Smoking Jacket Short Robusto | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Dominican (Aged 9 Years)
Binder: Double Binder of Dominican Cotuí and Condega Nicaragua
Filler: 60 % Dominican, 20 % Nicaraguan and 20% Kelner Family Reserve tobacco
Size: 4.5 x 56 “Short Robusto”
Body: Medium
Price: $8.99 MSRP

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smoking_jacket_3
Photo above courtesy of Cigarsbyhand.com.

Today we take a look at the Smoking Jacket Short Robusto by Hendrik Kelner, Jr.
I’ve had this cigar for a couple months and forgot about it. It was sent to me by an anonymous reader. Thank you kind sir.

BACKGROUND:
Factory: Hendrik Kelner – Santiago, Dominican Republic
Debuted at the Summer, 2013 IPCPR trade show. 100,000 cigars were made in 2013.
Each stick size is blended differently and has a different set of leaf stats.
This is the first solo release by young Hendrik Kelner, Jr.

From the Smoking Jacket web site:
“The Short Robusto is the “wild one” of the line – “indescribable,” according to Hendrik, adding that “there was some experimental blending, and it took a long time to develop.” While he heaps praise on the vitola, he is quick to say it may not be for everyone. The true connoisseur will; however, revel in the subtleties.

“This medium strength and medium up-body smoke, has a filler of 60 % Dominican, 20 % Nicaraguan and 20% Kelner Family Reserve tobacco. The wrapper is a 9 year old Dominican surprise surrounding the same double binder combo found in the Toro Magno. Very complex, yet delicate taste, a delicious cigar that keeps you coming back for more.

“With respect to the name, Hendrik says he always had an affinity for smoking jackets, “a long lost tradition of elegance and good taste,” he says. ‘I wanted to create a cigar brand everyone relates to, not a strong last name or a forced title, but (like the iconic cigar garment itself) a brand everyone feels is their own.’ The brand logo, centered in a gorgeous red shield, is the lapels of a smoking jacket.”

DESCRIPTION:
A fire plug looking cigar that is made well. Solid like a hand grenade. The wrapper is a light, oily brown color. Very smooth to the touch. A perfectly applied triple cap. Seams are visible and lots of veins.
The cigar band is about as simple as they come.

SIZES AND PRICES:
Favoritos 6 x 46 Corona Gorda $7.99 MSRP
Short Robusto 4.5 x 56 $8.99 MSRP
Robusto Imperial 5 x 52 $8.99 MSRP “Brazilian Cubra”
Toro Magno 7 x 50 $9.99 MSRP “Brazilian Cubra”
Instead of listing all the different leaf stats, I direct you to the Smoking Jacket web site where you can read all about it.
Still sold on many online stores like Top Quality Cigars. Or Small Batch Cigar.
Tell them the Katman sent you.

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell a fruity sweetness, spice, cedar, and charred oak.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell Hawaiian sweet bread, honey, spice, fruit, chocolate, coffee, and earthy tobacco notes.
The cold draw presents flavors of chocolate, cinnamon, spice, cedar, sweet bread, and honey.

FIRST HALF:
The draw is excellent.
And the flavors start with a big bang: Chocolate, creamy, toasty, nutty, spice, lemon meringue, coffee, cedar, and big time earthiness.
Strength is medium body.

This is my first Smoking Jacket Short Robusto. I have no idea what to expect.
I’m not a big Kelner fan because most of his blends are mild/medium in body. Not my style Daddy-O. And his blends are Old School style needing months of humidor time. So I gave this cigar more than a couple months to be ready to go.
The Smoking Jacket seems to follow suit even though the web site says it is a medium body smoke.

The first 1-5/8” does nothing for me.

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Flavors are no better than all the blest blends in “The Katman’s Best 195 Boutique Brands/Blends in the $6-$9.50+ Range.” In fact, most on my list are much better.

Kelner is an old man. And follows the rules and regs of old school blenders. Don’t make a spicy cigar because to the old guys, spice represents a crappy cigar. Something I learned from some cigar mentors. Many of the old blenders had to have a spiciness element shoved down their throat because the smoking public likes spicy cigar blends.

The wrapper is a mess. And it’s been in my humidor with the electrically controlled humidity: The Cigar Oasis Excel. So no excuses for inaccurate humidity. It is kept at 66.5% 24/7. And the unit tells me when it is low on distilled water.
The char line is focakte. Constant touch ups required.

Meanwhile, the flavors: Dark chocolate, coffee, creamy, nutty, spice, and cedar.
That’s it folks.

Oh wait. There is a touch of malt: Chocolate Malt and Coffee Malt.
What a major disappointment. Especially for a $9.00 cigar.

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And then suddenly, near the start of the second half, the Smoking Jacket perks up. Flavors are bolder now. Is it my mind playing tricks on me?
And spice moves up to nearly the front of the line. Caramel is added. The chocolate, coffee, and creaminess are working together nicely.
This is not a kitchen sink list of flavors cigar. It is simple and nothing special.

SECOND HALF:
Smoke time is 30 minutes.
I’ve got some cracks on the back side of the cigar band. I’m afraid that once I remove the band, the cracks will travel. Nothing I can do about it.

6half

The Smoking Jacket Short Robusto is now much more flavorful, smooth, and warm toned.
You know how you just get a sense about an untried cigar? Either that it will be great or a dog turd. I had the latter sensation.

And while not a dog turd. It is underwhelming. This is a bummer. I really hate writing reviews that tear a cigar apart. Do I have a choice? Of course. I could lie. Not my style.

While the char line is a bit choppy, it is under control now. And the single crack seems to be staying in place.
Then Bang! It hits its Sweet Spot. Flavors explode like the 4th of July. While the Smoking Jacket Short Robusto doesn’t have a big list of flavors at this point, what it has is very enjoyable.

A cigar at this price range should have been consistent, complex, and full of transitions from the start. The Smoking Jacket Short Robusto has none of these qualities.
No, there is not a lick of complexity.

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I don’t think I counted more than 3-4 reviews of this blend. One reviewer gave it a 95! Yikes. Either he has ties to Kelner or he got it when it had that fresh rolled taste and was a real winner. Yet he only reports 3 or 4 flavors. You take what you want from this. There is no way this cigar deserves a 95. And the fact that almost no reviewers chose to write about this cigar tells you a lot.
I should have done that instead of waiting for months.

Flavors: Chocolate, coffee, caramel, creaminess, nutty, toasty, malts, cedar, and dried fruit.
The Smoking Jacket Short Robusto is pretty solid now. We finally have some transitions going on. Complexity has occurred. Nice balance with a long finish. But in my mind, too little too late. Plus the terrible construction issues are going to rip the rating.

The Smoking Jacket Short Robusto was verging on being a one trick pony. The second half saved its bacon.

Serious Cigars says this is a medium/full blend. I’m tasting a medium body. Small Batch Cigar sells the blends for considerably less than Serious Cigars; who are touting them for the MSRP. SBC sells it for $7.02 with your 10% coupon code of leafenthusiast.
But SBC only sells three of the four sizes.

With 1-1/2” to go, the Smoking Jacket Short Robusto kicks into high gear and now I taste what the reviewer who gave this blend a 95 tasted.

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The Smoking Jacket Short Robusto is kicking ass and taking names now.
I can only imagine what it would have tasted like if it started out this way and transitioned many times.
Even though this was a limited run cigar, there are still plenty available. No doubt.
I cannot recommend this cigar. Too inconsistent.
Final smoke time a little over an hour. And final strength is medium/full.

RATING: 85

PRICE POINT:
$9.00? Nope. $4.00 cigar? Yep.

SUMMATION:
I believe I’ve said it all. A complete let down. The lack of interest by reviewers is a dead giveaway.
Good thing it was a limited production cigar blend. If it were regular production, you would have seen it in the clearance items on all the online stores.

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And now for something almost completely different:

The band was scheduled to tour Ireland back in 1975. Things were really bad between the British government and the IRA. The winter of 1974 saw indiscriminate bombings in downtown London every day for 14 days during the Christmas holiday. It was the scariest thing possible. Bombs were placed in trash bins, on high streets, and if you happened to walk by one when it went off, well…bye-bye. I remember two photos in the newspaper after one bombing. It showed a Bobby bending over to look at a package on the street. Next photo showed him blown apart about 30 feet away.

This following incident will stick with me til the day I die.

I had been fired from Curved Air. Some guy, Andy Morris, contacted me telling me he was associated with Ringo Starr and he was putting a band together and they would rehearse in L.A. Ringo wanted me as his bassist. I was thrilled so I called and told all of my friends back in So Cal.
The guy’s name was very familiar. But I just couldn’t place it.

Our first meeting was to take place at the London Hilton lobby at 1pm on a Monday. We met and had coffee and spoke. He had all the details and even asked me to join him as he had an appointment with his lawyer. I thought I’d be invited in on the discussion. Instead, I sat in the lobby cooling my heels for an hour. This was the first red flag.

Exactly 24 hours later, to the hour, a huge bomb went off in the Hilton lobby killing dozens of people and injuring hundreds. I was in shock. For the grace of God, I could have been there.

hilton

A week passed and this guy was giving me excuses about meeting with Ringo.
He told me that he was an original member of the English band, “Badfinger.” These guys were big for a while but had broken up before this guy contacted me. The Beatles discovered them and even wrote a hit song for them.

bad

I went to record stores trying to find Badfinger records but they were out of print. I couldn’t verify this guy.
So I made a bold move and called Apple Records and asked to speak to Derek Taylor. He was the Beatles’ press agent. He was their press agent for the entire time the Beatles were together. Everyone knew who this guy was. I was thrilled just to talk to him but I had business to discuss with him.

Derek took my call, because I was in Curved Air, and I asked about this guy. Derek said this guy was never in Badfinger. And then we chatted. He told me some inside Beatles stories and I was on Cloud 9.

I had been had by this schlockmeister.
I got on the phone with this guy and called him a fraud and it was the last time we spoke.

A month later, I was listening to records at my Edgeware home and I grabbed a CA album I played on. On the back of the Curved Air “Live” album, I noticed something. Down at the bottom were credits. And here was this guy’s name as a production assistant. The fucking fraud! A music assistant’s duties were merely a gopher. He got us tea and coffee.
The music business is everything you think it is. Corrupt and full of bullshit artists.

CURVED-AIR-LIVE-BACK

It was for that reason, that at the age of 34, I gave it up and threw in the towel. I went back into commercial construction.
I was no longer in big time music biz but I continued to play in bands that were gigging to make some extra dough right up until a couple of years ago until the damage caused by my skydiving accident took its toll and I could no longer hold my heavy bass for four sets a night.

It was a great ride.

A short anecdote….Once our daughter was in grade school, she loved telling her teachers that I played with Eric Clapton. I have no idea where that came from and was totally untrue. I never even met the man.

So it was really uncomfortable during teacher/parent meetings when the teacher gushed over me because of what Katie told her. It didn’t matter that I got to play with some of the greatest rock musicians of all time…I didn’t play with Eric Clapton. But Katie would argue with me in front of her teacher. And I ended up unable to convince the woman I didn’t play with Clapton. I became an elementary school rock star.

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