Wrapper: African Cameroon (Kadey region)
Binder: Connecticut Habano
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan Guardian (Proprietary to General Cigar)
Size: 5 x 50
Price: $15.99 MSRP (Can be had for $10.00 online or $5.00 on Cbid)
Today we take a look at the Partagas Aniversario 170.
From the Halfwheel.com web site:
“In 1845, Jaime Partagás y Rabell started his own cigar brand. Throughout its 170 years history, the Partagás brand has had numerous owners, perhaps most notably the Cifuentes family who were the last owners of the brand prior to the Cuban Revolution. Like most pre-revolution Cuban brands, the event created two Partagás. One is Cuban, owned by the state-run Habanos S.A. The other is American, owned by General Cigar Co. after the Cifuentes family sold its American trademark to the company.
“Both Habanos S.A. and General Cigar Co. have celebrated the 150th, 160th and now 170th anniversaries of the Partagás brand and with quite a bit of fanfare. General’s Partagas 150 remains one of the most sought-after non-Cuban cigars of all-time highlighted by the use of Cameroon wrapper from the 1977 harvest.
“The wrapper, which is grown by the legendary Meerapfel family, is grown without the use of fertilizer.”
SIZES AND PRICING MSRP:
Robusto 5 x 50 $15.99 ($5.00-$10.00)
Salamone 7.25 x 54 $17.99 ($10.90)
Toro 6 x 54 $16.99 ($10.28)
A well-built cigar that is packed solidly. A few big veins but that’s about it. Seams are nearly invisible.
The wrapper is an oily, toothy, chocolate/hickory color. The triple caps are expertly applied.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I can smell sweetness, chocolate, pepper, fresh fruit, floral notes, citrus, barnyard, and cedar.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell barnyard, chocolate, strong pepper, orange citrus, heavy cream, cedar, and espresso.
The cold draw presents flavors of tart citrus, clove, chocolate, malt, cedar, pepper, and black coffee.
First, I feel the need to advise you that getting a $16 stick for $5.00 does not bode well. I read only a couple reviews and no one thought highly of this cigar. But that doesn’t mean your Uncle Katman will give up before the skirmish.
Packed so heavily with tobacco, yet the draw is on the money.
First flavors waste no time: strong black pepper in combo with strong red pepper…equal opportunity employer…a blast of a variety of malts, chocolate, herbal notes, baking spices, extremely creamy, lemon citrus now instead of orange, and a lovely cappuccino element.
So far so good. But as shit goes, it could go south on me at any moment. Now I wish I hadn’t read the earlier reviews as it might taint my own review.
The spiciness settles into black pepper and discards the red pepper.
I read that the retrohale is brutal so I choose not to perform this act. Besides, after years of doing this, I’ve fried my sinuses. I will leave this practice to those who still have their septum.
The char line is exceptionally on point.
Flavors settle into a mild distribution over my palate. Everything has evened out now…no rock stars showing off their intensity.
Strength is medium.
There is a dichotomy at work. First, by no means do the crazy bastards at Partagas believe this is a $16 stick. They’d have to be out of their minds. They must have had a shortfall in their yearly financial report and needed an expensive stick to help things along. But my advice would have been to make a hugely great blend…they forgot to do that.
The fact that they can bought online for $10 is a testament to this theory. But even at $10.00, still overpriced.
Water seeks its own level. And at Cbid, this appears to what has happened so as to bring the word of mouth pricing down to $5.00 a pop.
So do I make statements based on this being a $16 stick or a $5 stick?
A little over an inch in, flavors expand and a few stand out like the creaminess and malts. I’m getting the sense that the Partagas Aniversario 170 may end up being a one trick pony.
The blend has become enjoyable in a limited fashion. What flavors it has left to offer are pleasant and satisfying. For a $5 stick, that’s wonderful. For a $16 stick, this is hell on wheels.
Smoke time is 25 minutes.
I like this cigar. I don’t know if the reviewers got bad sticks or didn’t let them rest long enough…or what?
With each passing puff, flavors become more engaging. Transitions begin to occur at the start of the second third…even some complexity makes the fold. The long finish is lip smacking good.
I got two of these sticks almost 3 months ago. Old School blend. I tired one a month in and was not impressed. Now with this bit of extended rest, the blend is performing nicely. I imagine that these sticks need several more months to fully blossom.
I believe that was the problem with the other reviewers. They all reviewed this cigar a short time after it was released. There is always a rush to be first on the block with a review of a new cigar; bypassing the best elements of the blend. Smoking a green cigar.
There is plenty of New Breed talent whose blends are ready to go in a month. But the old school cigar companies rarely fit that description and impatience ruins the cigar experience.
What have we got here….Creaminess, black pepper, chocolate, Malts: Chocolate rye, Special B, Peated, and Honey (See Malt Chart), caramel, baking spices, lemon peel, caraway seeds, salted pretzel, and cappuccino.
The cigar’s first third wasn’t impressive on all counts. The Partagas Aniversario 170 blooms in the second third.
The blender’s intent is just around the corner.
The medium strength is staying right there and not making a move. If it stays this way, it would be a perfect blend for a new cigar smoker.
Halfway point is upon me. Smoke time is 40 minutes.
I am confident that the other reviewers smoked this old school blend way too soon. I am getting some wonderful complexity and a perfect melding of flavors. This is not the same blend that they smoked.
I can, safely, say that the $10 price range is probably right on the mark. $16.00? Hell, no. But way better than your average $5.00 catalog cigar.
Construction is damn near immaculate. So dough was spent on experienced rollers.
I saw the Partagas Aniversario 170 on Cbid yesterday…but not today. I’d keep your eyes peeled.
Credence is playing “Proud Mary.” How many of my older musician friends found themselves chained to playing that song a thousand times back in the day?
I find myself enjoying the shit out of the Partagas Aniversario 170. It has turned into a quality high premium blend. Patience, my friends, patience. Throw it into your humidor and forget about it for 4-6 months.
The blend has all the big boy flavors, nicely tuned transitions, and loads of complexity with a long finish. What more can you ask?
Man, I’m telling you that this is a huge surprise. After reading the deleterious reviews slamming the shit out of it, I was prepared for a curse laded review. Instead, I’m singing its praises.
Strength moves to medium/full.
The Partagas Aniversario 170 can go toe to toe with any $10.00 boutique brand/blend out there. Partagas fucked up by overpricing the thing. And it didn’t sell because most smokers engaged it too soon. There should be labels on the cello advising how long to allow any blend to rest.
Smoke time is one hour.
I am truly digging the Partagas Aniversario 170. I wonder how much my subconscious caused the uproar on my palate as it totally surprised me with just how wrong some reviewers were about this terrific blend.
The last third is how the cigar should have started. Maybe more rest would solve that issue. In fact, that’s not even a maybe…It’s an absolute.
Chocolate malt with that heavy creaminess is stunning. Pepper has receded. Everything else? All in place and doing fine, thank you.
The fruitiness is an amalgam of prunes, raisins, oranges, sweet red peppers, and a touch of Asian pears.
First, the $16 price tag scared everyone off. Second, the lousy reviews really scared them off. So now you can take advantage of ill placed word of mouth and score big on Cbid when the stick appears again.
As the stick burns down, it gets better. Not a hint of harshness…which is something other reviewers complained about. I taste none of that.
The char line has gone a bit awry but so far, no touch ups required.
Nicotine has kicked in. Oy.
First thing to go is my eyesight as the laptop screen becomes blurry.
Strength is a potent medium/full. I’m guessing it will hit full strength before I’m done. I may have to rescind my order that this is a good cigar for noobs.
Experienced cigar smokers will dig this blend.
Here is a secret I’ve kept for a long time. CI told me that I am required reading throughout their office. They sometimes make decisions on whether to carry a boutique blend based on my reviews. Pretty cool. Or else they were just fucking with me. Either way works.
The nicotine fades. The Partagas Aniversario 170 transitions into an uber smooth smoke. This is one of those few reviews that just flew by.
This is one of the creamiest smokes I’ve ever had.
I definitely recommend the Partagas Aniversario 170. $10 is worth it…but at $5.00? A real winner of a find.
Final smoke time is one hour 15 minutes.
And now for something completely different:
I’ve published this before but it’s been awhile so for my loyal and longtime readers, my apologies.
I felt sorry for Butch Patrick from almost the beginning. He had some serious substance abuse problems and was unreliable. Mostly from alcohol. His dad was an alcoholic so it ran in the family. When I met him, he was parking cars at one of his father’s many poker palaces in Gardena.
For those that don’t know about my association with Butch it began while I owned my recording studio in Long Beach. A good friend that had grown up across the street from Butch brought him to my studio. Butch had a rough idea for a song called “Whatever Happened to Eddie?”
He had done a rough demo in some guy’s living room and they used the theme from the Munsters. They added some lyrics and they were off to the races.
So I organized the whole thing; I got Butch to sign a management deal.
I brought in real session cats to record the song; and the B side as well. It was to be a 45 single…yes, those were the days.
Butch was credited with playing bass but it was me. Butch doesn’t play an instrument. In fact, he didn’t do the vocals either. Brent Black, one of the Monsters, did the Milli Vanilli thing for me. Didn’t matter. We had a grand plan of getting a hit single and then getting him back on TV. I wrote a screen play and had crossed my fingers.
The single ended up selling 181,000 units in 4 months before the FBI shut down the record company…another story.
The big issue was that Butch was so unreliable. I felt like I had to act as a stand in father because he was a handful.
The record was finished. Time to move on to the music video which I wrote, produced and directed. I got a top notch film crew to help me out. Marvin Rush was my camera man. Along with his crew. Marvin has a helluva resume.
We shot at two locations. The first was Hollywood High School and the second was at the Princess Louise’ permanently docked at San Pedro Harbor. It had two restaurants and a chapel on top for weddings.
We signed with a new label called Rocshire Records. They were tied to the mob. Didn’t know that at the time. And the owner’s wife was siphoning off $15 million from her employer at Hughes Aircraft to keep the record company in the black.
Remember, back in 1983, it was the birth of the MTV nation. We were ground breakers.
The record company, and PR firm, sent Butch and me on a PR tour across America.
Now Butch had no musical talent. So we couldn’t perform live. We did all the big TV shows and lots of radio shows. And personal appearances. Everyone loved him.
We did the Today show in NYC. Rockefeller Center. The Rock.
I met Bryant Gumbel and Jane Pauley.
As Butch sat at the interview table, they literally couldn’t make up their minds as to who was going to interview Butch right into the commercial prior to the interview.
The director, from the booth above us said: “Bryant, you do it. No, Jane you do it.”
Gumbel slammed his hand on to the desk and said, “Goddam good thing we don’t make dynamite here!!”
Also being interviewed was Billy Mumy of “Lost in Space” fame. Now Billy had his shit together and I remember watching the interview wishing I could manage Billy instead of Butch.
The interview went well and we took off with Billy to some high falutin’ bar in Manhattan.
The record company put us up at the Waldorf Astoria.
Some girls approached Butch and invited us to a party out on Long Island. Butch pleaded that we go. But it was a very long ride. But as usual, I relented.
I reminded him that we had an early radio interview with Don Imus in the morning and we couldn’t stay long. He agreed.
Well, the worst happened. Butch got sloshed and coked up and it wasn’t until 2am that we headed back to the hotel.
I got up at 6 am. Butch didn’t go to sleep til 5am. Drunk out of his mind.
When I got out of bed, I went into the adjoining room and there were a dozen people on the floor, out cold. Half were naked.
I rattled Butch awake but he was still very drunk. He begged me to call the radio station and postpone the interview until the next day. We fought but I eventually gave in and called the station.
Man, they were pissed off. I was put on hold for several minutes. The voice came back on the phone telling me to make sure Butch was there at 7am the next day and he hung up on me.
So I told Butch I made the arrangements he asked for.
And then from left field, he told me that he was OK and to call them back and tell them we could do that morning’s interview.
I dragged him to the floor. I mounted his chest and began to strangle him. Really. Pounding his head on the floor at the same time.
In a croaking voice, he pleaded with me to stop and I regained my senses. I was already packed and ready to go.
I threw his airplane ticket on his chest along with a $20 bill and told him he better be at the interview. And I left for the airport.
When I got home, the record company and PR firm were furious with me. I didn’t care.
Butch returned home, having done the Imus interview as scheduled, but we didn’t talk for a week.
He came over to apologize and I allowed him to do so.
Being Butch’s manager took up too much of my time. I had a recording studio to run. I had taken on more than I could chew. And in the end, it bit me on the ass.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS
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