Wrapper: Vintage San Andres Maduro
Filler: Nicaraguan Ligero
Size: 5.5 x 52
Price: $10.00-$7.99 (Backordered)
Humidor Time: 1 Month
Today we take a look at CIGAR WARS (Chris’s blend) by Ezra Zion Cigar Company.
Thanks to Bryan Kinnaman who made a bold statement yesterday after he smoked one. He said it is very likely that the Chris will be on my Top 25 Cigars of 2016 list.
We shall see.
Cigars come in either 6,12, 24, or 60 count bundles.
Bryan also gave me a Kyle for review. Can’t wait to compare them.
From the Ezra Zion web site:
“Batman vs. Superman? Captain America vs. Iron Man? They ain’t got nothin’ on Kyle vs. Chris in the inaugural project of CIGAR WARS!
“We each used every trick up our sleeve to create our own ultimate individual blend that would settle the question once and for all…Who’s blend is best?
“KYLE’s blend is a Corojo wrapped beauty that tastes like a candy bar. No joke! First light greets you with blast of caramel and nougat. Milk chocolate coats the palate on the finish while flavors of nuts and a slight honey emerge. Strength is medium/full and the retrohale brings a long warm burn.
“As the cigar progresses flavors of anise, cedar, whipping cream and red pepper make an appearance. Insanely complex and smokes impeccably down to the nub!
“CHRIS’s blend is utterly amazing! I know we’re pitted against each other in CIGAR WARS!, but I can’t stop smoking it! It boasts an oily, vintage San Andres maduro wrapper over some of the best Nicaraguan Ligero I’ve ever tasted.
“Flavors are reminiscent of authentic Mexican hot chocolate! The cigar bursts onto your palate with an intense chocolate wave. Big bold vanilla blasts compliment a cinnamon spice. A cappuccino-like cream coats the palate on the finish and elevates all the other flavors. The strength is medium. The balance is perfection!
“IMO…CIGAR WARS! showcases the absolute best of Ezra Zion blends to date!
“Total Production: 990 cigars (495 Kyle, 495 Chris)
“KYLE BLEND: 52 x 6.25
“CHRIS BLEND: 52 x 5.55”
A very oily, caramel/mocha colored wrapper. Seams are invisible.
The cap is a work of art with no seams..but I’m guessing it is a triple cap.
The stick is nice and solid with the proper give when squeezed.
The cigar band shows Chris in sort of a Marvel comic mode.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell dark cocoa, pepper, cinnamon, vanilla, floral notes, and espresso.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell BBQ sauce, chocolate, black licorice, red pepper, cream, vanilla, leather, and rich earthiness.
The cold draw presents flavors of red pepper, cocoa, vanilla, cream, hay, and licorice.
The draw is a bit tight. But flavors begin to unfurl quickly: Red pepper, chocolate, vanilla, creaminess, cinnamon, and licorice.
I get an immediate V burn that requires decisive action.
There is a plug between the cap and the top of the cigar band so I grab my cigar awl and fix the issue. Now we have tons of smoke and a clear draw. Can happen to any cigar.
I’m having a lot of trouble with the burn. That V wants to canoe on me so I put torch to foot to fix it.
There is a nice sweetness to the flavor profile. And the tobacco is extremely tasty reminiscent of a vintage cigar. Just like they say in their PR on their web site.
Strength is medium.
CIGAR WARS (Chris’s blend) is beginning to blossom after 1” burned.
To be honest, I was concerned because the cigar didn’t bolt out of the gate from the start. But now the blend is kicking in big time.
The char line just won’t behave. Bummer.
The creaminess is driving the bus now. Followed by cocoa, red pepper (That makes me sneeze fairly regularly), and sweetness.
The complexity kicked in and that makes it hard to pick out specific flavors as they have morphed into one.
The chocolate is joined by coffee and the boys are right: cappuccino.
CIGAR WARS (Chris’s blend) is as smooth as my tushy.
There is another plug so I use the cigar awl one last time and what a difference it makes. I’m completely covered in smoke.
And it opens the flavor profile like an axe.
The red pepper is huge.
The problems with the construction could be an anomaly as I only have one stick to review. Go figure.
Smoke time is 25 minutes.
Opening the plugs let the flavor profile out of its corral.
Creaminess, pepper, cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla, coffee, earthiness, cedar, sweetness, and malt: Cara Munich Malt, Chocolate Malt, and Chocolate Rye Malt. (See Malt Chart).
I try to remove the cigar band but it resists. Then I look closely and it is taped. So I grab a knife and cut the tape off and the cigar band comes off easily.
For a cigar to make my Top 25, it needs to explode from the start. The CIGAR WARS (Chris’s blend) doesn’t smack me in the puss from the beginning. Plus, the char line issue takes points away.
While a very good cigar, it won’t make my Top 25 unless the blend surprises me from this point forward.
CIGAR WARS (Chris’s blend) tastes like a chocolate candy bar. And an ice cream cone. There is a touch of graham cracker that shows itself for the first time. Nice.
I will review the Kyle blend tomorrow.
The graham cracker is pretty powerful now. Where is the marshmallow? Lol
CIGAR WARS (Chris’s blend) is a very sophisticated, complex blend. It could have easily sold for $15.00. The blend is full of that vintage, nicely aged tobacco flavor. Making it decadent. The flavors aren’t as important as the tobacco flavor. Experienced palates will love the complexity and sinful character.
Strength reaches medium/full.
I reach the halfway point and I must reassess my point of view on the essence of this blend.
Smoke time is 40 minutes.
CIGAR WARS (Chris’s blend) is very Cubanesque now. Rich and complex.
This is an adult cigar blend. Newbies….don’t bother. The strength is approaching full body now. And the nicotine is becoming strong.
While all the aforementioned flavors are in play, it is the tobacco that makes this an excellent blend. I guess that it is important that the PR describe all the usual flavors we taste in many cigars but it is probably not impressive to tell the prospective customer that the tobacco is the star of the blend.
I grab a cup of coffee.
I must have gotten a clunker because the char line needs too many corrections.
My cup of coffee really accentuates the mocha java element to the flavor profile.
I’ve never had Mexican hot cocoa so I don’t know what that tastes like. Spicy maybe?
The classic rock station is now playing one of my all time favorite songs: “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” Classic tune. While it came out in 1967, it has never become outdated like so many songs of that era.
Strength remains at medium/full.
I should add that I started this review before 7am with nothing in my tummy. I advise a nice big meal and then smoke the CIGAR WARS (Chris’s blend).
I hit the sweet spot. Beautiful.
I can taste cinnamon, nutmeg, a bit of cumin, dark chocolate, big dose of coffee, vanilla, pepper, green veggies, and cedar.
The classic rock station is playing Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Back in 2001, I knew a project manager that was their tour manager for a couple years. Even when Neil Young was with the band. Years later, my buddy went to a charity event in Napa Valley that Young sponsored. He had a once a year charity drive to get money for the local schools. So my buddy walked over to Young and said hello. But not telling him who he was.
My buddy asked Young’s name. Young said he was Neil Young. My friend said it was nice to meet him and asked what he did for a living? Young exploded. He tore my buddy a new ass. “You don’t know who I am? Are you kidding?” And then went on to really gut my friend.
My buddy walked away smiling. Not only did Young not remember him but Young went crazy when someone didn’t know who he was. Music business. Egos.
The burn line problem is going to affect my rating. I’m sure I will get comments telling me that smokers who snagged some of these cigars had no problems. And needing to use my cigar awl to clear two plugs doesn’t help either.
A real shame because this is an excellent cigar.
Smoke time is one hour 5 minutes.
I do believe this is the first Ezra Zion cigar that I had construction issues.
This is why it is important to have several of them and smoke a couple before doing the review.
The cigar will get a good rating because of the tobacco complexity. But it would have been higher if not for the aforementioned problems.
My head is spinning from the nicotine. I swear I didn’t do peyote before sitting down to write this review.
The vanilla moves up the list and caramel is added to the mix. The sweetness has a sugar cane element.
As a kid, I’d beg my mother to buy me a stalk of sugar cane when she went to the market. I would then munch on the thing until I got sick. I never told my mother that the super sweet stalk made me puke.
The pepper is gone. Replaced by a very strong creaminess.
I know I’m repeating myself but the tobacco flavor is really the showstopper of this blend.
Ezra Zion Cigars always puts out fantastic blends and it is one of my favorite manufacturers. In spite of a little disappointment, I still can recommend CIGAR WARS (Chris’s blend). One cigar can go either way. The sticks are back ordered so I would keep an eye on the EZ Cigar web site because when they return, they will sell out in a day.
Final smoke time is one hour 30 minutes.
And now for something completely different:
The Paradiso Club, in Amsterdam, was closed one day a week. Monday. My band, Curved Air, arrived in town on a Monday. Stewart and I headed down there as soon as we checked into our hotel.
We were devastated as we saw young Hippies milling about the entrance. It was closed. Now this was an excellent opportunity for low lifes to sell their wares just outside of the club. And when I say club; I mean a four story building with a basement. It was huge. It was always the first venue we played when in Holland.
This one scum bag motioned us over and said in a whisper, “You want buy hashish?” He held out some nice hunks of hash in his hand and the two of us drooled.
“15 grams for 75 Guilders.” (A Dutch Guilder was worth about 25 cents back then.)
So, yeah, hash was cheap. Back in the States, we paid four times as much.
Stew said he would take care of it and we would work it out back at the hotel.
We grabbed a taxi and got to the hotel in no time. We went to Stew’s room. The chick singer was there primping herself for the concert that night.
I grabbed my hash pipe. Fortunately, we weren’t pussies like the English and the rest of the Continent. Everyone smoked their hash rolled up in a make shift cigarette. Two rolling papers were overlapped length-wise. A cigarette was broken apart and the tobacco lay inside the papers. Then the hash was heated and broken into pieces and sprinkled on the cigarette tobacco. Then a piece of cardboard, like from a match book, was rolled into a tube and placed at one end of the construction. The paper was rolled and voila; you had a 3”-4” long joint…with a cardboard mouthpiece.
Ridiculous. Plus I’ve never smoked a cigarette a day in my life so it always made me dizzy. Quickly upon moving to Europe, I bought a hash pipe. And I got to smoke it all by myself because the Europeans proclaimed that they got too high from smoking hash by itself. Pussies.
Stew and I smoked it the American way in a pipe.
We loaded the pipe and lit up. We couldn’t get the damn thing to light. We were puffing until our cheeks were inside out and then Wham! The little piece of hash caught on fire.
A 1” flame extended from the pipe. We smoked it. It was horrible. Maybe this wasn’t hash. But we were hash poor and we didn’t care.
So we all ended up with horrible headaches and never got high. Everyone went to their rooms to lie down.
As it turned out, the scuzz balls would sell shoe polish, that looked like hash, on the days that the Paradiso was closed to idiot tourists like us.
I forgot to mention this. We had a friend in Amsterdam who guided us to the Paradiso. And OK’d the purchase of the shoe polish. He was with us when we smoked the pipe.
His name was Uve. Well, Uve was outraged at this swindle and said he was going back to ask for his money back. We told him that this was not a good idea. The guy we bought the stuff from had knife scars all over his face. Not a good omen.
But a few hours later, we accompanied Uve back to the Paradiso. And there was the asshole. We were there to back Uve up but it didn’t feel right. I just knew something would go wrong.
And it did.
The guy kept telling us to get lost. But Uve persisted. Finally, the guy pulled out a knife and told us in no uncertain terms, “LEAVE!!”
Uve had some stupid sense of machismo and kept railing on him. Then in one quick motion, the guy stuck the knife into Uve’s stomach. Uve dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes.
The guy took off running. A cop on foot, was nearby and he called for an ambulance. And we got a lecture on top of that.
Uve made it OK. The knife didn’t penetrate more than an inch. And Uve had enough fat on his stomach so the cut never made it into his organs.
We stayed with Uve at the hospital and then said our good byes. We had a sound check to go to.
So we learned a valuable lesson that day. Stick with the sellers inside the Paradiso.
It was probably the only time, in two years, that Stew and I played a concert without being high.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS