Diesel Sideshow Sampler – “Pin Head” | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Mexican San Andrés
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran
Size: 5 x 54 “Pin Head”
Body: Full
Price: $7.00 +/-
Humidor time: 10 months
Number of cigars smoked prior to review: 2


Photos courtesy of Cigars International:


I did remove all the cat hairs from the cigar…in case you were laughing at me.

Today we take a look at the Pin Head from the Diesel Sideshow Sampler.
Thanks to Miguel Castro for the sticks.

Background for the Diesel Unlimited is unnecessary.
A 7 count box of multi shaped Diesel vitolas for $50 on the CI Conglomerate.
From the CI web site:
“…a treasure trove of the original Diesel Unlimited (Natural and Maduro) blend in freak sizes.”

I reviewed the original Diesel Unlimited Maduro back in 2014. At the time, it was no secret that AJ Fernandez was the blender. I haven’t seen that little bit of info as part of the cigar blend’s description since. I have no idea if he is still the blender. I would guess not at this point…but I could be wrong.

I chose the most solid looking cigar of the few sticks Miguel sent me for review.
I can’t decide if it looks more like a short wicked stick of dynamite or a tampon.
The Pin Head is a solid stick. Evenly filled throughout.

The oily wrapper is the color of dark chocolate or coffee. Seams are tight. Lots of small veins permeate the cigar’s length.
The triple cap, with the pig tail, is beautifully articulated for such an inexpensive cigar.
There is a bit of toothiness.

1 – Diesel Frog Boy (4.5” x 60)
1 – Diesel Pin Head (5” x 54)
1 – Diesel Two-Headed Nightingale (6” x 60)
1 – Diesel Bearded Lady (6” x 46)
1 – Diesel Elephant Man (6” x 52)
1 – Diesel Bohemian Twins (7” x 38)
1 – Diesel Strong Man (7” x 58)

From the shaft, I smell floral notes, dark chocolate, spice, cedar, coffee, and cinnamon.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell dark cocoa, very potent red pepper, cream, coffee, cedar, barnyard, and cinnamon.

The cold draw presents flavors of malt, creaminess, chocolate, cedar, black licorice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and toasted bread.

Big blast of red pepper. Followed by some sweetness, chocolate, malt, creaminess, and toast.

The thing about AJ cigars…in case they are using his blend, is that most don’t withstand the test of time. If you can get a year of humidor time from his cigars and they still taste like they did at 3-5 months, you’re lucky. In fact, most catalog cigars lose the battle with too much humidor time. They seem to peak around those 3-5 months and then begin their slide towards mediocrity. Of course, there are many exceptions. But after spending decades of having the dough to buy lots of cigars; storing them for extended times, I discovered that most lost that lovin’ feelin’.

So let’s see if this faux AJ blend gets through the process and still impresses.

The draw is spot on. I am inundated by smoke and it fills the room.
The creaminess, malt, spice and chocolate are exceptional at this early stage. Will it continue or will it peter out? Queries akin to the questions about the beginning of the universe.

I read my 2014 review and was not impressed with this cigar. I noted that this cigar needed a lot of humidor time. I had given it 3 months rest and felt as though it needed much more than that. I also noted that the blend was very inconsistent without much complexity.

Based on my old review, I am discovering that the 2016 version is much better. The prices haven’t changed and remain inexpensive.
The char line continues on its path to impress.


I must admit I’m surprised. At what would normally be a $4 cigar in the Robusto size, tastes very good. Much better than the one in the two year old review.
I may just take back everything I said about AJ and humidor time.

Size matters. Miguel sent me 4 shapes, I believe. And they were all decent. Each shape molded the flavor profile differently. The Pin Head was the right choice for a review because it was the best rolled cigar of the bunch. Fate stepped in and lent a helping hand.

Strength started out at medium but has reached medium/full quite quickly.

It just dawned on me that the length of the cigar included the 5/8” length of pig tail…leaving the cigar’s actual length at 4-3/8”.

Flavors are surprisingly excellent. Complexity is not being shy. The stick has a nice long finish. And transitions occur in a timely fashion. So far, so good.

The Pin Head is friggin delicious. You can still buy Diesel Sideshow Sampler. I recommend the sampler as something special. There is excellent rolling happening in this variety.

Smoke time is 25 minutes.
The foot hasn’t needed a single touch up.

Here they are in their expanded, and complex, version: Creaminess, spice, chocolate, espresso, black licorice, black cherries, cedar, malts, nuts, graham cracker, and a slightly smoked meat element.

I haven’t smoked a regular Diesel Unlimited Maduro since its 2014 review because the cigar disappointed. Methinks I should revisit this blend. The price is right. But it’s the damn humidor time coming from Old School blending techniques that make it more of a long time investment as opposed to being able to smoke it a month later.

I really, really hate declaring this…but the Pin Head is approaching not only sweet spot status but may open the door to flavor bomb. Of course, it may have taken 6-8 months to get here.


The wrapper has cracked. (Out comes the cigar glue) Unfortunately, these sticks were at the bottom of Miguel’s humidor for the longest time. And it is a little on the dry side. The others were as well. I’ve tried to re-humidify them over time but it is what it is. Regardless, it is a winner in the taste department.

Halfway point.
Smoke time is 35 minutes.

Great knock around cigar. At the regular price of $4, you can smoke these all day long…6-8 months from now.
I am re-thinking my assessment of the whole Diesel line. Never cared for them too much because I didn’t allow them enough rest. Simple. Problem solved.

The pepper sashays from red to black. And makes a huge leap in the spicy arena.
Strength hits full body. The extended humidor time has created a beautifully smooth blend regardless of the blend’s power.
The cigar glue has done its job. All is well.
The $4 blend has won me over.


The extra humidor time has pulled the carpet out from underneath my arrogance. There are countless $10 cigars that don’t come close to the flavor profile, character, and complexity that the Pin Head brings to the table.
Not to mention the near perfect construction. The wrapper incident is not the roller’s fault. The char line has behaved professionally.

Smoke time is 45 minutes.
I’m having a blast here.

The strength increases to full body+. A small touch of nicotine enters but seems manageable.
Caramel, unidentifiable sweet elements, dried fruit, chocolate doughnut, cinnamon toast, and toasted sesame seeds are unveiled at this point.

I have one stick left. The Diesel Strong Man…7 x 58. That is a day’s excursion.


OK. It is an official flavor bomb. No shit. I am much more careful about this label now as I overused it but there is no other way to describe this delicious blend. Shame about the required humidor time.


If the Strong Man tastes anything like the Pin Head, I could have enjoyed a 17 hour review of this enormous tree limb of a stick.
The nicotine disappears. Whaat?
Sweet spot 2.0. The Pin Head is such a joy to smoke.
I’m smoking the last 1-1/2” as slowly as I can. Not a hint of harshness or bitterness. Sweet to the end.
This was an unexpected treat.
Final smoke time was one hour 5 minutes.


NOTE: 12-4-2016
Do not buy this sampler!!!
A friend sent me a new box of these cigars. They are just as dried out as the year old sticks that Miguel sent me. CI is pulling a ripoff scam by selling old and tasteless and dried out cigars.

And now for something completely different:

Are you ready for Thanksgiving? Spending it with your extended family? Or a small dinner with close family?
For us, it will be just me, Charlotte, and Katie. Unfortunately, Katie’s husband, Hawk is on duty as a Milwaukee cop. The poor guy has to work on every holiday.

It is the first time in years; we’ve been able to do it as a family on the exact day. Katie has always been required to work. First as an EMT and then a prison guard.

I’m doing the cooking. Because my mom was so ill early in my life, I learned to feed myself and discovered I enjoyed the process.
Thank goodness because Charlotte can fry an egg. That’s it.

I got a grocery gift card from Jewish Family Services so I’m able to make a great dinner for the three of us.

Starting with a 15lb Butterball.
In order of importance:
Potato latkes (A lot of work to make them nice and thin and crispy…hours…this is a nice change up from mashed potatoes.)
Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts
Honey Maple Roasted Carrots
Quinoa Salad With Roasted Squash, Dried Cranberries, and Pecans
Lettuce, Orange, and Pecan Salad
Holiday Dressing
And for dessert: Berries and homemade whipped cream

I wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving.

This is a stock photo:

OK. It’s now Thanksgiving night. Now…THESE are what latkes should look like…they’re perfect:








I nearly had to put a gun to Katie’s head to hold a cigar for their wedding pic:

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5 replies

  1. Happy THanksgiving Phil. It doesn’t matter the size of the group as long as there is love among you. Do you have a cook book coming out soon? Have you thought of doing food reviews? It’d be a change of direction. I definitely would read those reviews. But then to follow up with a great after dinner cigar. Your great palate would be able to discern the best smoke. Anyway, it was just a thought.
    From my wife Marty and I, wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving.
    Phil Matzelle

  2. Thank you Phillip.
    A great day to you and yours.

  3. Happy Turkey Day Phil…

    Long time reader and just wanted to say thanks for all great cigar reviews. There will be a big, empty hole in the world of cigars, without your amazing stories. You really do more for this hobby then is given credit sometimes.Thanks again for all your amazing reviews.


  4. Wow. Aaron, thank you my brother…

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