Pre-Release: Ugly Hanukkah Sweater by Ezra Zion Cigar Co. | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Binder: Undisclosed
Filler: Undisclosed
Size: 6 x 52 “Toro”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: Undisclosed

Note: This menorah is over 150 years old. It’s been in my family for generations. When I go, I will pass it on to our darling daughter, Katie:






Today we take a look at the yet to be released Ugly Hanukkah Sweater by Ezra Zion Cigar Co.
I am fortunate to have become friends with Kyle Hoover and Chris Kelly of EZ. Something that means a lot to me.
They had intended to release the two blends this season but a lack of appropriate tobacco has made them put it off til next year.
So according to Kyle, I have the only four pack sample on earth! Woo Hoo. And only right that the pack went to a Jew.

The other Ugly Hanukkah Sweater is a 4 x 44 petit corona with a Criollo wrapper.
So remember, ladies and germs, you read it here first. But Kyle also told me they might tweak the blend for next year.

Kyle Hoover:

Chris Kelly:

Nice looking stick. A little bit oily but has a matte finish in places. Silky smooth to the touch.
Invisible seams. Very few veins. An impeccably, perfect triple cap.
Solid cigar with the perfect amount of give.
The cigar band is the same as the Ugly Christmas Sweater bands except for color. These are traditional Hanukkah blue.

From the shaft, I smell peaches, sweetness, spice, chocolate, brown sugar, coffee, charred oak, and floral notes.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell dark chocolate, very strong spice, sweetness, barnyard, floral notes, coffee beans, oak, fruit, and vanilla.
The cold draw presents flavors of milk chocolate, molasses, dried fruit (raisins, dates, and figs), saffron, marjoram, black licorice, oak, and vanilla.

The draw is a bit stiff so I massage it using the technique that has worked for me since I was 11.
First flavors up to bat: Creaminess, chocolate, nutty, spice (Wish there were a little more), malt, toffee, wood, dried fruit, coconut, and nutmeg.

Did you know that The Beatles’ song “I Feel Fine” is the first song ever to use feedback on a recording? It is at the very start of the song. Cool fact, huh?

Flavors are subtle. No barnstorming happening. A nice smooth effluence of flavors.
The Ugly Hanukkah Sweater by Ezra Zion Cigar Company is a very slow smoke. It is packed to the gills with filler. I’ve smoked about 5 minutes and barely made a dent.

Normally, I don’t review petit coronas but I will with the other Ugly Hanukkah blend. The reason is pathetic. The highlight of my day is sitting down at the computer first thing in the morning and writing a review. The upside is I have a sense of accomplishment. The downside is what once took me two hours now takes me four hours. So I’m exhausted by the end.
So the other Hanukkah petit corona will be perfect.
Strength is a tick above medium body.
The char line is spot on.


There is a rich vanilla custard flavor. Coats the inside of my mouth.

When I first visited England in 1965, I remember seeing those little newsie stands with the front page of the paper was behind wire and some old man with a funny English hat, pipe in his mouth, hawked the Daily Mail. I kept seeing the word “HELP” on these things for about a week before I realized it was The Beatles’ movie that opened while we were there. Of course, I went crazy knowing I couldn’t get in.
And we saw the grand opening from the tour bus that just came back from Stratford-upon-Avon.

There is this really great high premium flavor. It is meaty, full of malts, and contains a real depth of character. It is almost too difficult for me to explain. It is so complex.

The Ugly Hanukkah Sweater by Ezra Zion Cigar Co. reminds me of a photo showing upper class Englishmen in their private club. All wearing formal wear and reading the newspaper, sipping brandy, and smoking the finest cigars in the world. Except there are no Jews in that club. That’s as close as I can get to describe what I taste.

I loved both Ugly Christmas Sweaters. But this is totally different. A different approach. A flanking move to attack from both sides.

Ugly Christmas Sweater cigars:

The only tweaking I would suggest is to make it spicier. Other than that, I find it perfect in every way. Earlier, I was going to say it was similar to the best LFD blends but it turns out the Ugly Hanukkah Sweater by Ezra Zion Cigar Co. is better. Same goes for Illusione. The Hanukkah Sweater has that kind of heft.
I’ve hit the 1” burned mark and it’s taken me 15 minutes or so to get here.
I’ve got a fresh bottle of Lubriderm. Back in a few minutes.

Smoke time is 40 minutes.
A spark comes from the stone. Flavors change from subtle to intense.
The spiciness shows up and slams me like Thor’s hammer.
The construction is impeccable. The char line is on point.
And the strength is medium/full body. On its way to full body.


The individual flavors work brilliantly together. I can taste each one. But they also make a shepherd’s pie. A conglomeration of mixed flavors that as a whole make for something great. Ever eat kidney pie? Don’t.

Time to change artist on Spotify. I go to the R&B section and pick an album called “35 Soul Classics 1970-1975.”

I love R&B. The old stuff like Marvin Gaye, Smokey, The Temps, Four Tops, James Brown, and The Undisputed Truth, etc.

This cigar is perfect. I shall treasure the second one. I taste BBQ broiled steak. Just salt and pepper. But perfectly cooked at medium/rare.
But no baked potato.

If the Ugly Hanukkah Sweater by Ezra Zion Cigar Co. were any meatier it would be a steer sitting on my lap. (I promise not to shtup it.)

Halfway point. Smoke time is one hour 5 minutes.

I love the bass lines from those early pop R&B songs. The wondrous bassist, James Jamerson, played on a million hits. Mostly for Motown.

I’m having a really good time. Woody Allen said: “You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred.”

I’m going to give it my best shot. But just in case, I’ve left a note that when I’m in my coffin, a cigar will be put in my mouth. An Ezra Zion, of course.


“Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” Yeah my babies, cool personified.

I just thought of something I’ve meant to say for quite a while but I always forget.
A lot of reviewers say they have a system for rating cigars. And that system is infallible for getting the rating number right. So, I imagine there must 10-15 categories. But each category still needs human input. So regardless of how fool proof the reviewer says his system is, it is still subjective. This always cracks me up when I read a review and there is an explanation of the incredibly complex rating system used.

I go by my gut. And nearly 50 years of cigar smoking. That should be enough. Yet, still subjective. Objectivity is impossible unless you give a cigar to a robot and let him rate it. (But then who programs the robot?)

The Ugly Hanukkah Sweater by Ezra Zion Cigar Co. is making my yarmulke spin on top of my head. All I need to do is attach a propeller and off I go.
The cigar is now full bodied.

The stick is perfectly packed with filler. As Goldilocks would say: “It’s just right.”
I’m amazed at the perfect burn line. It has only needed one minor touch up.

I have two different blends from you know who. The boutique online store that gives you 10% off if you are a member. No. Not Small Batch Cigar. The other one.

I won’t even mention their names but they are $6 cigars with no bands. I am more than appreciative to the two readers that sent them to me. But I ain’t reviewing them as they are only available at this online store who I have been promoting vigorously all of 2015. Not even a Christmas card to say thank you. So their name shall not be spoken. Manners are super important in this world. And I won’t abide. Now I need a White Russian.

Here they are once again: Creaminess, black pepper, meaty, chocolate, nutty, a multitude of malts, vanilla custard, caramel, coffee, wood, dried fruit, coconut, butterscotch, black licorice, honey, and nutmeg.
Yikes. That’s the whole kitchen sink.
But so smooth. Like velvet.

I can’t believe Kyle said they might tweak the blend. You mean it’s going to get better? LOL!
This is a manly cigar. An experienced smoker’s wet dream.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry you have to wait a year to try the new Ugly Hanukkah Sweater by Ezra Zion Cigar Co. Kyle and Chris must have some Jewish blood somewhere in that family tree. Because they paid tribute x10, to the Hanukkah blend.

Smoke time is one hour 40 minutes.
I’m kvelling my bubbelahs. I offer a mazel tov to Kyle and Chris.

I really don’t understand. How in God’s name do these two young fellas come up with one fantastic blend after another? I’m at a loss to think of who else has this talent. I know there are some great blenders out there. But Kyle and Chris hit it out of the park each and every time with somewhat regularity. I’m not sure how many blends they put out each year, but it’s a lot. And that’s the key to their greatness. A lot of boutique blenders may come up with one or two wonderful blends in a year. But these guys pump them out like an open spigot. I’m in awe. Not a single schlemiel blend ever. For a couple of goyim, they really know what they are doing.


Strength is at a very smooth full body. Flavors intact. Long finish. Perfect balance. Not a lick of nicotine. I want to adopt Kyle and Chris. I will allow them to live in the lifestyle they are accustomed to. All on my Social Security.

I’m actually very blessed. While I know countless friends who only bring in about $1000 per month from their social security, I get much more.
The last 10 years of working, I made an average of $125K, plus a car, per year. Unfortunately, it puts Charlotte and I just a bit over the poverty line so we don’t qualify for a lot of government programs that could really help us.

I wish I could refer you to the Ezra Zion web site so you can buy the four pack of Ugly Hanukkah Sweater cigars. But alas, next year in Israel. Er..I mean…Fugeddaboudit.
I am so grateful to Ezra Zion Cigar Co. for sending me these cigars. It is truly a mazel to this poor nebbish to have the opportunity to review the Ugly Hanukkah Sweater by Ezra Zion Cigar Co.


Note: This is it for awhile folks. I have some cigars in my humidor for review but they are old school blends and need months of humidor time.
So I will see ya’ on the flip side.

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