Size: 6 x 50 “Toro”
Today we take a look at The Chinese Finger Trap by MoyaRuiz Cigars. A gift from an anonymous reader.
I had a wonderful afternoon yesterday with a lovely reader, Bruce Cholka, that happens to live in Milwaukee. First time I’ve met a reader. Alert the media! Bruce is all right in my book. We had a ton of things in common. I hope to see more of him. Great guy. If all my readers are like Bruce, I want all of you to come to my house this Sunday.
Factory: Erik Espinosa’s La Zona in Esteli, Nicaragua.
The cigar is adorned by a fake Chinese finger trap. Those things, that as kids, drove us crazy. Remember the first time you got stuck in one and went into a panic attack?
From the MoyaRuiz web site:
“MoyaRuiz Cigars is proud to announce our 2015 limited edition release – The Chinese Finger Trap. Production on this project will be limited to only 1,000 boxes. Each box will feature 10 cigars in a 6×50 Toro size.
“Danny Moya, co-founder of MoyaRuiz Cigars explained the concept behind the Chinese Finger Trap: “We had such a blast making last year’s limited edition release, the Nunchuck, so we knew that this year we had to once again think outside the box. Although this release also has an oriental theme, its packaging is inspired mainly by vintage novelty/game boards the Chinese finger traps came in.
“The blend is an ancient Chinese secret. Thus, no further information about the blend will ever be released.” says Moya. The cigars are made in Erik Espinosa’s factory La Zona in Estelí, Nicaragua.”
The finger trap looks pretty good. Fooled me. I thought it was for real.
Underneath, is a very nice looking stick. Very solid. No soft spots. Nearly invisible seams. Few veins. But there are some wrinkles in the wrapper.
The wrapper has a tinge of Colorado in it and is a light russet brown in color. The wrapper is oily and has a bit of tooth here and there but is mostly very smooth. The triple cap is just OK. I’m glad that Danny and Nelson decided to put a secondary, or main, cigar band on the cigar instead of just being an unbanded cigar once the finger trap display disappeared.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
The shaft smells of sweetness in a couple forms: caramel, fruit, spice, and sugar cane.
The clipped cap and foot smell of caramel, sweetness, fruit, sweet cream butter, spice, and dried fruit.
The cold draw presents flavors of gooey caramel, sweetness, spice, earthy tobacco, dried fruit, and powdered sugar.
I use my new tried and true method of lighting a cigar. Lighting 1/16” of the outer edge of the wrapper allowing the cigar to burn inwards instead of outward. Thereby, eliminating any problems of small, or big, runs.
And if you see a little V run starting, just lay it down in the ashtray to allow the char line to cool and you can now better control the burn of the foot.
OK. Let’s get to it.
The Chinese Finger Trap by MoyaRuiz Cigars starts off with a big bang of red hot pepper. Followed by some chocolate, caramel, earthy notes, and French vanilla ice cream.
Smoke just pours from the foot. Haven’t had one of those in a while.
Creaminess is bold and so is the spiciness. A nice floral note appears about ¾” into the cigar.
The spiciness makes a partnership between red pepper and spicy cinnamon. Ha Cha Cha.
I recently reviewed The Rake and was less than thrilled with it. Especially, the construction issues and the char line needing constant touch ups.
This is beginning to happen on The Chinese Finger Trap by MoyaRuiz Cigars. This review will take forever leaving the cigar to cool constantly so that I don’t have to keep torching it.
For me, The Rake was a backwards step in the MoyaRuiz catalog. The La Jugada Habano is still my favorite blend. Behind that is the La Jugada Prieto.
I really do hope this is not another backwards step. I really like Danny and Nelson but I have to report the truth. First rule of the 10 Commandments of Dementia.
I give it this…this is a slow smoke so far. An inch in has taken almost 15 minutes.
As I near the second third, I’m finding that this blend is not reaching out to me. It’s not bad but not what I expected. Hopefully, it will pick up in the second third.
Strength is a potent medium body.
The Chinese Finger Trap by MoyaRuiz Cigars feels like it is going to break on through to the other side any moment. I’ve only allowed this cigar 3 weeks rest. Maybe that’s not enough. But I’ve found with all the MoyaRuiz blends that they are ready and rarin’ to go after only 3 weeks.
Smoke time is 35 minutes.
Be careful what you wish for. The Chinese Finger Trap by MoyaRuiz Cigars just took off like a rocket.
Strong spice, cinnamon, vanilla, floral notes, caramel, creaminess, powdered sugar, earthy notes, and a touch of cocoa.
But constantly touching up the char line is getting annoying.
Strength is a bold medium/full now.
A small ½” long crack has appeared in the wrapper about 1” away from the foot. It is in the same humidor as my other “review” cigars and I haven’t had this problem with any of them. The crack is on the backside of where I am taking photos. Hopefully, it doesn’t spread. So to control it, I use some of my cigar glue to weld it.
Flavors are doing just fine. This is a flavor profile steeped more in nuance and subtlety than big, bold bright flavors. It will probably end up being a full body stick with a medium/full flavor profile.
The cigar goes out on me. I had the exact same problems with The Rake.
My welding the crack had no effect and the crack is expanding.
Whoa Nelly! A flavor explosion. All sorts of things are happening now.
There is some rich complexity. A spot on balance. And a nice long, chewy finish.
Here they are in order of boldness: Creaminess, floral notes, vanilla, caramel, cinnamon, spice, cocoa, earthy notes, and a touch of espresso.
The crack in the wrapper is now over 1” long. I’m wondering if I will be able to finish the cigar. I’m only a few minutes from being able to burn right through the crack. Fingers crossed.
Smoke time is 40 minutes.
Strength is nearly full bodied.
The char line aggravation seems to be letting up.
Finally. Sweet Spot 1.0.
This is what I expected The Chinese Finger Trap by MoyaRuiz Cigars to taste like from the start. Better now, than never…I guess.
As I burn through the crack, it is causing the wrapper to flower around the foot. Looks terrible. But I can correct it in a couple of minutes. Correcting the char line seems to be my main function in life at the moment.
I’m purposely not showing you the crack. No point.
Flavors are very interesting and gratifying for the first time.
I’m pretty sure that between my review of The Rake and The Chinese Finger Trap by MoyaRuiz Cigars, neither will make “The Katman’s Best 195 Boutique Brands/Blends in the $6-$9.50+ Range.”
Chocolate is now a very bold flavor supplanting the vanilla, caramel, and floral notes.
Creaminess really accentuates the chocolate. It tastes like a nice hot cup of cocoa with tiny marshmallows floating on top.
The crack keeps expanding and I doubt the burn line will catch up.
But the flavors are wonderful. The spiciness is an integral part of the flavor profile and with it, the cinnamon.
The Chinese Finger Trap by MoyaRuiz Cigars remains very complex.
Strength is now a strong full body. Not a cigar for newbies.
Smoke time is one hour.
It’s hard to enjoy a cigar when there are constant construction issues. Nothing pisses me off more than having to correct the char line over and over. And the crack should never have happened.
I keep my humidor set at 67% humidity. Any higher and there are possibilities of bloating the cigar with humidity. And making it soft.
I’m enjoying the flavors.
I don’t get it. Danny Moya and Nelson Ruiz are exceptionally good blenders. Plus they rely heavily on Erik Espinosa for input. What went wrong with The Rake and The Chinese Finger Trap by MoyaRuiz Cigars?
It’s like they took two giant steps backwards. One thing I like about the MoyaRuiz blends is the passion inherent in every cigar they produce. Both of these cigars seem to lack that passion and instead, they settled.
The Nunchuck was gimmicky but an excellent cigar. The Chinese Finger Trap by MoyaRuiz Cigars is a gimmicky cigar but lacks the quality one expects from this duo.
The char line is a complete mess.
The ash looks terrible due to all the touch ups and burning through that nasty crack.
How do you balance a rating when there is a conflict between construction and flavor profile?
I hope that the next blend that comes from the MoyaRuiz shop is not gimmicky and great amounts of imagination and passion are the main focal points.
The final smoke time is an hour and 15 minutes.
The Chinese Finger Trap by MoyaRuiz Cigars finishes with a cool nub and no harshness. The nicotine is milder. The flavors are still bold and interesting.
But transitions are out of whack.
At $10.00, I just can’t recommend this cigar.
$10.00. Hmmm…I don’t think so. I realize it is a limited run and limited runs always cost more; it’s a way of jacking the price as far as I’m concerned. And cause a feeding frenzy from the smoking public. But so far, I find it being sold on just about every online store so those thousand boxes are going a long way.
The Chinese Finger Trap by MoyaRuiz Cigars was released in late June. So now it’s almost 3 months later and there are plenty of these cigars to go around. I’m guessing word of mouth caused a delay in selling out.
Every online store is selling the sticks for more than MSRP. If you buy a single or a 5 pack, they are charging $11.00. Only when you buy a 10 count box do you get the cigar for $10.00. And Cbid is not selling them. So no discounts.
Cigar Federation and Small Batch do not carry them. So, again, no discounts.
I would put this stick at a price point of $7.00. And I don’t think it compares to any cigar in “The Katman’s Best 195 Boutique Brands/Blends in the $6-$9.50+ Range.”
I really had high hopes. Up til now, MoyaRuiz has never let me down. I love the early cigar blends.
They are stout, complex cigars with perfect construction. You know you are smoking a high premium. And they average $7.50 per cigar.
I think giving The Chinese Finger Trap by MoyaRuiz Cigars was more about the flavor profile in the second half.
NOTE: 3 hours later…I’m smoking a MoyaRuiz La Jugada Habano and it’s night and day compared to the Finger Trap. The Habano tastes full of passion and intense flavor. This is a high premium cigar. The Finger Trap doesn’t come close to being as good as the Habano.
And now for something completely different:
Warning: This is a hard core story about drugs.
During the Eddie Munster project in 1983-1984, I had a friend who was an ex-con. A really big linebacker looking fella. His name is Rick. He did some serious time for stealing cars. And dealing drugs.
But Rick was a gentle giant. The perfect friend who had a code of honor. If you were loyal, there was nothing he wouldn’t do for you. If you cheated him, God help you.
Because of the corruption in the music biz, and especially what went on at radio stations, I always had to have some coke ready to distribute to DJ’s and program directors as we toured the country. Rick was my connection.
Now I did hardly any of the stuff as it was a distraction and I didn’t like the way it made me feel. Nervous and paranoid. Much worse than pot.
And he dealt coke in what I considered large quantities. I would go over to his place in Manhattan Beach and just chill. I might do a line, I might not. And Rick loved me for that. While he was surrounded by fake friends with their noses sticking out, I would more often than not, decline his generosity. He got the biggest kick that I turned him down and strangely, that was what our friendship was built on. I was his only friend that wasn’t a coke whore.
Rick didn’t drink and he loved to make his own lemonade. So I’d go over to see him when the project, and running the recording studio, was running me into the ground.
We would sit and drink lemonade and talk about life. We laughed a lot.
One day, he took me up to his walk in closet that had a huge lock on it. Inside, he had a 4 drawer chest that he rested his digital coke scale on along with his other paraphernalia.
Rick was smart. He would take ordinary coke and process it so it had that opalescent look to it. All shiny and light reflective.
He also sold the purest coke I had ever done. Although, I didn’t do much so I don’t know if my statement is correct. Back in the 60’s, all my friends did Hippie drugs: weed and occasionally hallucinogenics. But never the stuff we thought would kill your soul. Which included cocaine.
So this one particular day, he wanted to show off how he processed his coke. I was interested and thought why not?
I sat next to him as he showed me the steps required. He had this huge mirror with about 3 ounces of cocaine on it. That is the equivalent of over 90 gram bottles. (Had to use a metric converter to figure that out.)
Right in the middle of a sentence, he elbowed the mirror and it all went into the air. Some of the drawers were open and it fell into them and all over the carpet.
I started to hyperventilate.
Rick never lost a beat as he continued to explain his process. I finally choked out the words, “Rick. Your coke is everywhere!!”
He told me not to worry. He had a special hand vacuum that would pick up 95% of it.
Three ounces of coke is a lot of coke. It covered my jeans and my shoes.
Didn’t bother Rick a bit.
Rick tried to talk me into dealing for him but I told him I had too much at stake to do that.
I got a call from my press agent (The skank) and I was instructed to bring $2000 with me to his Hollywood office. He had the program director from KROQ in his office and the guy would put our Eddie Munster record in regular rotation. That’s right. Payola was still in force.
I grabbed Rick and told him to bring some money.
We got there and did the transaction. Weeks passed and not once did we hear the song on KROQ.
Rick was furious.
He told me we had to go talk to my press agent so I made the call and went there the next day. I knew what was going to transpire.
Rick told him we wanted our money back. The press agent made a bunch of lousy excuses. And showed no respect for my behemoth friend.
Rick got up from his chair. He pulled open his jacket and showed the guy a huge stainless steel .357 Magnum pistol in his waist band.
Rick then pulled the pistol out and cold cocked the press agent so hard that he fell backwards in his chair.
Rick then went around the desk and hit him once more with his fist.
“Get our money!!”
He got it right away. He stumbled to his feet, bleeding from the head, and ran into another office. He came back with more money than we gave him. He never bothered to count it. He was in deathly fear for his life.
Rick left his with these words: “You ever try to cheat us again and I’m going to bury you in Yucca Valley, in the middle of the desert, with your dick and balls stuffed into your mouth!!”
I had never seen that side of Rick. It scared the living hell out of me. When we walked out of the building, Rick started laughing uncontrollably. Me? I was waiting for a fleet of cop cars to roll up. The press agent never called the cops.
Obviously, we never had a problem again with this guy.
I lost touch with Rick over the years. He called me about 10 years later and asked if he could borrow $500. I told him I would. We met and had a great time reminiscing.
I have no idea where he is now. I hope not prison. Or dead.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS