Wrapper: Connecticut River Valley Stalk Cut & Cured Sun Grown Habano
Binder: Plantation Grown Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran
Size: 6.25 x 46 “Corona Gorda”
Humidor Aging Time: 9 Months
Photo courtesy of Atlantic Cigar:
Today we take a look at the Liga Privada Único Serie Ratzilla.
Thanks to Bryan Kinnaman for the cigar.
There are already more reviews of this blend than you can count. But I thought I would add my 2¢.
Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate.
Release Date: June, 2012.
Comes in boxes of 10 or 12.
Very similar to the Dirty Rat which I reviewed on January 9, 2016. In fact, it is supposed to be the same blend, just longer than the Dirty Rat. The Dirty Rat is a 5 x 44 Corona. And is $2-$3 less.
From the Drew Estate Cigars web site:
“In our ongoing creation of the Liga Privada line, hundreds of different, distinct blends and vitolas are crafted in our endless search for the perfect smoke. Most samples are dismissed with only a rare, select few being deemed worthy, but regretfully due to tobacco limitations, costs, and construction limitations, most of these blends cannot be made into their own stand-alone line.
“However, they are so perfect in flavor and aroma; we continue to selfishly make them for ourselves to smoke. This is not our desire; we want the Liga Privada connoisseur to enjoy the very same cigars we smoke regardless of any reason.
“With this in mind, we have created the Liga Privada Unico Serie – a home for these unique ones. All of the cigars within this series are not only different in size and blend, but they are extra special, extremely limited and exceptionally delicious.”
While other reviewers describe this cigar as rustic, mine is anything but.
It is a beautiful, oily, mottled, cocoa/coffee bean color.
Seams are tight. Almost no veins. As you can see in the first photo, the stick is very toothy.
The number of caps is so impeccably applied, that they are invisible. The fan tail is like a flag mounted on an obelisk.
With all the rain going on everywhere, the cigar is soft. So I allowed it to dry box for 24 hours.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
The shaft provides aromas of cinnamon, floral notes, espresso, sweet cream, fruit, and spice
The clipped cap and the foot smell of dark chocolate, spice, floral notes, cinnamon, cream, sweetness, fruit, strong cedar, and baked apples. (I read that Halfwheel described the aroma of spicy apples and he nailed it. I taste my mother’s special occasion baked apples. Loved those growing up
The cold draw presents flavors of red pepper, cinnamon, chocolate, cedar, and baked apples with heavy cream on them.
I manage to remove the cap without taking a single piece of tobacco from the top of the cigar which gives me the perfect yarmulke beanie cap with a propeller.
And we begin with a starting gun blasting away on my palate.
There is a strong red pepper assaulting my taste buds with extreme prejudice. I love it.
Dark chocolate, creaminess, wood, and some malts appear next.
A sweetness element shows up but it is too vague at this early stage to identify. Or I’m just a dumb ass.
Strength hits classic medium right away.
Leather appears which I’m not that fond of. Ever notice in so many reviews that leather is a mainstay in the writer’s description. I don’t taste leather that much. I think it’s a fallback position.
The sweetness is sweet and sour lemon citrus and rock candy. Layering it is a nice coffee component.
I broke one of my cardinal rules….I had a bowl of cereal before reviewing this cigar. First time I’ve done this since starting my reviews in 2009. As this is a full body cigar, I hope to avoid the swirl of nicotine. We shall see. BTW- I started reviewing on Opensalon.com and wrote a couple thousand reviews but switched to WordPress.com in 2012. Because of inactivity, on my part, they closed my account and all those reviews are now gone. Maybe that’s for the best as my reviews were very rudimentary and part of my learning curve.
There is some bitterness now.
I have had burn issues from the start. Burn issues to you are not the same as they are to me. I like pretty photos with dead nuts char lines. When smoking for pleasure, those char lines usually work themselves out with patience. I have no patience. Like you didn’t know that.
The Liga Privada Único Serie Ratzilla is a fast burning stick. Must not be solidly packed.
I will reach the second third in 20 minutes.
The bitterness disappears.
And heeeere are the Malts: Chocolate Rye Malt, Cara Munich Malt, Special B Malt, and Flaked Oats Malt. (See Malt Chart).
Malt can really make a cigar smoother and bring all the flavors together. It took me years to discover that mysterious flavor that I referred to the X factor.
The bitterness reappears. WTF?
Because of the great humidity from Maryland to Milwaukee, the humidity must have seeped into the cigar. I have no other explanation. The cigar was very soft when I received it so I dry boxed it for 49 hours and is now solid as a rock.
This is why I make a deal with manufacturers, and online stores, that I receive a 5 pack for each blend reviewed. One stick can be very misleading.
All the best reviewers smoke 2-3 sticks before their review cigar.
The bitterness morphs into grapefruit. Much more acceptable.
I’m hoping that, as the cigar progresses, it dumps the bitterness quotient.
Smoke time is 20 minutes.
I let the Liga Privada Único Serie Ratzilla rest for 10 minutes hoping that the bitterness disappears. It worked. I have no idea why that happened.
Flavors come in waves. This blend is almost identical to the Dirty Rat….which of course is the same blend; just shorter.
Here they are: Creaminess, spice, grapefruit, chocolate, malts, caramel, rye, cinnamon, cedar, black walnuts, fruit, raisins, floral notes, and cappuccino.
The Liga Privada Único Serie Ratzilla now gets the blue ribbon.
What a difference. I’m now impressed.
Strength moves to medium/full.
The spiciness makes a sudden move to the back of the list. And becomes black pepper instead of red pepper.
Amazing how similar it is to the Dirty Rat. I suppose the idea was that Drew Estate wanted to provide the same blend but in a cigar that lasted longer. Just spit ballin’ here.
The Liga Privada Único Serie Ratzilla hits a very complex note.
I’m hearing a train go by. This is the first time. I had no idea our apartment was in an industrial park.
My lips are burning. Not sure from what.
And then Bam! Full body.
I’m glad I had that bowl of cereal because, ordinarily by now, I’d be complaining about the nicotine. Which is settling in now.
The draw is excellent. Smoke fills the room each time I take a few puffs.
The burn has slowed down big time. I guess that first third was not packed properly.
The aforementioned flavor list remains the same. Except the spiciness has returned. It makes my eyes water.
I noticed in pending comments that some guy said, “You’re a liar man. And you think people don’t know.” He used an email address: gosuckadickbro.com. And called himself KatmanLiar. He placed it on my review of “CIGAR WARS (Kyle’s blend) by Ezra Zion Cigar Company.” I guess he stopped taking his meds. BTW- I didn’t publish it. It went straight to the spam folder.
I get so many comments but every once in a while some idiot comes out of the wood pile and says something insulting without explanation.
Back to matters at hand: Liga Privada Único Serie Ratzilla. I promise not to lie about this.
The grapefruit citrus is strong. Taking the lead in the flavor profile.
The nicotine is very strong now. I am a wuss now.
I reach the halfway point.
Smoke time is 45 minutes.
The Liga Privada Único Serie Ratzilla is an excellent cigar but I wonder about the price. Because DE only comes out with a limited release each year, people pile up against locked doors to get theirs. Supply and demand. There are so many great cigars in the $8-$10 range just as good.
And then the flavors exit the complex mode and make me swoon with affection. I’ve found that once the blend becomes complex, flavors sort of disappear into a jumble.
Raisins and black walnut move to the front. Chocolate moves up as well with a touch of coffee.
I’ve hit the sweet spot. Creaminess swarms the blend.
The second half of the blend is the best part of this cigar. It is warm and smooth.
The earthiness of the cigar exhibits itself for the first time.
Smoke time is one hour 10 minutes.
The little Arizona Diamondback logo, in a couple of photos, is something I had made while I was project managing the miscellaneous steel and structural steel for the new stadium. The logos were 2’-0 x 2’-0 brass and inserted every 10 feet in the rails guarding the upper balconies of the seating areas. They were water jet cut so the edges didn’t need grinding; which laser jet cutting would cause. Very expensive.
I went to the water jet guy and asked him to make me fifty 2” square logos so everyone at the company I worked for could have a key chain thingamajob. They were only $5 each. And I still have two of them. And KatmanLiar, I’m not lying about this.
DE wasn’t kidding when they described the blend as full body.
As the Liga Privada Único Serie Ratzilla winds down, some flavors disappear. Still creamy. Black pepper remains. The sweetness is gone. No fruit. We still have chocolate and coffee. The nuts are hanging on.
The full body makes my eyes cross.
A smoky wood element appears.
Despite the strength of the blend, it is totally enjoyable. Newbies need not apply.
This is a blend for the aficionado. And those that can still stand up after smoking a full body cigar.
My vision is nearly gone. The nicotine is major.
The strength hides some of the flavors.
I’ve reviewed nothing but strong cigars lately. I think my next review will be a Quorum.
The Liga Privada Único Serie Ratzilla is one of the strongest cigars I’ve smoked.
If you can handle the strength and are willing to spend $14 for this stick, then go for it.
And now for something completely different:
The Eddie Munster Chronicles 1983:
(There is a bit of redundancy as I morphed three different stories together.)
It was the day before the first shoot. I hadn’t written a script yet because Butch kept putting off getting together with me. Thank goodness because I got a hair up my ass, the night before the shoot, and whipped it out in twenty minutes. No changes needed. I find it so amazing what the brain can do under stress. I wrote 33 scenes for a 2 minute song. (When I get my social security on July 3, I am going to upgrade my web site so I can show videos and play music. It will be the first time I’ve displayed the Eddie Munster video.)
The first shoot was an exterior. There is a line in the song that says, “I got up and left school.” So we got the famous George Barris to loan us John Travolta’s souped up Trans Am. George insisted that he provide the driver. The scene was two shots. It was Butch running down the steps of the high school in cap and gown. And the second was the Trans Am burning rubber taking off from the school.
Our second shoot for the Eddie Munster video was a scary success. We fooled the cops on Sunset Blvd and shot right in front of Hollywood High School. But that was only 2 scenes. My shooting script had 31 more scenes to go.
I scoped locations. In San Pedro, CA, there is a permanently docked boat that has a couple of restaurants, and a chapel, on top.
The chapel would be perfect and I made financial arrangements with the chaplain.
I gathered my crew, and my extras, and the band, and we showed up at the Princess Louise around 6pm.
I was immediately met by the owner of the boat who said the chaplain had no authority to allow us to shoot.
“$4000 please”…as the owner stood next to his brand new Rolls Royce. (More on this later in the story.)
I drove home like a maniac while the crew was moving their gear to the chapel. I went into my safe and grabbed the dough. Only a few of my crew knew what had happened. I couldn’t afford another disaster like the mortuary catastrophe. (Another story)
I had rented 5 outlandishly decorated caskets from Cassandra the Casket Queen in Hollywood. We were forced to hold them over our heads as we transported them upstairs to the chapel. We actually had to wind our way through a crowded restaurant to do this. Customers’ forks fell in unison. And all conversation came to a halt.
The camera crew set up in the chapel while our make-up artist did her thing with the band members….Eddie in white; while the Monsters were in green make up. All good looking boys. In fact, one of them was Butch’s brother, Mike.
I went over the script with Marvin Rush, my cinematographer (Who went on to be one of the most important cinematographers in L.A. He did some Star Trek movies.)
One of his crew members voiced an opinion that it can’t be done in one night. Marvin immediately told him to shut up. He tells the guy that “Phil is the director,” and they will do whatever it takes to get it done.
The 50 extras are ready. I picked regular folks. No models or pretty people.
I quickly spend a few minutes, with all concerned, to tell them what I need from them.
And then I yell “Action.”
We had begun to shoot our first scene of the night. Now mind you, the song was just barely 2 minutes long and I had written 33 scenes to shoot. That meant an edit every 3.6 seconds. The same way the Bourne movies are edited. Only I did it 20 years earlier. Blink and miss a scene.
The first shot was of the 50 extras dancing into the chapel while the music played. I purposely picked a huge array of types; fat women, fat men, a rainbow coalition of ethnicities, young and old, and they were all thrilled to be there and have their 15 minutes, or shall I say 7.2 seconds of fame? The longest scene of the video.
One of my friends, Ben, brought his friend, Jasper. Both were very well dressed in three piece suits. So I put them up front for two reasons….they were dressed to the nines, and they could move their fat asses like no one else in the crowd.
One of the shots had the camera on them as they sang the chorus. All they had to was lip sync the title of the song. It turned out that it was the only shot of the night that required more than two takes. Jasper, could not for the life of him, remember the words, “Whatever Happened to Eddie?” So his mouth moved in total non-unison with the song. It was driving me nuts and taking too much time.
It was the only time I acted like a prima donna during the whole project. I screamed at Jasper “Are you stupid or what? It was like talking to Forrest Gump. He just couldn’t do it. He promised he would get it right on the threat of being sent away. I had 49 other extras lip syncing perfectly and there was Jasper in the second row fucking it all up.
I didn’t want to look at the play back. I had to move on….But I heard Marvin, my camera man, laughing so I knew that Jasper had failed miserably. That was the only scene where we needed extras so, upon completion of that part of the video, I sent them home.
And then we moved on to the parts with Butch and the band.
And it got really hairy at this point….things happened…the night turned into morning and everyone was running on cocaine…..tempers were out of control….
THE MORTUARY INCIDENT:
I catered the shoot at the mortuary. The mortuary was the biggest chain in Southern California and the kid that worked there gave us permission to shoot later in the evening. Except, as it turned out, he didn’t have the authorization to allow us to do so.
Marvin, his crew, and film truck, showed up on time. I had arranged to have about 50 extras sitting in the chapel, and a coffin with Butch in it, for our first shot. We had already scoped out the place and I jotted down notes for the angles, etc.
As Howard sat up a nice kosher buffet, the extras rolled in. It was a full-on Jewish deli. Everyone was excited. So was I. Until I noticed that children were coming in. I blew my lid. I screamed at the crowd, “Who brought children into this mortuary?”
Hands raised. I took them aside and asked them if they were fucking crazy? I told them to leave…and they did, unhappily. We had the first shot set up, the extras in the pews, the smell of brisket and corned beef wafting in the air and the “Monsters” in full make up.
Just before I yelled, “Action,” a bunch of goons stormed the mortuary, with baseball bats, threatening to beat the hell out of me and everyone else if we didn’t get our asses out immediately. I grabbed the kid who gave us approval and he admitted that he didn’t ask his betters if it would be OK? So, instead, he bragged about it at the mortuary to his co-workers and they formed a scheme to bush whack us.
One of the goons asked “Who is in charge?” I stepped forward and as I did, I felt something hard trying to crush the back of my skull. A fight broke out. The goons were outnumbered, so the cops were called. We managed to get everyone out, the film crew packed up and burned rubber and we were all gone before the cops showed. Howard was the only one still there, trying to pack up his delicious food, and miscellaneous shit. The cops tried to arrest him but he talked his way out of it, made them brisket sandwiches, and he split.
We were in big trouble. I ended up at the E.R, and got some stitches. All the while.., trying to figure an alternate plan. I assured Marvin we would get this right and please don’t bail on me. He was a great guy and said he would follow me to San Quentin, if necessary, to get this done.
THE PRINCESS LOUISE SHOOT:
The next day, I took a ride to the Princess Louise, docked at San Pedro Harbor. It was an old, 3 deck private yacht that had been transformed into a tourist attraction. Two restaurants and a chapel on top. I met with the chaplain and negotiated a fee of $200. It was a lock. We shook hands and moved to the next step. The filming on the boat would take place about 4 days later. I used that time to do another dangerous shot.
On the night of the shoot, the owner of the boat was waiting for us. He drove up in his Rolls Royce. He told us the chaplain had no authority to OK this. He wanted $4000.
THE HOLLYWOOD SHOOT:
We had no permit for filming. No permit. Let me say that again: NO PERMIT!!
I did this shot without extras. But still, my crew was large….maybe 25 people. 4 of us had walkie-talkies and were positioned strategically around the shoot. It was 7PM. Night school was in session.
The shot was to have Butch run down the steps of Hollywood High School wearing a graduation gown and cap and jump into the Trans Am. He then peeled rubber, did a couple of fish tails, and headed down Hollywood Blvd. Cut.
The steps were at the front of the main entrance. It was lighted nicely. A huge class was going on just above on the second floor. A shit load of people had moved to the windows to see what was happening. The streets started to flood with onlookers.
I was the director. I was in charge. And I was having a panic attack. Huge klieg lights lit the area to be shot.
We did several takes. And then one of the guys, on a walkie talkie, called me and said cops were driving up to check things out. I put a temp hold on production while I watched 3 squad cars slowly drive to where I stood in the middle of Hollywood Blvd.
They got out of their cruisers and stood beside their cars. Not a word. Obviously, they assumed we had a permit because no one would have the balls to shut down this heavily trafficked area.
I said “Action” for the last time…the shot went without a hitch, and then I yelled “Cut and… Print!!”
Everything went perfectly. We quickly packed up. Applause came from everywhere. It was deafening. Even the cops were clapping.
We got into our vehicles and headed over to the Brown Derby where I treated everyone for dinner.
We would be ready for the Princess Louise…..I just needed to make a visit to Cassandra the Casket Queen.
I got the L.A. Yellow Pages out and searched. There she was. Casandra the Casket Queen. Butch and I took a ride to her beat-up Hollywood home. No furniture except for a bedroom. The place was laden with real caskets but painted in psychedelic colors. Wild. Crazy. Nuts! Cool! Perfect!
We negotiated a rate for renting 5 of them for one night. Butch called George Barris, the car customizer to the Stars, and asked to borrow 2 hearses. We managed to shove all of the caskets inside.
We parked the hearses at my house in Long Beach. The shoot at the Princess Louise in San Pedro was set for that night. Everything was lined up. People were paid off…either in cash or coke. Marvin Rush, the cinematographer, was set to meet us there at 6PM. Our make-up artist would be there on time, or so she promised.
Even my financial backer would be there. He was an ex-San Quentin con that was a major dealer of cocaine. He and I became good friends because I wasn’t a mooch. Everyone around him constantly hung on the hope of hand-outs. I never asked. And for the most part, I turned his offers down of a little toot. One little snort and I was good for hours…whereas, his hangers on needed a toot every 20 minutes. And I just didn’t like the shakes it gave you if you did too much. I was the only one in his life like that. And more importantly, we liked each other. Rick was a big bear of a man who you wanted on your side. Never betrayed his trust. Another story there. The man had a big heart and was helpful in coming up with ideas for the shoot. So I put him in one scene.
We stood outside the boat waiting for everyone to assemble. Rick had driven his Rolls Royce. So that was our focal point for assembly.
An hour later, Rick and I handed the guy his $4000. Then…..he said, “I’ve changed my mind. I want $6000. And in a blur of fists, the owner of the Princess Louise lay on the floor moaning, bleeding, and probably wondering what happened to him?
Rick had no truck for assholes. A person’s word is everything and this guy was a hustler. He tried to hustle us so Rick spanked him. We all helped the owner up to a chair and Rick whispered in his ear. I could not hear what he said… And Rick never told me what he whispered to the owner. I think it was better that way.
We started loading the equipment up a ramp and 3 decks to the top of the boat and into the chapel.
The last thing we took upstairs was the outrageous caskets..
This had to be the funniest thing I had ever seen…worthy of a Mel Brooks movie…..The second deck had a swanky restaurant on it and the only stairs to the chapel was inside the eatery. We held 5 caskets like pall bearers through a crowded restaurant…”Oh..excuse me….sorry…may I get through there please?”, etc. You could hear utensils drop to the plates. You could hear 50 people inhaling but not exhaling. No one blinked. I wish I had filmed, or at least taken photos, of that. It was priceless.
I handed Marvin the latest shooting script. One of his guys looked at it and said, “No way. 31 scenes???” Marvin immediately chastised him for questioning the director, me.
Our song was exactly 2 minutes long. We had already filmed the high school which accounted for 2 edits that lasted 2 seconds each. In all, the script had 33 scenes. That was an average of 3.6 seconds per edit.
And I had to do it that night. I would not have Marvin again because of his schedule.
We started filming around 8PM and finished at 6AM. I got every scene I wanted and got them in no more than two takes. I improvised on the fly as situations presented themselves. The out-takes are hysterical. (When I get the dough, I am going to upgrade to a premium plan with WordPress.com which will allow me to post videos.)
The last scene has Butch sitting by a lagoon with the moon reflecting on the water. We had only minutes before the sun rose. We ran down to the shore by the boat mooring. Butch sat next to a small body of sea water…pebbles and rocks. There was no moon that night but the Cosmic Muffin smiled on me that night. There was a light standard on the boat dock and the light from it was reflected in the water looking exactly like the moon.
“Action!” Cut!” “Print!”
We were done. Marvin took me aside…the man that went on to become the cinematographer of the many Star Trek series and a lot of big time movies…..and told me that he thought that it would be impossible to get all the shots I had written down, but we did it and he patted me on the back and hugged me. I broke down. The stress of this shoot had finally hit home.
My adrenaline was running high. The night started with a hundred people. At 6AM, there were maybe 15 left. I offered breakfast but we were so tired that we just wanted to sleep.
Oh no. I had to take the caskets back. So we loaded them into the 2 hearses and I drove it to Cassandra’s with a few guys. We unloaded them; I dropped people off, and headed home. The hearses stayed parked in my driveway all day while I slept with a smile.
The next part will be the torturous editing of the video, the fight with Rocshire Records, and the illegal bribing of radio stations and distributors. Then the fall of Rocshire Records to the F.B.I.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS
I’ve given some thought to the comment that accused me of being a liar.
Clearly, he is not talking about my reviews. He is referring to my rock n roll stories.
I know I brag about what a great bassist I was when I was a young man. I have countless music reviewers that put into print about the impact I made on the band, Curved Air.
In retrospect, it may have been inappropriate making these statements.
But every story I’ve told in which I drop names, like crazy, are all true.
I was blessed to have had these experiences. It was a part of my life that exceeded my expectations of my talent and opportunities.
Jealousy, or envy, is usually the cause of these stupid comments by readers. They never achieved anything beyond being bedroom guitarists or playing in cover bands.
I have always loved listening to the stories that all these famous people told. I’m a sucker for hearing famous people drop names. And they all do it. I never met a famous musician that didn’t tell stories that dropped a huge list of names.
I write these rock n roll stories because I assume, maybe incorrectly, that my readers would enjoy reading about my adventures.
I was only in big time music for ten years…1974-1984. I was ambitious and driven. I was young and had that energy to accomplish my goals.
I will not apologize for my talent and artistry.
I feel sorry for that boy who made that insulting comment. Clearly, he is insecure and probably wishes he could have lived a life similar to mine.
I’m now a senior citizen and no longer play bass. But I’m proud of my early life exploits.
It just dawned on me. In that review, (CIGAR WARS (Kyle’s blend) by Ezra Zion Cigar Company), where the insult came about me lying may be because I presented my site stats. Which I expect no one conceived that I could pull in so many readers.
600,000 in 2015 and 300,000 halfway through 2016.
I can’t doctor screen shots which I took from my site stats on my web site..
So this misguided boy, a mature man wouldn’t send an insult like this boy did, thinks I made up all my stats.
So many readers and reviewers hate me because it is obvious they don’t get what I do.
I’m an anomaly to the reviewing world. So being an outsider is something everyone dislikes. Yet, only a week ago, Drew Estate was so happy with me that they became a paid sponsor.
I just won’t write like the other reviewers. To me, it is boring. It is cookie cutter writing.
So hate me all you want KatmanLiar. You’re a hater and mean nothing to me. You are just the flotsam and jetsam that floats, like scum, in the Flint, Michigan water supply.
Hey Katman, as much as I enjoy your cigar reviews, I have to admit, I enjoy your stories even more! I’m usually disappointed at the end of a review if you don’t include a rock and roll story, or past experience, you’ve lived a fascinating life, don’t stop sharing!