Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran
Size: 6.5 x 55
Price: $11.10 (A buck less online)
Today we take a look at the Liberation by Hamlet.
I smoked one stick prior to this review.
Released: August 2018
From Cigar Aficionado:
“Liberation by Hamlet is the third cigar brand that Hamlet Paredes, a former Habanos S.A. cigar roller and blender, has created with Rocky Patel. The cigar is draped in a dark Habano Ecuadoran leaf, with binder from Nicaragua and a filler mix of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos. Liberation comes only in a single size called Toro, which measures 6 1/2 inches by 55 ring gauge. The eye-catching Toro is crafted with a tapered figurado head and an unfinished shaggy foot. The cigar is priced at $11.10 and will ship in 10-count boxes.”
From Hamlet Paredes:
“At all my events, I roll all my cigars free hand,” said Paredes. “No molds. So, for this new brand, I wanted to create something different, something liberating. Naturally, we decided to call it Liberation.
“The shaggy foot is meant to be smoked,” added Paredes. “It provides a nice introduction to the cigar, then everything changes when you reach the wrapper.”
A stunning cigar presentation. From the oily, espresso/old penny colored wrapper to the beautiful figurado cap to the dust mop at the foot, this is an imposing looking cigar. There is a fine grit of tooth covering the wrapper. Seams are tucked away nicely and surprisingly, not much veinage to disrupt the flow of the stick. The cigar feels very hard which means it is another slog to get through a 2+ hour cigar. But it also means I might have some plugs. I can feel a big one in the cigar band location.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
Big floral notes that remind me of roses. Deep intricacies of dark cocoa, sweet malt, boysenberry jam, rich creamy coffee, dried fruit, cedar, barnyard, hay, brown sugar, gingerbread, and sweet brioche. And a touch of black pepper.
I get no draw whatsoever so out comes my PerfecDraw cigar poker tool and ream it carefully. The plug is right behind the cigar band and down in the last third. As I pull out the poker, long hard pieces of dry tobacco and stems are removed. It’s like sorting through a lid of Mexican $10 grass in 1967.
I always panic when I begin to toast a gigantic shaggy foot. Normally, fireworks erupt causing me to sashay around the room screaming like a little girl.
It can also influence the initial burn because the shaggy foot never burns evenly.
That wasn’t so bad. Flavors early on are simple: Malt, chocolate, generic sweetness, espresso, cedar, and black pepper.
Moments later, the blend kicks into gear. Flavors expand in a broad spectrum of creaminess, almonds, chocolate covered peanuts, WD-40, orange zest, herbs, and fresh berries.
Smoke fills the room. This is a pumper.
Strength hits a solid medium.
The blend is very smooth and balanced at this early juncture. Flavor elements are evenly distributed. Not much complexity yet. Transitions are null and void. But the finish is intriguing.
Only a couple reviews of this cigar. And I didn’t read glowing reviews…just OK reviews. That doesn’t stop this shmo from surging ahead because I rarely agree with anyone.
The shaggy foot was rolled perfectly as the photo below shows…a nice even burn that saved me from wearing my confirmation dress and running around the room shrieking.
Now that I’ve established that this appears to be a fairly well constructed cigar, I fully expect the ash to sear my nuts when it collapses from fatigue right into my lap. I like testicles done medium/rare.
I’ve had the cigar a couple months. Blandness was the one complaint among the reviews I read. Bummer, dudes.
So far, no complexity. The first cigar I smoked seemed to show some real potential. Where is the bridge? In Kashmir probably.
I reviewed the new Nic Puro Diamond Rough Cut yesterday and that was a mother fucker of a good cigar blend. Today seems to recant my hopes for the cigar industry. I have always enjoyed Hamlet Paredes’ blends and think Rocky Patel lucked out by snagging him. But here is a blend that doesn’t speak to me.
There is a serious lack of character and richness. It is cruising on Blah control. What happened?
I should have gotten a right kick to the arse from the start. Instead it’s been an unsteady ride of passionless blending and all about presentation.
C’mon…this is a $10 or $11 stick. Blow me or something.
The other thing is that the Nica Puro was just as packed and took over two hours to smoke. I’m about to finish the first third in around 25 minutes.
The strength actually diminishes. Instead of solid medium, the blend is now mild/medium losing all the minor pizazz it might have contributed.
I feel like I’m 8 years old again when my family went on vacation to some of the national parks and stopped for gas and forgot me when they took off. I stood there for 15 minutes wondering why I had been abandoned. They came back for me. I hope the Liberation comes back for me as well.
Either this is a dud or its typical Old School blending meaning that this blend was not designed to smoke in a couple of months…no, it probably needs a year before it blossoms. But even if the latter is true, I should be getting gobs of blender’s intent and its potential. I’m getting bupkis.
There has been no change since the start of the cigar. In fact, it was better tasting at that point than it is in the second third. I’m beginning to lose hope that the second half will come out of hiding and make me shut the fuck up.
If this is truly an Old School blend, then I just wasted my time and yours. If you can purchase a fiver and put it away til next Easter, it might be worth it. But if you are looking for a cigar blend that reacts to humidor aging with more alacrity, then the Liberation ain’t for you.
I know this sounds nuts but there seems to be a bizarre pattern…when I get a dud to review, the classic rock station I listen to has shitty songs.
The cap disintegrates on me forcing me to snip it and excising the nice long ash from the foot.
The halfway point sees some improvement. The disappearance of flavors during the first half was disappointing. Returning guests are creaminess, too much black pepper, chocolate, espresso, sweet things, cedar, malt, and almonds. Where did all those earlier flavors go?
The Liberation tastes like its parents aren’t coming back to pick it up.
This is where I normally take a halfway point photo but what’s the point? Photography is such a hassle and this cigar has taken the wind out of my sails.
One day, I will review a lackluster cigar and merely say “This sucks.” And then I don’t have to waste anyone’s time.
Now the blend has an old musty taste. Yuck. The spiciness is overwhelming everything about this cigar.
For $11, I not only want a blow job but a nut sack caress as well. At this moment, all I’m getting is a Quentin D Block experience. (“Nah, I don’t need Vaseline. I’m good.”)
Finally, Joe Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way.” I saw him play it live on TV in 1973 and was mesmerized by his bassist. He was playing a fretless and never saw that before and boy was he cool. It took another 7 years before I would purchase my own fretless but I got one…followed by an electric upright bass. I don’t need no stinkin’ frets.
Torture. Abu Graib. A black hood over my head. Battery cables attached to my nipples. But other than that, I’m having a really good time.
But there are moments of promise. They come and go with confusion. I’m getting some real potential now and it lifts my spirits. Maybe the last third will show me the goods. Anyone for holding their breath?
The spiciness recedes. Enticing flavors return; just not in force as it did at the start. Very creamy, malty, chocolaty, coffee, cedar, almonds, the mustiness is still hanging on, and some fruitiness.
Strength is back to medium. And then the damn spiciness returns to taunt me. Now I like spicy cigars but not spice bombs that pull the whole experience out of whack.
Mustiness reigns supreme. Drat.
The Liberation by Hamlet is schizophrenic.
The stick provided all those wonderful aromas before lighting up and it was all subterfuge.
The Liberation never finds its complexity, balance, character, or the parameters of a premium cigar blend.
And now for something completely different:
A fable to prove that you should just say no to drugs.
I had been laid off from my drafting job because I was hired to do some structural platforms but they were a piping/chemical plant drafting outfit. They tried to teach me this complicated mess in about 20 minutes and I just didn’t get it so off I went.
I got my unemployment and then broke my wrist and it became disability.
I had to go to the unemployment office once a week in those days to pick up the check.
As I entered, this guy was standing against the side of the building and whistled for me to come over. I was such a middle-class naïve kid back then. He told me I looked cool and would I be interested in some hash for $40? I said yes but I had to get my money first.
He was waiting for me and told me to follow him. I lived in Santa Ana at the time, but the nice part of that town. The whole town was practically a ghetto back then. It was the South Central L.A. of Orange County.
I followed him to what I learned later was called Heroin Row. He took a hundred dollar bill from me and went in. He came out a few minutes later and said we had to go to another place. My suspicions arose.
We got there and he went inside. I had driven him this time.
Too much time went by and I drove my 1965 VW mini camper to the alley behind the apartment building just in time to see him jumping in the passenger’s side and the car burned rubber.
I followed them. They saw that I was following and the race was on. It reminded me of the car chase from the Steve McQueen movie, “Bullit.” Their little car was going over 80mph and I floored the VW and kept up with them. We were weaving in and out of residential areas at almost 100mph and then the car pulled over.
I jumped out holding a big road flare yelling that I have their license plate and to give me my money back.
My contact got out and tried to smooth things over by being nice and apologetic. Meanwhile, the driver got out; who looked like something from a vampire movie and walked quickly to me and pulled a switch blade resting the pointy end on my neck.
“You have my license plate? Huh? Is that what you said? What are you going to do with it? Huh? You want me to leave you dead right here? Huh?”
I dropped the flare. I told him all I wanted was my hash and they could keep the change.
And then a miracle. A Santa Ana patrol car pulled up with two officers inside. They didn’t do a thing; just sat there and stared at us.
The vampire put his knife away quickly and got back in the car. And so did the other guy and they drive off quickly with my money.
The cops were still there and I saw them laughing. Just three more junkies killing themselves….and then they drove off.
I was shaken.
I drove home minus $100.
As soon as I got home, I called a buddy, Tim, and told him what happened. He came over right away with a nice baggie of weed and we rolled some doobies.
I felt much better and the shaking stopped.
I whined that I lost my money and had no dope.
Tim said to keep the bag.
“That will be $40 please.”
A little insensitive but I handed over the money.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS