Diesel Heart of Darkness | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6 x 58
Strength: Full
Price: $12.00 MSRP ($5.71 at CI, As little as $3.40 on Cbid)



Today we take a look at the new Diesel Heart of Darkness
I should advise you that several online stores are gouging you by charging full MSRP.

I hate Gordos. I really hate them. I’m not Tony Soprano or Al Capone.

Follow me on this…This is what Cigar Aficionado said in the Jan/Feb 2017 issue about the big ring gauge fad.
“Although self-style connoisseurs will never miss an opportunity to disparage this fairly new trend, these disgruntled smokers are nothing more than the vocal minority. They can protest all they want – the trend is only growing and it’s probably here to stay.”

What a fucking jerk! Now CA makes no pretense about talking down to its readers. And the writer of this afterbirth of an article? Gregory Mottola…the senior editor.
Someone get him some cheese to smack his pate. “Moe, Larry, Cheese!”

The trend of 60, 70, 80, and even 90 ring gauge cigars is absurd. I don’t want a giant cock in my mouth when I smoke a cigar. I don’t want a prep course about what it would be like to live in prison.

Now, the smoker who thinks that an 80 ring gauge stick is cool has the word “Sucker” stamped on their forehead. They are falling for something the manufacturers have cooked up to promote sales.

Inexperienced smokers may go for them. Noobs may go for them. But the real aficionados of the leaf think this is a joke.

Serious smokers prefer a smaller cigar. More flavor. More subtlety, nuance, and depth of character.
And I know for a fact that many blenders are using this trend to futz around with the filler. They are sometimes sticking crap inside these behemoth Godzilla-like cigars because you will never know. It’s a great way for them to dump less than stellar tobacco into your cigar.

Despite my rant, I am reviewing a Gordo today because it only comes in one size. But I guarantee you that this blend would have been a whole lot better in a Toro, Robusto, or Corona Gorda.

Tell me this. Shouldn’t a massive premium cigar cost a lot of dough? Right? Then how can a manufacturer sell a giant cigar, like the Heart of Darkness for less than $6 or half that on Cbid and still make a profit? Because the cigar is shit, that’s why. They load up the blend with all sorts of leftovers. Give it a kitschy name and lots of PR and the unsuspecting cigar smoker has been had.

OK. The bell has rung and I’m back in my corner now and ready to go for the next round.
“Moe, Larry, Cheese!”

Comes in boxes of 14.
From the Cigars International web site:
“Diesel Heart of Darkness comes in one perfected size: a meaty, 6” x 58 Gordo. Inside each box you’ll find 14 Ecuador Habano Oscuro wrapped gems. The dark, oily wrapper leaf sits atop a potent firecracker blend of all long-fillers from three different regions in Nicaragua, plus some additional Esteli ligero to put this one over the top. Each puff delivers a chewy feast of bitter espresso, earth, black pepper, and salty leather. Prepare for your palate to kick into overdrive as you burn your fingers taking this one down to the nub.”

Bitter espresso? Espresso is already bitter. Now it is extra bitter? Jesus Cristo! Earth, black pepper, and salty leather? Ummm…Yum. Now we’re talking. How often have you covered salt on your leather wallet and licked it and said, “Man, that’s good. I wish I could get this flavor in my cigars.”
The Bullshit!!!

The Diesel Heart of Darkness has a nice looking wrapper due to its somewhat oily…somewhat matte finish with a mocha java color. Large veins are in abundance.
Seams are tight and the triple cap is nicely applied. A fine tooth covers the shaft. No soft spots and no hard spots….just right.

From the shaft, I can smell dark chocolate, floral notes, cream, pepper, raisins, cedar, and graham cracker.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell red pepper coated chocolate, creaminess, espresso, cedar, malts, graham cracker, chocolate covered raisins, and a touch of baking spices.

The cold draw presents flavors of lemon citrus, chocolate, espresso, raisins, graham cracker, malts, cedar, and very potent red pepper.

First puffs are dulled by the enormous size of this cigar. Rarely, do flavors pop from a behemoth. In most cases, they slowly build until the second half really makes an effort to show off.

The cayenne pepper is making me cry, my nose run, and parched my sinuses. Holy shit. A pepper bomb. My nasal hairs fall out and land among the laptop keys.

The draw is excellent. I smoked one last week and the draw was terrible due to inconsistent packing of filler.

Not a lot else going on…some malts, creaminess, a touch of sweetness and espresso.

The burn line goes a little wonky on me so I correct it. In my experience, a funky char line can go south pretty quickly on me with a big ring; so careful attention is called for.

Nuances of chocolate and graham cracker seep in. Creaminess begins to lead the pack.

For the most part, the Diesel line is a reliable source for knock around cigars at a reasonable price…especially on Cbid…where, instead of paying $6 and up, you can snag them for $3 or less.
No transitions. No complexity. At this point, the Diesel Heart of Darkness is a very typical Diesel blend. No fanfare. Just a decent smoke.


The char line is hanging tough…with seemingly no thoughts of being dislodged. Meanwhile, I sit in my bathrobe, tee shirt, and boxers…anticipating the ash to discharge itself on my naughty bits causing me to shriek like a little kitty. So I now place a catcher’s mitt on my lap for protection. Of course, I oil it first.

I absolutely experience the dance of the hippos with this tree trunk. Flavors are dull and listless as I coax small flavor points from the blend. I can’t begin to imagine how bad this blend would be in a 70 or 80 ring gauge. Yeah I can…duller and full of phallic images.

I’m 1-1/2” in and it’s Dull City by the Sea.

So few big cigars bowl me over. The ones that do are very expensive…hence, no futzing around with the filler…and dust bin collection.

I love the Paul Stulac big cigars. (What the hell is Paul doing? Hasn’t produced a new blend in well over a year.)

I suppose I could research my own archives looking for good tasting Gordos but as you know, I’m lazy and don’t want to.

Creaminess, simple malts, spicy red pepper, and dried fruit become the mainstay of the flavor profile.
Strength is medium/full.

I must give the Diesel Heart of Darkness its props for the construction. The draw is flawless. The burn line hands out little trouble or frustration.

I get flashes of flavor that just might be outstanding if this redwood tree was a robusto.
The second half will probably produce redemption…or it won’t.

Smoke time is 40 minutes.

There is a little perkiness as the main ingredients of red pepper, creaminess, espresso, raisins, touch of chocolate, cedar, malts, and graham cracker push a little harder against the tide.

The Diesel line is a good brand to give out to your mooch friends. It is almost a good cigar with a tease of good things to come…but rarely make it to the complex stage.
Simple. Best way to describe Diesel.

Instead of a wavy line of flavors, they are flat and linear. Transitions don’t exist. Complexity is off somewhere in Siberia. The finish is short.
Other than that, I like the Diesel Heart of Darkness…(Sarcasm).

Actually, I’d love to be proven wrong about my hypothesis on flavors and big ring gauges.
We have hit the “pleasant” mark in the cigar experience.

Strength moves upward to full on and damn the torpedoes.

Joe Walsh introduced us to his song, “Rocky Mountain Way” released in 1973. I saw a live TV concert that aired on Fridays back in the Stone Age. I remember how the musicians were all spread out on the stage and each had their own riser.
The bassist was the coolest guy I had ever seen. He played a fretless and moved and swayed to the song perfectly. It was at that very moment, I decided I must get a fretless bass. I wanted to be every bit as cool.


The Diesel Heart of Darkness has achieved time killer status.
Nicotine creeps in but, so far, it hasn’t caused insanity yet.

Just give me a little complexity…a few transitions…please…you bitch.
Clearly, the big ring gauge sticks aren’t aimed at aficionados of the leaf.

Even in this new Cigar Aficionado, Arnold Schwarzenegger claims that he doesn’t like big cigars and prefers the smaller ones. And he is no girly man.

The Diesel Heart of Darkness reminds me of eating a plate of spaghetti. It stays the same throughout the meal…never changing, never getting better…just lying there like my first wife on our honeymoon.

We reach the halfway point. Smoke time is 50 minutes.
C’mon….do something. Impress the shit out of me. Dance naked while Hank Williams plays in the background.


Any moment, I expect the Diesel Heart of Darkness to come out of hibernation and surprise me.
If it doesn’t, I’m going to allow Charlotte to beat me within an inch of my life…something she’s wanted to do for more than three decades. In fact, this week is our 33rd anniversary. Oy. Two days later…my birthday. Oy Gevalt times 2.

The only thing keeping me from tossing the stick is that the spiciness continues to be a dominant force and I do love my spice.

The laptop screen goes blurry. My thought process slows down to 15mph. And my ass itches. I can fix the ass thing but I’m without control of the two former conditions.

By the time I finish the Diesel Heart of Darkness, I will be bouncing off the hallway walls from delirium madness.

Some online stores are actually charging $12 a stick. CI sells it at a little less than $6. I got mine on Cbid for a tad over $3. Bingo. Water seeks its own level. And that’s the proper price point.

Chocolate and malt break on through to the other side…finally. Or else I’m so desperate for anything from this flavor profile that I’m just imagining it.

Experienced smokers crave complexity and transitions. Otherwise, you might as well smoke the blend while you’re taking a dump.

The nicotine is causing brain damage.

Yet, I’m very impressed with the construction. The ash is beautifully intact with a near perfect burn line.
So, Diesel used good rollers while they were stuffing crap tobacco into the center of the cigar.

Smoke time is one hour 20 minutes. For such a big cigar, it is burning a little quicker than I had expected. I was sure this would be an over 2 hour experience…appears not..thank God.

Maybe with a year of humidor time, the Diesel Heart of Darkness will manifest an interesting flavor profile…instead of being the model of monotony.

A friend described what the Asylum 80 ring was like. He told me it was an all-day sucker that failed to impress.

I just fucking knew this was going to happen this morning. I knew I’d be disappointed. Mission accomplished…now where is my photo of W. in his flight suit on that aircraft carrier?


Then a baby Jesus miracle occurs. Spread out. It’s alive!
Flavors begin transitioning into something that borders on interesting. Or I’m suffering from nicotine poisoning.
Or wishful thinking…I want to report that this cigar is worth $6.

Hey, Gregory Mottola…fuck you and the 90 ring gauge horse you rode in on.

Bums me out when I have to trash a cigar. I prefer to act like a buffoon and rave.

What was George Carlin referring to when he described the 7 words you can’t say on TV: “Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.” That’s right…the Diesel Heart of Darkness…though, I find no nipples on this cigar.

If you have the patience of Job, grab some on Cbid and then throw them in your humidor and hibernate for the rest of winter before you light one up.

Are you as tired of reading about this cigar as I am writing about it?

My cat, Sammy, loves to nub my cigars. He was just brought up right. I believe he will get the rest of the Diesel Heart of Darkness.

Clearly, a couple months of humidor tim Diesel Heart of Darkness e is either insufficient or just a waste of time. I will let you decide if you choose to purchase some.


And now for something completely different:
More on Curved Air…1974


As Stew, Sonja and I stood on the train platform, I got bad news. They forgot to renew her prescription for methadone and I was told there might be some problems on that long train trip. I was directed by Stew to make sure that the rest of the band didn’t find out about this.
Oy vey.

Sonja had battled morphine addiction. Under a doctor’s supervision, she was getting off the stuff.
I didn’t learn about this until our first gig of the tour in London. It happened in the dressing room after the concert. The dressing room was full of people when she asked me to follow her to the bathroom. I was stunned.

Everyone heard her invitation and eyebrows raised.

She took off her stage outfit and stood their naked in front of while she motioned her forearms to me. I didn’t get it. Then I noticed the tracks. Clearly, she was giving me a preview of what was going to be our secret from the rest of the band. Stewart Copeland and I were to be the only ones to know she was kicking the habit.

I had only been in the band for two weeks. I didn’t know her. I didn’t know her history. And as I had just been raised from being totally broke in a foreign country to rock star status, I didn’t want to jeopardize this wonderful opportunity…so I agreed to keep her secret.

Management got us first class seating. All that meant was that instead of chairs, ala airplane seating, you get a nice big table with two chairs on each side and special attention from the stewards.
Stew made sure we didn’t sit with the band.

Apparently, they forgot to get refills of Sonja’s methadone at the pharmacy. And she would have to go without it for the 8 hour train ride. I was told she would probably go through withdrawal. Oh God. I had never known anyone that went through withdrawal.

The rest of the band sat in the first class car ahead of us. They spent most of their time in the bar car getting smashed. So as they passed Sonja and me they didn’t notice her bizarre behavior.
And of course to top it off, we sat across from a stuffy Member of Parliament and his wife. Both in their 60’s.
In fact, most people in that car were elderly.

So when Sonja began her withdrawal symptoms, everyone pretended not to notice.

First her eyes rolled up and it looked like a horror movie. Then she began clawing at her arms with her fingernails causing long streaks of blood.
Then she started making animal sounds. Sounds of an animal in distress. Then the arms started waving uncontrollably.

I thought I was going to have a heart attack. This was happening only 2 hours into our 8 hour trip.
All I had on me was Dramamine. I was shoveling them down her gullet like Skittles. After a bit, they did their job and she fell asleep.

I took that time to go pee. When I got back she was awake and screaming…and trying to crawl on top of the table. She became incredibly strong. I struggled to keep her arms from waving and keeping her in her seat.

Our companions just turned away. Never said a fucking word. Arrogant assholes.

We finally got to our destination in Northern England. Instead of checking into our hotel, I grabbed her and dragged her to the nearest pharmacy. We got her stuff and ran back to the hotel.

Meanwhile, the band had no idea.

Management put Sonja and me in the same hotel room so I could look after her. And of course, I couldn’t say a word to the band about this or they might quit. This had happened before in the past and they swore that if she was getting high again, there would be no reunion of Curved Air.

I managed to get her needles and her ampules out and prep them. I smacked her around while I sat on her belly on the bed. I couldn’t get her to become coherent and I had no idea how to load a syringe; let alone inject her.

I tied her off.
Mind you. I had never done anything like this. And I was shitting my pants.

Sonja came around enough to inject the needle into her fucked up vein. Moments later, she came to. And behaved like nothing had happened.
“Are we there already?”

I just rolled off of her and on to the floor next to the bed. I was drenched in my own sweat.

She got up and said she was going to meet up with the rest of the band. Did I want to come along?

I took a shower and thought about how we had 8 weeks of this bullshit.

The rest of the tour was a nightmare trying to keep this a secret from the band. And Sonja pulled all sorts of stunts.
To be continued….


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4 replies

  1. Oh how I needed a good laugh Phil! Soon as I saw it was a Diesel I knew . Going through some heavy shit with my mom’s health so humor is helping big time. Maybe tomorrow a better cigar….eh!?

  2. My best wishes to your mom and you.

  3. Congrats on your anniversary and birthday Cuz Phil. Hope the EZ Ugly Sweater has improved for you and looking forward to your review. I had one the other night and it was tremenjous.

  4. Man, love the review. I agree why the hell does it take 5 inches of a 6 inch cigar for diesels to pop? Also love the hair.

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