Wrapper: Nicaraguan Cuban Seed
Binder: Nicaraguan Pelo de Oro
Filler: Nicaraguan Pelo de Oro
Size: 5.5 x 55 “Scherzo”
Humidor Time: 7 weeks
Smoked Prior to Review: 1
Today we take a look at the Aging Room Small Batch Pelo De Oro.
Thanks to Jeremy S. for sending me some sticks.
$14 per stick. It better be the equivalent of a good BJ….not great, but I will settle for good. No teeth. Something just came to me. I have never written, in my rock n roll stories, about the greatest BJ’s in the world from rock groupies. I won’t lay out the number, but I got laid a LOT in my youth. Played in a band from the early age of 15 right up til I got married at 34. Most famous musicians, when they were young and popular, were real horn dogs and could give ol’ Wilt Chamberlain a run for his money. You can pick and choose at each gig. I know that’s sexist but I don’t give a shit. It was reality.
What amazes me is that I’ve never gotten an STD. Or worse…AIDS. Back in the 60’s and 70’s and early 80’s, no one thought about their johnson falling off because the chick was a plague ridden bat. Man, talk about dumb luck.
Now, I get laid on my birthday and our anniversary. Things change. But memories stay.
I do have a gentle right hand. Ever use coconut oil? Oy vey! Way better than warm liver. Real liver, not chopped liver. The chopped onions would chafe. And then you are in the ER trying to explain why you need stitches on your choda.
Now my wife, Charlotte, wasn’t sitting in a cubicle in some office in Fargo. Born and bred in Germany, she was a Lufthansa flight attendant for 7 years until she was 30. She came permanently to this country when she was 27.
She has a master’s degree in psychology but never really practiced. Too much empathy. Made her sad. Her psychiatrist father influenced her greatly about her future. Sound familiar to anyone?
Now she swears she was very selective about men and insists she was not a party girl. Who am I to argue? But she was engaged to famous San Francisco Giants pitcher, John Montefusco during his prime years. The S.O.B. cheated on her and she got fed up and dumped him. She has some wild stories about baseball team parties that are eye opening. There isn’t a baseball player she can remember that she doesn’t call a scum bag. In the off season, a lot of players went down to Central America to move dope back to the U.S.
Then she met me. Nine months of courtship and living together, then married, eleven months later our daughter, Katie, was born….33 years later, and we are still together. But I’m really tired of begging for old people sex. Oral sex is us passing each other in the hallway and saying, “Fuck you!”
Summer is over. Clearly, Fall has come to Wisconsin. It is approaching very cold; it’s rainy, humid, and windy. Even though the humidity is higher than my humidor, I have allowed the review stick to dry box for 36 hours just to see if it makes a difference compared to my last couple of reviews in which I plucked the stick directly from a controlled humidor with 65% humidity. I ended up with soft cigars. I firmly believe the sticks were under filled but I could be wrong.
I remember growing up in SoCal when it got down into the 60’s, we’d wear a jacket. Here in Milwaukee, that’s shorts and tee shirt weather. Cold is 30° below with a wind chill. Thank goodness we have a four wheel drive truck. Lots of snow in the winter.
Months after we moved from SoCal to Chicago in ’05, Charlotte slipped on black ice in the driveway and broke her foot so badly it was turned 90° to the right. The next morning: surgery with plates, rods, and screws. I have fallen on ice more times than a man my age should have to put up with. But I always jump up and go on my way. Sometimes I bounce if the landing zone is shrubs. If it is on the grass, I do the electric slide. If it’s on concrete, I lay there like a flounder moaning, “Help…help…” Following that, it’s 2-3 days in bed waiting for my spine to settle back into place.
By the way, thank you Aaron for the encouragement. Big smile.
Debuted at the 2016 IPCPR trade show.
Limited quantities. No amount given because of the rare tobacco. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
Available in this size only in 10 Count Boxes.
According to Cigar Aficionado:
“Pelo de Oro is a difficult, temperamental wrapper to grow. It’s susceptible to disease, the yields are low and most farmers want nothing to do with it—but A.J. Fernandez isn’t most farmers.
“Fernandez is also making the new Aging Room Small Batch Pelo de Oro at his factory, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua.
“Translated to “golden hair” in Spanish, Pelo de Oro was once a popular tobacco in Cuba, but was eventually phased out on account of its susceptibility to the blue mold disease. The seeds have since migrated out of Cuba, and the tobacco is occasionally grown in small amounts.
“The Aging Room Small Batch Pelo de Oro consists of a Cuban-seed Nicaraguan wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan Pelo de Oro filler. It comes packaged in 10-count boxes and will be offered in only one size: Scherzo, which measures 5 1/2 inches by 55 ring gauge. It’s rolled with a Cuban-style triple cap and pigtail head.
“The Scherzo, which is set to retail for $13.90, continues on Nodal’s recurring theme of musically-named cigars within the Aging Room portfolio. In musical terms, a scherzo is a faster, light-hearted, playful movement found within a larger symphony.
“The Aging Room Small Batch Pelo de Oro Scherzo is the first cigar that A.J. Fernandez has made for Boutique Blends.”
There is a tiny fan tail on the cap and on one of the sticks, it came off removing the cigar from the cello.
The wrapper is an oily medium brown. A bit of toothiness.
Seams are invisible. Some big veins populate the cigar but are not obtrusive. The triple cap is beautifully articulated. The two sticks in my possession are completely identical in color and form. Very nicely rolled buggers.
Both sticks I have are solid, no soft spots. Hope that holds out.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I can smell exotic fresh fruit, beautiful dark espresso, spice, rich cacao, an array of nuttiness, cedar, and some floral notes.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell strong red pepper, coffee, cocoa, floral, whipped cream, and green vegetal notes.
I get a delayed response from the pepper and go for the three quick sneezes that forces one of my ribs to dislodge travel down my spine and out of my ass. No meat on it.
The cold draw presents flavors of red hot spice, chocolate, coffee, nuts, malt, cedar, and exotic spices.
First puffs follow the game plan and hit me with a left jab of massive red pepper. Makes me sneeze a couple more times.
The draw is spot on. Nice easy flow.
As the red pepper does a reduction in its frontal assault, flavors begin to develop: Creaminess, coffee, cocoa, mushroom, almonds, cedar, and sweet red bell pepper.
Strength is a potent medium body. Moments from now, like a particle accelerator, it will cause a proton-proton collision and make its move to near full body; while confirming the Higgs Boson properties.
The char line is spot on.
I watch a lot of the Discovery Channels programming.
Transitions begin to show themselves as the flavor profile accentuates the different malts, an intense creaminess, mocha java, and oatmeal. There are small hints of nougat, caramel, and green vegetal notes.
Smoke time is 20 minutes. The Aging Room Small Batch Pelo De Oro is burning quickly despite its large diameter and solid structure.
The second third unveils an intensity of flavors that impresses me. I do find that early prognostication that the strength would hit light speed early on turns out to be wrong. The body is a smooth medium/full.
At the rate the cigar is burning, I doubt it will last more than an hour+ of smoke time.
Construction is top notch. The char line requires not a single touch up. A large hunk of ash falls into oblivion, barely missing my naughty bits by centimeters, as it plops on to the floor.
I’m now only half an inch away from the halfway point. It’s only taken me 30 minutes to get here. It is smoking like a cigarette.
Complexity settles in. The Aging Room Small Batch Pelo De Oro is an excellent blend but I have trouble with the price tag. There are so many cigars just as good under $10.
The strength does an unexpected fall back into medium body.
The blend is showing signs of being a little schizo.
The only positive thing about reaching the halfway point is that those flavors are potent and complex. But I taste nothing new.
The spice has converted to black pepper and moves to the background.
Seven weeks in, I fully expected the Aging Room Small Batch Pelo De Oro to make me ooh and aah over it. It is not approaching being a great cigar. It must settle for being a very good cigar blend. I should have hit the sweet spot early on. Now, fingers crossed, it might lie in the second half.
The sweet spot is upon me now as predicted. At this price, it should have begun half an hour ago.
Strength remains at medium body.
The char line goes wonky on me requiring a touch up.
Here they are: Creaminess, malts, espresso, caramel, nutty, nougat, sweet vegetal notes, cedar, wood, black pepper, oatmeal, and a first showing of black licorice.
I can’t help but use the Arandoza 5th Anniversary as the gold standard of recent reviews. It started off with a complex list of flavors and the transitions were impossible to keep up with. And it is a $9.50 cigar.
The Aging Room Small Batch Pelo De Oro is overpriced. I really don’t care if the ingredients are rare and limited.
My attitude about this blend would be different if not for the price point. If it were an $8-$9 stick, I’d be somewhat happier about my experience.
Smoke time is 50 minutes. Slow down, you move too fast.
I must use my algorithm machine to factor in the price with its final rating.
Construction is impressive. Nodal didn’t spare the dough when it came to using only the best rollers. Maybe this is where the high cost comes in.
Finally, strength moves to a solid medium/full.
The second half would be really mind blowing if not for the fact that the memory of the first half is so recent. This should have been a very slow smoke due to a packed stick and its size. There isn’t much time to really savor the experience.
I really don’t like dissing a cigar blend that a manufacturer put so much time into its development. The other Nodal blends like the Aging Room Bin No.1 is a much better cigar for the same price. In fact, all of the Boutique Blends brand cigars are superior blends. The La Bohème Encantador and the La Bohéme Pittore are far better than the Aging Room Small Batch Pelo De Oro..and cheaper too.
The final 1.5” hits full body. Nicotine joins the fray.
Due to the current weather, dry boxing the cigar was a mistake. The environmental humidity has been much higher than my humidor’s humidity.
As a result, I get a large wrapper crack that I must glue. No more dry boxing.
Harshness begins to appear.
Flavors diminish in potency. The black pepper spiciness has increased back to square one. Strong and imposing.
Yet, it is so strong now that it is masking the subtlety of some of the flavors.
If I had reviewed the Aging Room Small Batch Pelo De Oro with only a couple weeks of humidor time, I might have expected the disappointment. But with nearly two months of humidor time…I don’t know what to say.
Either it is what it is or it needs many more months of rest.
The complexity of the blend never really sees it’s potential. It hovers on being listless and inconsistent. Transitions are minor in the last third.
As the Aging Room Small Batch Pelo De Oro is a limited edition blend due to the rarity of the tobaccos, it seems only right that it makes its way into obscurity.
The pepper continues to get stronger with each puff obliterating the nice flavors.
Nicotine roars like a lion. It is now a very strong cigar.
I would have preferred to really love this blend but I can’t.
Based on the price point, in good conscience, I just cannot recommend the Aging Room Small Batch Pelo De Oro.
And now for something completely different (From a review in 2012):
I know a lot of the shit I write about seems impossible or downright fabrications but, my hand to God, they are all true. There is a lot to be said about following your dreams when you are young; and most importantly, being in the right place at the right time. It started with me following my dream of making music my life’s work. Thank goodness a lot of luck followed. The magic is putting yourself out there, taking big chances, and be ready to deliver the goods. None of my young musician friends did what I did. I understand. I was always scared shitless making those giant leaps…but I did them anyway. I was young. I knew music and I was a damn fine bassist. Not bragging. If you are good at something, odds are you know that.
My luck ran out 10 years after I began my career at 24. By the time I was 34, I felt the hunger waning. I had pretty much done everything I had dreamed of doing to some degree or another. There wasn’t much I hadn’t done.
Even my adult friends who continue to take their music seriously and try to earn a living from it…have day gigs. I don’t know a single successful musician friend that doesn’t do something else to make sure his family is housed and fed. Some teach. Others do whatever it takes.
I feel fortunate to have always been able to play out in good bands once I went back to a straight life. It takes the pressure off of you to make enough money playing out. Club or bar bands don’t make much dough. And I refused to be in a wedding band or cruise ship band playing “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” or Carpenter’s tunes.
Working for a living allows you to cherry pick the bands you want to play in. On the other hand, if you are trying to make a living doing this, you must play with just about anyone that will have you to make a dime. You say to yourself that you’re a great player so why isn’t it happening for me?
Most musicians make $50-$150 per gig depending on the type of band and the number of members. You gig out 3-4 times per week and what have you got? At best…$600 per week.
And no health insurance for your family.
Or you’re divorced because your wife doesn’t understand why you won’t grow up.
I made the decision when I was 34, using a crystal ball and Talmudic writings, to not be a burn out as I got older. The transition was very difficult. I hated my straight job. I hated commercial construction. But it paid well and I could raise a family with middle class status.
I had a decade of excitement and lots of road stories to prove it over the course of my 66 years. As it turns out, the pro music life was merely a small blip in my life…Yet, I was in the thick of things doing what I loved. And making a living doing it.
All things must pass.
OK. Onward Christian Soldiers…
Back in the early 80’s, I had a lot of friends because I owned a recording studio in Long Beach, CA. One of those friends was an L.A. disk jockey on a major rock station. 50,000 watts.
His name is Marshall. He used to get me into to the cool places, private parties, and the hard to get into clubs in Hollywood.
I was always jealous of those good DJ guys that had such great pipes. What a gift. Of course, there is a reason none of them made it to TV or the movies. They had a face for radio.
We used to hang out at this one club that is long gone..don’t remember the name and was very small and off the beaten path. I met Ray Manzarek of “The Doors” there. He was very laid back and we saw him there the couple times we visited the club each week. It was a very cool hang out and seemed to attract a lot of musicians. Of course, the cool days to hang out was during the week; not the weekend. The real hipsters stayed away from the throngs. Better chance of meeting people like you.
We got friendly and I explained how I made my bones by playing bass in Curved Air. So we talked music…we traded road stories. It had only been 4 years since I left CA and The Police were huge so my association with drummer Stewart Copeland was a big deal. And we tooted nose candy together. Right there on the table.
The Fabulous Thunderbirds used to play at this club fairly often. And this was when Jimmie Vaughan was in the band…that’s Stevie Ray’s brother for those of you who are not sure.
The club had two floors with a DJ playing music downstairs that held a lot of folks. But upstairs was the place to hang.
There couldn’t have been more than a dozen tables, a bar and no bandstand. The band played on the floor in the corner.
The FT’s were getting airplay back then and since Marshall was a big shot DJ, the boys of the band would always visit with us for a while. Bands knew that if Marshall liked them, they might get some serious airplay on a big station.
One night, Jimmie suggested I bring my bass with me next time they played there. I was in shock. Actually, what was shocking was that this band of extreme talent only filled half the room of a dozen tables. We sat maybe 6’ from the bandstand. And would kibitz with the band between songs. We turned into good natured hecklers. Sometimes, Manzarek would join us at our table and heckle too. And Vaughan would make “Doors” cracks. We drank, fed our heads, and laughed a lot.
The very next time we visited the club, I brought my 1980 Schecter fretless bass. I studied some of their songs at home so I wouldn’t make an ass of myself. I was ready.
Sure as shit, the boys asked me up to jam on their fourth set when there was basically no one left in the club. I got to play 4 songs with them and did OK. No clams. It was disconcerting having the legendary Ray Manzarek watching you play though.
After the gig, the band sat at our table, with Manzarek, and shot the shit while the roadies packed their gear. We sat there until 5am. These boys were hard drinking fellas. No way could I keep up with them. I had to do a fair amount of toot to stay conscious…which I spread around the table….in fact, everyone shared their stashes. So we talked all over each other and laughed all night…of course, with the club closed, out came the herb. So it was crazy nuts.
Jimmie told stories about his brother. It was about 8 years later that Stevie died. Ray told stories about The Doors that had us all rapt with wonder….
Jimmie told us how a roadie would super glue the tips of Stevie’s fingers back on during concerts. None of us could fathom that and wondered if he was pulling our leg.
The night ended and it wasn’t til that afternoon, that I was calm enough to go to bed. Marshall and I continued to visit that club but I never took my bass back. I figured it would be presumptuous of me to bring it without being asked.
The Thunderbirds disappeared into the night playing much bigger gigs…but Ray Manzarek was always there. We eventually began to feel sorry for him. He always seemed to be sad. He took a big fall from grace from the 1960’s to the 1980’s. He got involved in the L.A. punk scene producing and managing….but a far cry from being a huge rock star.
Yeah, doing the drugs was not a good idea but when you are young, you feel immortal. Plus if you were an adult in the early 80’s, you did coke. Unfortunately, I lost friends to that devilish drug over the years who didn’t know when to stop. You can’t do that shit when you are in your 50’s. You die.
But I was smart about it. In 1984, I met the love of my life while on tour, married her, and gave up full time music and all the drugs that went with the lifestyle. Went back to work making a decent buck and lived happily ever after.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS