….and the foot band which calls out Delirium to line up. That’s just darn lazy.
I clip the cap using my God given talent of circumcision to remove only the cap’s wrapper at the pigtail leaving all the tobacco beneath intact. Nice Katman.
I find aromas of smokiness, leather, oak, spice, toast, and freshly mowed grass.
Time to light up.
I normally use a single torch DuPont to toast my cigars. But that would take forever so I grab my double torch instead.
First puffs are sweet. There is a bunch of flavors all muddled together and not clearly defined.
It is an earthy flavor in the beginning. The char line is a little wavy. I shall wait.
The charred rum barrels these cigars were aged in comes out loud and strong. This is a wonderful flavor. Smoky and I can taste the charred wood. I don’t taste rum but I do taste something along the lines of a fine liqueur.
Finally, spiciness shows up. It is slowly building black pepper.
Then some flavors hit at once. First is creaminess…right behind is a very buttery smooth flavor. Cocoa is strong. The spice seems to have leveled out. The sweetness and the charred wood flavor are enhanced and pop.
This is definitely different from any Diesel I’ve smoked. This is a cigar meant to bowl you over with balance, character and complexity. The other blends are good but this is a different animal.
I begin the second third and the flavors are subtle but distinct. The first third was like a sprinter getting ready for the pistol shot to release him from his stance. Now, the second third is seeing some boldness.
Flavors are: Smokiness, creaminess, sweetness, charred wood, liqueur, cocoa, spice, and apricot jam.
The char line is behaving itself. The cap is a bit of a mess. And I don’t want to clip it anymore because of wrapper issues.
I’m trying to think what this cigar reminds me of. It is an amalgam of Curivari Buenaventura, Spectre, Nica Rustica, Illusione Rex, and the Martinez Flatiron I just reviewed.
Strength started out at classic medium but has risen to medium/full by the second third.
As I approach the halfway mark, the stick becomes a flavor bomb. It has a really long finish is very chewy. As a whole, the cigar tastes like good scotch or a good liqueur. Gran Marnier comes to mind. It is orange zest. That was the fruity flavor that eluded me early on. I realize that the cigar liquor flavor, if it had one, should taste like the rum barrels. But I don’t taste rum.
I begin the last third. This cigar totally surprised me. I expected something more mundane. I am not sure that the moniker, “Delirium” is the right name for this cigar. It has the connotation of chaos which this cigar is not. It is a controlled, balanced, and with a very rich character. Sometimes the PR machine doesn’t put its thinking cap on straight.
This blend doesn’t fit in with those cigars. It is a move by the company, which is not AJ Fernandez as I stated earlier….to move into the high premium market.
And what really surprises me, go to the AJ Fernandez web site and see that the rep was being straight with me. The only cigars shown are San Lotano, Pinolero and Mayimbe.
Man O’ War is not an AJ blend. It is another company; another blender using the fact that these cigars are made in AJ’s factory. This is a real shock to me and very misleading by the online stores.
With just a couple inches to go, things explode again. The spice is red pepper and it is burning a hole in my tongue. The creaminess and richness give such a wonderful balance to the other flavors.
If you are looking for something wild or crazy strong, this is not your cigar. It is refined and complex.
The cigar only comes in this one size. And the price point is way out of whack between the box price and the five pack price. A $2.75 difference per cigar. That makes no sense.
And now for something completely different:
1975. “Did I Pass the Audition?”
We were living in London. Skip and his wife, Debbie… and me and my girlfriend, April.
We had found ourselves meandering through Europe and watching our money dwindle much faster than we had planned. We had foolishly bought one way tickets. Thinking we would become rock stars.
With only a few bucks left, we figured we would be better off in a country that spoke English…that way, people would understand us while we were begging on the street.
All four of us shared a basement flat in West London. My squeeze got a job as a chambermaid in a hotel. Debbie got a job as a waitress. And their two bum men were frantically trying to find work as musicians.
Around three weeks into our stay in the U.K., I answered two ads in Melody Maker. One was for a roadie and one was for a bassist. When I spoke to the guy on the phone, he cheerfully asked me which is it that I want to be? I told him I wanted to play. He said let’s do that one first and worry about the other later.
The morning of the audition, Skip and I jammed together. I found a bass riff I liked and that’s what we jammed on. I was very much into the early CTI Label artists where all the cutting edge jazz greats landed.
I was very much into jazz fusion. Unknowingly, my timing was impeccable.
I had 5 quid left to my name and spent half of it getting to the audition in St. John’s Wood. It was definitely a nice area to live in. Very upscale. At the time, I didn’t know that if I had kept on walking down the block, it would have terminated at Abbey Road and EMI Studios.
I knocked on the door and was let in and ushered downstairs where the audition was. It was dank and musty and old. There was a small, glass encased rehearsal room and a lounge. I was asked to sit in the lounge and wait my turn.
My eyes bulged as I saw at least 15 other bassists waiting their turn. I sat for a few minutes and then chickened out. I hate cattle call auditions and I always choke.
I was half way down the drive way when the drummer stuck his head out of the door and asked where I was going?
I explained I didn’t have the balls. He called me a douche bag and escorted me back inside.
I sat there straining to hear the ongoing auditions. It seemed like each bassist was being given the same 5 songs to play. So I let my mind grind trying to figure out how I could stand out.
An hour later, it was my turn.
I walked in and strapped on my bass. It was a tricked out Gibson EBO…like the one Jack Bruce played in Cream.
Introductions were made. Standing before me were a guitarist, drummer and keys player.
It became clear the keyboard player was the boss.
He said to me that they were tired of playing the same shit over and over again so how about me giving them something?
I shit my pants.
And then I thought of what Skip and I jammed on that morning. I played a bass line that would have fit in fine if I was playing with Mahavishnu Orchestra or Jeff Beck.
So I slammed it into gear. They were all shocked. They had been listening to English players, who at the time, all pretended to be Chris Squire of “Yes.” A very technical player but no soul.
The energy level went up 10 notches. The drummer was staring at me without blinking. Sweat was pouring down his cheeks. We jammed for 10 minutes and then it was over.
Immediately, they all came over to me to ask questions. Who was I? Where did I come from?
I responded that I was a nobody. And I explained my circumstances.
Apparently, they had all gone to see Jeff Beck’s new band the night before and he had an American rhythm section. And they fell in love with the sound and that was the sound they wanted for their rhythm section.
I was told that the best of the best bassists would be brought back on Sunday for the final audition and I would definitely be there. I was flabbergasted. As I walked out, several bassists, looking very forlorn, asked if I got the gig? I laughed. I responded that I had no idea.
When I got home, by bus, I got a phone call from all three guys telling me how excited they were about me. I couldn’t believe it. I was pumped.
What I didn’t know was that the keys player was also a violinist and used to be in one of the most famous bands in England. He was forming a new band. And Miles Copeland was his new manager. And Stewart Copeland was the new drummer. Stew was in school at Berkeley and Miles brought him back to London for this project.
I showed up on Sunday and I was the only one there.
A few days later, I got my first weekly check from BTM Records.
To be continued…
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS