Another shitty day in paradise (Wisconsin). We had a gorgeous summer day yesterday, in the middle of fall, and today back to normal of dreary, dreary, dreary. But on the upside…
Today we take a look at the Pressoir by Chinnock Cellars. It is a limited edition cigar.
I bought a single stick at my local B & M and paid $11.50. I only bought a total of four cigars because of how lame the store is. To them, My Father cigars is cutting edge.
The cigar only comes in two shapes: 6 x 52 Toro and 6 x 52 Torpedo.
There is a shit load of background info about the cigar and the company but I won’t burden you with that. You know exactly which reviewers to visit to get a novel’s worth of information.
This is the first maduro for the Chinnock company. The cigar is their first made at Compania Hondurena de Tabacos factory in Danli, Honduras. And it is their first box press.
The owner, Chinnock is a wine maker by trade who decided to try cigar blending.
You can buy both cigars directly from the Chinnock web site which also includes their other two blends: Terrior ($12.00) and Cremoir ($10.00). And the price above in the stats. Both sizes are the same price. And the cigars come in boxes of 10. That takes some of the wallet shock away.
But I do believe this is primarily a B & M cigar based on their limited edition.
From Chinnock Cellar web site:
“Pressoir (Pronounced “Press-War”) is a machine that exerts pressure to form and shape or extract liquids from compressed solids. The French use this word to describe the device that winemakers have used for hundreds of years to press the fermented grape must to extract the alcoholic juice better known as wine. Surprisingly, the same word Pressoir is used to describe the device that cigar makers use to press their cigar molds to obtain the desired cigar shapes.
“These box pressed Pressoir cigars were hand made by experienced rollers in the Compania Hondurena de Tabacos factory in Danli, Honduras. They were blended by master blender Adin Perez. And were made in the traditional Cuban method of hand rolling and finishing with a unique triple cap. The result is a medium body cigar with the flavors of rich coffee mocha, dark chocolate, and a creamy nutty finish.”
I only bought the single cigar and let me tell you that using a flash when shooting a photo divulges all matter of flaws. In this case, a wrinkly wrapper; which I hadn’t noticed until I took a few photos. I am looking at the stick in regular daylight and sure enough; the front of the cigar is wrinkled as hell. It’s not for lack of tobacco because the stick is jam packed. It is as if someone dropped water on the wrapper at some point. Or too much glue was used and it caused this effect.
Using my own cigar glues, I found that it takes very little of it to schmear too much and cause this very effect. The back of the cigar is just fine.
So, I bought a double digit cigar and the construction starts off with a whimper.
It is a nice looking stick except for the wrinkles. Seams are relatively tight. Lots of veins. It is a very solid cigar with a nice triple cap, oily dark coffee bean wrapper with a reddish tinge in it that feels toothy but shows smooth in the photos. And the cigar has a soft box press.
I clip the cap and find aromas of cocoa, dark coffee, cedar, spice, and a little ginger.
Time to light up.
It is very woody with a dense sweetness. Red pepper is building. And by the first quarter inch… is blazing.
The strength is classic medium body+. Unless the cigar mellows out soon, I will have to agree to disagree about how Chinnock Cellars describes it.
I do believe the mysterious flavor is nothing more than an interesting tobacco earthiness. It has a twanginess to it. Very rich. And is one of those rare cigars that the earthiness is a major player.
The char line begins to waver.
An inch has burned before a creamy element begins. With it, the cocoa and café latte are boosted in strength.
A little zap of fruit shows itself. Just like when I got electro-shock therapy at Atascadero State Hospital in California during the 1970’s. I went one toke over the line. (I’m just kidding….)
The flavor profile is a bit muted. It feels like a horse feels waiting for that gate to open. Snortin’ and foaming. Like me.
Here are the flavors at the 1” burned point: Earthiness, oak, sweetness, creaminess, cocoa, café latte, cedar, and some leather.
There is a slight metallic taste that is not very pleasing.
A caramel or toffee component shows up but is so far in the background, I can’t identify it with any confidence.
Methinks that the Chinnock Cellars blends are old school and need some serious humidor time. It is a popular line. But Mr. Chinnock has applied his no wine before it’s time theory to cigar blending as well.
There is a flavor bomb hiding waiting to emerge. I don’t think it will happen, if it does at all, until the halfway point.
The strength has calmed down and reverted to classic medium body.
The price point. Ouch. Any time a cigar is in the double digits category I wince. Thankfully for the consumer (and his relationship with his wife), the cigars are not sold in 20 count boxes.
All the flavors listed for the Pressoir by Chinnock Cellars are in the same order but much stronger now.
There is a generic fruity taste that I still cannot put my finger on.
This might be a great cigar after a few months’ humidor time. But I believe I am getting the potential rather than the blender’s intent.
It never fails to surprise me how some sticks are bombastic after a week and others lay there like a flounder. Just the other day, I smoked and reviewed the Hechicera by Sotolongo Cigars after only a few days rest and it was wonderful. And the price was only $6.00. Almost half of the Pressoir by Chinnock Cellars price point.
With each review, I find my resolve reinforced by the axiom that there are a lot of inexpensive cigars out there, limited or not, that are just friggin great.
An $11.00 cigar is a luxury for most of us. For me, it better deliver like fireworks on the 4th of July. It better be twice as good as that wonderful $6 stick.
But it rarely is.
The second third began a few minutes ago.
The spiciness returns and moves up the list of flavors.
I wish that it was mandated that a cigar should come with a small label advising the consumer how much humidor time the cigar will need for the ultimate cigar experience. Will never happen. On expensive cigars, it should be law.
Just as predicted, the cigar hits flavor bomb status dead nuts at the halfway point.
Here is the thing…the leaf stats aren’t much different than most cigars. Nothing fancy unless Chinnock is hiding something. And therefore, it tastes like a hundred other good cigars. Same flavor profile. Same flavor bomb status flavors. Nothing to set it apart except for that wonderful earthiness.
Even though the Pressoir by Chinnock Cellars tastes great now, and that I most probably taste potential; not blender’s intent…the stick is too expensive.
This is typical of all boutique cigars. They are generally limited editions and therefore the price is high. Boutique blends just can’t compete with the big name cigar companies who have an endless supply of gorgeous tobacco.
Look at Sosa Cigars. I’ve come close to reviewing the entire line and barely a stick over $5.00. And each one a gem. Now if Arby Sosa can pull it off…..
The construction has been good except for the wrinkled wrapper. No touch ups of the char line have been required and the cap is holding its own.
I’ve smoked Opus X cigars and they should be in the $11-$12 range…not double digits way past this price range.
The flavor profile is really cooking now. With a few months’ humidor time, I am sure it will taste like this from the very start.
Nicotine rears its ugly head.
The last third begins with no change. Except for a nice floral element.
With less than 2” to go, the flavor profile really takes off. I found the sweet spot.
My hands have the shakes from the nicotine. I should always eat a bowl of cereal before I do my reviews but I’m not hungry so it is some sort of masochism.
Creaminess, sweetness, and caramel lead the pack now. The spiciness is now gone completely.
This is definitely a high premium stick. But I’m conflicted about recommending it. First, the price point. I can think of several $10 sticks that are fantastic that I would buy before I would purchase this stick again.
And the issue of too much glue on the wrapper is disturbing.
Look around and maybe you can find a place that sells singles or 5 packs to see if you think the Pressoir by Chinnock Cellars is worth a box.
One last thing…the level of flavors I taste now will probably be there from the start with enough humidor time. But even so, the flavors aren’t spectacular. I just don’t think the Pressoir by Chinnock Cellars is worth $11.00.
Now for something completely different:
The first gig Rock n Roll Hall of Fame drummer, Hal Blaine, got me was a national Chevy ad for TV.
I had been re-teaching myself how to read notes for months. Hal gave me some tips to make it easier.
In front of me, sat an entire orchestra. Oh no.
My cousin, Fred Selden, the great reed player told me many stories about doing session work. He got me lessons with the famous Carol Kaye to help me get my foot in the door when I was just 18.
Fred told me that when he did his session work, no matter the size of the band, that the tunes were usually a “take” on the first try. These guys were that good. They could sight read and it just came naturally to them.
That’s what I was thinking when I walked in that door. One take? Without ever seeing the music sheets?
I clung to Hal like a puppy. He took a step to the right and so did I.
He had a cartage company set up his drums. So all he had to do was fine tune the kit and he was ready to go.
An amp rig was waiting for me. So I spent precious minutes trying to get the sound I like.
While I did that, the band leader came over to me and told me what he wanted. Which was not how I had my settings.
He futzed around with the settings while I played until he got what he wanted. To make things even scarier was that I was playing my beloved Schecter fretless. No room for mistakes on a fretless.
He stopped and began to tell different players how he wanted their instruments to sound. He got to me too.
Turns out that he wanted how I originally set up the amp settings. More of a big round, growling upright sound.
I should add that not only did they put a mic in front of my amp but I also went direct through a cable from the amp directly to the mixing board.
So I got two pods on the board. That way they could mix both different sounds to their liking.
On the menu for that day was two songs. Both the same but one for a one minute commercial and one for a 30 second commercial.
Hal looked over at me and his face dropped. “Phil. You are sweating like a pig. Are you all right?”
All I could do was nod yes.
The session lasted about 2-1/2 hours. Several instruments had to punch in any mistakes they made or different notes than what was written.
I played one clam and they had me re-do that single note.
At the end of the session, Hal and several other musicians decided to grab a bite at Cantor’s Deli. I was invited.
The Police was very big at the time and when Hal told them about my background, they spent the entire time asking me questions. Here were monster session players and they wanted to know about me. I was very flattered.
Hal dropped me off back at the studio to get my car. When he drove off, I went over to the adjacent wall and puked my guts up. The nerves finally manifested themselves.
I did a few more gigs with Hal but the later ones conflicted with my recording studio schedule. I was the producer and we booked a lot of work. My partner was taking the whole load while I was gone. And he was a great engineer but not a good producer.
Hal and I continued our friendship and mentoring. He soon came to work for me when I needed a session drummer for my studio and some project that requested a good drummer.
My few years being a good friend with Hal are one of the great highlights of my musical career.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS