Size: 5.5 x 52 “Hermosos”
Price: $7.20 by the box (Singles are $5.95 until June 30 at Famous Smoke)
The Para Ti is the first cigar distributed by Pete Johnson that is not one of his creations. It was originally produced by Fred Schrader of Schrader Cellars who then took it to Johnson who agreed to distribute it for him.
A 5 pack was gifted to me by a reader a little over a month ago and I did smoke one a week after I got them and was not impressed. The cigar needed more time. The time is now.
Schrader began producing cigars in 2010. He produced the Para Ti and the Schrader Hispañiola Sparky.
This is a limited edition run. And I could only find two online stores that carry them: Famous Smoke and Serious Cigars.
The cigar comes in four sizes: Prominentes 6X60, Canonazos 6X48, Hermosos 5.5X42 and Perlas 5X40.
Construction of the Para Ti is OK. It is light in the hand. Seems like a little more tobacco could have been used. It is sunny outside but the white cigar band completely washes out in my photos so I must use a shaded area to allow you to see the band. But in taking the sunny photos, I noticed how unevenly the tobacco is distributed in the cigar. Very lumpy with soft spots.
The wrapper color is more coffee bean than chocolate brown. It is oily and very smooth to the touch. Seams are invisible but there are a lot of veins. The triple cap is a bit sloppy.
I clip the cap and find aromas of cocoa, citrus, leather, hazelnut, toast, coffee, caramel, and barnyard.
Time to light up.
The first puffs are sweet like pumpkin pie. Then the spiciness arrives toute suite. The char line wants to canoe on me so I nip it in the bud. The draw is spot on. A rich earthiness permeates the flavor profile and then some creaminess invades the Sudetenland. Yes, I’m power mad this morning. Give me Czechoslovakia then Poland. OK. Just a toasted bagel with apple butter on it instead.
The spice is rising to the power of 2 with each puff. Wow. My nose is flaring like a horse when it picks up the scent of a rattlesnake. This is a-spicy-a-meat-a-ball. (For you readers under 40, ask your parents about that one.)
The cigar picks up a very leathery component that is very nice. Nuttiness appears and is a combo of almond; with that marzipan after taste, and peanut.
A lovely caramel flavor approaches and pounces. And just a tinge of cinnamon sits atop it.
The strength starts out at classic medium body. I have only smoked 1-1/4” and I’m being pelted with new flavors every minute. But that 1-1/4” has only taken 12 minutes to smoke. The cigar should have been packed better.
Here are the flavors: Creamy, spicy, sweet, caramel, nutty, leather, a subtle floral note, and cinnamon.
So far, the price point seems to be right on the money. Flavors started early. No waiting for the second third before having some sort of emotional connection to the cigar.
The construction is good. The char line has behaved like a champ since that early issue. And the cap is mostly holding up to my chomping. I do believe that the flavor profile will hit flavor bomb status no later than the halfway point.
Even with the cigar not being jam packed. To me, that’s just plain lazy, the cigar is a nice tasting cigar. Just because Tatuaje distributes it, don’t think it tastes anything like a Pete Johnson creation. In fact, I am surprised. There are so many brilliant blenders and blends out there, what made him choose this one? It must have been a friendship thing because while the cigar is pleasant, it does not knock me off my feet.
The second third begins and the spiciness begins to wane. Like me at 64. Tick tock, tick tock.
I check some reviewers and they actually call this a superb cigar! It’s good, but superb? I’m not convinced yet.
The strength remains at medium body.
And then I get a strong cedar presence. Another help to the profile.
So far, the cigar is not complex. I’ve had these cigars stewing in my humidor for over a month. At a month, I either get great potential, a blah cigar, or the blender’s intent. I’m teetering on the fence between potential and blender’s intent.
This is the perfect cigar for those smokers that don’t like to be bonked over the head with power and nicotine. It is an easy going stick, full of flavor, and a great morning stick.
I stopped drinking coffee once I retired. But this stick would be great with a really good cup of Joe.
I am now getting the perfect combination of sun and shade for my photos. Halle-fucking-leujah!
I am nearing the halfway point and the cigar blossoms now. Flavors are bolder than earlier. Complexity finally rears its head. Balance is good. And it has a nice long finish.
Here are the flavors: Creaminess, earthiness, coffee, cedar, newly added cocoa, caramel, sweetness, nuttiness, leather, and vanilla.
This is the perfect blend for grabbing a Diet Coke. That NYC egg cream experience. (An egg cream is a beverage consisting of milk and soda water as well as vanilla or chocolate syrup, and is especially associated with Brooklyn, home of its alleged inventor, late 19th-century candy store owner Louis Auster. Most modern versions of the drink contain neither eggs nor cream.)
I am dead center at the halfway point and I am impressed. But if I am to be perfectly honest, it tastes like dozens of boutique blends in this price range. A solid, full flavored cigar but nothing unique.
The good thing is that since Famous Smoke carries it, you can find it on cigarauctioneer.com. Although, I could not find it there just now. But it does come and go as I saw it yesterday.
Off point for a moment…Lighters. I don’t seem to have much luck with lighters; especially Xikar. They never seem to last more than a month. And I’ve grown weary of sending them back for replacement. And it is a fallacy in most cases that if you take it to a cigar store that sells them, they will replace it for you.
Why? The first question they ask me is, “Did you buy it here?” And that’s the end of that.
Where I’ve really had good luck is with my S.T. DuPont Maxi jet. I have had this one for two years and it lights like a dream. Never a bit of trouble. Problem is that it retails for $200 but I got mine on Cigar Monster for $80. And if you search around, like on eBay, you can find it for the same price. It is most definitely worth $80.
I also have an inexpensive lighter that has been a real workhorse called Scorch Torch Ergonomic Windproof Cigar Jet Torch Lighter that I bought on Amazon for $8.56 plus $1.44 shipping. It is huge and holds a shit load of butane. It comes in black, gold, and silver. It has really done a great job. You can control it to have a small flame or cutting torch flame. It can also be had on eBay.
Back to the cigar.
Caramel and sweetness now lead the pack. But the spiciness is all but gone. The complexity is gone. Again, with all the blends at his disposal, why did Johnson decide to distribute a cigar that is not his own and pick this one? It has become very pedestrian.
I think it is due to the lack of being jam packed with tobacco…causing inconsistencies.
The char line has required minor touch ups since the halfway point but I don’t consider it a big deal.
And then, like pulling a rabbit out of the hat, the flavor bomb status returns. So does the complexity. I think this is a schizophrenic cigar.
I lit one up just now and it seems to be a little better. It still has some of the inconsistencies I mentioned but they are of a lesser degree than a week ago. So a little magic occurred in just one week after this review. I guess timing is everything. One thing I still have a problem with is the burn line. I have smoked two in the last week and both had terrible canoes almost immediately. Poor construction makes it hard for me to recommend this cigar.
Clearly, this is an old school blend and most probably will see those inconsistencies disappear in a month or two. Or maybe the acid kicked in.
And now for something completely different:
Another re-boot for my long time readers and something new for my newest readers.
In 1980, I joined a band called The Attitude. It was a foursome made up of four really good looking guys…me included. All excellent musicians and playing only original music. We were, unfortunately, beyond out time. A very unique band with unique tunes.
We did one cover song: “Hound Dog.” In the studio, we were able to talk Little Richard to play piano. It was a kick ass version of the song. Click on Hound Dog to be taken to YouTube to see our music video of that song.
Back in 1980-1981, MTV was still a placenta. We found a studio that would do the video for us on video tape, not film.
We did the whole song in one long night. Started in the evening and ended in the wee hours of the morning.
We were all coked up and it kept us going.
Naturally, we lip synced. And boy, it was a primitive video. A few effects but sophomoric in their content.
The dumb ass camera man fucked things up as you will see. When the guitarist, Rick Tunstall, did a solo, the cameraman focused on the keys player, Michael Anthony. And when that great Little Richard solo was hot, the cameraman focused on the guitarist.
I was absolutely berserk during the taping giving it everything I had. I thought I was going to have a heart attack from my jumping around. But I was thin, full head of hair and gorgeous.
We actually sold a lot of records in different markets. We had a French manager that was huge in France known for his photography. And he was Iggy Pop’s first manager.
Our manager got us an opportunity to be in a film and play our music and do the soundtrack.
The film crew producers were to come see us play at Gazzari’s on the Sunset Strip. A really hip place to play.
But alas, drugs came into play. Both our manager and guitarist did heroin from time to time. They snorted it.
Backstage, waiting to go on, both Rick and Philippe snorted some. Just minutes before going on. Rick delayed us by needing to throw up.
We go on stage and I count us off. By the middle of the first song, Rick is so high that he loses his balances and falls backwards into the huge drum set. The drums totally collapsed into a heap. Obviously, we had to stop. The drummer put his kit back together and we started the next song.
Gazzari’s had a balcony which was where the film’s producers sat. Plus their entourage of 7-8 people.
I look up and they are gone. They left.
My heart sank. I was so fucking angry at Philippe and Rick I could barely swallow. They fucking ruined our chances of being in a movie.
On the third song, I just started packing my gear and left the stage. No one yelled at me. No one chastised me.
It was the first and last time we played that important venue.
I didn’t talk to Rick for a couple weeks.
I called Philippe from home and told him I quit the band. The band went nuts but it turned out that the drummer was fed up too. So he quit the band.
Philippe and Rick begged for me to come back. I was totally disgusted.
That was the end of the band.
And the funny thing was that a local L.A. TV cable station played our Hound Dog video constantly; to the point that people called them and complained that they were playing it too much. We got all kinds of offers for gigs but I was done.
After a few months, I was calm and collect. I told Rick that he blew it for all of us and that he couldn’t be trusted. I put my heart and soul into that band only to be shanghaied by drugs.
Forward 30 years, and Rick and I are still good friends. He lives in Virginia but plans to move to Vegas where he hopes he can find some music opportunities. He has a new squeeze and is happy. I’m glad that he is happy. Rick was such a tortured soul.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS