Wrapper: Arapiraca Maduro
Filler: Dominican Ligero & Seco, Nicaraguan Ligero
Size: 5 x 60 Box Press
Today we take a look at the Flatbed Cigar Company Track 7 2:46.
I bought a 4 pack from Flatbed Cigar online.
“Here is the latest from Flatbed Cigar Company. The new TRACK 7 label. A beautifully balanced, box pressed cigar. Constructed with an Arapiraca Maduro wrapper with Dominican Ligero, Seco and Nicaraguan Ligero filler. Binder is Dominican. Arapiraca is the Municipality in Brazil where this wrapper is grown…and now considered the Cigar Capital of Brazil. This wrapper is a bit more “Earthy” than the Mata Fina, and lighter as well. I think you will really enjoy this cigar. It is a 5×60 that has been box pressed.”
Paul Bush responded to a request from me about the name of the cigar:
“That is a good question. The name Track 7 actually came from music/CDs. My daughter and I were driving along in my car listening to a CD. We were listening to track 7 and loved the song. It was out favorite “track” on the CD. We started thinking about other CDs and the 7th track…and noted it seems like the best song is always on track #7. I then said…”hey that’s a good name for a cigar.” She rolled her eyes at me and kept singing.
“The original box for the Track 7 was cardboard. A couple years later I had the cigars ready, but no boxes. So, I boxed them up in cardboard and glued a picture on the top of the box. It was a picture of my car stereo playing that CD on Track 7. It also showed we were two minutes and forty-six seconds (2:46) into the song.
“I sold the cigars in those boxes for about a year until the cedar boxes were ready.
“Thanks for the question!”
The wrappers don’t seem to see a constant hue as each leaf is slightly different. The cigar is very rustic with loads of veins; both large and small. Seams are jam up and jelly tight. There is a nice toothiness alternating with portions of the wrapper that are smooth as black ice just before you slip and fall, break your hip, and die three days later in the hospital. The cap is probably a triple dose but it is so clean that is near impossible to be sure. The box press has sharp corners on two sides and nearly round corners on the last two.
THE SCHNOZ TEST:
I concur with the reviews I read in that the blend is swimming in sweet things: Caramel, molasses, sweet cream, stewed apples, floral notes, raisins, sweet tea, and Riesling.
On the other side, the cigar is laden with aromas of chocolate, espresso, cedar, malt, peanuts, and black pepper. The cold draw presents tastes of milk chocolate, fancy schmancy rich coffee, malts, cedar, barnyard, pretzel, nuts, black pepper, and peppermint.
The draw is perfect so no need for my PerfecDraw cigar poker tool.
After properly toasting the foot, smoke pours through the ass end of the cigar like an afternoon at an indoor range.
Flavors erupt quickly. Elements of salted caramel, cocoa, espresso, nuts, black pepper, black licorice, malt, cedar, a woody bitterness, and lemon zest.
A nice balance shows up early giving this poor schnook hope that this cigar is the real deal. Only 5-7 years ago, this would have been considered a not so cheap cigar. Now it finds the price point in the realm of semi-decent catalog brands. So far, my impression is that this ain’t no Patel or CAO blend. There is a complex nature arising that leads to the start of flavor transitions along with a tasty finish.
I smoked this stick last night to make sure it was ready and found myself sobbing and self-mutilating as I was overcome with slobbery drool and nose gorf. It was ready.
Now on a fresh palate, the assault is taking place from the moment I lit up. All the essence of a fine premium blend.
Strength is a solid medium. Nice morning cigar. But will I find myself in the land of Oz during the last third as I struggle for air as the nicotine dissolves the most important naughty bits of my brain?
The Track 7 2:46 is a very heavy cigar. It’s loaded and jam packed with enough tobacco to make 4 Quorums. Smoke time will require a substantial commitment of time on your part. But then you can always take dialysis breaks as needed and come back to it flushing your palate with intermittent shots of Strawberry Hill wine and sips of Absinthe.
And the cigar goes out. I clearly do not have the sucking strength lately to keep cigars blazing. Must be that time I was locked in a room with 7 naked women and only my yarmulke for protection. Now a reservoir tip yarmulke is an invention I may look into.
I’m not having my usual wayward box press burn issues. See! I swear the box press technology ain’t what it is cracked up to be; except by some exceptional rollers…which clearly were used in the production of this cigar.
Yeah, it’s a triple cap. I know this because it appears that the entire cap wants to jettison itself from the top of the cigar. As I’ve smoked two sticks and didn’t have this problem, I am guessing it’s my karma. Smoke two perfectly fine cigars for pleasure and then pick the problem stick for review. I’m cursed due to my early excessiveness brought on by my time in the music industry. I never should have screwed that corral of hedgehogs on a dare when I was in Curved Air. Besides, the pigs are totally ungrateful for bringing them to orgasm.
The blend is singing to me. So complex, perfectly balanced, big flavor notes, a transition cacophony, with a mile-long finish. Character. Oozing with fine character.
It’s taken me 40 minutes to smoke 1-5/8”. That’s impressive.
I can’t get over how good the Track 7 2:46 is. The price point belies the outcome and makes fools of we cigar snobs that figure you can’t get a high premium blend for less than a fiery Ford Pinto settlement.
The char line needs its first touch up. Normally, this putz is constantly fixing the burn on a box press. Not this baby. Swimming with the sharks and a swarming sea of simbas.
I’m really digging this cigar. I can say at this early stage that this blend is deserving of a box purchase. But start with a 4 pack and it will have you wishing you had stolen money from your grandkids’ piggy bank and college fund to buy a box.
You can see in the photo below how the triple cap is beginning to disintegrate. No problem with the previous two sticks and I chose the one with issues. Fucking hell. In no way do I think this should reflect negatively upon Flatbed. Any cigar can have problems. It is a natural product and therefore subject to variations. And this is why I have made the choice to never review a cigar in which I only have one sample.
Again, a perfect morning cigar made perfect when accompanied by a good cup of coffee.
Sweet spot. Blasting caps have been placed underneath my man boobs and are making them flap like clean sheets on a windy Kansas clothes line. Charlotte likes it when I make them whistle the “Star Spangled Banner” in the key of C. Since she is a German national, she never rises. I do.
I love the balance. Nothing overwhelms. The black pepper is restrained but zesty. The sweetness of the wrapper nearly leaves my lips sticky like I am sucking on a Tootsie Roll Pop.
Speaking of which…did you ever find yourself in grade school, on the playground, when you go to get a drink of liquid refreshment from the water fountain (assembled in 1923) and all of a sudden you notice that someone placed a big human turd in the bowl of the drain? Me either. (This is the benchmark period for when I learned how to spit and find a serious dislike for dry heaving).
The mirepoix elements are super creaminess, chocolate covered malted milk balls, caramel, and a variety of fruity notes.
The halfway point sees the flavor profile explode and becomes the equivalent of any $15-$20 blend on the market. Super complex now. The flavors morph and mind meld with my palate causing my nipples to twitch in ¾ time.
The Track 7 2:46 is now an experience to plotz over. I day dream over kishka, hamantaschen, and haroset. And matzoh slathered in unsalted butter.
I cannot think of another $7.50 cigar that possesses the extreme complexity as this blend from Flatbed Cigar Co. You can take all your $12 sticks and shove them. The lack of greed always impresses me. Passion and a focus to detail is what gets my motor running. Kudos Paul Bush.
This little 5 x 60 stick is going to end up being a 2+ hour smoke. That’s OK. Just don’t think of spending that much time with your in-laws and you’ll come out the other end just fine. Think of it as a singularity that pulls you in and makes all things disappear. Unfortunately, you are still stuck with your in-laws.
I can think of a few good cigar manufacturers that this blend reminds me of: Warped, Ezra Zion, Black Works Studio, and RoMa Craft. Yeah, baby. If those alliances don’t make you want to visit Flatbed Cigar Company, then nothing will. Plus, on average, the Track 7 2:46 is $5 cheaper than most of those manufacturers’ blends.
Nothing but boner. But no sagging balls. I have a copyright pending for senior citizen socks that have a little pouch so you can park your testicles in them. I don’t recommend using the socks during summer as you will most certainly be wearing shorts. Not a pretty sight. Stick with your skinny jeans.
The creaminess continues to run the show. Accompanied by those wonderful tendrils of cocoa, malt, caramel, lemon sponge cake, and a decadent Starbucks’ coffee concoction.
Strength remains at medium but slowly edging towards medium/full.
The sweet spots just keep piling on with backhoe precision.
The crappy summer weather has affected the outcome of my dental floss crop in Montana. My dreams of becoming a dental floss tycoon may have been dashed on the rocks. Make that neat instead.
This cigar is more fun than getting your ears slapped crazily by a pair of fun balloons.
Strength is now a potent medium/full. Nicotine settles in at a tolerable level. No hallucinations of me chasing Charlotte around the apartment with a reservoir tipped yarmulke or force feeding my German wife with vegetables.
Flatbed Cigar Company really nailed this blend. A perfect linear trajectory of complexity, balance, and character. The cigar never let me down and while I’m not a fan of a two hour smoke, I lost all track of time and found myself in the zone of pure bliss.
Flatbed has a huge array of blends. If you’ve never tried one of their cigars, it’s now time to check them out. Passionate blends and reasonably priced. What else do you need?
And now for something completely different:
Band: The Attitude. Time: The early 1980’s.
The band went through a power struggle between Mike and Rick. Mike felt he had more to offer. And the two constantly butted heads. It didn’t even need a minute to be discussed. The drummer and I went with Rick and the band became a three piece without a keyboard player who told dumb jokes between songs.
And really couldn’t sing that well.
We did two music videos. Here is: ”Condo Bondage” Mike orchestrated this one and sang lead.
And then compare it to our remake of “Hound Dog” in which Rick sang lead. And that was Little Richard playing piano on the recording, not Mike.
We were about to play at the world famous Troubadour club in West Hollywood. Every group in the 1960’s-1980’s played there. It was in the same class as the Whisky a Go Go, the Roxy, the Golden Bear, and the Hollywood Palladium. It was an icon.
It was not “pay to play” as it is today. But our sole income from the gig was selling tickets at the door and the tickets the band sold to friends.
It was 1981. The band was called The Attitude. We were a great band. Way ahead of our time, unfortunately.
A four piece band made up of four good looking guys with an enigmatic, handsome singer along the lines of Bryan Ferry meets Keith Richards. Weird, I know. But he was the leader and was a great singer and a great guitarist.
We had recorded a single that was a cover of “Hound Dog.” In the studio next to us, Little Richard was doing some recording and we talked him into playing on the record. He obliged. You can watch the music video here: Hound Dog. Remember, this was during the birth of MTV.
The band had a lot of followers. And we sold hundreds of tickets and it was SRO. It was our first gig and even though I had played in Curved Air (A big stadium band) in England prior to this, I was nervous.
We did a little sketch in one of the songs…don’t ask me the name of the tune, it was over 35 years ago.
I wore a Jimmy Carter mask and wore a prisoner’s ball and chain on my ankle. With my face covered, I became very animated and drove the crowd nuts with my antics; all the while playing my bass.
At the end of the song, I ripped the ball and chain off and threw it into the audience. It hit a waitress’s tray full of drinks and she toppled over, hit her head on the floor, and got knocked out.
The band had no idea this had happened and we finished the song and were about to start the next one.
The crowd was drunk, coked up; high on weed, and people started yelling “Who threw that?” The idiots didn’t see me? How could that be? I kept my mouth shut.
We ignored the brouhaha going on in the audience as the waitress was helped up. We blasted into our next song. Avoid, avoid, avoid. Deny. Deny. Deny.
We only played one set. That’s how it worked. Back then there were 3 or 4 bands in a night. And we gave it our all. The crowd, and management at the club, went nuts over us. Meanwhile, I was having a near heart attack from the extreme physicality from my performance. I was totally drenched in sweat. I was beginning to hyperventilate.
BAM! The set was over. The crowd insisted on an encore but management would not allow it. The crowd booed for 15 minutes as our roadies took down our equipment. I wandered into the audience to greet friends and there she was….my ex-wife.
I was married briefly when I was 21. She was nuts and I divorced her. And here she was. Standing in front of me. I hadn’t seen her in 10 years.
She was a nurse and saw the condition I was in. She took me by the hand and led me out to the back of the club and sat me down on the curb. She found a clean cloth and doused it in water. She placed it on the back of my neck as my head slumped forward. Neither of us spoke. I couldn’t. People kept coming out back to congratulate me and I could barely talk. It took a full half hour before I was able to stand.
We went to an after-gig party and she came with me. We spent the night together. And then dated for about a year until her crazy genes showed up again and I moved on.
The band went on to do very well in all the L.A. clubs.
We all did too much drugs back then. The 1980’s was the heyday of cocaine use. Everyone was doing it. I don’t think I knew anyone that didn’t.
We had released the 45 single of “Hound Dog.” And we had a lot of tunes from the recording studio.
We had a manager. A Frenchman, Philippe Mogane, who was a big shot in France due to his photography. He was also Iggy Pop’s first manager. And continued to be heavily involved in the L.A. punk scene.
He put out a CD called “The Godfathers of L.A. Punk” a few years ago and included “Hound Dog.” It didn’t exactly meet the criteria of punk.
Mogane was our manager and he did things for us. He was no role model as he did more drugs than anyone I knew.
He distributed our single and the cassette recordings to all of his contacts and scored with some production company looking for a band to do the soundtrack for a movie and play in some bar scene.
The production people came in a large throng and sat up in the balcony. In those days, some clubs only allowed a band 20 minutes. That way they could put 6-7 bands on in one night.
Rick was so nervous he made himself ill. He also did a bit too much of the marching powder. Of course, the band did some too but not from a dump truck like Rick.
We go on stage and Rick counts us in for our first song.
Then disaster hit.
He lost his balance in the middle of the song and fell into Reek Havok’s enormous drum set…sending drums and equipment flying all over the stage.
We helped him up. Reek was not happy.
We set the drums back up. And just as we were ready to play our second song, we watched the production group get up and leave. Never heard a word back from them.
Man, we were pissed off at Rick.
But it was Hollywood. We really never knew what chances we really had for being in the movie. We only got feedback from Mogane and he couldn’t be trusted. We played out a lot. And Rick never did that stunt again. He learned his lesson the hard way.
And as always happens with bands, dissension in the ranks started after a year together. Rick was the true leader of the band but he started it with our keys player, Mike Anthony. Rick sang “Hound Dog” and Mike sang “Condo Bondage.” Mike’s vocals were never stellar. While Rick’s was. He was the true center of the band.
Things got very uncomfortable. Mike approached me and wanted to break off with Rick and start his own band. I tried not to laugh.
There was no way. Rick had the X Factor. His writing was/is brilliant and he had showmanship. His vision for the band was way ahead of its time which eventually killed the band. We were recording totally unique rock music. Rick wrote everything. I just added my bass lines and made the occasional comments and suggestions.
Mike was floored that I wouldn’t go with him.
So now we were a trio. No keys. We still sounded like a big band. We had the perfect mix of two players that complemented each other so we had our own wall of sound.
We continued to play out with the same frequency that we had with Mike on keys.
And then I broke up the band. I had an opportunity to buy a recording studio and I went with it. This was the situation that propelled me into the Eddie Munster project.
We worked constantly. 3-4 sessions per day. Sometimes more.
I learned a lot about producing from Rick. Without being under his tutelage, I would never have been so successful.
During my ownership of the studio, I produced thousands of acts. And I got plenty of bass work. Bands would come in looking for a bassist asking if I knew one. I raised my hand. But I couldn’t produce and play at the same time.
So, the bands laid down their tracks and I would come back to the studio late at night and sit in the booth by myself. I did my own engineering and would run the board and play the bass lines. Perfect way to play outstanding bass.
As I sink into the arena of less time ahead of me, I find myself looking back at some of the wonderful bands I played in…and fondly at the people I played with. Sure, it was never easy and often a struggle to keep bands together because of dissident personalities…but the bottom line is regardless of how successful or unsuccessful any of my bands were, I remained a lifelong bassist. Music is everything.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS