Gispert Intenso | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan Criollo ‘98
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
Size: 5 X 44 Corona
Strength: Full
Price: $6.00

Today we take a look at the Gispert Intenso Corona.
A gift from Kellie. Now I checked out other reviews and holy shit…they tore this puppy apart, pulled its guts out, and placed its head on a spike. Now I’ve already smoked a couple, both in Toro and Corona size and enjoyed the hell out of them…the caveat is that both had 6 months of humi time which absolutely reassures me that; 1) This is an old school blend and 2) Reviews were done too soon. Period.
Continuing Kellie’s rant about Olympic curling:
“During the Olympics today, they were talking about investigating one of the Curling ‘athletes’ for performance drugs. WHY THE FUCK WOULD PEOPLE DOING CURLING NEED PERFORMANCE DRUGS?? So they can bowl really, really slowly…FASTER?? So they can sweep…HARDER?? Fuck me sideways.”

What Kellie isn’t saying…she was once attacked by a curling team out of Denver. They assaulted her and forced a polished granite stone into her left ear causing severe I.Q. damage. Probably the reason she can only get work in fast food and occasionally being a fluffer.

Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
Regular Production
Released: March, 2017
From Cigar Aficionado:
“The Gispert brand is getting a dark, full-bodied addition to its fairly mild line. Altadis U.S.A. and its Grupo de Maestro team of blenders have collaborated with Nicaraguan cigar maker A.J. Fernandez to create Gispert Intenso, a stronger counterpart to the existing Gispert brand.

“Made in Nicaragua, Gispert Intenso consists of a dark, Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and hearty Nicaraguan and Dominican filler tobacco.

“The bold packaging design is indicative of the cigars within—dark and alluring with large typeface fonts and eye-catching accents.

“The Gispert brand currently on the market is far milder. It consists of an Ecuadoran Connecticut wrapper around a blend of less powerful Honduran and Nicaraguan tobacco. Those are made in Altadis’s Flor de Copan factory in Honduras. The new full-bodied Gispert Intenso goes in the opposite direction and is another recent example of Altadis’s willingness to partner with other cigar makers for novel interpretations of its heritage brands.

“In the past, Altadis has collaborated with Nestor Plasencia (Espada by Montecristo) and Rafael Nodal (Romeo by Romeo Aging Room).

“Gispert was originally an old Cuban brand created before the Revolution. After Fidel Castro seized power and nationalized the cigar industry, Cuban Gisperts were slowly phased out of production over the following decades and are no longer made.”

Corona 5 x 44 $6.00
Toro 6 x 50 $7.00
Belicoso 6.125 x 52 $7.00

As my photos show, this is one of the oiliest wrappers I’ve seen in a while. Dunked in 10-40? Maybe…which might explain the mineral flavor. An extremely rustic looking stick when you move past the oily charcoal wrapper. Easily visible veins, lots of veins, the cap varies from cigar to cigar, a nice box press, extremely toothy, and nice offsetting bronze colored cigar band. The cigar is packed solid….like a policeman’s baton beating the shit out of me at an anti-Viet Nam war demonstration in 1968.

From the shaft, I can smell dark chocolate, strong espresso, toffee, nutmeg, creaminess, barnyard, cedar, and malt.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell strong barnyard, chocolate, coffee, toffee, generic sweetness, cream, malt, nutmeg, really strong black pepper, and vanilla beans.

The cold draw presents flavors of espresso, malt, barnyard, vanilla, espresso, milk chocolate, nutmeg, and cedar.

I’ve smoked two in Toro size and am looking forward to seeing the increased intensity of character in the Corona size.

It starts off like a circus performer being shot out of a cannon…and living. Big flavors of those described in the aroma section: Espresso, huge black pepper notes, giant portions of cream, charred oak, dark dark chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, an early spot of citrus, cedar, and nuts.

Yikes. This little fucker ain’t waiting around for nobody. It blasts out of the starting gate like a donkey with an M80 up its ass.

Quickly, it finds some complexity while being bombarded by a strong dose of spiciness. If you are a spice junkie, you will love this cigar….if not, go home.
Transitions are breaking like the wind. Medium finish.

Strength is medium/full while not lingering as I expect it to be full any moment now.

I read a review in which the writer said that throughout the cigar, it had an unpleasant mineral taste. I am not getting that at all and believe it may be due to inadequate aging. But then what do I know?
While the cigar is brimming with solid tobacco, the draw is super. No need for my PerfecDraw cigar poker. (I’m such a shill but I do believe in this miraculous tool’s efficacy).

The Gispert Intenso in the corona size is killing it…much more intense in the flavor department than the Toro. And I really liked the Toro version. It had one thing that the corona, so far, doesn’t possess: A lovely smoothness to counter balance the intensity of the spiciness and strength of the tobacco. There has to be a lot of ligero in this little sucker.

And just as I always find myself making an arse of myself, the creaminess begins to dominate causing a schlep to the smoothness I thought was missing. Such a schmuck. But that’s what you get from a writer too lazy to go back and edit his own comments.

Sweet Things…not the band…the cigar is pumping out a bevy of desserts: Chocolate mousse, coffee yogurt, honey roasted peanuts, and dark toffee.

Strength is a mind bending full tilt to the senses.

This is Old School blending. It needs a shit load of humi time before it’s ready to enjoy. None of this month or two crap that boutique blends have trained you to expect. You need to purchase this little jewel, unwrap it, and stick it in your humidor and forget about it for 4-6 months.

Lemon citrus jumps out from behind a Bearcat and my eyes widen as I prepare for the assault. Tart. And sweet. Perfect combo. Black pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg make this blend a force to be reckoned with.

Smoke time is 20 minutes.

Despite its rustic look, the construction is remarkably tight. No char issues. No wrapper issues. Big smile.

The Gispert Intenso gladly accepts the Oscar for best little cigar to kick my ass. Complexity is screaming laughter. The transitions are riding the atomic particles at the Hadron Collider. And the finish just goes on and on…

Creaminess and smoothness are hand in hand. What a terrific little blend. And since it is only quietly popular, you can find specials and auctions of this blend everywhere. My bud, Kellie, paid less than $4. That’s a stunner.

I hate to disagree with my big brothers who review but this is not a disappointment. This is a fully functional cigar blend that shines like my tuchas during the High Holidays.
The cocoa and coffee are chocolate covered espresso beans. I love those.

There is a heavy influence of sweetness that reminds me of out of the oven cinnamon buns.
Nuttiness is running alongside with notes of marzipan, honey peanuts, and sweet cashews.
The cinnamon is so spicy that it’s exactly like those little cinnamon toothpicks that tested your manhood…or childhood.

The halfway point is reached at 30 minutes. Absolutely delicious.

Newbies beware. You may need to keep a defibrillator nearby. Clear!

Remember a few years ago when the 601 La Bombas first came out and there was a warning on the inside of the lid that you must tread carefully as it is the strongest cigar on the market? Ha.

The Gispert Intenso is beginning to make hair grow back. On the stick, not my head.

Most other review sites crank out a lot of reviews and news stories so I can understand them being very picky about what they like. Some are spoiled rotten due to their access of every cigar on the planet. Me? Not so much. I like this blend. Damn the torpedoes.

Smoke time is 45 minutes.

Smooth. And a punch to the gut with nicotine. A contrary description.
I’m seeing double.

For the last time: Black pepper, malt, coffee, chocolate, nutmeg, honey peanuts, cinnamon, creaminess, sweet nuts, charred oak, lemon zest, vanilla, cedar, and toffee.
That’s a lot packed into a small cigar.

The Gispert Intenso is a great traveling cigar. But unless you are an experienced smoker, that second half may cause delirium and force you to crash into a light pole.

The Toro had most of the described flavors but didn’t have the kick this corona has. Almost two different animals.

The Byrds are playing. Back in the 60’s, they were referred to as the American Beatles. I have a story in which The Byrds played at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach and I got a phony press pass to hang out back stage with the band. Next review…

Life is about opportunities and the wherewithal to recognize them. Will work out most of the time. Persistence. Taking chances.

I have zero complaints about the construction. Normally an inexpensive cigar folds on you like a cheap suit. Not this blend. It’s a test of making it through Armageddon when the zombies take over.

My paternal grandfather was from Hungary. The Transylvanian mountains to be exact. He sounded exactly like Bela Lugosi. It pissed him off when I copied his style of speaking. See. I’m now delirious. The nicotine is in extreme prejudice mode.

I sink into a slouch in my chair. My head drops down to my chest. I begin speaking in tongues. Man, I love this cigar.

Most of us associate Gispert with mild strength and bundle quality. Not the Intenso.
I highly recommend this cigar to my most stalwart experienced smokers that can take a punch.

Final smoke time is one hour 10 minutes.


And now for something completely different:
A little ditty about bassist extraordinaire Stanley Clarke.

If you are a jazzer or a bassist..or both…you know this legendary musician.
Back in 1972, he had a major influence on me. He was a young man. He played custom made basses including piccolo basses.
The man could play 32nd notes in a bar. The rest of us shlubs might be able to play 16th notes if we were coked up.

It was 1978. I lived in the Belmont Heights of Long Beach. A skip and a jump away from the beach and Belmont Shore. The Sunset Strip of Long Beach.

My high school buddy, John Turner, came back from Viet Nam and translated his skills as a corpsman into a lifelong incursion into being a surgical tech.
He told me that Stanley Clarke was at Long Beach Community Hospital having surgery for a hernia. Back then, they didn’t shove you down a long slide 30 minutes after surgery. No. They kept you for a few days.

Turner gave me a call and told me about Clarke. I went bat shit. I asked him a million questions.
Turner said he told Clarke about me and Curved Air.
Then Turner asked if Clarke would call me at home one night. That I would get the kick of my life.
Stanley agreed.

My girlfriend, and soon to be nemesis, sent me on an errand to buy something insignificant at the market. And you can guess the rest.

Stanley called while I was gone. He spoke to April for a good 20 minutes and she hung up 60 seconds before I came through the door.
She told me what happened and that Stanley was such a nice man.
I fucking lost it.

I called Turner. “Get him back on the phone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
John said he couldn’t impose on Stanley again. I pleaded. I begged.

In the end, I never got to speak with the hugest influence, at the time, on my bass playing.

It was copying Clarke’s style that got me the gig with Curved Air. While the other 30 bassists were copying Chris Squire of Yes, I was playing da funk like Clarke and I nearly got hired on the spot because not a single Englishman knew who Clarke was.
To this day, I look upon that evening as a real low spot in my life.

And now for something completely different (PART 2):

We had finished recording the first studio album I played on. Prior to this, I played on the “Live” album. So we went into seclusion while the violinist and guitarist and vocalist wrote songs. I was left out. So was the drummer. So I spent time at home doing my own writing.

Miles Copeland, the cheapskate, tried to save money by hiring a producer that had never produced before; only engineered. Granted, he had engineered the albums of the most famous rock bands of the time but producing is a totally different animal than engineering.

The band ran all over him and he couldn’t control the giant egos.

At the official playback of the album at the RCA office building, the suits hated the album.
The band was in shock, but not me.

The album was scrapped and Miles brought in a pair of brothers from America that were real hot shots. Not to mention really obnoxious.

We were in Amsterdam; always the start of our European tours.
Miles called and said the brothers were in town to watch us perform and talk to us.
A meeting was set up at their hotel but no one wanted to go but me. So I went.

These sons of bitches lambasted me on my playing, the production, the choice of songs and even my style of playing on stage. WTF?
They held nothing back and even said they hated the band. Hated?

Why were they chosen? Why would you choose producers that hated the band?
I sat and listened for an hour while the two ranted about everything. Nothing positive.
I went back to our hotel totally depressed and traumatized.

Everyone was in the chick’s room bull shitting. I told them I went to the meeting but they didn’t want to hear about it. I finally forced them to listen and told them what happened.
They all laughed. Such egos.

Well the laugh ended up being on me.

A meeting was held with the band excluding me. The brothers said something had to change. So the band picked me. I was the mediator between the two groups: the guitarist and the violinist….and the chick singer and the drummer. So who better to give the heave ho to then the bassist? Yeah, I was totally the problem with the album. I didn’t get anything of mine on the album and was told what to play. And so it was my entire fault.

I got a call from Ian Copeland. He was the booker for Miles. And newly appointed to be Curved Air’s personal manager and his first duty was to fire me.

He told me he was coming out to Edgeware where I lived. About 15 miles outside of downtown London.
This freaked me out. Why was an important man like him coming all the way out to see me?
I called the chick singer. She finally broke down and told me what was up. I pleaded with her. A total mess. It was so humiliating.

Ian arrived and we sat in my living room. He hemmed and hawed and I couldn’t take it. Ian was a very down to earth guy. And it seemed that he was suffering.
“I know why you’re here, Ian. You’re firing me.”

A sigh of relief was on his face and then he dropped his head and agreed.

I told him that was not fair. What was BTM Records going to do for me for dough? Were they just going to cut me loose and send me on my way? Broke and living in a foreign land.

When I spoke to Miles about money, he told me to ask the band. Wow. This guy really knew how to humiliate me. I now had to go beg for money from the same people that fired me to save their own skins.
I went to one of their rehearsals. The violinist would not talk to me. A stand in bassist was playing with them already.
The band basically blew me off. I left the place wondering how I was going to live.

Thank God for the roadies. I was the only one in the band to treat these guys like humans. The others treated them like slaves.

So when they heard what happened, they approached the managing director. Not only would this asshole not budge, but he told them to get my bass back! I bought my bass from Martin Turner of Wishbone Ash. They were Copeland’s first band. And because they fronted me the dough, the bass was theirs.

This infuriated the roadies so they grabbed a huge lorry and went to the storage area of the record company. The loaded the truck with expensive equipment and drove to my home.
They unloaded it in my garage and told me to sell it all.

No one from management did or said a thing about this. Guilt.
So I sold everything and had money in my pocket. I stayed another 6 months but gave up. I bought tickets and got on an airplane with my girlfriend and her little girl.
Big time rock and roll is an ugly business.


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3 replies

  1. DaFUCK is a “fluffer”? I can’t know if I’m truly being insulted if I don’t understand the terminology. Fluffer…hmmm. No idea.

    And yeah, they certainly named this cigar appropriately. That little sucker ain’t playin’ around. Intenso, indeed.

  2. Phil, I will let you explain to your homegirl what a fluffer is. Goddamn, that’s a shitty story about getting booted from the band. Sounds entirely chickenshit. At least you had some super cool experiences, though. A lot of people would love to have gotten the chance to be a rock god, even for a fairly short period of time. I used to work at a law school, and they had photos in a hallway of all the faculty, along with a quote. A lot of them were what you’d expect… High-minded fart sniffing. But there was one older professor who was a complete gentleman, and his quote was, “If you can’t win, at least try to come away with a good story.” That’s always stuck with me as a value worth living by, and you have a ton of good stories

    Based on your review, this sounds like it might be a perfect nightcap cigar. I’m going to have to grab a 5 pack to try them.

  3. Everything must end. I was 24 when I hit the big time. I went on to do some amazing things musically and professionally. I played with much more impressive musicians after I played with Curved Air. Name dropping Stewart Copeland is only a blip on my musical radar. But it’s fun to write about because we were on the road all the time for over 2 years. Road stories.
    The real shitty stuff happened after CA. Signing record deals and fighting for royalties. It’s a dirty business and one must be either ruthless or have serious connections (Are you listening Copeland?) I’m only ruthless when it comes to dog turd cigars.
    The beauty of this is that regardless of my rock god status; it only lasted 10 years but I am a life long bassist. I’ve continued to play in bands…mostly blues and R&B and fusion ever since I got out and got a real job. The business can never take that away from me.

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