I recently reviewed the TL Johnson Legend Reserve 63 Maduro. A solid, flavorful and bold blend.
This is its baby brother: TL Johnson Tempio “Extreme Box Press.”
From the Cigar Federation web site:
“The TL Johnson Tempio has an extreme box press so sharp it will cut your fingers off. Just kidding it won’t do that, but it might draw some blood.
“The TL Johnson Tempio uses a closely guarded method, which can take up to three week, to create the box press on the Tempio.
“Expect notes of cedar, toast, oak, sweet citrus, and leather in a full flavored but medium strength experience.”
From TL Johnson web site:
“Located in beautiful central Colorado, T.L. Johnson Cigars is a small company owned and operated by avid cigar smokers. With an eye for the old school quality and complexity of the cigars that we were raised on, T.L. Johnson partnered with Clay Carlton, a master blender in Denver, Colorado. Our goal is to create a cigar with light nuances of flavor, a robust quality and a smooth draw.
“To produce a superior line of boutique cigars that cater to both the new and experienced smoker.”
The stick comes in five sizes (CF only carries four-Not the Corona) and they are all the in the same price range of $8.00-$8.80 each. They can be purchased in 5 packs or 10 count boxes.
Robusto: 5 X 50
Toro: 6 X 50
Gordo: 6 X 60
Torpedo: 6.5 x 52
Corona: 6 x 46
Churchill: 7 x 50
I bought a 5 pack which comes in this unique frame holder for the cigars. Sort of a cigar prison cell…which helps keep that razor sharp edge on the box press.
This cigar is getting good word of mouth and is popping up everywhere. Unfortunately, Johnson has a shingle saying that his web site is in progress. So who knows how long it will take to find a list of B & M’s that carry them. Of course, Cigar Federation carries both lines and are in stock. I am really pumping the hell out of this organization. I think it is time for some sort of kickback; like a pink Cadillac.
The cigar feels fragile. As I carefully unpacked the cigars, one of the great looking pig tails just popped off. It is a jam packed stick with this wonderful mottled brown caramel combination on the wrapper. The pig tail is expertly done. Since removing the sticks from their cells, they have relaxed a bit. Should have taken a photo then. But still very sharp. The wrapper has a mixture of oiliness and matte finish caused by the marbling of the leaf.
The cigar band is simple and elegant.
I woefully remove the pigtail and clip the cap to find aromas of strong cedar and some oakiness. The cedar is so strong due to the aging process used that it blots out any other possible aromas.
So, time to light up.
The char line begins to run and I am forced to correct it.
I am vigilant about toasting the foot of any cigar I smoke. It normally takes me one to two minutes to complete the process. Hoping that this ritual will help avoid burn issues. Sometimes it works, sometimes you’re a nut.
The cigar at the half inch mark is somewhat bereft of flavor. Just cedar, wood, and nuts.
The ash is very dark with mostly black and gray with a few speckles of light gray. Foreboding.
I’m getting a toasty flavor now. And I just noticed something as I process my photos. The cigar’s wrapper looks like my old standby bass guitar strap. I bought the leather strap in 1971 and used it until around 10 years ago. I wish I knew where it was for a photo next to the cigar. But, alas, in a box in the basement.
Flavors are delicate. Not as bold as the Legend Reserve 63 Maduro. That was a flavor bomb almost from the start. This stick starts a slow build like a vaudevillian comedian.
This cigar appears to not have the gumption to be a flavor bomb. Here are the flavors: Cedar, spice, toast, wood, leather, and sweetness. Not much to work with. I was so blown away by the earlier LR 63 Maduro; I just knew the same thing would happen with this cigar. High expectations. Low turnout.
I mean the cigar is OK. But it costs $8.00! For $8, I want dancing girls. Maybe it’s just a slow starter.
And once more, as I wrote the last sentence, the flavors brighten. I leave this stuff in to show you what an idiot I am.
Citrus shows up with the slant towards lemonade. Nice. So Johnson went in another direction with this blend. Instead of a powerful flavor bomb, he went with a delicate flower of a cigar. Actually, it ain’t that delicate as the strength moves from medium body to medium/full.
Off the subject, if you like military maps and want to buy one from another time, always look for fold marks. If there are none, it isn’t real. They always folded the maps in the field. I bought my wife, who is from Fulda, Germany; a WWII US Army map of the Fulda area. Pristine condition. It is about 2’ x 3’ and hangs in a frame in our living room. Military maps are fascinating.
Back to the cigar. Unless something magical happens in the last third, the cigar will rest on its laurels of being a moderately flavorful cigar.
As I near the last third, the flavor profile opens up a bit. There is even a bit of cocoa in there somewhere. But instead of hiding behind a bush, the flavors make an effort to become bolder. About time. I like bold cigars. I like very flavorful cigars. You can keep the moderately flavored cigars and hand them to your mooch friends.
The last third sees a resurgence of the spiciness. And overall, a push of the flavors. I would have preferred this happened closer to the start of the cigar but at least it won’t go out with a whimper.
The stick has backed down from the stronger medium/full body to classic medium. The flavors are very pleasant. In the last inch, a large dose of nicotine punishes me.
If I had my druthers, I’d stick to the Legend Reserve 63 Maduro. A much better cigar.
And now for something completely different:
Earth Day is approaching. April 22.
The first Earth Day was on the same date in 1970. I was in my sophomore year at CSULB. This was a very big deal.
The school had arranged for a bunch of speakers but, for me, the star of the show was Mercury astronaut, Gordon Cooper. He was the last of the original seven to go into space in 1963. He flew around the earth for 34 hours and was the first astronaut to actually sleep while in space. He died in 2004 at the age of 77.
I was riveted as he spoke. He discussed climatology. But I was waiting for stories about the NASA program which came at the end of his speech.
Scott Carpenter was the first astronaut to go into space. And if you saw the movie, “The Right Stuff,” you will remember that there was delay after delay of the takeoff.
And Carpenter had to pee.
It wasn’t exactly as portrayed in the movie where he asked for permission to pee. He just went because he was embarrassed. Lights and bells went off in mission control and everyone feared he had died on the launch pad.
He told other stories and I spoke to him afterwards. A very nice, down to earth man.
On July 20, 1969, only 6 years after the last Mercury mission, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.
I was working part time at Knott’s Berry Farm as the steamboat captain of the Cordelia K steamboat. A small replica of a real boat. Paddle wheels and all.
Unlike the Disney jungle ride, this boat was not on a track and was steerable.
It was 6pm PDT on July 20 when I got word from a pal in the ticket booth listening to the radio.
I nearly blew a gasket from being so excited and wished I was at home watching it live on TV.
I had a bullhorn on board the boat for yelling at people in row boats to get out of my way. I turned to the couple dozen people on board and announced we had landed on the moon.
Did they hear me?
I repeated it.
Even louder silence.
I just could not believe what I did not hear. No cheers. No applause. Nothing. Were these people aliens from some advanced civilization flying in space for millenniums?
I put the bull horn down.
And kept driving the boat.
Sadly, sometime in the 1980’s, the entire lagoon side of Knott’s was paved over to provide extra parking for its patrons.
The next day, it was front page news across America and the world.
We got the L.A. Times and I folded the front section of the newspaper and put it away safely for 19 years.
On Father’s Day, my wife and I decided to have it framed and gave it to my father. He was thrilled. The evil step mother pish poshed it. But still hung it in a nice place in a dark hallway leading to the second bedroom of their 2800 sq. ft. condo in Palm Springs.
When my Dad was on his way out, I told him I wanted the present back and to please put it in his will. Dad wasn’t doing so well so when the evil step mother was away from home shopping, I nicked the time capsule and stuck it in my car.
My wife, daughter and I left for home not waiting for Cruella de Vil to return home and catch me.
Good thing I did that because after my father passed, I was told there was no will so Cruella got everything. She gave me a fancy ring my father made back in the 1970’s when the both of us were into making jewelry. And a wrist watch.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS