FQ Proper Toro Gordo | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Connecticut Broadleaf, Honduran
Size: 6 x 54
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $12.00 (A buck less online)

Today we take a look at the FQ Proper Toro Gordo.

Factory: Nicaragua American Cigars S.A
According to Halfwheel.com:
“Odds are good you haven’t heard of FQ Cigars. While the company launched in late 2013, the first time that the company appeared on halfwheel was in April 2016, when its debut line, Proper, was launched at Cigar Hustler in Deltona, Fla.

“The cigar came with an interesting side note, that being that company owner Matt Hunt individually selected each cigar that would get released, instead of entrusting someone at Nicaraguan American Cigars S.A. (NACSA), the factory making the cigars, with said task. That would mean that each batch would be limited to about 1,000 cigars of each of the three sizes.”

From FQ Cigars:
“The FQ Proper is the embodiment of dedication, knowledge, and experience that owner Matt Hunt has achieved. Beginning with the refined detailing. Triple capped for superior head integrity. Closed foot to allow the smoker to appreciate the robust Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper. Taken directly from the Oliva Tobacco warehouses, this cigar utilizes Honduran, Broadleaf, and Nicaraguan tobaccos aged three to five years.

“From the light, this cigar entices all the senses. The bouquet is a layered decadence of sweetness and spice that rivals a perfume. Then the palate is treated to a sumptuous candied earth with a long luxurious finish. An eased retrohale reveals the extraordinary smoked complexity that only comes from meticulous fermentation and aging. The Proper will be enjoyed by the most discerning of aficionados. Coming in twenty count batch numbered boxes.”

Corona Gorda 5.625 x 46 $9.50
Robusto 5 x 50 $11.00
Toro Gordo 6 x 54 $12.00

The FQ Proper is a good-looking stick due to its deep espresso wrapper glistening from oils. There is a slight toothiness, seams are a bit sloppy, no shortage of veins, and a nicely applied triple cap.
The stick feels adequately and uniformly filled. The proper give when squeezed.
And it comes with a free closed foot. I did require the use of my readers to see what is on the cigar band in finite lettering the size an ant would use if he had opposable thumbs to hold a pen.

Nice dollops of milk chocolate, chocolate covered almonds, malt, black pepper that brings on a sneezing fit, cedar, barnyard, balsamic vinegar kick, and a touch of creaminess.
The cold draw presents flavors of cloves, milk chocolate, black pepper, and marzipan.

The draw is perfect so I put away my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool for destined to be plugged cigar later today.

I screwed up and smoked the Robusto stick first…leaving the rather large Toro Gordo for the review. So, I’m in it for the long haul.

Right off the bat, the cigar sings to me in the key of E. Big, sloppy doses of red and black peppers, cocoa, marzipan, sweet coconut, creaminess, cedar, and ginger swab my palate.

This is how a premium stick in the double digits should start every time. None of this waiting for the first third to warm the cigar up…it jumps out at me like a creature from John Hurt’s chest on the Nostromo.

Complexity digs its heels in immediately. I smoked the Robusto a couple weeks ago and in the short time since, the blend has really blossomed. It is over performing; especially at this early stage.
Transitions flow like lava from Krakatoa. The finish is chock full of flavors coating my teeth.
Strength leaps past medium and hits medium/full without reservations…there is a pun in there somewhere but fuck it…

The stick is impressive…especially as my last two reviews were total disasters thanks to highly PR’d descriptions that failed to come to fruition.
If you have to spend $12 for a stick, it better beat the bushes with a machete guiding you to the promised land for two hours.

Well-rounded. Great adjective and highly descriptive of this blend. Balanced. Not a hair out of place. Complexity is on its way to a higher plane. I much prefer to be surprised and pleased when a review cigar performs like a tiny car full of clowns.

Now, I’m very happy I chose the 6 x 54 stick to review. I like nothing more than to relax with a good cigar first thing in the morning. I can take my time and take in the cool breeze that has been long overdue this summer. If this 6 x 54 had been a turd, I’d be self-flagellating myself the entire day with that inner dialogue of shame and remorse.

This FQ Proper has just a perfect amount of resistance for me. The draw is beautiful and easy. A perfectly rolled cigar. How often do you say that during your day?

The classic rock station this morning has been a good omen by playing nothing but killer tunes. From SRV to Clapton to PF.

Flavors evolve into a dense mix of intense elements. The pepper is right where I want it; in the background but giving the cigar the right amount of arse kicking. The balance of savory and sweet is screaming laughter. Huge voluminous clouds of smoke are emitted layering my head in smoke and cool breeze.

There are only a few reviews of this cigar proving not a lot of smokers are familiar with the FQ brand. The review results vary but if this cigar keeps on keeping on, I will definitely fall on the right side of its rating.

The medium/full strength relents a bit as the blend becomes incredibly smooth. Morphing is in progress. Outlandish flavors disappear in the interest of building a united front of complexity. The chocolate creaminess really stands out now making this a splendid dish of ice cream.

The second third relishes in the forward momentum of the blend. This is exactly what marks a premium cigar. It is consistent. It fills the width and breadth of the palate. And you get a warm fuzzy feeling from realizing you picked the right cigar to smoke at the right time.

A touch of black licorice unveils itself. Dried fruit in the form of raisins and dates makes their debut. But the creamy chocolaty device drives the bus. The spiciness is perfect.

My palate is writing its will and naming me as executor.
I love this stick.

It’s hard to go after boutique brands about their pricing; though, that’s never stopped me before. It’s just that I’ve smoked some really decent sticks on this level of this FQ Proper that were a few bucks less in price. I hate spending $60 for a fiver. That’s a lot of dough for most of us. You can buy 400 Quorums for that…or Gurkha (fill in the blend) sticks.

The burn has been without problems. The construction has been on point.

New flavors of spiced rum, dark espresso, and baking spices strut their stuff.
I’d love to smoke this cigar with a glass of Johnny Walker Black.

Halfway point arrives after an hour of smoke time. It has rushed by like a fart in the wind. I reviewed the Gurkha Château De Privé and its relative size and turdiness made for a long, unforgiving haul. A good stick will cast you into a timeless experience.

When, and if, you read the big fella’s reviews, the rating is lower than what I plan to dole out for this cigar. You have to keep in mind that most of these guys get a gazillion great cigars for the asking. They get to smoke the best in the biz. A nice job if you can get it. I have always believed it creates somewhat of a jaded experience that is beyond their control. You take an excellent cigar like the FQ Proper and compare it to some limited-edition monster they get to review and it just doesn’t get its rightful place in the animal species list.

The complex nature continues its quest to lay supine on your brain like a flattened squid. Or a perfect alliance of Vitameatavegamin and Nutella on the same piece of toast.
The creamy chocolate has added a nice touch of hazelnut.
Licorice comes and goes.
A lusty cinnamon element pops up. The pepperiness is totally fluid as it changes personalities on a dime.

My first minor burn issue arrives but is dealt with and I move on.
The strength has been on an even keel. Never raises above medium/full and a lovely absence of nicotine. This is a perfect newbie blend that experienced smokers alike will certainly enjoy.

I checked and the usual suspects online sell them. And I’m sure if your local lounge is up to snuff, they will carry them.

The FQ Proper makes a giant leap in the sausage race. The cigar explodes with everything gorgeous about cigar blending. This is exactly what I want from a $12 stick.
Two snaps up for the consistency of the luscious creaminess that just won’t let go. Add the sweetness factors that have permeated the blend and Houston, the Eagle has landed.

A way too quick 90 minutes has passed.
The perfectly balanced bend has been impressive along with its consistency of smoothness.
Maybe it’s me but I’ve tasted a varietal of peppers along the way. Very nice.
Not a single described flavor has dissipated or disappeared. Pretty maids all in a row. The cigar does not disappoint.

Normally, I would prefer my cigars in Robusto or Corona Gorda…but this Toro Gordo has displayed all the intensity of a smaller cigar. I’m very glad I inadvertently chose this size to review. It’s been an exciting treat to the senses. Time has flown by.

The last third shows the blend to be at its finest. It shines like the land of Oz. The complexity has intensified quantitatively. And strangely, the medium/full strength is totally tame. No nicotine. Just boatloads of flavor.
I’m pretty much ruined for the rest of the day. Nothing I smoke this fine day will taste as good as the FQ Proper.

As the cigar heads towards its demise, my brain is overwhelmed with its gifts.
Boys, this has been an extraordinary journey. You don’t need a trained palate to truly enjoy what FQ Cigars has done with this blend. Matt Hunt did an amazing job at getting this blend right.

With an inch to go, I don’t want to put the cigar down. Not a lick of harshness or bitterness. No tar buildup. No nicotine. I am actually clear headed after a review.
Search around for this cigar as prices vary.
I highly recommend the FQ Proper. A great cigar.

And don’t forget dear readers, if you really want to treat yourself to a mind blowing cigar blend, try Bespoke/Casdagli cigars. I’ve reviewed 13 Bespoke blends that all received high marks. And of which 3 made my top 25 list starting in 2015. Jeremy Casdagli has kindly provided a 10% off promo code, Katman, if you purchase some of his sticks from Small Batch Cigar.


And now for something completely different:

A little ditty about bassist extraordinaire: Stanley Clarke.
If you are a jazzer or a bassist..or both…you know this legendary musician.

Back in 1972, he had a major influence on me. He was a young man. He played custom made basses including piccolo basses.
The man could play 32nd notes in a bar. The rest of us schlubs might be able to play 16th notes if we were coked up.

It was 1978. I lived in the Belmont Heights in Long Beach. A skip and a jump away from the beach and Belmont Shore. The Sunset Strip of Long Beach.
My high school buddy, John Turner, came back from Viet Nam and translated his skills as a corpsman into a lifelong incursion into being a surgical tech.

He told me that Stanley Clarke was at Long Beach Community Hospital having surgery for a hernia. Back then, they didn’t shove you down a short slide 30 minutes after surgery. No. They kept you for a few days.
Turner gave me a call and told me about Clarke. I went bat shit. I asked him a million questions.
Turner said he told Clarke about me and Curved Air.

Turner asked if Clarke would call me at home one night. He told him that I would get the kick of my life.
Stanley agreed.
My girlfriend, and soon to be nemesis, sent me on an errand to buy something insignificant at the market. And you can guess the rest.

Stanley called while I was gone. He spoke to April for a good 20 minutes and she hung up 60 seconds before I came through the door.
She told me what happened and that Stanley was such a nice man.
I fucking lost it.

I called Turner. “Get him back on the phone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
John said he couldn’t impose on Stanley again. I pleaded. I begged.

In the end, I never got to speak with the hugest influence, at the time, on my bass playing.
It was copying Clarke’s style that got me the gig with Curved Air. While the other 30 bassists were copying Chris Squire of Yes, I was playing da’ funk like Clarke and I nearly got hired on the spot because not a single Englishman knew who Clarke was.
To this day, I look upon that evening as a real low spot in my life.

And now for something completely different (PART 2):

We had finished recording the first studio album I played on. Prior to this, I played on the “Live” album. So, we went into seclusion while the violinist and guitarist and vocalist wrote songs. I was left out. So was the drummer. I spent time at home doing my own writing.

Miles Copeland III, the cheapskate, tried to save money by hiring a producer that had never produced before; only engineered. Granted, he had engineered the albums of the most famous rock bands of the time but producing is a totally different animal than engineering.
The band ran all over him and he couldn’t control the giant egos.

At the official playback of the album at the RCA office building, the suits hated the album.
The band was in shock, but not me.

The album was scrapped and Miles brought in a pair of brothers from America that were real hot shots. Not to mention obnoxious.

We were in Amsterdam; always the start of our European tours.
Miles called and said the brothers were in town to watch us perform and talk to us.
A meeting was set up at their hotel but no one wanted to go but me. So, I went.

These sons of bitches lambasted me on my playing, the production, the choice of songs and even my style of playing on stage. WTF? They asked why I didn’t dance around?
They held nothing back and even said they hated the band. Hated?

Why were they chosen? Why would you choose producers that hated the band?
I sat and listened for an hour while the two ranted about everything. Nothing positive.
I went back to our hotel totally depressed and traumatized.

Everyone was in the Sonja’s room bullshitting; smoking hash and drinking. I told them I went to the meeting; but they didn’t want to hear about it. I finally forced them to listen and told them what happened.
They all laughed. Such egos.

Well the final laugh ended up being on me.
A meeting was held with the band excluding me. The brothers said something had to change. So, the band picked me. I was the mediator between the two groups: the guitarist and the violinist….and the chick singer and the drummer. Who better to give the heave ho to then the bassist? Yeah, I was totally the problem with the album. I didn’t get anything of mine on the album and was told what to play. And so it was my fault that RCA hated the album.

I got a call from Ian Copeland. He was the booker for Miles. And newly appointed to be Curved Air’s personal manager and his first duty was to fire me.
He told me he was coming out to Edgeware where I lived. About 15 miles outside of downtown London.

This freaked me out. Why was an important man like him coming all the way out to see me?
I called the Sonja. She finally broke down and told me what was up. I pleaded with her. A total mess. It was so humiliating.

Ian arrived and we sat in my living room. He hemmed and hawed and I couldn’t take it. Ian was a very down to earth guy. And it seemed that he was suffering.
“I know why you’re here, Ian. You’re firing me.”
A sigh of relief was on his face and then he dropped his head and agreed.
I told him it was not fair. What was BTM Records going to do for me for dough? Were they just going to cut me loose and send me on my way? Broke and living in a foreign land.

When I spoke to Miles about money, he told me to ask the band. Wow. This guy really knew how to humiliate me. I now had to go beg for money from the same people that fired me to save their own skins.
I went to one of their rehearsals. The violinist, Darryl Way, would not talk to me. A stand in bassist was playing with them already.

The band basically blew me off. I left the place wondering how I was going to live.

Thank God for the roadies. I was the only one in the band to treat these guys like humans. The others treated them like slaves.

So, when they heard what happened, they approached the managing director. Not only would this asshole not budge, but he told them to get my bass back! I bought my bass from Martin Turner of Wishbone Ash. They were Copeland’s first band. And because they fronted me the dough, the bass was theirs. I do believe I earned that bass.

This infuriated the roadies so they grabbed a huge lorry and went to the storage area of the record company. The loaded the truck with expensive equipment and drove to my home.
They unloaded it in my garage and told me to sell it all.
No one from management did or said a thing about this. Guilt.

I sold everything and had money in my pocket. I stayed another 6 months but gave up. I bought tickets and got on an airplane with my girlfriend and her little girl.
Big time rock and roll is an ugly business.


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2 replies

  1. Nice review. And, thank goodness roadies know which side to stick with!

  2. And I’m still friends with head roadie, Beric Wickens, who now co-manages Curved Air. (I swear that is a Dickensian name if I ever heard one).

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