Wrapper: Dominican Havana Vuelta Abajo 2013
Binder: Dominican Criollo 98
Filler: Habano 2020 Viso, Criollo 98 Viso, Habano 2020 Medio Tiempo, Criollo 98 Ligero
Size: 5.5 x 54
It’s been brought to my attention that a couple big reviewers are smack talking about me and the way I rate cigars. It seems that they find my process as pure ignorance in that I can give a cigar a perfect 100 rating.
Their statements are public domain as the words were spoken on podcasts.
Their accusation is “Well if he gives a cigar a 100, what is the next good cigar? A 107?
That is a dumb and ill-informed statement.
Yes, I concede that the big reviewers know a lot more than me about the cigar industry and tobacco. But they don’t know more than me about the palate.
I hammer home, as often as possible, that palates are like fingerprints. I’ve been smoking cigars for over 50 years which is longer than these reviewers have been on the planet.
When I score a cigar with a 100 rating, it means that everything about that stick is absolutely perfect for my palate….MY palate. It doesn’t mean it would even rate a 90 from you or then again you might agree because you have a similar palate to mine. I get emails all the time from you guys confirming my hypothesis that most of my assessments are similar to what you experience when you smoke my reviewed cigar.
My next cigar, which will be a totally different blend, may also be perfect for my palate with no criticisms. All the rating of 100 signifies is I’ve found a flawless cigar for my tastes. To suggest that a 100 is impossible is bullshit. Breaking a rating down to whether it is rated a 90 or 92 or what most consider that highest rating available at 96 is ridiculous.
Once you’ve hit 90, you’ve given the cigar an “A.” Why can I not rate a cigar as an A+?
No matter how convoluted or involved a published rating system is, it is still SUBJECTIVE.
The rating of a cigar is not done by computer or abacus. It is how it affects you. So, you can play with the most ridiculous rating system, but the bottom line is that YOU are deciding what the scores should be…no one else. And just because the self-appointed cigar experts have never smoked a perfect cigar shows what snobs they are. Not to mention they are jaded by getting all the best and newest cigars on the planet shipped to them in cargo containers. They get to pick and choose among the best.
And lastly, you must remember that these reviewers are working in the cigar industry and they don’t want to step on anyone’s toes. They don’t want to offend anyone. They don’t want to burn a bridge and cut themselves off from a manufacturer. The hypocrites might come upon a highly promoted new blend and then not review it. Why? Because the cigar turns out to be a dud like The T. Connecticut. Instead of reviewing it honestly, they send a message to the blenders by not reviewing it. That’s a chicken shit way out. But I do understand the thinking. These guys are overwhelmed with cigars for review. Why waste time on a disappointing blend?
BTW- In 10 years of reviewing, I’ve only rated ten cigars with a perfect 100. How is this even a discussion? Now whether you like my style or not is subjective; like your palate. Smokers either love me or hate me. With a passion. These guys are just jealous because they aren’t free to write what they want. They conform. They are often just copy writers. Their choice.
I write to inform you, not other reviewers.
Today we take a look at the Campesino Reserva Del Padre.
Smoked one stick prior to this review.
Released: June 2018.
See Small Batch Cigar’s interview with Campesino owner, Edgar Julian Sued.
A fairly rustic looking stick. Big unattractive veins. Sloppy seams. A nicely done quad cap. The stick is rock hard with a big soft spot at the foot. The toothy wrapper is a coffee with cream hue.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
Big floral notes permeate the air and my schnoz. Dollops of sweet caramel, milk chocolate, malt, cedar, oak, barnyard, café au lait, fresh bread, some spiciness, black licorice, citrus, and fresh peach.
Despite the cigar being rock hard, the draw is clean and I put my PerfecDraw cigar poker tool away for the next cigar.
The cigar starts with flavors of creaminess, buttered bread, vanilla toffee, milk chocolate, malt, cedar, nutmeg, nuts, and just a touch of white pepper.
Smoke jettisons from the foot like a house a ‘fire.
Strength is barely medium.
I’ve had this review cigar in my humidor for a few months. I tried earlier ones a few weeks in and then a month in and it just wasn’t ready. But I tasted potential. Patience wins out.
The burn gets wonky on me.
The cigar is described as full strength. So far, it has a long way to go before that happens. Currently, it’s a very nice easy-going medium strength cigar perfect for that first cigar of the day with a cup of coffee.
The Campesino Reserva Del Padre is the company’s premier blend. At $12, it should be a killer. On its current path, the cigar may just warrant the price tag.
I know Small Batch Cigar carries them. I’m guessing, as the company does not have a web site, that most sticks can be found in your local B&M. Without any information provided by Campesino, it’s impossible to even know if this is a regular production cigar.
Steve Miller is playing. Always liked the dude. Perfect intro for the after story.
This isn’t a chance in hell, this is a full strength cigar. It’s barely hanging on to medium. Which of course has its own merits…it goes down easy without impending hallucinations and is the perfect complement to the morning libation.
Complexity is cruising. Transitions are on an even keel. It puts out a nice chewy finish. The flavors are all distinct and impactful. But it lacks any spiciness. The pepper just disappeared. It has all the qualities of what I feel Dominican blends bring to the table.
I realize the leaf stats show a kitchen sink approach but because of the mildness of the blend, it tastes more like a good Connie. It’s buttery smooth with a deep sense of smoothness and impeccable breeding.
It had a nice long ash until a moment ago and now it covers me like a warm blanket. So much for the sexy long ash photo in the second third.
Nearing the second third, the flavor profile explodes with gorilla sized flavor input and a renewed sense of complexity. The blend has shifted gears.
White pepper appears once again which is a welcome addition. Now it has some pizazz.
But there is no way that this cigar is worth $12. It just ain’t happening. It is more akin to a very good $7-$8 stick…at the most. It’s overpriced…unless, of course, it blows my socks off in the second half.
The Campesino Reserva Del Padre provides a gentle easy-going ride with no major distractions and a linear flavor profile. There are no surprises to speak of. Just a solid blend that is comfortable and reassuring. A blend you’ve tasted many times before from other brands.
I shouldn’t have so many burn issues. But the first third implemented such great potential and now it seems to be slipping.
Very creamy. Buttery. Strength is weak. White pepper becomes black pepper. The stick is too docile for my tastes. Nice flavors. Some nice complexity. Smooth. But no bite. A sleepy cigar blend.
And yet, the cigar provides flashes of brilliance; but just for moments at a time. It isn’t consistent. As I write this, the spiciness explodes. Fingers crossed for some real flash. But still waiting.
The blender, Edgar Sued, is a young man and has only been serious about blending for a few years. He may have a future. I’ve tasted Sued’s earlier release of the Tabaqueria 1844 and chose not to review it.
The char line is a mess now. I must torch the hell out of it to return to normal.
At the halfway point, there is more disappointment than elation. I began this journey thinking the cigar had great potential. But now after months of naked humi time, the cigar just isn’t producing the result I expect from a $12 stick. A shame.
There is no unexpected explosion of flavor. No explosion of complexity. I’m now concerned that this is just a one trick pony of a blend.
Instead of a linear approach, the cigar should have been much more than just a smooth, but inconsistent, blend. After the interesting impressions of the first third, I find myself scratching my head asking what happened to the beef?
Those little blasts of brilliance are so frustrating. Just when I believe I’m in an “Ah-Ha” moment, the cigar returns to mediocrity.
More humi time won’t cure this. It is the blending process.
But I’ll give the cigar a rating of 100 because that’s what I do…
A musty, barnyard element appears and throws the Campesino Reserva Del Padre to the mat…tapping out.
I believe I’ve discovered why I’m the only one to review this blend. SBC did a few blind reviews of a cigar they are selling so you must take that with a grain of salt. But the reviews didn’t exactly paint this blend as a home run. And none of the reviews recommended a box purchase. Flavors found were minimal for the most part.
I’m now at a point where I can fully assess the cigar as a whole.
It’s a dud.
My first try at the stick showed potential. The first third showed promise…But it never left the hangar.
The last third remains in no man’s land. Even the complexity is missing. No transitions. And a short finish. All those wonderful aromas and early flavors all gone now. The blend has been reduced to an inexpensive bundle cigar.
If this were a $5 cigar, I’d say it was a good knockaround stick. But at $12, it should have been a whole lot better. And for those that say that the price should not be incorporated in the outcome of the review, I say bullshit. Of course, price has everything to do with it. That’s how life works. Either you get what you pay for or you end up with buyer’s remorse.
Do not spend $12 on this cigar. If you can snag a couple from your local shop, go for it. You may have a totally different experience.
And now for something completely different:
1997 ~ I was 47…
Music in the background reminds me of this story. “Take the Money and Run” by the Steve Miller Band.
I was living and working in Phoenix during the 1990’s. I got this horrible project to run that was residential. The biggest home in Arizona up in the hills north of Scottsdale. The guy that owned it owned a famous boat manufacturer and sold it for a gazillion dollars.
He was spending something in the neighborhood of $100 million ($158 million in 2018 dollars). The road to the top of the hill where the main house sat cost $20 million to construct. It had a caretaker’s house at the bottom. It had a housekeeper’s house about halfway up. And his house was on top of this hill that allowed you to see 50 miles for 360°. I don’t know how many acres it was but the land cost him around $30 million.
His house was perfectly round. All the rooms on the exterior walls were pie cut shaped. With a huge circle for the living room, kitchen, etc. in the middle.
His garage was a circle and big enough that you could drive a car into it and drive out of it facing the right direction to leave the house. Must have been 150 feet in diameter.
I was in the Todd Hart Power Blues Band at the time and for Christmas Todd gave me a beautiful leather jacket with the band’s logo on it.
Todd on guitar, the drummer, and me on the far right in the background playing my Dobro electric upright bass like a guitar:
I had a meeting with the owner, architect, construction manager, and the structural engineer one morning.
The house owner saw my jacket and inquired.
Then he asked me if I knew Steve Miller? I laughed and said no.
He said that Steve was staying at his house in Paradise Valley…an old upscale part of Phoenix. Same place that Alice Cooper lives.
I should add that the owner of the company I worked for was there as well. He was my age. A real prick. Cheated on his wife openly with some bucktoothed chick that worked in the office eventually leading to his divorce.
So, the owner says that Miller is quite the guitar player. I nodded. He then took out his cell phone and made a call.
He hung up and asked if I wanted to stop by his house and meet Miller when business was done? Before I could answer, Brad the boss, said “YES!”
We meet Miller and he was as gracious as all get out. He had set up a little recording studio in one of the large rooms in the house. I was introduced and gave him my background for my 15 minutes (actually 10 years) in the music business.
Then he asked if I wanted to lay down some bass lines or just jam?
I told him that I didn’t have my gear with me. He laughed as he pointed to about 6 different basses in their stands. All were collector’s items and I picked the 1958 Fender Precision. It felt like I had owned it forever. I owned a 1968 Fender P that I bought from Martin Turner of Wishbone Ash. Curved Air’s manager, Miles Copeland, made it big as WA was his first band.
My boss was impressed with me for the first time. Some people that I wasn’t introduced to came into the room. One was a drummer.
I was freaking out. I didn’t know any of his songs. Miller graciously suggested we start with a blues changes improv. You know…1-4-5?
We played for an hour on one tune and took it everywhere. Miller and I and the drummer were having such a good time that time lost its value.
Miller invited me to stay all day and asked if I could lay down some bass lines on stuff he was working on.
But noooo…my prick boss said we had to get back to the office.
We all glad handed each other and Brad and I left in his new Corvette. I didn’t say a word to him the entire 45 minutes back to the office.
We get back and Brad goes on about what happened. But forgets to mention how Miller and I bonded and how much he liked my playing.
Of course, the truth came out during the day as I was pounded for more info. Brad liked to leave early in the day to go fuck his sweetie.
So, all work stopped and I told the story of Miller and I playing together.
I got some serious street cred from that incident in the office.
I never saw Steve Miller again. But a week later, I met with the house owner and he told me how much Miller appreciated me being there because he had recorded the whole jam and it gave him some ideas for new compositions.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS
I don’t read any other reviews of anyone else. You are the most entertaining uncle Phil. Never bore us!
Thank you, Ted…
I read other reviews. But no one satisfies like Uncle Katman.
Plus the result of Phil’s jam with Steve Miller could possibly have been:
I want to reach out and grab ya”
And where would we be without that”?
Thanks Eric. You’re right…I’m here to satisfy everyone that needs their pud pulled on. That’s what you meant…right?
Ahh…the musings of an old man. (Which by the way, as a birthday is approaching, I only refer to myself as 14 months from becoming 70 years old. I refuse to refer to myself as a sexual position for a year.)
This should upset other reviewers and cigar industry folk…studies show that if you live to be 65, you probably have at least another 12 years.
Can you imagine how fucking crazy I will be if I’m still reviewing when I’m 80? LMAO. Reviewers will be committing suicide everywhere.
I’ll be rating good cigars with a 220!
Hey buddy! Not sure which blogs/podcasts are casting aspersions….don’t listen to podcasts. But hypocrisy and ignorance will always be alive and well. The NH podcast is a shill for whatever they are trying to huck from their somewhat poorly stocked B&M shops. Other guys talk about bubble gum/cap’n crunch flavors. LMAO- I’m a chef who builds flavors by layering mother earth’s goodness…..NOT shit produced by General Mills. Their palates’ limitations, my gains. Oh yeah, that big magazine who supposedly does everything blind 😉. Yeah right. Next best thing to PT Barnum. F them all and keep it up baby….even if I don’t agree with you 30% of the time I respect your honesty.
I’m happy to refer to your age as my second favorite sex position, Phil.
As far as pud pulling goes, I’ll defer to your expertise in that area.
Can I imagine how crazy you’ll be at 80? Shit, no. But, if it results in the deaths of people that complain about rating cigars that are “too high”, I’ll take it.
BTW, who the F^&% complains about a couple of “perfect” ratings out of 100’s of reviews?
Idiots, that’s who.
Amen brother Billy…
P.S. I only agree with 16% of what I write so you’re doing better than me.
I love you, man.
I love you, too, Phil.
Don’t tell Charlotte that we’ve talked like this. Unless of course, it gets her motor running…
I thought I was being generous at 8.5%…
Should I tell her then?
I have read, err, tried to read other reviews, but I prefer to be entertained not put to sleep by their arrogance and doldrum.
I prefer your honest excitement with a good cigar and the sarcasm that drips from ther page when you endure a dog log.
Most of the other reviewers repeat the flavor profiles of the standard for the wrapper, rather then really purveying honest opinion.
I know what I like, your palet is closer to mne then the schlock most of the others regurgitate.
I’d rather laugh and grimace when I’m reading then wake up 20 minutes late from my lunch break trying to explain why my shirt collar is wet from slobber and the side of my face is red and wrinkled.
Rock on Katman.
Just read the 1st portion. Thnx for ur reviews. I recently found ur site. The style in which you write is highly entertaining and I appreciate the work you put in.
I agree with you completely. Of course u can rate a cigar 100%. Like u said that just means it taste perfect to your own palette. If the highest those snobs can rate a cigar is 96 … well then maybe they should consider that their own 100! Lame!
Keep up the good work! There are lots of us that appreciate your reviews.
First, you argue that your ratings are subjective, and then you offer support by saying you get tons of emails supporting your ratings. So, which is it? Are you giving your thoughts on things in a way that no one else will find of much value or you offering critiques in an objective, discussable fashion?
Then you offer that some reviewers are afraid to offend people (offer lower scores), seemingly to argue against others accusations against you… which is that your scores are inflated. Shouldn’t your scores be lower if other reviewers inflate their scores?
Also the fact that you’re rated 10 cigars 100 percent in 10 years doesn’t demonstrate that your scores reasonable. If anything, it demonstrates that you can expect one 100 a year from you, which is several order of magnitude above what other reviewers publish.
Maybe next time you want to talk about what other reviewers are saying, do them the courtesy of actually calling them out. After all, they seemed to address you by name in their content.
Your first comment makes no sense to me. The definition of Subjective: “…based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.” I reflect my own opinion based upon my palate and no one else’s. Whether I get support from readers who tell me they can taste similar flavors has nothing to do with me being subjective…because those readers aren’t sitting with me when I write my reviews. And therefore have no influence on me. I don’t get where you’re going with this.
“Then you offer that some reviewers are afraid to offend people (offer lower scores), seemingly to argue against others accusations against you… which is that your scores are inflated. Shouldn’t your scores be lower if other reviewers inflate their scores?”
I have no idea what you are talking about with the above comment. Makes no sense.
“Also the fact that you’re rated 10 cigars 100 percent in 10 years doesn’t demonstrate that your scores reasonable. If anything, it demonstrates that you can expect one 100 a year from you, which is several order of magnitude above what other reviewers publish.”
Now that above statement really doesn’t have any basis in reality. Now I think you’re tripping.
I am not going to inflame the issue by naming names. Not once in 10 years have I embarrassed a reviewer by name and criticized him. That’s not cool. The point is that I disagree with a lot of cigar industry reviewers and no point starting a war of words.
My reviewers are two of the biggest in the reviewing business. I don’t care if they called me out. It is their choice. But it wasn’t cool. They could have just as easily mentioned me as another reviewer…I just never call out criticisms of other reviewers by name. So you’re comment is without merit as your entire criticism. But since you had the balls to use your name, instead of going with eponymous “Anonymous,” I felt the obligation to publish your comment. (Tip: Take a creative writing class. Your grammar is like a 6th grader’s).
I personally do find myself in the camp that the ‘100-rated’ cigar is a white whale that’s always on the horizon, but ultimately, what’s the difference between a few percentage points, especially when the strength of recommendation between a 100, 99, and 98 is really quite similar? It’s a very nit-picky, semantic thing for people with nothing better to do to get hung up on. Perhaps there are reviewers out there who adopt a rating structure I fundamentally prefer, but if our palates and preferences often disagree, then there’s no need for further discussion.
I’ve found that most of your 90+ rated sticks are worth a 5-pack, and of those, the likelihood that I’ll stop what I’m doing to pick up a box (or at least add the blend to my wish-list) has a pretty strong positive correlation to your specific rating from 90-100. I really think that’s good enough of a qualification for me to follow your reviews.
You don’t need to take a creative writing class like Dale does. I actually understood what you wrote and it makes sense.