Dujo by Southern Classic Cigars | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6.5 x 56
Body: Medium
Price: $11.00 MSRP

box

box2

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Today we take a look at the Dujo by Southern Classic Cigars.

From Southern Classic Cigars web site:
“To many cigar smokers, the name Southern Classic Cigars may not ring any bells. Which is understandable, as the brand operates in a very exclusive, ultra-boutique manner. Their factory, which is located in Estelí, Nicaragua, consists of a mere four cigar rollers! This, of course, limits production, which is a solid “plus” for cigar enthusiasts – allowing the utmost control over each cigar’s quality. But it is Cuban-born Juan Alberto Gomez-Pacheco that Southern Classic Cigars touts as their claim to fame. Training directly under “Cuban legend” Alejandro Robaina, Juan is a master in cigar blending and craftsmanship – he has poured his soul into each blend at Southern Classic Cigars.

“Southern Classic Cigars consists of four cigar lines, each focusing on different elements of traditions held by the native Taíno Indians of Cuba. Each cigar is blended in only one size, showing the optimum performance of the blend created by Master Blender Juan “Papito” Alberto Gomez-Pacheco. All blends are Nicaraguan, showing what can truly be accomplished when a classic Cuban approach is applied to the rich soils of Nicaragua.”

You can get a list of retailers on the Cucubano web site.

I want to thank Eloy at Southern Classic Cigars for kind sampler box sent to me. In it, were 3 sticks of all four blends: The line is made up of: Cuey 6.5 x 58 ($12.00), Dujo 6.5 x 56 ($11.00), Coabey 6 x 54 ($10.00), and the Cucubano 5.5 x 52 ($8.00). These are MSRP prices.

This is the fourth out of four blends that they produce that I’ve reviewed. So far, they’ve been batting 1000 with me. I loved the Cucubano and Coabey. I allowed the Cuey and Dujo to marinate a bit longer in my humidor because they are fallen logs. Huge.

So now, I have my grubby little hands on the Dujo. Sort of disappointing that this will be the last review. I looked forward to these sticks. Papito and Eloy-Start blending more!!!

Onwards. As the others, a nice looking stick. A nice pattern of leave stems. But tight seams. The wrapper is smooth and the color of a russet potato. There is a slight bit of oil on the wrapper. Remarkably, the cigar is perfectly round. Rarely get to see that. Normally they are some geometric monstrosity from too much handling. And lastly, a nice triple cap.

The cigar band is probably the most simple of the lost. Merely the colors black and silver. (Go Raiders!). I cannot tell if it is an optical illusion but there seems to be some gold woven in.

I clip the cap and find aromas of spice, graham cracker, cinnamon, herbal and floral notes along the shaft, and strong cocoa at the foot.
Time to light up.

I get a blast of chocolate and cream.
The draw is excellent. I have to put the cigar down because I’ve gotten a lot of smoke in my eyes and it burns. Have to wear goggles next time.
The strength is a potent medium body.

And heeeeeere’s Johnny! A big fat dose of red pepper! Atsa’ big a’ spicy meat-a’ball!

I’ve cured my chomping and merely sip from the cap now. Thereby, not destroying the cap for the photos. But holding on to this log with just my lips is not an easy feat and seems somehow obscene. Probably just me.
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The Dujo by Southern Classic Cigars is a well-packed cigar. No soft spots and should provide a nice long smoke. I predict a 90 minute extravaganza not including the time I have to dust off my camera from ash falling on top of it.

More flavors join the existing troupe: Coffee, chocolate, creaminess, spice, cinnamon, cedar, wood, lots of earthiness, minerals, and leather.
And then holy crap! Like a light switch, the flavor profile explodes with the intensity of a Corona Gorda.

It took 1” to get here but it got here. Very intense flavors. Well rounded, complex, and nice balance. With a super long finish.
The Cucubano was my favorite but now I don’t know.

This giant log; and you regular readers know how I feel about giant cigars, is dashing away all my preconceptions about big cigars and their wrapper vs. filler ratio. I check and the wrapper is thick. That’s a major point for developing this blend. More bang for the buck; so to speak.

There is a luscious grouping of fruits. The cinnamon graham cracker is buttery like a pie crust for a cheesecake.
In fact, that is exactly what the Dujo by Southern Classic Cigars tastes like: A chocolate cheesecake. With a cup of coffee nearby.

The char line needs its first touch up. Nothing major.

My dearest hope is that the Dujo doesn’t fizzle out halfway through. So many cigars I’ve reviewed start out like gangbusters and then go down the drain. Too much, too soon.

I’m sorry folks. I have to use that dreaded term: It is a flavor bomb.

If the flavor profile and complexity continue on this road, the Dujo by Southern Classic Cigars will become my favorite of the four blends.

Amazingly, I’ve only had the sampler box for a month or so. For two big cigars (The Cuey and Dujo) to be ready to smoke in this period of time is impressive. I smoked an LFD 707 (7 x 70) yesterday and couldn’t get past the first 1-1/2”. It had a terrible burn problem and it tasted like doo doo. No improvement after marinating it for two months.

Back to the Dujo by Southern Classic Cigars. This is a slower smoke than yesterday’s Cuey. That was a 90 minute stick. After seeing my progress with the Dujo, I am re-stating my prediction. I now think it will be a 2 hour smoke. And for the first time in a very long time, I’m glad. This is such a treat.

Tomorrow, I plan to review something that I doubt will be a rave review and that bums me out. Stay tuned.

I’ve been on a roll with some pretty good blends as of late.

I absolutely will add this cigar to my Top 25 Cigars of 2015 when I release the list at the end of the year.
Strictly by chance, I saved the best of the lot for last. Way to go Kohn.

More flavors: Nutty and toasty. The nuttiness is a combo of almond marzipan and peanut butter.
The fruitiness is tart cherry, tangerine, and plum.

Like the others, the ash is hanging tough and averaging 1-3/4” before it is jettisoned into my ashtray.

The second third begins.
I’ve invested 40 minutes in smoke time.
4third

The cigar is on an interstellar safari. “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Dujo. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.”

Damnation. The complexity digs even deeper. The flavors are bold. The balance is perfect. And the finish is long and chewy.

While the sampler box came with four Cucubano, only two each of the Coabey, Cuey, and Dujo were aboard. I smoked the first Dujo too early. It was nothing like this. So now I’m out. Must have more. Must have more.

If you contact Eloy at southernclassiccigars@centurylink.net, you can ask him how to get this wonderful sampler box. I can’t seem to find it anywhere. It might be an event special. Ask Eloy.

I’m not going to list the flavors again because you are just going to laugh at me. But unless you are smoking a doob, you should still remember them.
I know I’m fawning over this blend. It is worth it.

The price point. Done. Worth every nickel without dispute. I’ve tasted $25 cigars that don’t come close to the Dujo by Southern Classic Cigars.

I reach the halfway point.

I’ve been somewhat remiss in my frequency of taking photos. I am so wrapped up in the Dujo that I just spaced out. A mind altering cigar blend. I like it.

The construction has been near perfect. Only a single minor char line touch up. Not a single wrapper issue. And a sturdy cap.

I’m now 55 minutes into my cigar experience.
5half

I highly recommend the Dujo by Southern Classic Cigars. This is a real winner. This will delight the experienced palate. And because the strength doesn’t quite seem to make it to medium/full, it is a great cigar for newbies to learn from.

I shall now sink into a deep depression for the rest of the day as nothing in my humidor repertoire matches this cigar.

The last third begins.
6third

The Dujo by Southern Classic Cigars is a stellar blend. It never disappoints. It has a gradual build of flavors and complexity. It is never boring. I would advise to smoke this cigar totally alone. You can focus better than sitting around with chums smoking their cigars.

The strength remains at medium body.

Every single flavor I described is right here. The only change is that the spiciness has gone to the back of the list. And it changes from red to black pepper. It isn’t gone, just in the background.
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Once again, you can find a list of retailers on the Cucubano web site.

And of course, now I’m the donkey. The spice returns in force. It had slowly moved to the back of the line but is now near the front. Just like that. Boom.
The last 1-1/2″ reaches medium/full body.

The Dujo by Southern Classic Cigars finishes without a hint of harshness or heat.
You gotta try it.
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And now for something completely different:
A Primer on Producing Artists…Or..The Fool on the Hill.

I owned a recording studio in Long Beach, CA back in the early 80’s. It was completely analog back then.

We used a giant recording machine that was reel to reel and used 3” wide tape. We managed to buy the recorder from Wally Heider Studios in San Francisco. Heider used that very machine to record Jimi, Janis, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and a million other 60’s icons. We paid $800 for it in 1982. And it was already 20 years old.
recorder

My partner at the studio, who was the main engineer, could dismantle and put back together anything electronic. Me? Well, not so much.
The 3” wide tape was very expensive. A roll cost $180. That was 1982 dollars.

I don’t remember how many feet were on each roll. We were able to run the tape at two speeds: 30 ips and 15 ips.

And if we ran it at 30ips, the tape lasted only an hour or so. We, of course, made the clients pay for the tape, but we never gave it to them. We would just record over it. We also had a pricing scale that it cost this much if you wanted the fast 30ips or this much if you wanted the slower 15 ips. Of course, the 30ips, being faster, recorded a more true to life sound. It was all bullshit because the magic occurred in the mixing and producing.

If a group insisted on buying the tape, we would sell it to them for $250. And then make a run to Hollywood and buy 3 or 4 more. We eventually got the tapes cheaper as we became return customers.

Strangely, in a town (Long Beach) of more than 500,000 people, we were only one of two recording studios in the city. And the other studio was a dump. So we got a lot of business. Plus we advertised every week in a free counter culture newspaper. We would always buy the entire back page.

My partner engineered while I produced the session. I was able to work the 24 track board perfectly but I needed to focus on what was being recorded and help the artists get their best performance possible. Having done sessions, played in Curved Air and mentored by one of the greatest producers of all time: Rick Tunstall, I had the knack. So word went out there was a new hired gun in town and people asked for me to produce them. At an extra charge of course. Bands that didn’t have a pot to piss in, I did for free.

But some assholes would come in, swaggering and sashaying with a wad of money in their hands. We made sure to get all of it. Same concept as a Vegas casino.

My great mentor, Rick Tunstall, taught me everything about producing. I would get taken aside by a singer or a guitarist and told that no one had been able to get a performance out of them like I did. This made me very happy. Not just for my ego, but it was gratifying to help another artist get what they heard in their head. It didn’t matter if I liked their music; I wanted a fine product coming from our studio. Word of mouth was a big deal for us.
Over the years, I produced thousands of groups…all kinds…you name it..from punk bands to an orchestral harp player; to string quartets and everything in between.

We also got a lot of radio commercial work and I never got involved because it was usually a radio DJ with a project and they deemed themselves the producer. And didn’t want my help; although, after hearing their finished project, I believe they would have been smarter taking my help. But these TV people had massive egos.

And then there were the pop, or rock acts, that thought they were smarter than me and insisted on producing. It was a disaster every single time. My partner, and engineer, Dave, kept his mouth shut and let them dig their own grave. It would usually end up with more money for us because they would end up re-doing the session. After they finished their debacle, I would play them things I produced and they, begrudgingly, agreed to allow me to produce their project. And everyone was happy at the end. Back then, we only charged $35 an hour. Chump change.

Often, I would have to use the Phil Spector method. Something Tunstall taught me. This means getting rough with one or more musicians who weren’t on top of their game. Or in the studio for the first time. Recording is nothing like playing live where playing a clam now and again didn’t matter. In a recording session, one had to discipline themselves so they could play the exact same thing over and over again if necessary.

Some of the best players around choked in the studio. They couldn’t handle the pressure. It is very intimidating being the only person in the studio, doing an over dub, while a gaggle of people looked on from the booth. More often than not, I had to bring in player buddies who knew how to record. This really caused a lot if ill feeling in the band. But they wanted a great finished product so they conceded. Not to mention, they had to pay an outsider.

There were times that frustration came into play. I would leave the booth and enter the recording studio area. This always intimidated the players. I would take one aside and yell at him with a big pep talk. I was yelling. I got them mad. Mad is good. It fires up the adrenaline and with enough pep talks; the players came through, playing what they were supposed to, plus more. I tried easy cajoling first, but sometimes getting rough was the only way. And it was their money and I wanted them to get the most out of it. And then tell their musician friends what a great studio this was.

After the session, the band would be packing up and Dave and I would focus on one song. We would hurriedly mix it so we would have something to show the players when they finished packing and entered the booth. They always wanted to produce their own songs. But by doing one song for them, it kept the number of self-proclaimed producers down. Most of the time, they were very impressed with what Dave and I did for them and allowed us to mix their tunes by ourselves. More $$$ for us. We would shuffle them out of the studio and then mix their songs. Then, invite them back the next day to hear the finished product. We saw a lot of big smiles.

There were no DVD’s back then so the finished product was delivered on a two track reel. Basically, it was a stereo recording of their music. The Heider machine was an 8 track recorder but we had a 24 track board.
board

We were ruthless about money. We bullied the bands so they would have to transfer the reel to cassettes or have them pressed into vinyl. We could copy the reel to cassettes with a myriad of copy machines in the studio. Lots of customers came to us merely to make a thousand cassette copies.

During the recording studio period, my ear was the best it ever was in all of my playing days. The amount of focus required, hearing every detail and nuance of a song takes a serious amount of concentration.

As a result, I got hired out to do bands’ sound for a live show. We would use their equipment and all I had to do was show up. I sat behind the board and did a sound check with them getting all their sounds down pat.

I had a real knack for getting a big drum sound. I used a John Bonham sound. BIG! The bands really liked that. And of course, as a bassist myself, I made sure the bass was way out front.

I miss those days. But life moves on and technology changed drastically only a few years later. No one records using analog any longer. Everything is done using computers. And recording software. Now you can sit in your bedroom and get a complete recording studio sound.

So while the bedroom guitarist could produce something equally as good as my studio could, the only thing lacking was the Phil Spector syndrome telling them they can do better. A lone musician never gets the most of his talent when he is doing it alone. There are exceptions, of course.

I found out during this time that McCartney did the same thing I did when laying down a bass line. A band would come in needing a bass player and I got a lot of gigs this way.

But I was too busy producing to play at the same time. So I’d come in around 11pm and stay all night in a dim booth with my bass and the equipment. I could play the shit out of a song because I could fix it and do it again until it was perfect. During the latter days of Beatles recordings, McCartney did the same exact thing. This allowed him to come up with some of the most beautiful melodic bass lines every written.

And of course, I loved the solitude. And no fear. I was alone. I could fuck up a hundred times and only need to play it right once.

But I experimented with my bass lines. I tried to think like McCartney. Providing bass riffs that the band would never have thought of.
Those few years were a hell of an experience. I miss them.

Note: I would like to make it clear that while some of these practices seem scam-like, it is the way every single recording studio in the world works. Just standard operating procedure. Plus, I was young. This was roughly 35 years ago and I’d like to think I have more scruples and wisdom than I did back then.

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