CIGAR WARS (Kyle’s blend) by Ezra Zion Cigar Company | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Corojo
Binder: Undisclosed
Filler: Undisclosed
Size: 6.25 x 52
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $10.00-$7.99 (Backordered)
Humidor Time: 1 Month

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Photos courtesy of Ezra Zion Cigars:
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Today we take a look at CIGAR WARS (Kyle’s blend) by Ezra Zion Cigar Company.
Thanks to Bryan Kinnaman for sending me a stick.

BACKGROUND:
Cigars come in either 6,12, 24, or 60 count bundles.
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”

DESCRIPTION:
The cigar has a soft box press. Construction is excellent. A lot of veins traveling the wrapper. A beautiful, impeccable triple cap that is rounded perfectly.
The stick is solid with the right amount of give. The wrapper is the color of pecan/gingerbread. It is very oily with a bit of tooth.
And seams are nearly invisible.

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell floral notes, spice, a lovely creaminess, chocolate, wood, and sweet honey.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell caramel, cotton candy, spice, honey, cream, cedar, and a touch of roasted nuts.
The cold draw presents flavors of spice, chocolate, floral notes, honey, wood, cloves, and cream.

FIRST THIRD:
Right away, I get big doses of nuts and red pepper. The draw is spot on. Smoke surrounds me and my cat and the cat boogies.
Then there is creaminess, honey, baking spices, cinnamon, and charred oak.
This is how a premium cigar should behave. Big, bold flavors right out of the gate.

Flavors move to a new level. The creaminess is luscious and reminds me of real whipped cream. The red pepper is not bold nor is it mild. It’s just right says Goldilocks. (By now, she is old enough to smoke cigars).

Strength is a solid medium body.

It is about to become complex at only half an inch burned.
I can say this even at this early point that I like the CIGAR WARS (Kyle’s blend) better than Chris’s blend.
Chris’s blend had an incredible earthy tobacco flavor that superseded that typical flavor profile making it a connoisseur’s blend.

The char line on CIGAR WARS (Kyle’s blend) is behaving nicely. The Chris blend gave me nothing but trouble. Mind you, I had only one stick of each blend so it’s Murphy’s Law that I got a clunker yesterday.

If you blow up the photo, you can see that my cat, Sammy, won’t get off the window sill so you can see her right and left paws in the photo:

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At 1” burned, the ash is hanging tough….Meaning it’s going to fall on my naughty bits as this is on 6:30am and I’m sitting here in a t shirt and boxers. Try to get that out of your head.

And then the ash falls and misses my junk and goes straight to the carpet. I don’t use my reproductive organs that much anymore but I’ve become accustomed to their love.

We haven’t had any sun in almost 2 weeks. It rains every night and day. And is very gloomy so I depend on my photographic lighting system. In sunlight, the wrapper would look like polished bronze.
Flavors are great. The stick is complex now so it’s a rotating disco ball.

It doesn’t have that terrific tobacco element that Chris’s blend had but this is an outstanding blend.
The first touch up of the char line is required.

Brown sugar, honey, fruity sweetness, charred oak, red pepper, creaminess, baking spices, nutty, nougat, cocoa, caramel, and a bit of coffee.
This is a kitchen sink flavor profile. But not a flavor bomb. All elements are subtle and nuanced. No overkill.

I love it when a blend remains spicy throughout. Gives the stick some nice zestiness.
This is one of the slowest smokes I’ve had in a long time.

CIGAR WARS (Kyle’s blend) now has a rum cake quality. Whenever my grandfather visited from Pittsburgh, it was expected that we went to Katella Deli and buy him a rum cake. I grew up on it.

And when we met him at the airport, I hounded him until he handed me a Butter Rum Lifesaver from his pocket. It was part of our bonding process. From the time I was a little guy until I was an adult, it was the first thing I expected from Gramps.
Amazing the things you can remember from over 55 years ago.

Meanwhile, I don’t know what day it is. Lol.

I forget to put music on. I switch the TV on and it’s Van Morrison. Van the Man. Doesn’t get any better. I’d have given your left testicle if I had the chance to play bass with him.

Now it’s the Doobie Brothers. I saw the bassist Tiran Porter playing jazz fusion trio in a tiny club in Santa Cruz back in 1984. During a break, I introduced myself and asked if he would join us. He did.
Boy, did he rail against Michael McDonald. Tiran hated the guy. As well as the other Doobie Brothers did. Tiran said McDonald treated them all like a backup band and they had no say in anything. Some of the shit he told us made my moustache twirl.

CIGAR WARS (Kyle’s blend) is a killer, my friends. Still at medium body.

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is 40 minutes. Long time.
The tobacco flavor is emerging. Nothing frustrates me more when writing a review and not knowing what the leaf mix is. I don’t know why manufacturers do this.

Everything is in play. A terrific blend. A real connoisseur’s blend.
The cigar is described as medium/full but so far, it remains at medium body.
I’m sure as I descend upon the halfway mark, strength will make an airstrike and cause my yarmulke to fall of my head.

Not 5 minutes later, the blend becomes medium/full. I have a rule when I write and review in real time. Never go back and edit out my stupid comments or projections.
“You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!”
Construction is impeccable.

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This cigar is as much fun as riding a Ferris wheel. Individual flavors come and go at their own discretion.

The caramel and honey are wonderful companions. It is no longer a rum cake. It is a honey cake. Full of nice baking spices. The red pepper is still going strong.
My mother used to buy honey cakes at Katella Deli all the time. I miss not having a decent deli in Milwaukee. We went to one and it was Gawd Awful.
Back when we lived in Chicago, for a couple years, I would buy wonderful sweets from some of the greatest delis/bakeries in the world.
Milwaukee is Mayberry on acid. A ghost town…like Bakersfield.

Complexity is first rate.
CIGAR WARS (Kyle’s blend) will get a higher score than Chris’s blend. My apologies to Chris.
Chris’s blend only got a 91 because of all the burn issues. But the raw tobacco flavor was out of this world.

Buffalo Springfield is playing “For What It’s Worth.”
Back in 1967, Skip and I saw them live at Melodyland in Anaheim. In the round.
First time I heard a band that loud. Plus we had front row seats…the band was facing us. Had to pay $3.50 for those tickets.

Nicotine enters the picture. Oy.
Sweetness explores other elements: Fruity, molasses, and compote.
The halfway point is upon me.
Smoke time is an hour, or so.

A green chile element replaces the red pepper.
The compote is now full of pears.
Other new flavors unveil themselves: vanilla, hazelnut, and black walnut.

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The aforementioned flavors are very subtle and come to life after a sip of water.
Strength remains at medium/full.
I’m having trouble typing because of the nicotine. Typos galore.
CIGAR WARS (Kyle’s blend) is an amazing blend. So complex with such an interesting flavor profile.

LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is one hour 25 minutes. A slow roll.
Strength is now full body.
I’m swimming in a sea of simbas.

Since my renal failure almost 2 months ago, I find I am susceptible to nicotine much more than before the illness.

I want to take this moment to thank Bryan Kinnaman for the stick. And I want to thank Duffy Ensign Waldron for the wonderful care package. He lives in Hawaii so the package contained a couple bags of 100% Kona coffee, two bags of macadamia nuts, and some great cigars that I can review. Two goodfellas.
Bryan also sent me a Ratzilla which I will review tomorrow.

I stumbled into the kitchen to grab a Diet Coke and Charlotte laughed when I said, “Nicotine.”
Did you know that back in the 1950’s; if you were in the hospital and were nauseated, they gave you a little cup of concentrated cola syrup. It worked.
I was in the hospital for a concussion I got banging my head on the jungle gym.

If I listed the flavors of CIGAR WARS (Kyle’s blend), it would be a mile long.
The last third is the sweet spot.

The honey really comes through. So does the caramel, creaminess, fruit, nuts, and nougat.
CIGAR WARS (Kyle’s blend) is for the very experienced palate. Just like Chris’s blend, these are not blends for newbies. It might make them feel like they dropped acid.

I don’t eat anything before reviewing because I don’t want my palate to be conflicted. But it also makes me swirl when I smoke a strong cigar. The upside is that I can taste some wonderful flavors.

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After the review, I will have a bowl of cereal and the effects of the nicotine will disappear.
I am very impressed with the construction.
CIGAR WARS (Kyle’s blend) is a phenomenal blend. They are on backorder now. Snag some when they return.
Final smoke time is over 2 hours.

RATING: 95

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And now for something completely different:

We had decided to record our album in a high falutin’ recording studio: Sunset Gower in Hollywood. $250 an hour in 1981.
Rick Tunstall, our band leader, composer, singer, and guitarist had managed to get hold of world famous, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer, Hal Blaine.

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I had worshiped this man since I was 16.

By reading the liner notes on all of my favorite albums, he was part of a rhythm team that played on all the Simon & Garfunkel albums, all of the Mamas & Papas albums, the Beach Boys, the Monkees, Nancy Sinatra, Jan and Dean, Elvis Presley, John Denver, the Ronettes, the Carpenters, the Grass Roots, the 5th Dimension, the Partridge Family, and Steely Dan, Frank Sinatra, The Byrds, The Supremes, The Association, Neil Diamond, Cher, Barbra Streisand, J.J. Cale, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, Sam Cooke, Bobby Darin, Sammy Davis, Jr., The Everly Brothers, John Lennon, Dean Martin, Roy Orbison, Louis Prima, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Ike and Tina Turner, and lastly: Sonny & Cher….And just about everyone else in the music business. He is a brilliant drummer. If you look at a photo of Hal’s drum kit, it is the exact same as Ringo’s kit. Ringo copied Hal’s set up…and in fact, Hal played on quite a few Beatles songs.

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Rick and I were already at the studio. The cartage company had arrived with Hal’s drum set. We were charged $250 for them to move Hal’s drums and set up like he liked it. They worked like clockwork to assemble it properly….and then The Man showed up.

I had been in contact with all of my rock n roll heroes while I played in the English band, Curved Air in the mid 70’s so I knew how to keep my cool..but with Hal, it was difficult.

The man was not very tall and had a slim build. He is Jewish so I let him know I was, as well….what was I thinking?
We kibitzed for a while and we explained the tunes we would be recording.

Hal sat at his kit fine tuning the set up. He reached into his stick bag hanging from the snare and pulled out some sheet music. He motioned me over and showed it to me.
It was the drum sheet music written by hand. By Paul Simon’s hand. It was “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” I was in shock. Hal let me hold it. I stared at it like it was the Holy Grail.

We rehearsed the first song one time and Hal had it. Just before we hit the “Record” button, Hal said to me, “Phil, you’re a pretty good bassist. Have you done session work?”
I gurgled something that basically meant nothing significant.
“I can get you some work if you want?”
#%^&&@D^@&(@
I think that meant, “Would I? Hell, yes”

We spent a month recording an album’s worth of material. And Hal was there for about 2 weeks to do the rhythm tracks.

Hal and I would sit in the booth while things were fiddled with by the engineer between tracks. He told me stories like he was Uncle Remus. He could drop names like it meant nothing to him at all. He told me inside stories that had me in rapture. Meanwhile, my partner Rick, took me into the lounge and proceeded to scream at me…”Do you know that the 15 minute story Hal told me cost us $85?”
I bowed my head in shame but I didn’t care.

And Hal was true to his word getting me big session work in L.A. He later went on to become my mentor doing all sorts of things for me at my own recording studio in Long Beach. We became good friends. He took scale money from me for recordings that made me a big shot in my customer’s eyes. At the time, there were only two recording studios in Long Beach. We became big shots in the musical community for having Hal Blaine on call.
It was the most wonderful time. Maybe I shall tell some of his stories in another review.

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Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

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7 replies

  1. Hah, I had a feeling you would like Kyle’s better! So, my pick between the two is Chris’. And as an update, my second stick last night had zero burn issues. Needless to say, both are technically winners.

    I’ll continue buying from EZ until they make me stop harassing them for more cigars.

    I hope small boutique guys can figure out how to stay in business with this new regulation crap.

  2. I second everything Miguel had to say. Can’t seem to be able to pass on anything Chris and Kyle offer. Phil, I’m glad you’re back in your routine. B. K.

  3. Are Chris & Kyle actually people at Ezra Zion Cigars, or are the cigars named in honor of Chris Kyle, the famous American Sniper?

  4. Born in 1958 in Santa Ana, I feel your whole oc thing kat dog, and i mean feal bro,hope you dont freekin die bro, peace, luv, hippie beads u freekin weirdo, t .