Flor de las Antillas Maduro | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Habano Sun Grown Oscuro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 5.625 x 46 Corona Gorda (Box Pressed)
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $6.70

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Today we take a look at the Flor de las Antillas Maduro.

BACKGROUND:
Released April, 2016
From the My Father’s Cigars web site:
“Originally released in 2012, the Flor de las Antillas was named after Cuba; the largest and most beautiful of the Greater Antilles islands. With artwork from the early 1900’s, the Garcia family once again honors THE ISLAND / THEIR BIRTHPLACE with this latest creation. This 3/4 to Full-Bodied blend is a perfect combination of Ecuadorian wrapper with Nicaraguan binders and fillers. The Habano sun grown Oscuro wrapper and the gentle box pressing give the cigar complexity and balance. The filler is a combination of tobaccos harvested from farms in La Estrella, La Bonita 1 and Las Marias, owned and operated by the Garcia Family. This cigar has an ideal combination of strength EXQUISITENESS / ELEGANCE / DELICACY, with notes of creamy leather and a sweet and salty finish that resounds on the palate, producing a beautiful white ash giving it a great finish.

SIZES AND PRICING:
Corona Gorda 5.625 x 46 $6.70
Petit Robusto 4.5 x 50 $6.65
Toro 6.0 x 52 $7.65
Toro Gordo 6.5 x 56 $9.25
Torpedo 6.125 x 52 $8.10

DESCRIPTION:
Nice looking cigar my friends. Goes beyond coffee bean or dark chocolate and is nearly charcoal black.
The box press is soft probably from handling and shipping. But the stick is solid without hard or soft spots. There is a tiny amount of gritty toothiness.
The triple cap is a tad bit sloppy but of no consequence.
I find the presentation of two cigar bands and a red ribbon footer spectacular. Beautiful.

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I can smell lovely dark cocoa, red pepper, cream, cedar, A-1 Sauce, dried fruit, cashews, and a slight touch of citrus.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell barnyard, dark chocolate, espresso, malts, creaminess, red pepper, steak sauce, citrus, black raisins, marzipan supplants the cashews, and heavy on the malts.

The cold draw presents flavors of dark chocolate…and I can actually taste fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate…this is a first for me…cedar, espresso, nuts, scorching red pepper, nutmeg, steak sauce, cedar, and malts.

FIRST THIRD:
The flavor profile immediately pops. There is an adult portion of piping red hot pepper, fruity, dark chocolate, espresso, cedar, nutmeg, Chocolate Rye malt, Crystal/Caramel malt, and Flaked Rye malt (See Malt Chart), and creaminess.
Now why can’t those $14 sticks start like this? Huh? Why?

Box pressed vitolas normally make me ashamed of myself because I can never control the burn line…but so far…the Flor de las Antillas Maduro is behaving like a champ. Or a trained chimp…either works for me this early in the morning.

The palate is a wonderful thing. I think it was Halfwheel that said he tasted “soggy French fries.” Now that’s a palate. I don’t taste that at all. But good for him for squinching his eyes better than me.

Strength hits a no nonsense strong medium on its way to making me pass out later in the cigar experience.

I picked the Corona Gorda to review. I have a Torpedo as well but it’s huge. And this stick is so solidly packed, that I didn’t want to make this a 4 hour review on my part.
The Corona Gorda size is my fave size. And this baby smokes long and cool…like CL Industries does…just before they lop off your head with a garrote.

How’s the weather where you are? It is a balmy 7° here in Milwaukee…flip flops and shorts weather compared to normal winters. This California boy ain’t shitting you when I say that. Normally, it’s -25° about now. Under those conditions, once returned from errands, you need a hair blower to get your testicles to separate from one of your legs…or both.

Creaminess kicks in. Transitions start. Complexity begins to dig its heels in.
Strength hits medium/full only 5/8” into the cigar. That’s right, this whole time, the cigar has only burned a tiny amount in 15 minutes.
I have a two parter story about my post Curved Air days and the wondrous drummer Stewart Copeland to finish today’s, and tomorrow’s, review.

3a

New elements: Cinnamon, lemon peel, other fruity components that aren’t quite ready to reveal themselves, and Courvoisier liqueur. Tangy.

I loved the original Flor de las Antillas natural but I believe the maduro surpasses it.

Ok…going deep…The blend has all the earmarks of a Pepin Garcia blend. I’m a fan of the master blender. But most blends are not flavor bombs. The Flor de las Antillas Maduro seems to have a chance at breaking on through to the other side. The depth of character shows up early. Flavors are wide ranging and get more palate involved with each puff. Transitions are increasing their intensity with every puff. And this early on, a surprising complexity.

Right now, at the way the blend is heading, I’d love to have a box of these. The Flor de las Antillas Maduro is so popular, it will be a while before it lands on Cbid. And then it will become war…with bidders running the tab over and above the actual cost. Idiots.

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is 35 minutes.
I taste cola now. (I’m sipping water). Then this bloody blend explodes into action. Full speed ahead, Mr. Roberts.

Holy shit. I can’t keep up with all of the delicacies slamming against my palate and my puny brain is having trouble interpreting them due to the hit and run activity.

Chocolate malted, creamy caramel, coffee mousse, heady red pepper, strong creaminess, herbal notes, marzipan, Courvoisier, raisins and dates, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cedar.

This is like a fancy $20 restaurant dessert.
The steak sauce and the strawberries were momentary and no longer exist in the blend’s universe.

4a

Mexican cocoa. I love that stuff. And it all came together in just the last few seconds.

Strength ain’t fooling around: Medium/full and climbing…but smooth as my tushy on a summer’s night.

As impressive as the Flor de las Antillas Maduro is, it is not a flavor bomb. I believe due to the individual majesty of each flavor point. The complexity is there but it hasn’t coalesced to the point of the parts equaling the whole. It will.

The long finish is stunning. I sit here smacking my Mick Jagger lips like a thirsty dog.

If you haven’t tried the Flor de las Antillas Maduro, it is an absolute must. Garcia hit the 10 ring with this blend.

Flavors show no letup in a consistent buildup of intensity; all the while showing its other side of subtlety and nuance.

I really slammed the San Cristobal Quintessence in my last review. What a pleasant surprise to have the opportunity to make an ass of myself raving about the Flor de las Antillas Maduro.

Damn. This is one spectacular blend. I read a review from a site everyone knows and he gave the blend a lowly 88. I know all palates are different but…c’mon.

And all for less than $7. Lol. The leaf stats don’t boast about having 13 different tobaccos or saying that the filler came from the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria…on a farm so secretive that they can only grow 4 tobacco plants each season.

The red pepper is firebombing my palate.

I reach the halfway point in a leisurely 50 minutes. A new record for a Corona Gorda.

I realize I have the bad habit of rambling when I love a cigar. My apologies. Send me your address and I will send you a bad check.

No new flavors but I don’t think there are any more to choose from.
We now have full strength, Houston.

5a

It is imperative that the Flor de las Antillas Maduro be your first cigar of the day.

I have never owned a bottle of white pepper and hence I never got it when other reviewers described that flavor. A reader solved that problem for me.

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Construction remains flawless with only minor touch ups required on the char line.

A potent mix of nuts move closer to the front of the line. Marzipan, hazelnuts, and peanuts.
The fruitiness diversifies into an array of unmistakable berries…blueberry, lingonberries, and boysenberries.

I can find nothing in the savory department. This is definitely a candy bar.

“Free Bird” is playing while I write this. Every blues band I ever played in never went without someone in the audience yelling out that song’s name while we were on stage.
Instead, we’d play “Sweet Home Chicago.”

I haven’t had this much time since the first time I dry humped a girl in drama class in 1965.

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After seeing what I looked like back then, I find it hard to believe any girl would let me get on top of her.

LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is one hour 20 minutes.

I would probably be here all day if I had chosen to review the torpedo. Not to mention the review would be 11,000 words long.

This is the price that I pay for reviewing in real time. Well, you end up paying for it too. My bad.
Strength is muy full++. Nicotine shows up and my head begins to spin. By the time I finish it will feel like I ate peyote.

This is the first time in quite a while that I’ve had virtually no problems with burn issues on a box pressed stick.
Ooh…I’m swirling now. I won’t recommend it for noobs as I don’t want to be responsible for their brain damage.
Have I mentioned that the draw is superlative? Well, it is.

6a

Transitions and complexity are incredible.

My birthday is coming up next week. I will be 82. Our wedding anniversary is only two days earlier so I always get screwed on presents.
(Just kidding about the age. I will be 68).

The nicotine is kicking my arse.

Have you noticed that I, not once, used the word “fuck” in the review. I’m having a religious experience and one must respect the Cosmic Muffin.

I normally list the flavor profile one more time at this point. But if I do, I will hear the scream of “Bullshit!” from certain readers.

Fuck it…here it is: Creaminess, spiciness, chocolate, malts, espresso, fruit, dried fruit, Courvoisier, nuts, cinnamon, herbal notes, cedar, nutmeg, and licorice.
Now you can yell Bullshit!

I get a huge rush of red pepper that singes my nose hair.
For my palate, the Flor de las Antillas Maduro, is a near perfect blend.

The stick finishes out smooth without a hint of harshness or bitterness. The cornucopia of flavors completely intact.
Thankfully, this is a regular production blend.
Final smoke time is one hour 40 minutes.

RATING: 95

And now for something completely different:
Part 1 – Enduring Stewart Copeland.

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I haven’t told this one in ages.

After Curved Air, I moved back to Long Beach. Things were not great for a couple of years. I should have stayed in Britain and toughed it out til the next big group needed a bassist. I was auditioning for several groups but we had no income…just the dough I had earned in CA.

But I would have absolutely needed to send the girlfriend and her 5 year old home. I had to make a choice.

I had my foot in the door and blew it by leaving. I chose family over opportunity. What a fucking dumbass I was. I was young and stupid.

I went through some tough times dealing with this. I went to work at my father’s structural steel fab shop as a project manager for a bit. And then a couple years later, I said the hell with it and quit.

I found a great rock band, playing their own original music, called The Attitude. For long time readers, you’ve seen the music video of “Hound Dog.” But for those that haven’t, fire away. The B side was a rip off of Devo and was called “Condo Bondage.”

The skinny kid playing bass is me. It was 1980. Just prior to the advent of MTV. The video is rudimentary and basic; but fun and dumb. But we did convince Little Richard to play piano on the recording. He killed it. He was in Studio A and we were in Studio B at the same time.

Shortly after joining The Attitude, I saw an ad for The Police who would be playing in Santa Barbara. They just had their first hit of “Roxanne.”

I stared very creepily at the photo of the band’ and it hit me. It was my drummer in Curved Air: Stewart Copeland. He was one of those three blonde heads in the ad.

He made it big time by breaking away from Curved Air…who never had more than a minor hit in America. Huge in Europe, though.

I called their management office in L.A. and told them who I was and could I get tickets?
The man himself called me back: Miles Copeland III. Stew’s oldest brother and the manager of The Police. Miles started with Wishbone Ash and branched off into a gazillion English bands you’ve heard of and listened to. Too many to list.

Miles seemed excited to talk to me and said he had an idea. He would give me back stage passes and we would surprise Stew and not tell him I was coming up for their concert.

So I took my girlfriend, Teri, with me. Nice drive from Long Beach to Santa Barbara. I believe the band played at the university. Oingo Boingo opened for them.

We got there about 4 pm. Teri and I saw a small group of people huddled in the corner of the concert hall/gym. It was The Police and Miles. Miles saw me and motioned me over.

I sauntered over and yelled: “Hey douchebag!”
I had that beautiful fro in Curved Air…But times had changed…so had the music; and…the look.
I now had short hair.

At first, Stew was shocked at being called a rude name. So I said, “Hey douchebag. Forgotten old friends now that you’re a rock star again?”
(Copeland and I called each other douchebag the entire time we were in Curved Air.)

His eyes lit up and yelled: “KOHN!!!! You douchebag.”

He literally lifted me off my feet with a bear hug. (Tall guy and I was 5’-11)

He introduced me to Sting and Andy Summers. They actually pretended to be impressed to meet me because Curved Air was such a big group in Europe.
I didn’t expect that.

We shot the shit for a while and then they had to do sound check.
Miles handed us our back stage passes.
Then Teri and I left and got a bite to eat.

When we got back, Oingo Boingo was just starting.
We hung out back stage with the three boys in the band and watched.

Great band and Danny Elfman went on to become a great composer for the movies. Director Tim Burton uses Elfman, almost exclusively, for his movies. Elfman went on to score other movies as well’ and has shelves full of Oscars and Grammys.

There must have been 100 Hollywood types that drove up from L.A. to see the concert because The Police weren’t playing L.A. this tour.

I had the white death with me. After all, it was 1981. The height of coke use in America.
You saw the movie, “Blow” right? With Johnny Depp as a blonde surfer dude?

Well, the boys had run out of their blow. They bought a bunch in S.F. and went through it fast. (Whoa)
I was introduced to their head roadies and handed them small vials of the white powder. That did the trick. I had total access to every place the band did.

So while the Hollywood self-important folks, that made the drive from L.A. to Santa Barbara, were kept at bay and not allowed in the dressing room, Teri and I just smiled and winked at the 8’-0 tall bodyguard at the door and walked in.

It was skeezy locker room. Not even a chair. Just benches in front of lockers for the players.

So we sat and talked. Stew, Sting, Andy, Teri and me. Stew brought out a joint. And then I brought out the coke. Their eyes lit up like it was Christmas. That one night cost me a fortune. I just had a hunch. (Younger readers won’t get this about the proliferation of coke in the early 80’s all over America) Most of us got out alive.

Now there was Sting. He was new on the scene. Really new. I couldn’t believe that his friends really called him that silly name in private.

So as I passed the coke around, I did a dog whistle at Sting and said, “(Whistle) You want some?” Sting grabbed the coke dispenser and helped himself to a big dose.

Stew was miffed. He looked at me and said, “His NAME is Sting!”
I stood corrected and I apologized.

We sat there for about 45 minutes while Sting and Andy quizzed me about Stew in the Curved Air days. We laughed so hard that Sting freaked out and started his voice preparation process because he was fucking up his voice from laughing so hard.

The Police went on stage.

I met Elfman while The Police played and found out we had stuff in common. We were both Landsmen. (Jews.) He was also from L.A. We hung out in the same places on the Sunset Strip.

He told me how he almost died from malaria while he toured Ghana to pick up some musical influence.
And then we just stood there and watched The Police.

After the show, we all went back to the locker room. Miles was there along with Jerry Moss of A & M records. Partners with Herb Alpert. I didn’t bring out any coke.

Miles went on about how funny Stew and I were during the radio interviews we did with Curved Air and then he made me tell his favorite story. Anytime we did radio interviews after, or before, a concert, we were asked such stupid questions like: “How did you start in music?”

I had a pat response: “I was in Rabbinical school and one night the head Rabbi caught me in the closet indulging in a pork milkshake. So I changed my career path to music.” It always angered the radio DJ’s that I was so flip. I mean I know that’s a stupid thing for me to say. But how many times can you discuss what the music means to me? God knows how long time big time musicians answer the same questions for 40 or 50 years.

I had brought all of The Attitude (Hound Dog?) stuff with me. I brought our 45 single and video.
After I felt comfy with Miles and Jerry, I handed them the “Hound Dog” stuff.

Miles’ assistant sat there as well. Miles turned to the guy, handed him my single, and said with a wink, “You know what to do with this.”

I was stunned. The bastard, in barely veiled boredom, told his assistant right in front of me to throw it away. I was pissed.

I excused myself, gathered up Teri, who was having a great time with the musicians, grabbed her by the elbow, and said, “Let’s get out of here.”

I gave Stew, Andy and Sting a hug and split.

And now, every 6 months, I beg the Miles Copeland office in London for my record royalties. If I don’t beg for it, I will never get it.

Now Stew and I haven’t spoken for 15 years. He outgrew me as he joined the polo set. And surrounded himself with the greatest musicians in the world.

The day I learned, many years ago, that he and McCartney were working on a project together…I wanted to hang myself. But a couple months later, the project disappeared. Fucking Copeland freaked McCartney out. I know it….

See Part 2 in my next review.

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5 replies

  1. Great story, Phil. What a time. Glad you survived all those California snow days. Man, that wink from MC3 to his lackey must have cut. A great night wrecked, and nasty view into the worst we can become, if we allow it. You didn’t. He did. Fahk. Sucks.

    Speaking of drummers, what a drag that Butch is gone. That one really made me sad. I know Jaimoe was the guy who pushed things more, but, man, I loved old Butch, and I love hearing his kid’s melancholy, Duane-like slide when he plays with his wife. Really cool mix of Duane’s sound and Gregg’s hangdog, heartbroken thing.

    Flor de las Antillas Maduro. Sounds yummy. Can’t wait.

    • I heard about Butch’s death yesterday. I don’t get it. I’m sorry but you have to be really fucked up to blow your head off right in front of your wife. I don’t care how badly the woman treated him…if she did at all…you don’t put another human being through that. I don’t have the details so I’m spit balling but he must have suffered some serious mental illness.
      I’ve been an Allman Brothers fan forever…since the early 70’s, I believe. Hard to remember that far back.
      His son, Derek, is in all the Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festivals I have taped. Killer slide player.

  2. Oh, damn. I’d only read the day-of news, which didn’t disclose cause. Yuk. Agree. After Maynard Ferguson in the jazz world, and Glenn Campbell in pop, caught my ear and really got me pumped, it was the Allmans who really taught me to listen. Filmore East still kills me, every time. I can’t imagine you didn’t like that cool, Berry O. driving push that Duane launched from. I never saw them with Duane, dammit. Yes, Derek on slide makes you believe in humanity. I love that he’s got Allman “blood” and old Muscle Shoals swamp mud coursing through those strings. Looks so much like his dad.

  3. Uncle/Nephew. My bad.

  4. Great review and even greater story, Phil!