Man O’ War Side Projects Phalanx | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Pennsylvania Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6.5 X 56 “Toro Gordo”
Body: Full
Price: $9.00 MSRP

1

Today we take a look at an oldie but goodie: Man O’ War Side Projects Phalanx.

I received a couple nice care packages lately. Here is the problem. From one, I’ve reviewed the two new sticks. The others were for pleasure. From the other care package, there are cigars in there no longer available and I’m not sure if it’s fair to review a cigar you cannot buy. I’d like to hear your comments if you want to read about something you can’t buy. I can’t make a decision. Anyway, many thanks to Anonymous Stogie and Johnny Piette for their generosity.

Here is a photo of the cigars Johnny sent me. L-R: Adam & Eve (8 years old), Graycliff Chateau Grand Cru Series (9 years old), HVC The City, and Tony Bellato’s Siempre.

I cannot find a single Siempre with a cigar band on it like this one does so I’m not sure what I’d be reviewing. And the HVC The City seems to no longer be available. I’ve never heard of the Adam & Eve and can find no info. And the Graycliff…well…nothing about one with a shaggy foot. And certainly not available for purchase.

3

Joey Holub of Summit Cigars sent me some Maya Selva Villa Zamorano but I’ve reviewed them. He also included some Santiago Connies. Those I will definitely review.

Anonymous sent me the Padron Dámaso and the Matilde Oscura along with some every day cigars. The only one I haven’t reviewed is the Macanudo Maduro. Never tried one.
Which leaves me a few cigars left to review that have been around a while.

BACKGROUND:
Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez
Blender: A.J. Fernandez
The Man O’ War line is, I believe, a strictly CI Conglomerate exclusive blend.
There are a total of four Side Projects blends: Skull Crusher, 52C, Little Devil, and Phalanx. All sticks range from $5.00-$9.00 MSRP. All can be had much cheaper on Cbid.
I’ve not made it a secret that I’m a big AJ fan. But I’ve never smoked the Phalanx. So I look forward to this as I have only stick. A gift from another anonymous reader.

DESCRIPTION:
This is a mamma jamma. Big fucker. And it has some real heft to it. A very oily, near charcoal black colored wrapper. Tight seams. Lots of veins hidden due to wrapper color. Nicely applied triple cap. And the stick is very toothy.

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell dark cocoa, spice, strong espresso, fruity notes, cedar, and some exotic spices.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell dark cocoa, espresso, spice, cedar, and barnyard.
From the cold draw, I can taste flavors of dark chocolate, creaminess, sweetness, cherries, spice, and barnyard.

FIRST THIRD:
Man this is a heavy mutha’ fucka’ to dangle from one’s lips. I feel like those Ubangi Africans who stick dinnerware into their lower lips.

Oh just lovely…Flavors explode in my mouth like Pop Rocks on Dope.
Wonderful flavors of: Milk chocolate, red hot spice, decadent creaminess, a giant assortment of malt, espresso, cedar, sweetness, caramel, and rich earthy notes. A perfect example of a nearly Nic puro.

2

So let’s uncover the malts: Brown Malt, Chocolate Malt, Cara Vienna, Chocolate Rye Malt, Coffee Malt, and Flaked Oats Malt. (See Malt Chart).

The malt flavors have a major impact on the flavor profile. First time for this.
But the chocolate…lawdy, lawdy Miss Clawdy. This is a candy bar of epic proportions.
Strength is a solid medium body.

I wish the spice were a bit stronger as it dissipates some.
This is a slow roll so I will be mindful of the time and not re-write the Magna Carta.

I have something to say to you, my readers, at the end of the review concerning my medical condition…and my reviewing. Nothing serious. No need to rush to the end. LOL.

Most good blenders have a signature. A thread that runs from one blend to another. AJ is one of those blenders. He doesn’t jump wildly from one type of blend to another like some of the very good small boutique brands do. It garners attention.
No. AJ sticks to what he knows. And this man can do magic with Nicaraguan leaves. A tweak here and tweak there, and voila!
I wish I could afford to buy his blends because it isn’t until I do get to smoke one that I remember what a blending mensch Fernandez is.

Strength maintains medium body with the hint of going for the gold any minute now.

One thing I’ve failed to mention about the Katman Burn technique is an important factor.
When first lighting the outside wrapper, hold the lighter and stick at 45° to each other. This facilitates not burning the shit out of the wrapper and even helps toast the foot as the single flame passes just above the foot as the wrapper ignites that sixteenth of an inch. As you do it more and more, you should be able to predict the voracity of the roller’s technique. Any imperfection at the bottom of the wrapper where it meets the foot means trouble. I was wrong with this cigar but usually right on all others. Canoes happen quickly so don’t take your eyes off the ball during the first few minutes after lighting your cigar.

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is 35 minutes.
The Man O’ War Side Projects Phalanx is a groovy cigar, dudes. Like hang ten rat fink.
The only downside, if there really is one, is that the Side Projects need some serious humidor time. Today’s stick has had many, many months of aging.

The flavors: Creaminess, milk chocolate, raisins, lots of malt, toasty wheat bread, cedar, espresso, sweetness, caramel, and rich earthy tobacco notes.

4third

Normally, when I used to buy cigars, I would buy the strongest Man O’ Wars possible. It’s a nice change to smoke this relaxing medium body blend.

The Man O’ War Side Projects Phalanx is super complex now. Beautiful balance of flavors. And a very long, chewy finish.
Strength is medium/full. But very smooth. I think the word “smooth” sums up AJ.

Once again, I don’t care for giant behemoth cigars but then along comes some special cigars and time flies by.

The Man O’ War Side Projects Phalanx is a helluva cigar.
Strangely, there are few reviews of this blend. No idea why. It certainly deserves some attention.
The spice is nearly gone. Drat.

HALFWAY POINT:
Smoke time is one hour 5 minutes.
Know what it tastes like? A chocolate, coffee, caramel, whipped cream milk shake.

coffee-milkshake

Now that I know how delicious this is, I’m already jonesing for more.
The medium/full strength keeps the flavors on an even keel.

5half

This may have become my fave Man O’ War blend. And I’ve reviewed every blend, every size, and every limited edition.
I’ve reviewed 14 different Man O’ War blends. Now that’s an AJ fanatic.

Transitions come fast and furious. Without Vin Diesel.
This is my first 6 x 56 that I wish would never end.

I haven’t bought cigars in months but I just went to Cbid and bid on a 5 pack that is a Quickie. Please don’t outbid me.
I’m going to get a whipping when Charlotte finds out.

6

But then she is getting her hair done today so I think I am entitled to snag a 5 pack for myself. Fair is fair.
The flavor list hasn’t changed an iota.
This is heaven.

LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is one hour 35 minutes.
Strength hits full body.

7third

CI describes this as a medium body smoke. And it was during the first half. But it has escalated. Even have some nicotine attacking my puny brain. Crash helmet time.

Flavors shift: Creaminess, chocolate, caramel, coffee, malts, dried fruit, cedar and spice.
Like a light switch, the red pepper goes for gold. Whoa Nelly. I think I’m blind.

I know every one of you have smoked this cigar so I expect a low turnout for readership of this review. And the few following ones too as they are all every day cigars that have been around for a while.

I’m going to review the Gurkha Xtreme tomorrow. I know, I know. But someone sent me some and believe it or not, a very good cigar. You can count on one hand the Gurkhas I’ve reviewed. No reason to explain why.
And there is only one review of that blend. And it is a blend that actually shows up on the Gurkha web site.

The Man O’ War Side Projects Phalanx has been one of the most delightful 2 hours I’ve spent in a long time. Or as long as memory serves me. LOL. (Lots of LOL’s today).

The nicotine has calmed down.
The Man O’ War Side Projects Phalanx is a must have. CI has a special going on all of the Side Project blends. A 12 count box of the Man O’ War Side Projects Phalanx is going for $80 and for $5 more; you get a cool Man O’ War ashtray. That’s $6.67 per stick. So this is just pennies more than what the cigar is going for on Cbid. I’d go for the CI deal.

RATING: 93

PRICE POINT:
Less than $7.00 is a steal for this quality. Charlotte only works part time for minimum wage and only brings home around $200 per week. If I had any balls, I would snag this deal on CI. I love using ashtrays for my backgrounds for my photos. It’s a cool looking ashtray.

ashtray

Once again, no reason to spend $17 for a new blend when you have the same quality staring at you in the face for less than $7.00.

Some notes and thoughts:
I’ve joined a couple of FTD dementia support groups. One is in downtown Milwaukee and a real haul to get there at 7pm once a week. The other is the official FTD Forum (Frontotemporal Dementia). Set up just like a cigar forum.
I’ve gotten some terrific support from the online group. And visiting the live group helps as well.

I’ve got readers emailing me with a million questions that they are too lazy to research for themselves.
Here is why I brought this up. I asked both FTD groups why can I still write my reviews while the rest of the day, I’m a wilted dummy flower?
Muscle memory. And a bunch of other reasons I won’t bore you with.
The point is…my ability to write semi-normally each morning gives the illusion I’m OK.
And readers take advantage of that. The dumb ones, anyway.

I get 2-3 emails per week asking me all sorts of questions. Mind you, I cannot remember what day it is, what month it is, or even what year it is.

Here is a sample of an email thread I got this week. You can figure it out.
A reader contacts me and says this:
“I have been reading your reviews and awesome stories for quite some time now. I’ve never posted a comment or anything but wanted to email you just to become acquainted somewhat. Your reviews are awesome and i order alot of cigars based upon them. One question though, if you could only have 10 different cigars for the rest of your life, what would they be? Hard question I know lol but looking for some suggestions on cigars to try.

“Anyway I appreciate your reviews and maybe can send ya some smokes. Take it easy bro.”

I can’t remember what I reviewed last week. And he wants me to remember my 10 fave cigars. So I wrote back to him (I’ve redacted his name):
“K******, that is a hard question…especially with dementia.
“But if I were to pick brands, that’s easy: Ezra Zion, Paul Stulac, Tatuaje, Viaje, and Pepin Garcia. Sorry couldn’t be more specific. I’ve smoked so many cigars in my life that it is hard to remember.”

And then this was his reply to the above email:
“Sorry to hear about the dementia, that’s rough. I notice you refer to old school blends needing a couple months humidor time before smoking and new school being ready in a few days to a few weeks. Why do they need so much time? Seems like the time from leaving the factory to the retailer, the retailer to consumer would count as that time needed. What is it I need to do to get a cigar “ready” before I smoke it? Sorry for all the questions, I don’t know anyone that smokes cigars therefor no one to ask these questions. I appreciate your reply.”

WTF?
What am I? His personal bitch? Does he even know what dementia is?

So I write back, once again, explaining I have a dying brain:
“I have dementia K******. I have a lot of trouble remembering the shit you asked about.
I do OK when I write my reviews but it takes longer and longer as I have enormous trouble searching for words.
I just can’t help you. I’m sorry.
Phil”

And guess what? I offended him:
“Wow…nevermind. definitely changed my view of things. You take care.”

So how dare I not answer his questions? I never heard of this guy. I never once received a comment or email from him. And instead of prowling Google for the answers to his questions, he bothers me. And as my punishment, he re-thought the whole thing about being generous and sending me some cigars. I guess that’ll teach me to have the nerve to not be Cigar Jeopardy.
Thanks K******. You have a good life!

So the moral to the story is I love hearing from my readers. Really. Please don’t ask me the origins of how the cigar was invented or which cigar size is better; and why.

I’m not at end stage dementia. So I can muddle through every day things. I have mild/moderate dementia. And writing is good therapy for my brain. It is the only time of the day where I come to life. I so love communicating with my brothers. You. You mean everything to me.
Thanks for listening to an old focakte Jew whine, piss, & moan.

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7 replies

  1. I like you doing these older blend reviews. I’m an AJ fan but haven’t had a Phalanx, didn’t see many reviews, and was curious how you would like this one before I pick up a 5-pack from CBid (kidding!).

    And review whatever the hell you want to review! I haven’t read a review of yours yet that wasn’t at least entertaining. Be it a cigar I can/want to buy or not.

  2. Katman, you could review a cigarette and I would love reading it. Your reviews make my days better. Thanks.

  3. Katman, I love not only your reviews but your life in music. It’s a joy to read what you write and I thank you for it. I’ll keep reading as long as you keep writing.

  4. You write it, I read it…eventually. Work is keeping me from the things I love…cigars and bourbon. Review the stuff you can’t find anymore. I like to know what I missed!