Wrapper: Corojo (Nicaraguan?)
Binder: Indonesian, Nicaraguan (Double Binder)
Filler: Nicaraguan (Ometepe, Jalapa, Estelí)
Size: 6 x 52 “Toro”
Today we take a look at the Blessed Leaf Doxology by Ezra Zion Cigar Co.
Thanks to Miguel Castro for the sticks.
I’m an unabashed, unapologetic huge fan of the masterful blending of Kyle Hoover and Chris Kelly of Ezra Zion.
Only 1005 cigars were produced for sale. They were gone in a couple of days. But I’m a firm believer that anything by EZ should not go into cigar history without a review. It must be documented otherwise it was like it was never there. And you, my dear readers, will never know what you missed if you didn’t act instantaneously to buy a 5 pack or larger.
From the Ezra Zion Cigar Co. web site:
“Blessed Leaf Doxology is an absolute masterpiece of a cigar!
“A gorgeous oily Corojo leaf wraps Indonesian and Nicaraguan binder over an eclectic mix of Jalapa, Ometepe, and Esteli Ligero.
“The cigar begins with flavors of espresso bean, heavy whipping cream, black peppercorn, and suede leather. The retrohale is warm and sweet.
“As the cigar progresses, vanilla blasts and toasted nuts round out the profile. Blasts of maple, milk chocolate, and dried fruit make appearances throughout.
A nice looking stick with a penny/gingerbread colored wrapper. Lots of oil. Firm and fully packed. Tight seams. Only a few veins. A triple cap so flawless that my photos will be the only method to reveal the actual count.
I’m not sure what the meaning of the string cigar band but it’s clever and beats a ribbon footer.
I should note that the cigars are unusually round. Something you don’t see often.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell black pepper, vanilla, sweetness, caramel, espresso, cedar, and a touch of cocoa.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell strong pepper, clove, vanilla, espresso, cream, chocolate, cedar, and a nice vegetal note.
The cold draw presents flavors of chocolate, cream, bell pepper, black pepper, leather, cream, cedar, espresso, and sweetness.
The draw is spot on.
Flavors are folded on to my palate like unrolling a large rug: Big black pepper notes, creaminess, espresso, vanilla, chocolate, leather, malts, Asian cooking spices, graham cracker, a touch of lemon citrus, and wood.
I’ve had the sticks that Miguel sent me a couple weeks now. I smoked one the first day and it was like I was smoking a properly very well aged stick. It needed no additional humidor time. But in just the couple weeks I’ve had them, they have improved exponentially.
I have to say when reading comments on cigar forums and social media, most cigar smokers don’t taste the intricacies of the blend. Actually, I don’t either when I am just enjoying a cigar. I don’t dissect it like I do when I am reviewing it. I just enjoy.
It seems that smokers who think the dissection of flavors is hogwash don’t get it. Getting into the guts of a cigar blend takes a lot of concentration and is not necessarily much fun. It requires constant focus and attention to the palate. While just enjoying a good cigar only requires that you have a good time knowing that you made the right choice.
OK. Back to the Blessed Leaf Doxology.
I’ve used the time while typing to allow the cigar to rest so I don’t encounter burn issues by rushing the cigar. After carefully toasting a cigar, I always put it down for 2-3 minutes to allow it to cool off. It usually ensures a sharp char line. And if it goes out, so what? Light it up again…carefully and off you go.
Strength is medium body. The strength on this cigar sneaks up on you. One moment you are smoking a nice medium body cigar and then BAM! It goes balls to the wall. (I never really understood that phrase.)
The caramel hits home hard at this point. A wonderful sweetness that reminds me of powdered sugar arrives with it.
The sun is out now; shining brightly. The char line is razor sharp but the sun is washing out the colors of the cigar and melting the string cigar band:
It is an unusually warm day today: 46° with just a gentle breeze. Yesterday was terrible. It was in the 40’s but we had 50mph winds and it was freezing cold to be outside. Of course, we had to go out apartment hunting. That was such a disaster. More on that later.
The pepper is pretty strong. Something that occurred over the 2 weeks I’ve had them.
The draw is pretty damn good. The right amount of resistance. Smoke fills the room and all is well in the world.
The Blessed Leaf Doxology is a slow leisurely smoke.
Only 1-1/2” in and transitions occur as required. Complexity settles in. Nice balance of flavors. And a nice chewy long finish.
The vanilla reminds me of the vanilla taffy we always bought from the vendor at Long Beach’s Nu-Pike Amusement park downtown. You could watch as the taffy was pulled by a machine and nothing tasted as good as fresh vanilla taffy. Of course, they had other flavors but the vanilla literally sparkled with bright flavor.
Strength begins to move to medium/full.
The complexity is spot on now. So much so that there is a Vulcan mind meld between me and the Blessed Leaf Doxology. Oh no. I see an 80 year old hooker telling Kyle Hoover to go home and never come back. I see Chris Kelly is really a member of the living dead but chooses to live in Austin on the weekends.
I’m going to catch hell for those remarks.
The Blessed Leaf Doxology is a spectacular cigar. It is such a pleasure to write about great cigars. And such a bummer to write about bad cigars.
I’ve never smoked, or written about, a bad EZ blend. They just don’t exist. Truly, my desert island cigar blends choice.
Smoke time is a little over 30 minutes.
Very nutty now. The chocolate moves to the forefront. There is a honey syrup flavor now. Other flavors such as vanilla, espresso, caramel, creaminess, spice, something fruity, graham cracker, lemon citrus, smokiness, and wood round out the enticing complexity and balance.
But ahh…the malts: Smoked Malt, Coffee Malt, Rye Malt, Chocolate Malt, and Mild Ale Malt complete the picture. (See Malt Chart).
Looking for a new place to live is a bitch. It is stressing the shit out of Charlotte and me.
Places we can afford that are nice are in the ghetto. Places we love are priced in the ridiculous strata. We loved a place in North Milwaukee. I got home and did a crime search for that area and found that it had 250%-450% over the national average in murders, robberies, rapes, car thefts, and assaults. Holy cow.
We saw one place where the idiot management company actually showed us a place that had a big fire. It looked like I was a Marine clearing a house in Fallujah.
Charlotte is losing it. Place after place and they are too expensive. Or they are too small for the dough. We have no idea what we are going to do.
Back to happier things: Blessed Leaf Doxology.
I truly wish that Kyle and Chris made more than 1005 cigars. This is a blend everyone should be able to enjoy. I hope my review will goose them into producing more.
The Blessed Leaf Doxology is one of the best blends I’ve smoked. I don’t know how they keep coming up with wonderful blends like: Ugly Christmas Sweater, Bee’s Knees, Blessed Leaf 1611, and All My Ex’s. And of course the regular production blends are fantastic.
I was also honored to review the only Ugly Hanukkah Sweater blend. Probably to come out next December.
Construction is top notch. No burn issues. No wrapper issues.
The halfway point is upon me. Smoke time is 45 minutes.
Each listed flavor takes its turn at the head of the line.
Smooth and luxurious. Best two words to describe this blend.
What a gorgeous cigar:
I rarely taste leather anymore. It seems like a fall back description by reviewers that can’t figure out what they are tasting.
In the case of the Blessed Leaf Doxology, there is a definitive leather flavor. I have this beautiful, and expensive, Italian leather bass guitar strap. I paid $125 for it about 13 years ago. It looks like new and still smells of new leather. This blend reminds me of my bass strap. Except the cigar is much shorter.
I suggest you contact the boys on the Ezra Zion web site and urge them to make more Blessed Leaf Doxology. Really noodge them.
I feel somewhat ashamed that I am reviewing a cigar you can no longer buy but this is a special cigar and needs some documentation.
I probably won’t be back for a while as I really don’t have anything new to review. I do have some 2014-2015 sticks that have been out for a while and ones I’m sure you have already smoked so it seems silly to review them.
I do have some brand new Isabela sticks, thanks to Johnny Piette…but they need a couple months humi time. And I got a pack of Bespoke Cigars from Estonia blended and produced by Hendrik Kelner. They sent me 3 blends but only 3 sticks each so I’m not sure when they will be ready to review.
I do have a Cuban Behike 52, Recluse Amadeus Habano Reserva, We the People cigars, La Cima Nicaraguan cigars, and the new Foundry Ramon Allones and Foundry Bolivar. All these cigars won’t be ready for a while.
Smoke time is one hour 5 minutes.
The flavors one last time: Creamy, vanilla, espresso, leather, caramel, honey, nutty, graham cracker, citrus, espresso, chocolate, fruity, smoky, malts, cedar, and leather.
For my detractors that don’t believe I taste all of that, I say that when I am relaxing and smoking this cigar, I taste the cigar as a whole. I don’t try to cherry pick the flavors. Just like you smoke a good cigar. And, of course, it is the first cigar of the day for me when my palate is fresh and virgin.
Medium/Full on its way to full bodied.
Even with this close up photo, it is impossible to count the caps:
Graham cracker, black pepper, nuts, cream, malts, and leather take the lead.
Yes my friends, the Blessed Leaf Doxology is now an official flavor bomb.
Strength hits full body with the absence of nicotine. Woo Hoo.
Godamm the Pusherman! As great as the Blessed Leaf Doxology is, a few more months of humidor time will perform even more magic.
I have 3 left. I’d be happy to sell them to you for $600 each to pay medical bills. LOL.
The Blessed Leaf Doxology finishes stunningly without a hint of harshness, heat, or bitterness. Very full bodied. And very full flavored.
Kudos to Kyle and Chris.
And now for something completely different:
Curved Air Chronicles…1974
Here I was…..dressed like a rock star-in-training on a locomotive, in first class, seeking its way to Leeds, England. Naturally, The Who played their “Live at Leeds” album there. I remember being excited about that. Living rock and roll history.
In her daily life, Sonja loved to dress in boas and beads…a real Hippie. She was also very attractive. A looker. But as the withdrawal from morphine addiction took its toll, she became very skinny due to not sustaining a proper diet. But the boys loved her. She was one of the most impressive front persons I’ve ever seen in a band.
First class on the train was kind of strange. There were 12 tables that sat four passengers in each car. So you sit in comfy chairs and are served your drinks there. None of the band wanted to be anywhere near Sonja and it was my duty to keep an eye on her. She was hiding her withdrawal from the rest of the band because they had gone through this too many times and swore they’d never go through it again.
Stew told me at the train station that they had forgotten to get Sonja’s prescription of Methadone for the 8 hour train trip and I would have to get it filled when we got to Leeds. Oy vey. He told me to expect some issues. That was some understatement.
So Sonja and I sat on one side of a four seat table and wouldn’t you know it…across from us was an older gentleman and his wife and he just happened to be a member of the British Parliament.
Stewart Copeland, who was in Stark Naked with Darryl, Mick, Butch, and me were taking a break while Curved Air finalized their commitment to RCA for one last album. All of the original players rejoined and I was the only new guy. For some reason, they went through bass players like Spinal Tap went through drummers. No spontaneous combustion though.
As I made small talk with the Parliament Minister sitting across from us at the parlor table, I began noticing something out of the corner of my eye. Sonja was twitching.
We hadn’t been on the train 30 minutes with 7-1/2 hours to go, and she was going through morphine withdrawal. I had no idea how to deal with this.
The minister’s wife was definitely staring at Sonja. I laughed and said “She’s a junkie going through withdrawal. Pay no mind.” And I laughed again.
I hoped some reverse psychology would work…It did for another 30 minutes until she began to convulse.
Her arms began to flail. So I grabbed them. She had the strength of someone on steroids. I could barely contain her. Her eyes rolled up. Only the whites of her eyes showed.
She started making strange animal sounds. She got one arm free and began to claw at her other arm with her fingernails, taking layers of skin with them. This would continue for 7 hours causing bloody red arms.
Now mind you, I sat in a full first class parlor car with maybe 48 rich people. All were staring and not a single goddam one asked if they could help.
Not even the two douche bags sitting across the table from us.
I was on my own. I thought of finding the other members of the band, who were in a different car, but then I was told they would bolt and the band would collapse. And I’d be out of a job. A has-been before my time.
The band had gone through this with her several times and they only agreed to the comeback tour if she was clean. So it was a secret that was put on me because I was the only new guy of the original crew. Thanks a lot.
So, I sat there all day long, fighting with her while trying to conceal it and no one coming to my aid. It was like a Twilight Zone episode.
I had some Dramamine on me for motion sickness. I started emptying the bottle into her mouth and it helped a little. She would fall asleep after I popped 6 pills in her mouth.
Occasionally, the band would walk through our car, on the way to the club car, to drink or eat and they’d wave with big smiles on their faces, glad that they weren’t the ones stuck sitting with Sonja.
They were effete snobs because of their classical training as musicians. And she was a Hippie who just happened to star in the original London production of “Hair.” I smiled and waved back. Sonja was unconscious…thank God.
We got to Leeds and then to the hotel where Sonja and I shared a room. I plopped her on the bed, tied her arms and legs to the bed, and ran down to the pharmacy…maybe half a block away. I got her prescription of methadone, and needles, and I ran back to the hotel.
She was gone. I panicked and ran into the hallway. Nothing.
I found her in the closet, lying in the fetal position, and making moaning, animal sounds.
I dragged her to the bed and tried to revive her. Her eyes were rolled back. She was delirious. She was about to convulse.
I straddled her. I screamed at her while I began to prepare her injection.
Now I have never given a person a shot in my life, let alone an intravenous one. So all I could see were tomorrow’s headlines. “Jew Bass Player Kills Beloved Singer. Hang the Kike!”
I broke the methadone glass ampule and guessed how much should go into the syringe. I tied her off with those giant rubber tubes.
I was unable to get her arm to be still. So I put all of my weight on her, and I began to bitch slap her while yelling her name. Over and over and over. Finally, she came to her senses from being slapped a couple hundred times.
“Sonja…please….you need to hold still and help me. I don’t know how to put a syringe into your vein.”
It took several minutes but she finally guided the syringe into her vein perfectly on the first try and she pushed the plunger.
Then there was silence. Was she dead?
It took almost a minute but her eyes opened, with lots of sparkle, and she smiled at me.
I fell off of her, sideways, and fell to the floor next to the bed. I lay on my back, breathing hard.
Sonja sat up and asked how I was doing? She had no recollection of the day. Nothing.
“So Phil….you want to go find the roadies and play poker?”
“No, thanks. I think I will just lay here on the floor for a while.”
And off she went. I heard the door slam and I lay completely soaked in my rock star clothing.
This occurred a couple more times on the tour. I came close to having a nervous breakdown.
To be continued…
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS
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