Payne Mason Cigars Torpedo Barber | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Connecticut, Dominican Corojo
Binder: Ecuadorian
Filler: Undisclosed
Size: 6 x 50
Strength: Medium
Price: $19.00

Today we take a look at the Payne Mason Cigars Torpedo Barber.
Thank you to Robert Payne for the samples.
I know, I know. What the hell am I thinking? I’m reviewing a $19 cigar. Should it taste better than two $9.50 cigars? I believe so.
Remember, I write stream of consciousness and in real time. I don’t go back to edit, except for spell check, so if I look like an ass, so be it. I’ve been called much worse. This system, I’ve used from the start, is the best way to convey honesty and accurate reactions.

From the Payne Mason web site:
“This founding member of the Barber Family displays an elegance in its presentation with a two-toned wrapper blending a 5 year aged Connecticut Natural wrapper and a 6 year aged Dominican Corojo, rolled simultaneously, creating a truly unique flavor combination. An aged Ecuadorian binder and a proprietary blend of up to 4 filler tobaccos delivers a sweet, slightly spicy, but well balanced smoking experience. Its torpedo shape and 50 ring gauge also provide for excellent draw and smooth smoking experience.”

“Holding strictly to the cultural ways of our roller’s Cuban heritage, who for decades have perfected their art, PAYNE-MASON continues a dedication to tradition and authenticity utilizing age-old family recipes while being unaffected by the use of modern mass production techniques.

“The authenticity of our 100% hand rolled cigars is further enhanced by the select use of rare, aged leaf from the richest tobacco growing regions of the world. The “no compromise” growing methods are combined with age-old curing processes, long since ignored in today’s mass produced cigar industry.
Not available to the general retail trade, PAYNE-MASON’S limited production of luxury cigars will be found at fine resorts, casinos, prestigious golf and wine facilities, along with other high-end destination properties.”

A very rustic looking cigar with unattractive veins that bulge like the ones on my neck when I stare at my online bank statement. I would have expected that for $19, the cigar would be a work of art. Instead, it looks no different than a cheap cigar. Isabela Cigars makes a nice barber pole blend called Serpentine and while it’s a $9 stick, it puts to shame the outer construction of the Payne Mason. Oily tan and chocolate wrapper with a nice amount of tooth.

From the shaft, I can smell lots of sweet goodies: Caramel, chocolate, creaminess, spicy red pepper, malts, cedar, big dose of vanilla ice cream, cappuccino, celery seed, and vine fruit.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell the exact same as above with the addition of cinnamon and nutmeg…plus earth, wind and leather.

The cold draw presents flavors of chocolate, malt, cream, coffee, malt, red pepper, and vanilla.

I’ve had my Payne Mason running naked in my humidor for almost two months.

The draw is way too tight. Like sucking through a flat straw. I grab my PerfecDraw cigar poker and let ‘er rip. The first plug is near the cap and as I remove the cigar poker, out comes a 2” long piece of yellow string. WTF? Or is it blonde hair? The second plug is in the last third of the stick.

Like a lot of cigars, the first puffs are just a warm up as it begins a journey that I hope doesn’t match its blah start.
Even if this is old school blending, at two months, I should at least be able to taste the blender’s intent. So no excuses.
The char line is on point.

Some very interesting flavors pop up….candied orange peel, cumin, a new type of spicy pepper I cannot identify. Sarin, maybe? The out pouring of smoke is voluminous. There are elements of smoky meatiness, custard, and big dollops of vanilla bean.

You can see part of the 2” long yellow string in the photo below:

Well, I’m almost an inch in and the Payne Mason Torpedo Barber is failing to impress.
For $19, I can get a BJ on the street and a good $9 cigar. Right now, it feels like I’m only getting blown. Cover your teeth!

There is such an interesting finish but zero complexity and not a lick of transitions. Bummer, dudes.

What is it about Bob Seger I don’t get? So far my classic rock channel is playing shit. Time to light up a taped concert. Zeppelin sounds about right.

The char line begins to waver. Great. Now Payne Mason ain’t no schlock company. The host events for some of the most exceedingly rich patrons like Maserati and the such. But here’s the deal, if PM is hosting massive rich people events, their cigars should be ready to go. Even if I were a rich man, I’d be bummed if I picked up the Payne Mason Torpedo Barber and it tasted like this one does. And mine has 2 months of naked humi time. Right out of the cello, it might be nothing more than barnyard. A quandary I cannot explain.

Robert even told me on the phone that his cigars are so perfectly aged, they need no humidor time! None whatsoever. When I mentioned I’ve never had a cigar that doesn’t benefit from some humidor time, he insisted that his do not. That should have been my first tip off. Plus he told me what he called a cigar industry secret…that almost no cigars are actually hand made and that most big manufacturers use wrapper tubes for all their cigars. Whoa. That should have been my second tip off. But I’m an idiot and was impressed with his web site enough to ignore his eccentricities and follow the tobacco.

Flavors just evaporate. I flipped a coin as to which of the 6 single samples I possess to review. There are only a couple reviews of this brand. I spoke to Robert on the phone and we hit it off and he sent me some samples for my pleasure. It’s a real crap shoot to review a cigar when all you have is a single. And I believe I’ve found the crap. Shoot.

The char line needs a major tune up which isn’t totally unusual for a barber pole double wrapper cigar.
I should be blown away by now. Either this cigar needs a year of humidor time; which makes no sense, or it’s a dud. I’m leaning towards the latter.

Smoke time is a quick 25 minutes.

Man, I hope Dr. Frankenstein is able to bring this cigar to life because Dr. Kohn finds no pulse.
There has no change to the blend except for its downward spiral to elusive nothingness.

I’ve just burned another bridge. I doubt Robert will want to sign up as a sponsor after he reads this. As always, I take the bullet for my readers so you don’t have to. Thank heavens for a Kevlar palate.

Now all I’m interested in is seeing if the second half makes some sort of attempt at redemption. But at this point, the Payne Mason Torpedo Barber is a total waste of dough. I rant about the excessive greed of manufacturers that believe all they need to do is target smokers with dough and they can get away with anything. Maserati, Schmazerati…who gives a shit if the cigar is worthless.

I’m getting the smallest iota of flavor from elements of cream, malt, black pepper, and some generic sweetness. That’s all folks!

Robert actually takes these cigars to major rich people events. Maybe I picked a shit bird blend to choose to review. Maybe the Payne Mason Torpedo Barber is the Quorum of his blends. But then bring the price down to $3.

I so look forward to my first cigar of the day. My palate is fresh. I am jonesing for my nicotine fix. And then…nada.

Where was I? That’s right…reviewing a Gurkha Second.
The char line is a bloody mess. Flavors are disappearing faster than your ability to pee standing up.
If I had smoked this because I had two of them…I would have chucked the cigar and slapped my head several times and be glad I didn’t waste my time on a review.

Faint floral notes appear. There is some lemongrass. I’m reachin’ folks.

My coffee is cold. Kellie brews her own beans from scratch and picks hybrids of coffee to merge in the same batch. It’s like coffee heaven here in Mayberry.

Am I near the halfway point? Who the fuck cares. I’m chugging along still naively expecting a baby Jesus miracle. It’s going to take the Cosmic Muffin to make a miracle here.
What a fucking letdown. Sonovabitch.

I fell for it. I constantly rail against buying high double digit priced cigars and here I am; trusting someone that his blends are top notch because he is rich and I’m not. I am such a schmuck. All together now…the Katman is a schmuck. Rinse and repeat.

First, I shouldn’t have needed to ream the cigar’s innards to make it smokeable. That was the first clue. No flavors were the second clue.

Yesterday was 85 here in Milwaukee. Today may get up to 55. Fucking Wisconsin. Thank God we have Scott Pruitt heading up the EPA so real time fixes are in the mix. (I pissed myself writing that last sentence).

I’m going to get a SCIF built for my mini man cave and will use my Gemco credit card to pay for it.
You ever have an itch in the crack of your ass while you are around people and don’t know what to do? Me neither.

Oh…latest update on my structural imperfections. Finally got corroborated diagnoses on my injured knees from a fall on April 3. I need at least one total knee replacement and hopefully only surgery on the other knee. I’m OK with it. I was shocked at first but then calmed down after my anxiety attack subsided. It’s not life or death. It’s not cancer. It’s just a problem like Paul at Havana Lounge & Cigar pounded into me while I sat at the bar smoking a cigar. But the really bad part is I will have to stop smoking cigars for at least two weeks before surgery. No nicotine allowed in the blood stream. You can’t heal properly with that shit in your blood stream. I am going to walk around beating small animals and slapping little babies.

Where was I?
Oh fuck, I remember.
The Payne Mason Torpedo Barber. Haha. I’m imagining the military using these blends as torture for prisoners at Abu Ghraib. (Do you want us to force you to smoke a Payne Mason cigar or would you prefer waterboarding? ‘Waterboarding please.’)

The second half is now in the realm of a JR bundle cigar made by some fictitious blenders by the names of Chaim Menendez and Moshe Gonzalez-Gonzalez.
Not a single redeeming moment in this long, never ending review. My cat brings me my Glock on request. I think he has a bad back from carrying this thing in his mouth on a regular basis…he’s my caddy.

Smoke time doesn’t matter as I’ve entered the Twilight Zone and time has no meaning. I’m Rod Serling and the cigar is scaring William Shatner as it dances on the wing of his airplane.

Creaminess begins to get serious. Alert the media. Wait. I am the media. Never mind.

I am completely flummoxed as to why anyone would pay $19 for this cigar and then say, “Wow, what a great cigar!” It’s like golfers who think Macanudos are the best cigars in the world.

Normally, I would have taken additional photos by now but it’s a lot of work and since I’ve blasted this cigar’s rep back to the stone ages, a photo really isn’t necessary.
This blend tastes no better than its early introduction to my palate.

But wait…with nearly 2” to go, the blend perks up. Little flashes of real flavor show up just long enough for me to relish the break in the boredom.

To be honest, I don’t taste any blender’s intent even if the cigar needs an extreme amount of humi time…I should taste something other than the taste of licking cardboard.

The good thing to come out of this is that I have half a dozen more Payne Mason cigars I now know I don’t have to review. I’ll let them rest til Wisconsin finally legalizes cannabis. That should be by Star Date 2087.4.

Of course, flavors are kicking in. Either it’s a lousy cigar or I smoked it way, way too early. I will let you know in 6 months.

If you want, you can visit the Payne Mason web site where you can buy their cigars online.
OK. I give up. I think I will make a Denver omelet now.
Have a good day dear readers.


And now for something completely different:
The Byrds

In 1966, at the height of their short career, I got to meet and hang with them at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, CA.
The Golden Bear is a small venue. Maybe seats 200 people. The Byrds had a string of major hits. And were considered the American Beatles.

They only played two nights; two shows per night. It was impossible to get tickets. So my buddy, Elliot Kushell, had an idea. We would pretend we were reporters for the Long Beach Press Telegram newspaper.

I called the Golden Bear and introduced myself as a reporter. I just knew they wouldn’t buy it.
An hour later, The Byrds’ manager called back and said he would get us backstage passes.
Elliot and I were ecstatic.

We were both 16. And hardly looked like real reporters.

We got there and not a single reporter was there. Unless they were in the audience. We were the only people allowed back stage with the band.
I brought along my Sony reel-to-reel that my grandfather bought me for my Bar Mitzvah. And I brought two cameras: A Kodak Instamatic and a Polaroid.

We met them as soon as we got there. We were invited into their dressing room. A drab and tiny room. Almost like a big closet.
Right away, they were friendly and generous.
I got a 45 minute interview with Roger McGuinn. I took lots of photos. During the concert, I just wandered to the front of the stage and took pictures with my Instamatic. No one bothered me.

Back stage, I used my Polaroid. David Crosby asked if he could use it and show me something. He knew how to get double exposures with the thing.
So he took a bunch of crazy photos.

Strangely, I never saw them drink alcohol or smoke any weed. They were sober.
And neither Elliot nor I had tried weed at that age. Things were different then.

Now Roger went to a guru on a regular basis. This guru said his original name of Jim was wrong for him and changed it to Roger. How cosmic.
I asked for an autograph and, apparently, he wasn’t used to his new name. He started to write the letter J and then stopped and wrote Roger. I wish I still had that piece of paper but that was almost 50 years ago.

Roger let me hold the famous Rickenbacker 12 string that was the signature sound of The Byrds.

There were girls in the dressing room of course. And David made sure that they all sat on my lap. I almost passed out. And I was embarrassed because I had the wood of a horny 16 year old.

The evening lasted for 6 hours. All of it exhilarating. When it was over, each of The Byrds gave me a big bear hug. I couldn’t believe it.

The next day, I wrote up an article from the interview, and submitted it to the teeny bopper magazine “Tiger Beat.”
A couple weeks later, it was returned to me, bleeding with red mark ups. I was told that my article was not cuddly enough. I swear to God. Those were her exact words.
That was the official start of my writing career.
I hope you find my cigar reviews cuddly.


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23 replies

  1. During your review of the Payne Mason Barber, I couldn’t help but have a large laugh when you referenced “Golfers think Macanudos are the best cigar ever”.

    PS I am a golfer but I like you know better. I love the Isabela Serpentine, StarDust and Mashup by the way.

  2. Once again your honesty shows through. Thanks for the laughs and you have a good day too!

  3. Hey Hugh
    My dad was a huge fan of playing golf. I made money for my first bass starting at age 14. His quartet paid me every week to get up at midnight, take my dad’s car, park it in a numbered parking space at the El Dorado golf course in Long Beach, CA and wait til 6am when we lined up in order of our parking spots and got a starting time for Saturday.
    I’d fall asleep in the back seat which was uncomfortable in his 1964 Chevy Bel Air and then ride home, sleep for an hour, then get up and go to school.
    They paid me $1 each so every week I stowed away $4. As soon as I had enough for my first bass; a used Hofner McCartney Beatles bass, I told them to fuck off. They were beside themselves the cheap bastardos!
    So I probably dredge up old bitter feelings and the Mac gives me that opportunity…lol

  4. Thank you, Kevin….and I try so hard to come across as the biggest lying asshole on the planet. I need more practice…I guess.

  5. Hey Katman.
    Great story. Hope surgery on knee and replacement gors well for you. Good luck with prep for two weeks without Uncle Nick (otine)

  6. Yes. I twist and turn knife just as you do.😋

  7. Todd said “Hello, It’s Me”

  8. Yea. Been a long time since either of us found Utopia



    Must be a… Payne to smoke this to the end

  10. My daughter went to a b&b @ a winery in Temecula with her husband. Brought me home a pair of these. The 1st was the same one.
    I let it sit for a couple months also.
    They told her they were discontinuing them, get em while they’re hot.
    She paid $22 a piece.
    When I smoked it, I too was unbelievably unimpressed.
    The other, might just be a gift for my great grandsons wife to be’s father.
    He’s 15 months old.

    I dont think you’ll be receiving an more from the Major Paynes.
    Life’s to short, to pay too much, for crappy cigars.
    There are far too many affordable, delicious ones out there.
    No, really! …..Todd…..

  11. Right on my brother…

  12. I’m still not sure which I like better: when you praise a mouth watering yet affordable stick or when you relieve yourself all over an expensive dud. I’d like to mail you a ziplock bag full of Chaim Menendez and Moshe Gonzalez-Gonzalez markdowns, then just sit back and read the carnage that followed.

  13. Not a day goes by I don’t think that exact thing.
    My humor inspired by bad cigars is better because of frustration…and I seem to write better when I’m pissed off.
    But then I love raving like a loon about a great cigar. I don’t care if I’m funny; even though I remember now and then to at least try.
    A good cigar, for me, trumps dissing a bad cigar which tends to ruin my morning for a good couple hours after I finish the review.

    So..what was the question?
    Oh yeah…Because I write contemporaneously without stopping or editing, I have no control or forethought (Foreskin works too) of what I’m going to say. So it’s a roll of the dice each time I sit down to open my soul and let everyone in one what a buffoon I am.
    Thanks for the comment RC.

  14. Hey Katman,
    You got me curious/nosey. Do you have a prize pig picked out for your first smoke post-op? I’m imaging an Ark of the Covenant-style humidor with a ray of golden light beaming on one magical cigar you’ve aged to perfection. Hope all goes well and you heal up quickly.

  15. As I sit here crumpled in the corner of the bathroom…whimpering…I realize I hadn’t given that subject any thought yet.
    Interesting supposition. I will now have to see what tickles my fancy.
    As far as the Ark of the Covenant, I do have an old Tampax cardboard box I’ve been using for a travel humidor….I might stick a small candle inside along with a self portrait of Moses shaking the third tablet before it slipped and broke.
    Speaking of Moses…his brother Aaron was a Kohain. Which means I’m related to Moses. I have an actual replica of the ark made of old Shredded Wheat cereal boxes and a gold lamé dress I wore when I played in an all transvestite blues/polka/Serbian band.

  16. A 60? YIKES! I didn’t know a cigar could suck that bad. But when you take into account that this is a $20 stick… I mean, what are these guys thinking? I guess I will stick with the Padron 1926 F75 if I want to blow a dub on a cigar. I too will take the one Payne Mason I have, label it with the date, bury it in a Tupperdor, and smoke it if and when Keith Richards dies.

    We need to start thinking about what kind of world we want to leave for Keef.

    Oh, and I ROAST my own coffee beans. Not BREW. I think most people brew their beans. It’s ok Uncle, I know you have issues.

  17. OH! No he DIDN’T!!

  18. I’m now crumpled in the corner of my bathroom laughing my balls off. You crack me up like commandments 11-15. Truly one of a kind Kat.

  19. This woman is making me an old man. It annoys me she is right most of the time but this chick spot checks me on everything I write.
    Love her audacity and it’s OK. She is a good friend. Except after that comment in which she felt the need to correct me….but that’s a woman thing so she’s excused…lol

  20. Just Commandments 11-15? Damn.
    You’re beginning to be funnier than me…I don’t like it.
    OK. Do I have to call you Red Cloud? Give up your name or I make a call to Mossad.

  21. I can’t help it. I was a copy editor in another life. Before I was a fluffer.

  22. LMAO. I really hate it when my readers are way funnier than me…
    Thank you, Kellie.
    I bet you were a really good fluffer.

  23. Phil, your readers are getting as funny as you.

    “We have to start thinking what kind of a world we want to leave Keef.”

    Shit, that’s good.

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