John Starks #3 Signature Series Maduro | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Brazilian Maduro
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: 6 x 54 “Toro”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $8.25



Today we take a look at the John Starks #3 Signature Series Maduro.

From Legends Cigars web site:
“Pairing himself with Master Blender Rolando Villamil, Basketball Legend John Starks offers what many consider to be his coronation into the tobacco industry with his #3 Signature Series Cigar—a tour de force line that boasts Robusto, Toro, Gordo, and Grand Gordo sizes. Flawlessly structured, the nuances of this line are products of the neutral, yet complex tones of its handsome Brazilian wrapper, one that is lavishly filled with the grandest fruits of both Dominican Seco and Olor filler. An earthy based cigar that produces endless clouds of pleasant smoke—compliments of a craftsmanship that yields a superb, aficionado standard draw—fans of this series cite hints of coffee, chocolate, as well as pepper, making this cigar a more than satisfying selection for both casual and seasoned smokers.

“The Legends Cigar story starts back in the early 2000s with some charity work in the Dominican Republic.

“In the early 2000s, John and the other owners of Legend Cigars began collecting new and used sports equipment in the United States and bringing it down to the Dominican Republic to distribute to the local children through various community youth groups.

“As John and his partners made friendships in the Dominican Republic tobacco industry, they were offered a chance to invest in a cigar factory. Thus began their foray into the tobacco business.

“After several business partnerships, they eventually began their own operation where they were able to develop blends and implement quality control to their exacting specifications.”

6 x 54 Toro $8.25, 5 x 52 Robusto $7.95, 6 x 60 Gordo $8.45, and 7 x 60 Gran Gordo $8.75.

OK. Enough PR. Here we go once again with an ex-pro athlete wanting a cigar named after him. I shudder at the thought. Camacho tried it and I thought it was a big Zero.

But as Tulsa Hills Cigar Cellar and Market sent it to me out of the goodness of their collective hearts, I better review it or they may send an Okie hit man after me. (Love you guys, just kidding.).

The construction is solid and the aromas are intoxicating and that’s why I decided to review it.

The Brazilian maduro wrapper is like charcoal with a glossy, oily wrapper. And if the sun comes out, you will get to see that. Seams are nearly invisible. Lots of small veins. A perfectly applied triple cap. And a cigar band you can use to get help from commercial jets at 30,000 feet passing over you on your deserted isle.

I clip the cap and find aromas of deep dark chocolate, spice that makes me triple sneeze, wonderfully exotic floral notes, sweet cedar, leather, and citrus.
Time to light up.

The draw is great as I’m blinded by the output of smoke in the room. A pepper bomb. A boat load of chocolate, sweetness, a heavy wood influence, and some smokiness.

At the moment, it tastes more like a Nic puro than a mixture of Brazilian and Dominican leaves.

The cigar is packed evenly and burns slowly.

The John Starks #3 Signature Series Maduro has a twin but with an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. Of the two blends, they are only cents apart.
From what I can garner, the cigar is sold mainly in B & M’s, but the Legends Cigars web site sells them all.

Besides the two John Starks blends, Legend Cigars sell two other blends: Dominican Legend Corojo and Dominican Legend Maduro. And they too, hover in the $8 per stick price range.

Some flavors are rolling in: Spice, creaminess, dark cocoa, coffee, cedar, sweetness, raisins, wood, something fruity, and a touch of leather.

I am taken aback by this cigar. Tulsa Hills sent me only this blend of the four available. But I’m having a good time here and am now interested in the other three blends.

The John Starks #3 Signature Series Maduro has a definitive high premium quality to it.

The char line goes wavy and needs a small touch up. A wrapper seam comes undone but is right at the foot and will probably just burn away.

Great news! I got my new bass. The ESP LTD 4 string fretless. With the phony, embedded fake frets for those players without an ear. More on this later.

This is turning out to be one of the heaviest cream, coffee, and cocoa combos I’ve had in a long time. I grab the Diet Coke. This is Hammer Time…er…This is Egg Cream time.

The second third begins.

The site gives you three options on buying their cigars: Singles, 20 count boxes, and 25 count boxes. No 5 packs. How odd. But the price drops dramatically by the box. 20 count = $7.35 each. 25 count = $6.84 each.

Meanwhile, back at the John Starks #3 Signature Series Maduro, it is doing well.

The strength is strictly classic medium body. The web site doesn’t tell us what strength we should be expecting.

It is such a rainy dreary day in Milwaukee so no sun shall come out. Which is a shame because the stick is truly glistening with oils but there is an issue. I can’t use my photographic lights because they wash out the highly chrome, shiny cigar band. And with no sun to help out….The cigar looks like it has a matte finish.

There is a real surge of fruitiness now. Tropical fruits. Subtle but adds a nice touch.

I like this cigar. It turns out to be a real hidden gem. Camacho could take a lesson when they go about blending cigars and naming them after sports legends. This company, clearly, knows how to do it right.

Starks played with the Knicks but grew up in Tulsa which is why the tribute and homage.

They’ve done well by him. Check out the Legend Cigars web site and root around in their blog section. Good stuff.

I reach the halfway point and the John Starks #3 Signature Series Maduro hits pay dirt.

The cigar screams fuck me! Actually, it is just a whisper because of its small vocal cords.

So I get the cat to hump the cigar. Sammy the cat doesn’t like this and flips me off.

OK. Some cracks appear in the wrapper. I have no background on the humidor aging of this cigar. Tulsa Hills sent it to me, with some other sticks, but didn’t break it down for me.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it has never been my fault when wrappers fall apart on me. Either it is the cold weather or the construction. But I’m no longer taking the hit because of my duties as a humidor caretaker. I am vigilant. So if there are wrapper issues, it ain’t my fault babe.

Without others to compare it to, I will never know.

The cigar is raging flavor.

But when I removed the cigar band, the wrapper seams are busted. May need some glue.

If you like a heavy cocoa, creamy, fruity, coffee laden cigar, this is the one for you.

I like that the spiciness has remained with the smoke this whole time. It isn’t as strong as the big blowout at the start but it is respectably strong. And seems to be getting stronger after a small lull in the middle of the cigar.

Man, I’m not kidding. Buy some of these. I can’t speak for the Ecuadorian Connie wrapped blend, but this baby is something else.

I’m always amazed at the surprises that come my way due to the kindness and generosity of others.

Speaking of which…I got a sampler box from Southern Classic Cigars yesterday. I am dying to try them. But they must sleep the sleep of the dead for a while.

With 2-1/2” to go and just before the cigar band comes off, I get a little bit of sun rays. And now, finally, you get a sense of how oily the cigar wrapper is.

I remove the cigar band and the bit of unseated wrapper at a seam doesn’t move. So I can probably burn right through it.

I am so enjoying the John Starks #3 Signature Series Maduro, that I am not paying attention on when to take photos. Good stick. Really.

The last third begins.
It is now medium/full bodied.

Flavors are all there.

Nicotine shows up. Uh-oh.

The John Starks #3 Signature Series Maduro is a solid premium cigar and worth the $8.

Unfortunately, the smallest size is the Robusto. I’d like to see a corona. But when I get the dough, I will buy a box of the Robustos. This is a stick worth having in your humidor.

I’m guessing the Ecuadorian Connie is more of a medium body stick. So I will stick with the maduro. But the other two blends: Corojo & Maduro, intrigue me and I’d like to try them. Maybe I can talk them into sending me some.

This was a great find. And I am happy I could bring it to your attention.

The John Starks #3 Signature Series Maduro finishes calmly without harshness or heat.

And now for something completely different:

I got my new bass yesterday. I broke the E string tuning it. Apparently, the Snark tuner that attaches to the head stock, is only good for when you are really close to the note.

And since they loosen the strings considerably before shipping, I overtuned it and SNAP!
50 years of playing bass and I’ve never broken a string.

Fortunately, I had an old set of unused bass strings in my gig bag. So I changed the E string out, shaking from anxiety the whole time. If I broke this one, I was fucked. No time to go out and buy another set.

My heart was pumping heart attack style while opening the box.

What a beautiful bass. It is spalted maple. I had to look up what spalted means. It is fungi in dead trees. But only maple, that I can tell, is used for guitars. So no two instruments are alike in design.

I plugged it into my Line 6 combo amp. Something is wrong with the amp. It just didn’t work right. Pissed me off big time. Now I have to look for an amp. I will go used because there are a gazillion used ones out there. And cheap.

I will be going to rehearsal with my geriatric classic rock cover band today. I will use one of the singer’s amps. He has a music room full of gear. I’m so glad because lugging an amp with me each time is a royal pain in the ass. Really tough on the back.

The ESP is about half the weight of my beloved Schecter. My Schecter was 100% Brazilian rosewood. Weighed in at 12 lbs. That’s a lot. The ESP is around 7lbs. Much easier on the back for a gig or rehearsal.

But my goddam case is somewhere in Indiana and was supposed to be delivered last Thursday. I checked just now and it’s out for delivery. It will arrive about 2 hours after I have to leave for practice. Figures. So I have to carry my bass like a 12 year old without a case to rehearsal.

Something really odd. The neck is rosewood which is a really hard wood. But the damn thing came with round wound strings instead of flat wound strings. Round wound tend to injure the neck wood. The round wounds give you that real high end good for slapping. The flat wounds give you that deep, deep upright sound. I am going to have to buy some. It just doesn’t sound right.

The whole point of a fretless is to get that growl that an upright has. And there ain’t no growl with round wound strings.

I played the bass for a couple hours until my fingers hurt and then I put it down. Last thing I need is to go to rehearsal and say “I’ve got blisters on me fingers.”

I’ve got this incredible bass strap. Paid $125 for it in 2004. Imported from Italy made of the finest Italian leather and very thick. The studs on the Schecter were smaller than the ESP and I struggled to get the strap on. So I’m just leaving it on so it will stretch.

It is going to take me a while to get used to a new bass. I played, exclusively, my Schecter for 35 years.

Here is one thing I don’t get. It has fake frets embedded into the neck..flush with the neck. This is for players who want the fretless sound but have no ear. To make things worse, there are dots between the fake frets where a regular bass would have them between the frets.

Most players stare at the neck while they play. Once I got used to the fretless, I let my ear do the work and never looked at the neck again while playing.

This neck is a little wider than my Schecter. But if I look at the frets and the dots, I get a brain fart. With a fretless, you just can’t place your fingers anywhere between the frets to grab that note. With a fretless, you must hit that note dead center where that fret would be. So the phony frets are fooling me into playing sloppily. No good.

In a couple months, I will get used to the neck and will no longer have to look down at it.

Regardless of my criticisms, I’m happy as a clam. I have a bass again!
ESP2 Protection Status


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