Ave Maria Argentum | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Undisclosed
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran
Size: 5 x 58 “Perfecto”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $8.00 MSRP
Humidor Aging Time: 4 months

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Today we take a look at the Ave Maria Argentum.

DESCRIPTION:
This is a stout spark plug of a perfecto. Solid but with perfect give when squeezed. An imperfect wrapper with flaws and sloppy seams. The color of the wrapper is nearly brown/black. It is oily and smooth.
The cap is impeccable without seams. The snout foot is just as well constructed.
The double cigar bands nearly encompass the entire stick.

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell wonderful dark cocoa, spice, black licorice, cedar, mocha java, fruit, caramel, and vanilla.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell barnyard, chocolate, hot pepper (3 consecutive sneezes), strong black licorice, and the rest of the list from above.

The cold draw presents flavors of black licorice, red pepper, chocolate, coffee, and cedar.

FIRST THIRD:
The draw is terrific and smoke just inundates the room.
First up is the spiciness. Typical of an AJ blend. Just like Pepin.
That little stove pipe foot usually causes trouble at the start trying to get an even burn. I have a 26 flame lighter if I get frustrated.
It’s called a gas stove.
But so far, it’s needed only a very minute fix.

About an hour ago, I was eating a hot dog. Just the dog, bun and a little mustard. I broke my friggin molar in half. From a hot dog!
So far, it doesn’t hurt. I expect to wake up one night soon screaming like a little panda bear being taken from its mother and the next day off to the dentist to get it pulled.
I wonder if I can get my colonoscopy and the tooth pulled at the same time? Nothing like Demerol and Versed to calm the nerves.

The Classic Rock 70’s channel is on the TV and do you remember Thin Lizzy? Phil Lynott? From Ultimaterock.com: “He died at 36 from heart failure and pneumonia on Jan. 4, 1986, having been admitted to Salibury Hospital in Wiltshire, England, on Christmas Day after “a drink and drug binge” at his home.”
We did a short tour with the band. We headlined of course. He was a very cool dude and as a fellow bass player we sat and exchanged riffs on two occasions.

Ah yes, the Ave Maria Argentum….

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The flavors: Red pepper, licorice, bread, molasses, and a little nuttiness.
Not exactly an overwhelming flavor profile.

I check Cbid and you can get them for half the MSRP. Not exactly one of AJ’s best, I guess.
I should have been tipped off by the very few reviews of this cigar.
Damn.
But the ash is hanging tough at 1-1/4”.
Strength started at medium body and is now accessing medium/full.

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is 20 minutes.
The second third sees improvement.
New flavors of creaminess, peanuts, caramel, and minerals.

“Funky Nassau” from 1971 by The Beginning of the End. What a cool tune.
Nothing worse could have happened when Jefferson Airplane changed its name to Jefferson Starship. Songs turned to shit.

4

The Ave Maria Argentum is improving exponentially. Much better.
The creaminess and milk chocolate reign supreme. Like ice cream.

The blend is now very smooth. It had some harsh edges at the start.

I want to give a shout out to buddy, Duff Ensign for the great care package. He has his own health issues…as most people in their 60’s, and yet has time to snag some good deals on Cbid and send them to me. He and I are regular pen pals. We just take turn whining about our health issues. Perfect.

The smoothness of the Ave Maria Argentum has really mellowed out the strength significantly.
I’m now really enjoying the blend.

A song is now playing that reminds me of the best head I ever got. I was 23. My girlfriend of one year gets that honor. It was in a rented RV as we traveled up the coast of California. We were parked of course or we’d both be dead.
I still remember that. And the porn movie it was named after. Gulp! I guess she needed the time to get to know me first.

I’m at the halfway point but I’m not taking a photo. My new camera’s smallest pixel rate is something like 4 gazillion x 2 gazillion. So I have to resize each photo one at a time and then go to another site to watermark it…one at a time. What a pain in the arse.

I’m impressed that the Ave Maria Argentum has a nice even burn for a perfecto.

I have the best wife on the planet. I am totally allowed to smoke in our new apartment. I do my reviews, though, in the second bedroom. It has the only window that faces east. Sunlight in the afternoon.

Oh lord! James Taylor. “Fire and Rain.” It doesn’t get any better.
I’m sure that the mescaline I took prior to the start of the review is having an impact.

There aren’t a lot of transitions to the Ave Maria Argentum. I wouldn’t consider this a complex smoke.
(You thought I stopped writing about the cigar, didncha?)

What the hell happened to Billy Joel? He was so great in the 70’s. After that, he became a pop artist.
Only a little bit of nicotine which makes me very happy. Such a smooth stick.

LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is 35 minutes.
Remember Captain and Tennille? Oy vey. The Captain’s name was Darryl Dragon. Yeah, sure. Clearly, he is Jewish and changed his name from Horocohenowitz.

Shiksas like to marry Jewish men because of our Hebrew National shlongs. True fact. Ask my wife.
Of course, now that I’m 66, it’s more like a Vienna Sausage. And I keep tripping on my testicles when I wear shorts.

5

The Ave Maria Argentum is only worth $3-$4. This is not AJ’s best work. I’m very disappointed. It is a cigar to hand out to your mooch friends because it is a pretty cigar.

The lack of complexity bothers me. It’s nearly the same flavor profile from start to finish.
So instead of a rave review, this is more like a public service announcement.

Now it’s the Carpenters. Did you know that all the drum parts on their records were played by my mentor, and old buddy, Hall of Fame drummer Hal Blaine? When she died, he was torn apart. I remember calling him at home but he didn’t pick up. He left an outgoing message that a dear friend had passed and he didn’t want to talk. I guess he was sitting shiva.

Unless a miracle occurs, and the last third turns into an unlikely flavor bomb…it seems unnecessary to finish it. But I will as it is in my contract with the Cigar Reviewer’s Union.

Most of the flavors have disappeared. Bummer, dudes and dudettes.

Maybe I can talk Charlotte into some oral sex to cheer me up. That’s where we pass each other in the hallway and both say, “Fuck you!”

I have the Cornelius & Anthony Daddy Mac and the Cornelius but Courtney Smith told me to let them rest 6 months before smoking them. Sigh.

The cigar goes out. An omen. The cigar is so ashamed of itself it doesn’t want to continue.
Even at Cbid prices, this stick is a waste of time.

RATING: 80

6

And now for something completely different:

I thought I’d go back to the beginning story that I published a long time ago about how I became a member of the English progressive band, Curved Air.

“Would you like to come to Europe with us this summer?” asked Skip and Debbie?
“Huh?” I replied with exact articulation.

“We are going to buy one way tickets and go. We thought that we would form a trio of you, me and Travis and head for Greece. And live off of our music. Whatcha’ think?”

My head spun. What a nutty idea. But I was 23 and stupid. I had a steady girlfriend, 3 years younger than me, and she had a 2 year old daughter. I called her and told her of my plans. And then asked if she wanted to come with me? She said yes. Oh God. In retrospect, that was a huge mistake. If they weren’t with me, I wouldn’t have felt the need to come home after I was fired from Curved Air and left broke. But I loved her; so my decision made no sense for my career; which was in England.

We left America and landed in Amsterdam with our one way tickets. And not enough cash on us to turn around and fly back. Make or break.

We figured it would motivate us more if were stuck and penniless. A really stupid plan.
After 6 weeks in Europe, we were broke. We figured the dough we brought with us would last for months. Man, were we wrong.

With what little dough we had left, we decided that if we were to be poor, and on the streets, better we were in a country that spoke English. So we took the ferry from Calais, France to Dover, England….everyone puking the whole way. The English Channel is one of the roughest waterways in the world.

After a few weeks of spinning our wheels and checking “Melody Maker’s” musician want ads every day, we were really, really broke. The girls found gigs as maids in a hotel. So we were able, at least, to eat. We lived in a dungeon flat on the west side of London.

I called a phone number for a roadie gig, but it was also the phone number for a bassist wanted gig. I was dying for any job.
The voice on the other end suggested that I try out for the band and if I didn’t make it, I could look at the roadie gig. So an audition was set.

There was trepidation from my friends. We had come as a group…sort of. Prior to leaving for Europe, Travis got drunk and wrapped his bike around a tree, a block from our house one late night, and splattered his leg into a million pieces. He spent months in a VA hospital and our plans got all fucked up. But the tickets were paid for and we decided not to scrap the plan.

I had 5£ left on me. I spent half of it getting to the audition in St. John’s Wood. The home of Miles Copeland III. It was a block away from Abbey Road (EMI) Studio. (Stewart Copeland lived a couple doors down in a flat. And we would sit on the stoop and watch tourists trying to get that famous crosswalk photo….but it was a busy street and English drivers made it a point to run down tourists.)

I was ushered downstairs to the practice room. It was encased in glass and I saw the band playing with another bassist. As I entered the lounge, my heart sank. There had to be at least 20 other bassists waiting their turn. As I sat and listened to the same songs being played over and over again to test the bass players, I played my own versions in my head. Time dragged on unmercifully.

I could hear the whispers of the other guys as they discussed who was sitting, and waiting, with us. Apparently, players of note had arrived and the other players felt it was becoming a waste of time. So did I. So I got up, grabbed my bass, and left.
I got as far as halfway down the driveway when Stewart Copeland came after me.
“Hey douche bag! Where do you think you’re going?”

I told him I didn’t do cattle call auditions. He insulted me again and grabbed my arm and pulled me back downstairs. He told me: “Sit down and shut the fuck up.”

My turn finally arrived. With the words, “You know, we’ve been playing the same shit all day. Why don’t you give us something to play?” The color and blood drained from my body.
So I tied my balls to the hitching post and played something very jazz fusion-like. They joined in and we went to town.

At the time, every bassist in England sounded like Chris Squire of Yes. Very technical, but no soul. I on the other hand, had been playing like the players on the CTI label in America. Funky and jazzy. Very Stanley Clarke-ish, Ron Carter, James Jamerson, and others.

They went nuts over me. We kept playing and I played my ass off in the time allotted.
When we were done, I was introduced to everyone. The keyboard player was Darryl Way. A very famous violinist with the group Curved Air.
Who?

I had no idea who that band was. That’s because, while Curved Air, was huge in Europe, they had bombed in America. They sounded like a cross between “Jefferson Airplane” and “It’s a Beautiful Day.” Both bands had chick singers and were considered progressive rock.

But this was not Curved Air. Curved Air had folded two years earlier. Miles grabbed Darryl from Darryl’s own band, “Wolf,” and said he’d build a great band around him. The band was formed and a singer was the last member needed. We became “Stark Naked and the Car Thieves.” We played out a couple times for a pittance. In small clubs.

One day, Darryl comes to rehearsal and says we have to put the band on hold for a couple of months because Curved Air had a record deal that had to be completed with Decca… so they figured the easiest approach was to do a live album. Go on tour as Curved Air with the original members, record a couple of gigs and voila! An album.

“Kohn. You’re going to be the bassist.”
Huh? (My favorite expression.)

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Rehearsals began in Covent Garden (London’s vegetable warehouse section) where a very cool rehearsal studio existed. They knew the music. I didn’t. And it was complicated. All the players had serious classical backgrounds. The violinist and keys player are now world famous composers of symphonies and operas.

So most of the rehearsal time was spent drinking tea and eating biscuits (cookies).

I thought we were doing club gigs until we drove up to the Round House in London. It seated thousands and we headlined.

I remember freaking out because since I didn’t know the songs very well, I had cheat sheets on a music stand. No music stands at the Round House would look very good for a rock n roll band.

And then I remember, “Ladies and Gentlemen….For the first time in 2 years…CURVED AIR!!!!
“1-2-3-4,” screamed Darryl.

(As it turned out, the best album I did with Curved Air was the “Live” album -still available new on Amazon, eBay, and everywhere else. Type in “Curved Air.”)
To be continued….

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Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

3 replies

  1. I used to buy Ave Maria sticks for 2$ each. Later on I found I overpaid.

  2. Hey pen pal buddy,

    Snagged some more sticks from cbid & famous smokes double discounted last Nov. & Dec 2016. Let me know if you might enjoy some and will send some to ya? Paul Stulac WBL, El Primer Mundo La Hermandad Caballito that you rated “98” along with a few others etc!

    Your poor old cigar sucker in the Pacific, Duffy E.

  3. I just got one of these in a Corona Gorda size from CI. AJ’s Clown Car Sampler. Interested to see if it is a little more complex in this vitola. Smoking Fallen Angel the same vitola now and it is phenomenal.

    Thanks for your awesome, honest reviews.