Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan (Condega, Jalapa, Ometepe)
Size: 6 x 52
Humidor Time: 4 Weeks
Smoked prior to review: 1
Today we take a look at the Ohana Pulse Habano.
Debuted at the 2016 IPCPR trade show.
Released August, 2016
Factory: Tabacalera New Order of the Ages (Noel Rojas)
Only 2,500 of each size were produced but Ohana promises that both the Habano and Maduro will become regular production cigars.
Ohana Cigars’ previous blends are Ohana M13, First Generation Line, and Friends and Family Line.
SIZES AND PRICES:
Robusto 5 x 50 $8.50
Toro 6 x 52 $9.50
Even though most of the first 5000 sticks are sold out, Cigar Federation still carries them.
Nice looking stick with a seamless wrapper. It has an oily chocolate/coffee colored wrapper inside. With a lot of sunlight, the toothiness and color becomes very oily. While changing the color to a crimson/orange/brown.
A couple veins run up and down the length but don’t disrupt the flow of the good looks.
There is a nicely applied pigtail mounted on triple caps. And a closed foot…my nemesis in cigar smoking. Rather than cause fireworks when lighting it, I generally clip if off before putting torch to foot.
The cigar is jammed to the gills with tobacco. Not a single soft spot.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell sweet floral notes, caramel, dark chocolate, espresso, healthy dose of cedar, and a pokey red pepper.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell a wallop of red pepper…here come the sneezes…strong espresso, chocolate, floral notes, fruity sweetness, smoked almonds, cedar, and orange zest.
The cold draw presents flavors of an array of malts, chocolate, potent red pepper, almonds, citrus, coffee, cream, and cedar.
The Ohana Pulse Habano does what I expect it to do; and that is start off with a pepper bomb. A pot full of red pepper.
The draw is super smooth despite the stick being so fully packed.
The char line begins impressively with a sharp burn.
Flavors described in the aroma section come to fruition as I puff away. It is pretty malt heavy.
Being out of the loop during the crucial moments leading up to, and including, the IPCPR trade show left me in the dark about a bunch of new blends; including the Ohana Pulse Habano. I didn’t know it existed til a reader sent me a couple sticks.
Cigar Federation is selling the Ohana Pulse Habano at full MSRP. Of course, if you are a member, you do get a 10% discount.
Strength has quickly juxtaposed to medium/full in just the first inch of the cigar.
I get my Nicotine Prevention Crash Helmet from the closet and am ready to adorn it as the cigar becomes stronger. Or I could just get my cat to lie next to my chair. He would be a nice cushion should I pass out. Don’t contact PETA right away. I had custom made shoulder pads, thigh and knee pads, and a jockstrap manufactured for him. Since he still has his front claws, it is a bit of a nasty situation getting him dressed. Fentanyl seems to work best to sedate him while I dress him. I don’t like that he humps my leg when he wakes up though. Didn’t know cats could do this.
The Ohana Pulse Habano is a slow roll. No rush. It allows one to savor the myriad of flavors exhibited with each puff.
With 1-1/2” burned, the blend exhibits some nice complexity. The spiciness is still at a solid 8.
Creaminess appears for the first time smoothing out the edges of other flavors.
It really shines a spotlight on the coffee and chocolate notes.
Smoke pours like a house ‘afire. My cat, Sammy, sits in front of me on top of my jewelry work bench which is about 4+ feet tall. The first cat we’ve owned in over 30 years that seems to like the sweet stench of cigar smoke.
I wanted to name him the Yiddish version of Sammy: Shmuel. But then we worried about bigotry and anti-Semitism from the neighbor cats.
I’ve got to try the other three blends from Ohana Cigars. I am totally pleased with the Pulse Habano. The maduro version too.
The sweet spot is upon me as I near the start of the second third.
Smoke time is 40 minutes.
The Ohana Pulse Habano is delicious. While being a strong blend it is as smooth as a baby’s bottom. I know. I have a baby’s bottom.
Here they are: Creaminess, malts, spice, chocolate, orange zest, chocolate, smoky almonds, cedar, green vegetal notes, and summer fruit.
Construction is nicely done. No issues. And the char line remains in pretty good shape not requiring touch ups.
I don’t retrohale any longer because it just seers my nostrils.
I could smoke this blend all day long.
Charlotte and I went to our first movie since moving to Milwaukee in 2008. Yeah, I know… are old people stuck in our ways.
We went to the IMAX version of “Deepwater Horizon.” Holy crap it was loud! And the last half of the movie is one gigantic explosion after another. But one walks away from the flick feeling confident that you now know what it is like to be on an exploding oil rig.
To calm down, when we got home, we watched a marathon of “Bridget Jones” films. I feel asleep during the opening credits.
Godamm the Pusherman! The Ohana Pulse Habano is a spectacular blend in my book. Nothing beats the first cigar of the day. And add to that it is a great blend, well my lovelies, this makes for a very fun morning.
Uh-oh. Nicotine is now creeping in and I still have 3-3/4” to go. Sonovabitch. On comes the NP helmet. I dress the cat as a backup.
Now I really want to experience the Maduro and the other three blends. The Familia Rodriguez Tobacos is the manufacturer. Never heard of them before. Which means nothing coming from an idiot with early onset of dementia. The owners are Ryan and Frank Rodriguez. I need to look into these gentlemen’s backgrounds because I am duly impressed with their talents.
Speaking of the brain fog I endure every day, I’ve found that forcing myself to write every day is helping a lot. It’s coming back to me…slowly but surely. Writing is a great brain puzzle. Although, Charlotte gets really pissed off at me when I forget her name.
The complexity has doubled down. It is screaming laughter. Flavors are now a roulette wheel of intensity. Constantly spinning creating a new experience with each puff.
Ahhh…The Byrds’ “So You Want To Be A Rock’n’Roll Star is playing on the cable TV classic rock channel. I so loved the Byrds back in the 60’s. I considered them the American Beatles. I have a great story about hanging with them back stage during a concert, at their peak, at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, Ca. Will have to drudge it up for another review.
The orange zest is flying high. The smoky almonds are its wingman. The creaminess and malts are stupefying. Two elements combine to become mocha java. Blissful.
The tobacco must be really aged to produce such results after only a month of humidor time.
It’s taken an hour and 10 minutes to get to the halfway point.
I’m now swimming in a sea of swarming simbas. All writers should practice alliteration.
The sweet fruitiness manifests itself into varieties of nectarines, plums, and raisins.
There is a mild sweet cornbread element that comes out of left field. Buttery.
After my first cigar of the day, on a fresh palate, I am no longer able to discern the amazing subtleties of a great blend. Maybe I should take an hour nap between sticks.
Strength is approaching full body.
I’ve been writing for 2-1/2 hours now. The Ohana Pulse Habano slow roll really promulgates the ability to truly savor flavors and character.
I am allowed the same intense experience as I would if I was smoking the smaller Corona Gorda. My favorite size. It is rare to find that kind of intensity in a much bigger stick.
I am getting a touch of bitterness now. Nicht gut.
Taking two years of German in high school, I learned the most important phrase any Jew, like me, should know: Nicht schiessen! (Don’t shoot)
Having married a German national, it is a term I use a lot. After we married in 1985, Charlotte made me walk around in jack boots prior to her allowing me to have sex with her. Thankfully, the novelty wore off.
The bitterness begins to dissipate. Had it continued, it would have been a bummer of major proportions.
Smoke time is one hour 35 minutes.
The Ohana Pulse Habano blend is one that many less experienced blenders should aspire to.
This has been a great ride. There has been no fault line in the entire smoke. It is consistent and interesting. Flavors never stop being abundant. Complexity reaches new heights as the stick burns down. Transitions are always in flux.
I am a cigar snob. And I don’t suffer foolish cigar blends. A curse and a blessing all at the same time.
The Ohana folks have not said when this blend will make it back to regular production so I insist you head over to Cigar Federation before they run out of the original run.
The red pepper makes a huge surge with only 1-1/2” to go. My lips are burning from the heat of the spice. I like that.
The Ohana Pulse Habano finishes without a hint of harshness or the momentary bitterness. It remained smooth throughout.
I read a reviewer’s site I had never read before. He puts down some rules about what a review should be. The one that struck me is that it should never exceed 150 words. Oops. I failed that regulation.
Final smoke time is two hours ten minutes. Whew.
And now for something completely different:
I’ve written a lot about my relationship with R & R Hall of Fame drummer, Hal Blaine. And here is some more.
As a young album-buying teen, I’d lie on my bed and listen to 60’s rock; while reading the liner notes and always saw Hal as the drummer. The L.A. Wrecking Crew played on a massive number of hit acts.
Our close relationship lasted 4 years. Then I screwed it up. Sort of. I will explain later.
Hal was going through his third divorce. I believe he was in his early/mid 50’s in the early 1980’s. He was thrown out of his Beverly Hills mansion and found himself living on his boat in Marina Del Rey.
Hal invited me to lunch on his yacht. This was my first time…..he also invited some of his other session player friends. Unfortunately, 30+ years after the fact, their names escape me.
Hal is a Jew like me. His real name is Harold Simon Belsky.
So, by coincidence or otherwise, the players at the luncheon were all nice Jewish boys. This gave Hal the excuse to order from Canter’s Deli on Fairfax Ave in West L.A. I grew up eating there and it was the best deli in L.A. County. They had the best matzoh ball soup and chopped liver sandwiches.
We were served a smorgasbord of Jewish comfort food. Now, I live in Milwaukee where there is not a single decent Jewish deli. Well…not one that should be allowed to call itself Jewish. All crap. I have to go to Chicago to indulge…90 miles away. Just like Cuba and Florida.
We lit up a doob, and passed it around, before we ate. And then road stories started. I was amongst the big league of L.A. musicians. So all I did was listen with rapt amusement.
I was such a fanboy that listening to my better’s stories thrilled me and I could listen to them all day long and keep my mouth shut. Then Hal told them I played with Stew Copeland of The Police. Back then, The Police were at their peak and I had only exited England 6 years prior.
The direction of questions came my way when they heard that. I tried to tell them road stories but I was stopped in my tracks. All these guys lived the exact same experiences, for a lot longer than me, and they didn’t need them repeated from a young upstart like me. So I shut up and continued to listen.
My telling of road stories was not usually appreciated by my own peers. There is no shortage of musicians that never got a serious break, and as a result, became jealous and resentful….and just turned me off.
One of Hal’s guests asked if we wanted to see his new home studio?
We were stuffed to the gills with some of the heaviest food on the planet. And Hal had 10-20 years on the rest of us. Dessert was brought out…Colombian marching powder. Wham! I was no longer lethargic…even though my stomach was bloated.
Off we went. This guy owned a real studio…or should I say: STUDIO!!
It was in the Hollywood Hills surrounded by homes of musicians and movie stars. The view was to die for.
To make a long story short, we all sat down and grabbed an instrument. Luckily, I was the only bassist. I have always been intimidated when faced with another bassist in a jam session. I guess I have a real insecurity complex. Didn’t matter if I was better or worse than the guy, I was nervous about my playing.
We started jamming on “Sugar, Sugar,” by the Archies. No shit. We were all high and laughing hysterically. One of the guys had actually played on the record. There was no Archies. Totally a conglomeration of studio cats.
We played for about an hour. And then…in walked Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley…The Righteous Brothers. Hal had called them from his car phone on the way to the studio.
I almost shat myself. I had met them once before when I interviewed them for my PBS TV show in 1982. But I never hung out with them.
The drummer had lit up another doob and Bill walked over and took it from him. And then a huge smile crossed his face. After a few drags, he handed it to Bobby.
I knew what was coming and I did not know a single song in their catalog. Oh fuck me! I had never been in a band that could do the incredible harmonies of these two guys.
I took the studio owner aside and asked if he had one of those giant music books with 1000 songs in them? He did and it had all the boys’ songs. Whew.
Unfortunately, it was a piano book with the bass lines for the left hand of the piano…not real notes for the bassist. Luckily, there were guitar chords called out on every bar, so I did some wood shedding when we began to play. A couple songs had iconic bass lines but the keys player saw my distress and played them along with me so I could get them right.
Bobby and Bill made it absolutely clear that no recording would go on. They were very stern about this. They didn’t want any bootlegs showing up. I thought that here was my only chance to play with these guys and I’d have no record of it…so to speak.
The first hour, we jammed on a bunch of R & B tunes that everyone knew. They said they were in no hurry to sing their songs. And besides, they said they weren’t being paid to do so.
Little Latin Lupe Lu was a mind fuck of an experience. This was the most enjoyable song of the jam session. It lasted at least 30 minutes. It took off in a million directions.
And then the sun set around 8pm on this California summer day. And guys were talking about getting home before their wives beat them senseless. That was OK. We had played for 5 hours. And I was ragged from the adrenaline.
Hal drove us back to his boat, in his Rolls Royce, where our cars were parked.
A few months later, Hal called me and gave me Bill’s phone number. Their bass player was sick and couldn’t play Friday and Saturday at the Righteous Brothers own club in Orange County. Been there many times and once in a while, they showed up to perform.
I called Bill and he asked me if I wanted the gig?
“You know our songs, right?”
Times were arranged and for two glorious nights, I was in the Righteous Brother’s Band. I told all of my friends but only a few came. Trying to get friends to come to your gig was like pulling teeth.
Being on stage with Bill and Bobby was a rush of the highest order to just being able to play with these legends. And again, no recording. I might as well have been invisible on stage. Every person’s attention was squarely on Bill and Bobby. I never saw anyone look over at me even though I thought I was playing very well. None of the other players got glances either.
Most of my childhood friends were wannabe musicians that never really made it. And they were terribly jealous of what I had accomplished. So that was probably the real reason they didn’t come to see me play with The Righteous Brothers. I knew I was lucky. But I fought for those opportunities and they didn’t.
I never understood their attitude. I loved to tell the road stories and I could see their eyes roll. They weren’t like me.
I remember being very sad, when in 2003, Bobby died of a heart attack brought on by cocaine at the age of 63.
OK. Here is how I screwed up my relationship with Hal.
I was writing a series of articles for a big underground newspaper. The basis of the content was to show famous musicians and their insecurities even though they had “made” it. I got some great stuff and everyone liked talking to me.
I finally convinced Hal to sit down with me. We sat on his yacht, with a tape recorder, and me taking notes and reading the prepared questions.
Hal was brilliant. He went above and beyond telling me about the things he still worried about even though this man was at the top of his game and a living legend. And filthy rich.
He told me several fascinating things…one was that he still got “snow blind fever.” This was when he looked at his date book and saw a week with no bookings. He would freak.
Needless to say, I asked if I could print everything he told me. He agreed.
When the story came out in the paper, I sent him some copies.
I didn’t hear from him. A week passed and I called him.
Now from a man I never once heard swear, he said to me: “Well Kohn, you didn’t fuck up everything!!”
I basically wrote a rave piece on him and all he could do was focus on the very small things that the interview arc was about: Famous musicians’ worries. I don’t know if he was getting senile for not remembering the point of the story or what?
He never spoke to me again. I’ve tried contacting him. Nothing.
I had no idea how thin skinned this man was.
Typical. I never learned my lesson on the music business. That is….never trust anyone and everything comes to an end. You are the toilet bowl and there is a long line of assholes willing and ready to dump on you to make themselves feel better.
What I did learn, in my years trying to endure the big time music industry, is this:
“Every story has an end, but in life, every end is just a new beginning.”
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS
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