Foyle “Pudao” | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Honduran Criollo (Colorado)
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Nicaraguan, Costa Rican
Size: 7 x 52 “Pudao”
Body: Medium
Price: $7.00

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Today we take a look at the Foyle Pudao.

I reviewed the Epee (4.5 x 40) back in September, 2013. Stogie Boys is thinking of carrying them so Sheryl King sent me some samples to get my renewed view of the blend. They have been marinating in my humidor for over 2 months.

From the Foyle Cigars web site:

“Foyle cigars are manufactured in the Raices Cubanas Cigar Factory in Danli, Honduras. These cigars are medium-bodied rich cigars. Cuban pressed with extensive cedar aging they are finished with a Criollo seed Colorado wrapper. A legendary cigar with a binder and filler Corubo from Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica.”

Foyle cigars are the brain child of Dave Topper of Alec Bradley Cigars and Tom Sullivan of Alliance Cigar.
The Foyle is made in small batches.

Not a bad looking stick. A nice soft box press. The camel brown wrapper is oily and smooth. Seams are tight. And few veins. The triple cap is nearly invisible. The cigar is packed to the gills but has the proper give when I push on it. And you can’t get much simpler with a cigar band. Simple, but classy.

I clip the cap and find aromas of spice, butter, cream, nuts, cedar, deep floral notes, and sweetness.
Time to light up.

The draw is spot on. Flavors of spiciness, cedar, creaminess, nuts, and sweetness reign supreme at the start.
Creamy notes of caramel and cocoa show up next.
The red pepper is scintillating. Ha-cha-cha.

The strength is immediately medium body.
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Let me state for the 2000th time..I cannot stand big honkin’ cigars like this one. I don’t have the patience for a 2-1/2 hour smoke. If a cigar lasts longer than an hour or so, I get bored. Only a few cigars have made that exception.

The flavor is not as intense as a robusto or corona. And I feel like I’m lucky if the blender got the wrapper vs. filler ratio right so that my experience is great.

When reviewing the tiny Epee, I found it to be intense and very flavorful. So my fingers are crossed that this behemoth can give me some part of that experience.

With an inch burned, the flavors are pretty much the same as the start except the spiciness is completely gone now. But the creaminess, caramel, nuttiness, cocoa, coffee, and cedar and doing fine. Just not explosive. Sort of passive.

The cigar comes in four sizes: Epee 5 x 40, Meteor Hammer (Perfecto) 6.5 x 52, Pudao 7 x 50, and Sabre Gordo 6.5 x 60. Prices range from $5.80-$7.20 per cigar.

There is an improvement after 1-1/2” burned. The flavor profile is bolder than the early lull. Red pepper has returned. But the flavors driving the bus remain the same as listed above.

The strength hasn’t changed.
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It is a real shame that manufacturers are going with bigger and bigger sizes. I don’t get it. Experienced cigar smokers like their sticks in the smaller range, not one the size of a redwood tree. Even a nice robusto would have been more than appropriate here. I’ve made it official that my favorite size is the Corona Gorda…5.5 x 46, or thereabouts.

As a newbie, many eons ago, I thought the big cigar was the cool one to smoke. Of course, big cigars were not easy to get when I became of age in 1968. They were not in fashion. Small cigars were and so were the lanceros.

The second third has begun. Taken me 35 minutes to get here.

No change in the flavor profile. Just a pleasant mix of sweet and creamy.

Mind you, I gave these cigars a fighting chance by giving them a few months humidor time. Sheryl sent me 5 sticks and over that time, I’ve smoked 4 testing the waters for its readiness. It’s been a couple weeks since the last one and it seemed near ready so here we are today.

The construction has been outstanding. Nice char line. Long, thick ash. And no wrapper issues.
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I love this 60’s cable music channel. Every 4th song is a Beatles tune. If you weren’t there you have no idea what the anticipation of each album was like. There is nothing to compare it with today. The album was promoted as coming out in a month. You could pre-pay for one so you didn’t have to stand in line at the record shop. As soon as you got your grubby little hands on it, you raced home and played it over and over and over.

When John Lennon was asked in his last interview (Which I have on 5 cassettes), about why George Martin put the main part of the song, including vocals, on the left channel and the rest on the right channel; Lennon said he didn’t know. So if you have a cassette or record, you can wipe out the vocals by merely changing the balance from left to right.

I’m killing time because this cigar has me welded to my chair for over 3 hours. Yes, this will be a 62,000 word review.

I’ve burned 3” and no changes. Zero. Same ol’, same ol’. I knew this was going to happen when I saw the size of these cigars.

The Foyle Pudao isn’t a bad cigar. But no flare or excitement. Static in the flavor profile. Based on what Sheryl had to pick from in sizes, she really didn’t have much choice.

Stogie Boys carries everyday cigars for the most part. Inexpensive cigars. They don’t carry cutting edge cigars or boutique cigars. Yet, I look at the list and there are Tats, Nat Shermans, and a lot of stuff CI carries. But cheaper. Sheryl told me that the two owners are very happy with their selection of cigars for sale. And apparently, have a huge clientele who are not interested in boutique brands. It is sort of a meat and potato selection. What they have going for them is that their prices are low.

For example, they sell a box of Tatuaje Cabaiguan Belicoso Finos for $190.00. CI sells the same box for $216.00. That’s a big savings. And CI is out of stock. Stogie Boys is not.

And don’t forget the deal Stogie Boys is giving my readers on the Café Latte brand. 25% off when you click on the ad.

This means that the Foyle could be perfect for Stogie Boys. Not too complex. Nice flavors. And BIG!

I reach the halfway point.

I’ve invested an hour and 15 minutes in the smoke.
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I’d love to tell you there has been a major shift in the flavor profile but I can’t. It is exactly the same as 45 minutes ago. A nice, even keel list of flavors: Creaminess, coffee, cocoa, caramel, spice, nuts, and cedar.

The Foyle Pudao is a well-made cigar. I’ve not had a single problem with it. The char line is a real champ.
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The price point. Exactly where it should be.

The final third begins.

I feel like I’ve sat here all day. Normally, a review takes about 2.5-3 hours. Today, I’m pushing 4 hours.

It appears that the last third is the sweet spot. Flavors become bold. The spiciness is roaring. The creaminess, caramel, and coffee are screaming laughter.
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It’s a shame that the flavor profile didn’t start out this way.

The Foyle Pudao is an extremely pleasant cigar. But for my preferences, not my style. Just too big. This takes a real time commitment.
The strength remains at medium body.

Maybe the Foyle Pudao needed another month or two due to its size. Just don’t know.

But my gut tells me this is the blend that was intended for the consumer…an easy going, medium bodied, creamy, spicy, and caramel-laden cigar.
Some complexity would have really helped. Balance is good. Nice long finish.

I’m really digging the last third but now I’m tired. It’s been nearly 3 hours.

For those that like a long smoke, this is your cigar. But don’t expect to be challenged by its flavor profile.
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And now for something completely different:

It was around 1983 and still under the mentorship of Hall of Fame drummer, Hal Blaine.
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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. Fred is a reed player and still very active and now doing film scores. Fred even played on Elvis’ last two tours in charge of the horn section.
Fred Selden

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 lit 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.
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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.
canters
We sat and ate huge corned beef sandwiches and he told me all his stories. He was an encyclopedia of rock history.
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He later moved to Northern California and I lost touch with him. The few years I spent with him were some of the most memorable experiences in my life.

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