Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Size: 5 x 48 or 50 (Guessing on the ring gauge) Box Pressed Robusto
Humidor time: 5 months
Number of cigars smoked prior to review: 0
Today we take a look at the Chocolate Porter by Ezra Zion Cigar Cigar Co.
Thanks to Miguel Castro for the sticks. Miguel is a good friend. We have a lot in common and look at life in a similar fashion. Thing is…he is the bastard child of Fidel Castro and Charo. I have forgiven him for this.
I’m sure many wonder why I would review a back ordered cigar that might just never be available again. One reason…the legacy of EZ blends. They have a huge body of work but most reviewers ignore the limited production blends. So someone has to document their existence. If a cigar smoker is alone in the forest does anyone know if he enjoyed the cigar?
From the Ezra Zion Cigar web site:
“The story goes…last year we visited a legit gastropub in PA and were served the best porter we’ve ever tasted. First sip we immediately knew that we needed to create a cigar that tasted like this.
“Well, here it is!
“Chocolate Porter is layered with a very complex and decadent profile. All the flavors are deep and roasty. Now remember, it’s not a stout, it’s a Porter. So there’s not a bunch of brutally strong tobacco that will nuke your palate. Chocolate Porter is all about nuance and balance.
“The vintage San Andres maduro wrapper sets the stage for this blend with a sultry caramel malt character that only emerges after years of aging.
“At first light flavors of chocolate malts, earth, roasted grain greet the palate. Hops and sweet aromatics compliment the core flavors. An oak barrel flavor balances the mix. The retrohale is warm with a cinnamon burn.
“Cacao nibs and cream make an appearance a few puffs in adding to the chocolate character. Vanilla bean sweetness lingers on the palate turning into caramel as the cigar warms up.
“Blasts of coffee bean, black pepper, black licorice, and floral notes are added to the mix as the cigar progresses.
“Strength is medium. Body is full. Completely satisfying!
“If you are a beer drinker, you may find this to be the best cigar you’ve ever paired with it!”
This is a beautiful cigar. No seams. Few veins. An oily, perfect coffee bean wrapper…slightly mottled.
A very firm cigar. No soft spots. The triple cap is artwork.
Five months has squished the box press a bit.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell dark chocolate, spice, peaches, coffee, cedar, dried fruit, steak sauce, and light cream.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell fresh peaches, black pepper, chocolate, fried potatoes, coffee, cedar, earthwoodleather, dried fruit, and steak sauce.
The cold draw presents flavors of pumpkin spice, chocolate, black pepper, espresso, dried fruit, fried potatoes, cedar, and fresh fruit.
For such a packed cigar, the draw is mellifluous.
Big buds of black pepper, luscious creaminess, milk chocolate, malts, nuts, fruit, and steak sauce.
As in most EZ blends, a good start. The long duration of humidor time didn’t hurt.
Strength is medium body.
And the Chocolate Porter is in the less than 1% of box pressed sticks I’ve smoked that seems to have no grudge against me. It is a nice even burn. I have no idea what box pressed cigars have against me. Never met one whose burn line didn’t anger me.
Not even half an inch in, and complexity raises its head. Transitions are starting their new rotation. Finish gets longer with each puff.
So early and yet I am finding a perfect balance. Everything feels scripted like a great screen writer or a great director or an orchestra leader.
The EZ site doesn’t say how many were available when it was released but I’m guessing it was in the 500-1000 range.
The sweetness of the dried and fresh fruit are just behind the pepper in leading the pack.
Crazy weather here in SE Wisconsin. Going up to 66° today. On Saturday, 24° with snow flurries…the first of the season. Time to buy new testicle warmers. Never buy the one with batteries. If you’ve never had your testes shocked from errant D batteries, I can tell you it scars you for life. Now that I’m an old man, and things have slippage, I just buy women’s panty hose and they fit fine over the protected area.
I think the 5 month duration of aging in Miguel’s humidor may have taken some of the strength out of the blend. Will know better by the second half.
The Chocolate Porter became so complex so fast that it scrambled the menu of flavors so that it is now more of a sum of its parts as opposed to strong individual flavors.
I never got any floral notes on the aroma or taste. An inch in, I do get the black licorice, vanilla, caramel, and cinnamon notes on the palate.
The malts are swinging hard for the fences.
The nature of the construction is strong. Beautiful draw without impediments of any sort. A nice even char line. Well done Kyle and Chris.
The pepper is like being on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. One moment, it is strong black pepper and the next it transitions to raging red pepper. The spiciness lingers in the back of my throat. That’s pretty cool.
On the rare occasions I get EZ blends to smoke, I gobble them up without an extended amount of humidor time. This is the first time, I believe, that I’ve reviewed an EZ with this much rest. A real treat.
There is some sort of liquor element. Whether it is beer or spirits…I can’t tell. I really never took up drinking. So I don’t have a good grasp of the flavors available in booze.
It must be a DNA thing. My dad didn’t drink but kept a well-stocked bar for friends. Grandpa Kohn owned a bar in Cleveland. He drank exactly the same thing every day of his life. Before lunch, he had a single Tom Collins. Before dinner, he had two. And that was it. He did so well with his saloon and his market investments, he was able to retire comfortably at age 55. And he lived another 28 years.
Smoke time is 25 minutes.
Nice slow roll to this blend.
Chocolate is heading towards the front of the pack with malt in its wake.
I believe I’ve hit the list of all the major flavors. Yet, the Chocolate Porter depends more on its character of aging, fine tobacco, construction and flavors to round out this blend than by flavors alone.
The Band is playing on the music channel. It is hard to believe that out of the five members, only two survive. Now that would have been one helluva reunion concert.
Here they are to the best of my recollection: Chocolate, pepper, malt, extreme creaminess, licorice, hot cinnamon, vanilla, cedar, coffee, dried fruit, steak sauce, and almonds.
Holy crap. The Chocolate Porter transfers to a new plane of existence.
This is one intense blend.
Strength moves to medium/full. Now it has that kick in the arse I like so much.
I’ve always made it clear that when I write a review for a manufacturer or online store, I keep the review civil. No lude rock n roll stories. Cursing is at a minimum.
But since the Chocolate Porter is on Miguel’s dime, I write what I want. Hence, an after review ditty.
Finish is long and tasty.
I read comments in more than one cigar forum in which members say I ramble on too much.
Very true. I have a motor mouth.
Halfway point. Smoke time is 40 minutes.
The 5 months of rest has really smoothed out the rough edges of this blend; as opposed to smoking it after just a few weeks.
Construction is good. Not a single touch up to the char line required.
Now I didn’t say I never enjoyed a beer now and then. My daughter runs a couple of bars and I like to visit on the weekend and smoke a cigar with a good beer. So I’m not bereft of the flavors a fine beer.
Finally, I taste a very malty beer-like flavor. I couldn’t tell you the difference between a Porter or an Abbey Ale. My palate is lousy when it comes to alcohol.
Black pepper seems to make a final transition to spicy cinnamon. The chocolate malt and the creaminess are perfect. The licorice is front and center now.
The salted nuts make a nice counterpoint to the above flavors. Sweetness seems to come from a few sources: dried fruits, caramel, and steak sauce.
Uh-oh. Nicotine arrives on the 3:10 from Yuma.
Strength is a potent medium/full.
I have to say it no matter how many readers make fun of me…the Chocolate Porter has proven itself to be a near perfect blend…for my tastes naturally. I’m an EZ junkie. I’ve never seen a cigar manufacturer show the consistency for excellent blends like this brand.
Smoke time is 55 minutes.
The Chocolate Porter is cooking now. A total transformation has occurred since the first few puffs. The character of the blend has grown, inch by inch, into a substantive killer.
I intend to adopt Miguel Castro; even though Charo is his mother. Coochie, Coochie.
Black pepper returns to give a helping hand to the spicy cinnamon. The creaminess actually does have that sweet icing element described in EZ’s description of the blend.
Once again, I’m torn. The Chocolate Porter deserves to be in my top 25 cigar list of 2016 but it was such a limited run that I don’t know if it is fair to readers to list a cigar they cannot buy. I did this last year hoping that the two EZ blends on the list would reappear. They did.
I haven’t retrohaled in some time…made the sinus crispy. So I stopped.
For fun, I retrohale the Chocolate Porter and the flavors are so intense that my heart skips a beat. Not good as I had a heart attack in April. The docs told me to stop smoking cigars. I just laughed. One doc that suggested this was overweight and I recommended that he push himself away from the dinner table more often. He didn’t like that. You know…the God Complex doesn’t do well with criticism.
The Chocolate Porter ends beautifully. Smooth as hell. Complex. An incredible co-mixing of flavors and a strong character that worked like clockwork.
A very enjoyable cigar experience.
Final smoke time is one hour 20 minutes.
And now for something completely different:
This old story popped up in readers’ search for an inexpensive catalog cigar I reviewed about 3 years ago.
It was the first time I took acid. 1973. I was 23.
A good friend, and band mate Mike Cook, now passed, came over with some blotter and we decided to make the day of it.
Two friends and I had rented a house in Santa Ana, Ca. They were gone for the day…so just me and Mike.
We had recently moved into the house less than a month earlier. And while putting the very first thing into the rented moving truck, I had an accident and broke my wrist. My 10 speed bike I’d had from the age of 13 did me in.
I took a flying leap trying to drive the bike up the ramp and just as I got to the top, I ran out of steam and fell sideways to the ground, four feet below. My feet were in the rat traps so the only thing I could use to break my fall was my right arm. Snap!
A whole bunch of friends had accepted our invitation to help all us move from our 3 different abodes.
I walked back into the apartment where everyone was drinking and smoking joints and I said, “I think I broke my arm.”
My oldest buddy, Skip, grabbed it…looked at it and said I was fine. He now makes antibiotics for farm animals.
That day was horrendous. It ended up being a 15 hour move. And to make things much worse, no one knew how to drive a stick on that big truck but me. The stick seemed like it was 6 feet tall. And each time I had to use it, I screamed out in pain.
On the way back from Riverside (where the third friend was moving from), one of the guys said he would drive the truck. Why he let me drive that whole time in so much pain is beyond me.
Mike and I were in the back with the door closed. It was pitch black. And the pain was making me crazy. It had now been 12 hours since I heard my wrist snap.
Mike told me to take a hit of hash, which I did. Then the pain went from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds.
That night, we partied in the new place and everyone had to put their two cents in by grabbing my arm, while I screamed, and told me I was OK.
Two days later, on Monday, I went to an orthopod and all he did was look at it as he passed me in the hall and told me it was broken. But an X-ray was in order.
Anyway, back to the acid story.
Mike handed me the little piece of blotter paper and we sat on the living room floor and listened to records and read our Hippie counter culture comics.
45 minutes later, the acid hit me. Whoa. You cannot explain what taking acid is like to someone who has never taken it. Like Jimi said, “Are You Experienced?”
Mike got real paranoid and did a lot of stupid things.
Two things stand out in my memory.
The first being that Mike told me he was worried that I would hit myself in the head with my cast and split my head in two. So he spent a lot of time holding my arm to make sure that didn’t happen. I kept saying, “OW!”…a lot.
The second was that a song came on the radio called “Frankenstein” by the Edgar Winter Band. It was an instrumental. A synthesizer part came on and we began to freak so Mike yelled at me to turn the radio off.
I crawled over to the radio and it might as well have been the dashboard on the NASA shuttle. I had no idea how to do anything. All those knobs confused me so we had to leave it on.
That evening, friends stopped by and one took me for a ride in his new sports car. I was still frying and he knew it so he drove like a maniac scaring the shit out of me.
That’s the nice thing about friends. They are always there to take advantage of your situation.
Late that night, the stuff wore off and the hallucinations stopped. I was a limp noodle.
I took it another time when we went to Disneyland. That was a huge mistake. Standing in those long lines; frying. It felt like everyone in line knew what was going on.
And the third, and last time, I took acid was on my 25th birthday in London. It was the perfect trip and around a dozen or so of my musical friends took it with me. It was a great night and I made the decision to never take it again. Go out on a good experience.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS