Size: 6.25 x 54
Price: $9.13 (A buck less online)
Today we take a look at the 2018 Nica Puro Diamond Rough Cut.
Smoked two cigars previous to review.
From Cigar Aficionado:
“Alec Bradley Cigar Co. has a new shipment of its limited-edition Nica Puro Diamond Rough-Cut heading to cigar retailers worldwide. It is the fourth production run for this cigar, which is known for its sharply pressed diamond shape, and will be limited to 1,500 boxes.
“2018 has been a big year for the Nica Puro Diamond,” said Alan Rubin, founder of Alec Bradley, in a press release. The company added that demand for Diamond Rough-Cut has increased since it received a 91-point rating from Cigar Insider last June. But the diamond-shaped vitola is difficult to produce and requires the use of a special cigar mold, so it will remain a limited-production smoke.
“Alec Bradley first introduced Diamond Rough-Cut in 2014 and the cigar has shipped in limited quantities on three separate occasions, most recently in 2017. The cigars are produced by Plasencia Cigars in Nicaragua.
“Diamond Rough-Cut is rolled with only Nicaraguan tobaccos. The blend is a slightly modified version of the original Nica Puro blend, but is said to contain a bit of extra ligero in the filler.
The cigar measures 6 1/4 inches by 54 ring gauge and comes packed in boxes of 16. Each Nica Puro Diamond Rough-Cut retails for $9.13 per cigar.”
Truly an odd duck of a cigar shape. And oddly, a nicely constructed cigar. It is packed with tobacco and I can feel a plug behind the cigar band.
Seams are beautifully hidden with a minimal amount of veinage. It appears to have only a double cap. But the sharp lines of the edges of this diamond shaped cigar are crisp and alluring. The oily, slightly toothy wrapper has a dark espresso hue with touches of rust in the right light.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
A bombardment of aromas smack my palate nearly overwhelming it…Black pepper, dark chocolate, espresso, tea leaves, cedar, cream, peat, barnyard, black licorice, dried summer fruit, vanilla, and honey.
The cold draw presents flavors of bittersweet chocolate, coffee, malt, creaminess, cedar, barnyard, and licorice.
I ream the cigar with my PerfecDraw cigar poker tool and a whole bunch of intense flavors are liberated and coat my palate with richer versions of earlier described elements.
This is a big honker of a cigar. The large ring gauge and the odd ball shape fill my mouth leaving no room for mouth breathing.
Flavors immediately emit all the elements that the aromas provided: Big black pepper notes, bittersweet chocolate, espresso, extremely creamy, malt, licorice, vanilla, prune, black tea, cedar, and various sweet spices.
Strength hits a potent medium/full from the first puffs. This is a smoker…huge plumes of smoke fill the room and surround my head like a zeppelin raining tear gas on me.
I’m kind of comme ci comme ça about Alec Bradley blends. Some great ones but a whole bunch of not so great catalog blends that cause instant soma.
I’ve thought that the Nica Puro has always been a solid choice. It has always been a nicely blended stick and reasonably priced. Hard to go wrong on this everyday cigar.
Now this cigar tastes like a lot of Nic puros. The thing that makes it different is the onslaught from the start to gain your total attention. It is blasting away like a phaser with a stuck trigger.
Great music on the classic rock channel this morning. I could go nuts reminiscing. But I won’t.
With only an inch burned, the blend is a bona fide mother fucker. Complex from nearly the start. A host of transitions that move at faster than light speed. And a luscious finish that coats my teeth like butter.
The stick can be had for $8 or less. And yet it is a limited edition. No greed on the part of the Bradley folks. Huzzah.
This is going to be a 2 hour+ smoke. I haven’t written a review in a bit due to some minor health issues and what do I pick to return? A giant fallen Redwood tree. Even elder statesmen can be real schmucks.
The effects of the tobacco are intense as it hammers home the blender’s intent. There are no wispy flavors; only big and bold elements that demand your attention. This is not a shy blend.
Technically, this might be called a box press but it seems to have fooled my brain and I’m having zero burn and construction issues.
Sweet, creamy, chock full of chocolate malt, a dense espresso impression, a constant flux of psychedelic flavor motion swirling about in ¾ time, and little bits of licorice, tea, black currant, honey, vanilla, with the slightest hint of truffle oil.
As packed as the stick is, the ash has decided that it must disengage from the mother ship after only half an inch or so.
There aren’t many around and you can find them online at the usual suspects. Even as I am only a third way through, I am highly impressed. I may recant those words as I hit the second half and this strong baby grows legs and causes hallucinations.
40 minutes for the first third.
Who doesn’t love a blend that starts out impactful and never lets up only getting more palate invasive with an impressive level of complexity?
The chocolate and the creaminess; along with the nasal passage clearing spiciness are running the show.
Curved Air side bar…I was just in touch with the original drummer for the band: Florian Pilkington-Miksa. My favorite CA band mate. Flo’s mother was the second richest woman in Britain due to the legacy of the Pilkington Glass company founded in 1826. For a rich man, he was the most down to earth guy in the band. He told me that of all the albums he recorded with CA, our “Live” album was the most fun because we played so well together. I was actually disappointed when Stewart Copeland came on board because he behaved like Keith Moon on steroids when he played in concert. No one could follow him because all he did was solo. Flo was solid as a rock and still remains one of the best percussionists I’ve played with.
The unreliable ash falls right into my lap. I now wear Kevlar down there. It’s good to have a cop in the family.
Strength has hit full tilt.
Proud Mary is playing. My dear musician friends can relate to this…for how many decades was this song required when you played a club? That and “Free Bird” were the bane of all working musicians.
The sweetness takes a back seat to the savory nature of this blend. Yet, it lurks in the shadows allowing for just enough influence to balance the cigar. This is not a smooth stick. It bellows and shouts. It is an uproarious attack to the senses…demanding what it will.
Yet, a most delicious event. The honey and vanilla peek out from the diaspora and causes a smile as I have no control of what to expect next.
Big kudos the Bradley folks. Too bad this won’t be a regular production cigar. So once again, snooze, you lose if you don’t act quickly. But then I don’t remember any fanfare with the release of this cigar. I check online and there are only one or two reviews of this new 2018 release. And no press releases published. I guess the release was on the down low and probably sent out to B&M’s favored by the Alec Bradley group.
The extra Ligero in the filler is doing its job. I mean, holy shit, it is a super strong blend. Newbies venture on your own recognizance. This cigar could take down a charging rhinoceros. Yet, and here is where I jinx it, not so much nicotine to deal with.
The halfway point takes an hour and 10 minutes. I’m going to need an I.V. full of Demerol by the time I finish. I guess I could do a home colonoscopy.
I’m not shitting you when I tell you what’s playing. That’s right: “Free Bird.” And oh good…it is the 10-minute live version. Blimey.
The burn needs its first touch up.
I guess it’s the shape but the damn ash just won’t stay put. It has now fallen into my lap three times. Thank God I have no feeling down there.
I love this cigar. You will too. It is monumental. I would like to add that it has taken only two months of humi time to reach this state of ektropy.
Normally, I don’t prefer big cigars. First is the time investment. And second is a big cigar tends to start slow and eventually get to its zenith around the halfway point. The 2018 Nica Puro Diamond Rough Cut doesn’t follow the rules. It jumps in with both feet and takes you for a wild tea cup ride.
Construction has been top notch on all 3 cigars I’ve smoked. No touch ups to speak of, it stays lit while I putz with taking photos, and a nuclear cloud of smoke that never lets up.
This has turned into the Milwaukee Marathon. The cigar was only made in this size. But it would have been nice if a smaller version was produced. But as Alec Bradley describes it, the molds are extremely difficult to get right and is a royal pain in the ass to roll. So, I get it.
The finish is just outrageous.
I don’t recall the original Nica Puro being anything like this tweaked blend.
I just know if a boutique brand pushed this out of its womb, it would have found itself in the $12-$14 price range.
Black Sabbath is playing. Curved Air did a couple gigs supporting them in England. Back then, Ozzie was a crazy fuck. We went out with him, and his band, after gigs to clubs to party. It was like being in the center ring of a P.T. Barnum spectacular.
The flavor list: Black pepper, chocolate, malt, espresso, honey, dried fruit, cedar, tea, licorice, blackberry jam, nougat, black walnuts, peat, and allspice.
It’s 19° and I have the windows open. My left eye is frozen shut.
This is another must try. I’d love to have a box but a 5 pack will do.
Few cigar blends are real eye opening experiences. This baby puts you into the world of “Clockwork Orange.”
I highly recommend the 2018 Nica Puro Diamond Rough Cut.
And now for something completely different:
Curved Air Chronicles…1974
Here I was…. dressed like a rock star-in-training on a locomotive, in first class, seeking its way to Leeds, England. Naturally, The Who played their “Live at Leeds” album there. I remember being excited about that. Living rock and roll history.
In her daily life, Sonja loved to dress in boas and beads…a real Hippie. She was also very attractive. A looker. But as the withdrawal from morphine addiction took its toll, she became very skinny due to not sustaining a proper diet. But the fan boys loved her. She was one of the most impressive front persons I’ve ever seen in a band.
First class on the train was kind of strange. There were 12 tables that sat four passengers in each car. So, you sit in comfy chairs and are served your drinks there. None of the band wanted to be anywhere near Sonja and it was my duty to keep an eye on her: because I was the new guy…the patsy. She was hiding her withdrawal from the rest of the band because they had gone through this too many times and swore they’d never go through it again. It was up to me to keep this from them. Right off the bat, my tenure in the band put me in the precarious position of juggling two camps.
Stew told me at the train station that they had forgotten to get Sonja’s prescription of Methadone for the 8 hour train trip and I would have to get it filled when we got to Leeds. Oy vey. He told me to expect some issues. That was some mother fucking understatement.
So, Sonja and I sat on one side of a four-seat table and wouldn’t you know it…across from us was an older gentleman and his wife and he just happened to be a member of the British Parliament.
Stewart Copeland, who was in Stark Naked with Darryl, Mick, Butch, and me were taking a break while Curved Air finalized their commitment to RCA for one last album. All of the original players rejoined and I was the only new guy. For some reason, they went through bass players like Spinal Tap went through drummers. No spontaneous combustion though. Although, I nearly choked to death on Darryl Way’s vomit.
As I made small talk with the Parliament Minister sitting across from us at the parlor table, I began noticing something out of the corner of my eye. Sonja was twitching.
We hadn’t been on the train 30 minutes with 7-1/2 hours to go, and she was going through morphine withdrawal. I had no idea how to deal with this.
The minister’s wife was definitely staring at Sonja. I laughed and said “She’s a junkie going through withdrawal. Pay no mind.” And I laughed again.
I hoped some reverse psychology would work…It did for another 30 minutes until she began to convulse.
Her arms began to flail. So, I grabbed them. She had the strength of someone on steroids. I could barely contain her. Her eyes rolled up. Only the whites of her eyes showed.
She started making strange animal sounds. She got one arm free and began to claw at her other arm with her fingernails, taking layers of skin with them. This would continue for 7 hours causing bloody red arms.
Now mind you, I sat in a full first-class parlor car with maybe 48 rich people. All were staring and not a single goddam one asked if they could help.
Not even the two douche bags sitting across the table from us.
I was on my own. I thought of finding the other members of the band, who were in a different car, but then I was told they would bolt and the band would collapse. And I’d be out of a job. A has-been before my time.
The band had gone through this with her several times and they only agreed to the comeback tour if she was clean. It was a secret that was put on me because I was the only new guy of the original crew. Thanks a lot.
So, I sat there all day long, fighting with her while trying to conceal it and no one coming to my aid. It was like a Twilight Zone episode.
I had some Dramamine on me for motion sickness. I started emptying the bottle into her mouth and it helped a little. She would fall asleep after I popped 6 pills in her mouth.
Occasionally, the band would walk through our car, on the way to the club car, to drink or eat and they’d wave with big smiles on their faces, glad that they weren’t the ones stuck sitting with Sonja.
They were effete snobs because of their classical training as musicians. And she was a Hippie who just happened to star in the original London production of “Hair.” I smiled and waved back. Sonja was unconscious…thank God.
We got to Leeds and then to the hotel where Sonja and I shared a room. I plopped her on the bed, tied her arms and legs to the bed, and ran down to the pharmacy…maybe half a block away. I got her prescription of methadone, and needles, and I ran back to the hotel.
She was gone. I panicked and ran into the hallway. Nothing.
I found her in the closet, lying in the fetal position, and making moaning, animal sounds.
I dragged her to the bed and tried to revive her. Her eyes were rolled back. She was delirious. She was about to convulse.
I straddled her. I screamed at her while I began to prepare her injection.
Now I have never given a person a shot in my life, let alone an intravenous one. All I could see were tomorrow’s headlines. “Jew Bass Player Kills Beloved Singer. Hang the Kike!”
I broke the methadone glass ampule and guessed how much should go into the syringe. I tied her off with a giant rubber tube.
I was unable to get her arm to be still. I put all my weight on her, and I began to bitch slap her while yelling her name. Over and over and over. Finally, she came to her senses from being slapped a couple hundred times.
“Sonja…please…you need to hold still and help me. I don’t know how to put a syringe into your vein.”
It took several minutes but she finally guided the syringe into her vein perfectly on the first try and she pushed the plunger.
Then there was silence. Was she dead?
It took almost a minute but her eyes opened, with lots of sparkle, and she smiled at me.
I fell off her, sideways, and plopped to the floor next to the bed. I lay on my back, breathing hard.
Sonja sat up and asked how I was doing? She had no recollection of the day. Nothing.
“So, Phil…you want to go find the roadies and play poker?”
“No, thanks. I think I will just lay here on the floor for a while.”
And off she went. I heard the door slam and I lay completely soaked in my rock star clothing.
This occurred a couple more times on the tour. I came close to having a nervous breakdown.
To be continued…
Left to right: Florian Pilkington-Miksa, Frances Monkman, Sonja Kristina, Darryl Way, Me:
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS
I got my dose of belly laughs from your depiction of the train ride to Leeds…from one Kike to another, you need to write a book about your rock and roll life, dude! Oh, and by the way, I purchased a box of 16 of the 2018 Nico Puro Diamond Rough Cut from Atlantic Cigars which you turned us on to. Thank you for providing us with great cigar reviews and off-the chart entertainment, man.
You’re not the first to suggest I write a book. One problem: I’m not famous. If I was some big shot rock n roll star, I might get away with it but then I’d burn a lot of bridges. There must be millions of musicians with all the same stories about their lives. They just don’t have a bully pulpit to display their misadventures. I even tried writing a tome back in the early 80’s while I was in the biz, but was told by my betters that no one will be interested in a bunch of road stories.
This sums it up: My cousin Fred Selden (74) is an iconic reed player in the L.A. session musician scene since he was 13. He led his own jazz band and toured Europe at that tender age. He is still very active. He has a gazillion credits and even played on the original “Peter Gunn” theme while playing with Henry Mancini…and scored a couple of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films.
When I returned from Europe in the late 70’s, I couldn’t wait to see him at his home and show off my albums with Curved Air. The moment I began to tell him an anecdote, he stopped me and said: “Yes Phil, there are a million road stories out there…”
I slumped. I was crestfallen.
Now if Fred wrote a book, that would be something. Especially about the two tours he ran the horn section for Elvis. He has some pretty sordid stories that always make me laugh.
Maybe I should do a podcast. Everyone is doing it. But I prefer to avoid the bore fest like a plague. No one can entertain me for an hour while talking about cigars. No one.
Hmmm… The reason I read your reviews almost exclusively are because of your “road stories”, your sense of humor and your outsider stance when it comes to Big Cigar. Do you realize how many schleps who tune in to The Katman wish their lives were half as interesting and entertaining as yours? Here’s a title: “An Everyman’s Guide to Cigars and Rock and Roll” sold at cigar trade shows, brick and mortar shops, conventions, anywhere where there’s schleps like me dying to reclaim their adolescent dreams. I guess you don’t realize you’re already a big shot, alta kocker, man.
OK Bobby…you convinced me.
I’ve often thought of just going through the thousands of reviews I’ve written and copy and paste the stories on to a Word doc and then find a way to link them together with additional writing. A lot of work but then as I’m retired, it could be good for my failing mind. You can snag me a publishing deal.
BTW- I have sent my stories, including my other blog “Blue Star Adjustments” to publishing houses and all I got was rejection form letters in return.
No one will buy it so I can self promote it as a Kindle novel. I’ve had friends do that and they are flush with tens of dollars…
Alta kaker…Harumph…I prefer elder statesman.
Uncle Kat pls review La Relatos from Warped…