Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo ‘05
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano Ligero ‘05
Filler: Nicaraguan (Jalapa Valley)
Size: 6 x 54 “Gran Robusto-Toro”
Price: $8.00 (Price goes down to $6 by the 5 pack and $5 by the box)
Good buddy, Andy S., sent me this stick along with several others. He explained that he had this stick in his humidor for an extended period of time.
So I thought I throw a change up with today’s review and go back to something that is a regular production cigar. Lately, I’ve been reviewing boutique blends.
Information about the aging of this cigar is all over the place which I don’t understand. I went to the Gran Habano web site and gleaned the leaf stats from it. Simple.
Obviously, this is a George Rico cigar who has been putting out some real gems lately, like: George Rico S.T.K. Miami American Puro, Gran Habano STK Zulu Zulu Habano, G.A.R. Opium S.T.K., and the Gran Habano STK Barracuda. A move to limited production blends.
I also reviewed the earlier version of today’s cigar: Gran Habano Gran Reserva #3 2008 and that was so good; I bought more after the review. I only have one of the 2010 and I’ve never smoked one so I’m looking forward to it.
While the cigar leaves have extensive aging on them, they were not rolled until 2010.
Only 1,200 boxes were made in each size and once they’re gone, they’re gone.
Construction is good. Solid with a couple of soft spots. But look at those Frankenstein veins! The wrapper has a seamless exterior with a very dark chocolate, oily color. And very sandy to the touch. The triple cap is impeccable.
I clip the cap and find aromas of strong grass, floral notes, spice, and cedar. Sniffing the spice makes me power sneeze three times. My sinuses are clear now.
Time to light up.
The char line goes to shit immediately. It appears to be a result of those ginormous veins running right into the foot.
Clearly, Andy’s extensive humidor aging has served this cigar well because after the correction of the char line, the flavors begin to blossom. A giant swath of creaminess runs along my palate. The sweetness and citrus are perfect counterparts. The coffee is complimented by the addition of cocoa.
There are baking spices entering from stage right. The cigar has been wrapped in that cedar sleeve so long that it just reeks of sweet cedar.
This is a sweet cigar. And totally out of my preferred size range. But it acts like a robusto or corona. Flavor bomb it is.
The char line is not behaving and now it is clear that these ridiculously large veins are the problem. It’s like a fault line.
After reviewing the 2008 #3, I bought a 5 pack and after a month they were good to go. Delicious cigars. So no need to age them like Andy did at a year or so. Of course, any cigar will improve with tender loving care.
The spice is very strong now and is completely red pepper.
The second third begins with new complexity. The sweetness adds caramel and nougat to the flavor profile. The spice calms down. But the other flavors are still omnipresent.
This is an excellent cigar but it doesn’t compare to the 2008 #3. That blend absolutely blew me away.
The halfway mark sees the flavor profile soar to the heavens. Now we’re talkin’.
In order: Creaminess, cedar, sweetness, cocoa, coffee, spice, citrus, caramel, nougat, green tea, cinnamon, and grass. Nice.
The char line has finally resolved its issues. Still big veins but all is well finally.
The last third begins without change. Doesn’t really need anything. The strength started out at medium bodied and has now transitioned to medium/full.
Flavors are booming and the cigar has perfect balance and loads of character.
I recommend this cigar. But if I had my druthers, I prefer the 2008 #3. The 2010 is a really good cigar but the 2008 is a stupendous cigar.
And now for something completely different:
He got me sessions all over L.A. And this day it was a national Chevy commercial. It wasn’t until 1991, that Chevy started using Bob Seger’s tune “Like a Rock.”
Hal got me my union card and I was only paid scale until Hal stepped in and talked to the conductor of the orchestra. Or whoever made those decisions. This was a long time ago and my memory is fading.
You don’t get residuals when you are a newbie. If you are a musician they want badly, they negotiate and you get a flat fee for the recording and some sort of royalty each time the commercial is aired.
My musician cousin, and legend, Fred Selden, became a millionaire doing commercials. In his younger days, he would do three sessions per day and those royalty checks kept on coming in.
I think I got $268 for the one session. When called back for another Chevy session, Hal fixed it so I got around $500 for the session and royalties. I literally lived on those royalties for a year.
Here is the reason I chose this topic….During the second session, a very well-known studio reed player was drunk. And doing coke.
Musicians at this level of power and prestige don’t put up with any shit. And 90% of the time, the first take was the final take. A little rehearsal and everyone was ready to go.
The music was all written down for each player. Having my recording studio for several years had prepped my properly for this. I did a gazillion sessions in my own studio. Bands would come in missing a bassist and would ask me if I knew anyone? I raised my hand. Played them some samples, gave them my resume and I was hired.
I would produce the session and then come back late at night and sit in a dimly lighted booth and record my part all alone. I found out many years later that is how McCartney did his bass lines once they stopped touring and began composing the best songs in the world.
The next day, the band would come in to hear what I had done. I not only played the perfect bass line but did a rough mix. While the band had to get it right quickly, I had all night to play around with my bass lines.
Back to Chevy. The reed player was playing tenor sax that day, I believe. And he kept screwing up and laughing. The conductor lost patience with this after a few fucked up takes. He brought the guy into the booth and we could see him reading the riot act to this drunken buffoon.
Apparently, this scared the guy into becoming sober. You don’t want to lose your place in line with the people who controlled who got hired. And there were plenty of musicians that would give their left testicle for just one chance. Good musicians.
I always sat next to Hal during the sessions and he had a million stories and jokes. He would tell them to me during one or two minute breaks and he knew what he was doing. I was like the bad little kid trying not to laugh out loud during class. It broke my concentration.
One time, I got caught laughing and the conductor yelled at Hal. The conductor had gone through this a hundred times and knew it wasn’t my fault.
Sessions usually lasted four hours. That was the union minimum for pay regardless how short the session took.
75% of the musicians had other sessions booked after this one. So they packed up quickly and split.
Hal was around 55 back in 1983. And he was a millionaire many times over and doing three sessions per day had become too much for him. So one a day became his regimen.
After the Chevy session, we went to Cantor’s Deli in West L.A. Famous vaudevillian, Eddie Cantor, opened the place back in 1931. And was the place to go for good Jewish deli. It was always crowded and celebrities liked it.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS