Murcielago Version 3 | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 5 x 54 Robusto
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $7.65


Today we take a look at the Murcielago Version 3.
Oh no…Spanish for BAT! Patient Zero!
I bought a fiver from Cigar Monster.
I reviewed the original 2009 blend of Murcielago by Espinosa Y Ortega in 2014. Atlantic Cigar supposedly found a cache of the 2009 sticks and put them up for sale.

BACKGROUND:
Regular production
From Halfwheel.com (5-2-2017)
“The original Murcielago, which is the Spanish word for bat, debuted in 2009 under the EO Brands header, the company co-owned by Erik Espinosa and Eddie Ortega, with the cigar made at My Father Cigars S.A.

“Then in 2015, the cigar relaunched, with Espinosa the owner of it and the bat getting a vibrant red presentation and boxes that had a curved cut in the lid, which gave it a distinctive look on store shelves. As for the blend, it was said to be reverse engineered with the help of Amilcar Perez-Castro, who previously worked for My Father Cigars S.A., the factory which originally made Murcielago.

“The third version of the Murcielago was announced just ahead of the 2017 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show and began shipping to retailers in October 2017.

“The blend uses a Mexican wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and fillers, but more notably is that it comes from one of Abdel J. Fernandez’s factories, San Lotano in Ocotal, Nicaragua, at a time when Fernández was being recruited by a number of companies to rework their blends.

“We were happy with our Murciélago but it was obvious that what the blend needed was aged tobacco that we don’t have,” said Hector Alfonso Sr., director of operations for Espinosa Premium Cigars. “AJ has been making blends for some classic lines and we thought it was a perfect opportunity to get Murciélago just right,” he added.”

SIZES AND PRICING:
Robusto 5 x 54 $7.65 Box Pressed
Toro 6 x 52 $7.85 Box Pressed
Rabito Lonsdale 6.5 x 46 $7.75 Round

APPEARANCE:
An oily, near jet black wrapper festooned with toothiness. Any time I see this color, I must wonder. So many accusations fly back and forth within the cigar industry about how real the wrapper’s color is. I have friends high up in the cigar industry that communicate with me on the promise I never divulge their names. Pussies. Anyway, I’m told over and over how wrappers get dyed a darker color. I am not making any accusations here. I’m sure this is perfectly legit but a Mexican wrapper this is dark is a little unusual. But then AJ has his hands on some of the best tobacco in the world.

Seams are totally hidden. It possesses a beautifully blended triple cap. Some veins here and there; but this is basically a good-looking stick. The box press is fairly crisp. The double cigar bands are flashy with luminous silver highlights that don’t really show up well in my photos.

SMELL THE GLOVE:
First up is a very dark cocoa aroma; then followed by black pepper, floral notes, non-descript fruitiness, notes of creaminess, caramel, cedar, malt, and espresso.
The cold draw presents flavors of dark chocolate, malt, black pepper, cream, sweetness, cedar, and espresso.

FIRST THIRD:
This leaf mixture has become a go to for a lot of manufacturers and blenders. My friend, Kellie, said to me the other day she is burnt out on this concoction as she feels it is overused…numbing the palate and making it difficult to distinguish one similar blend from another.

The construction is immaculate. A solid, heavy in the hand cigar. The draw is spot on and I won’t need to use my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool. A note on this remarkable tool…

Like you, I’ve had all sorts of gadgets for years I swore by that could clear plugs in a cigar. Then the PerfecDraw came out and changed my cigar life for the better. It gave me the freedom to decide how I want to smoke a cigar. Regardless of what tool you use, it just ain’t as efficient as the Dr. Rod tool. The high-tech blades pull the tobacco out of the cigar rather than pushing it deeper. I now control exactly the type of draw I like. No more being stuck with a less than stellar draw due to poor rolling. Being able to discover the exact type of draw I enjoy…and achieve it with a couple swipes of Dr. Rod’s tool, provides a new constant in my enjoyment of a stick that I now take for granted. I’d be lost if I didn’t have this device.

The Murcielago pumps out a cloud of smoke. Flavors waste no time. Black pepper dominates but does not overwhelm. Notes of creaminess, chocolate, espresso, malt, and a nice nuttiness appears.

I’m hit with some immediate complexity. A nice balance of savory v. sweet ensues. There is some steak sauce at play. Brown sugar, chocolate nougat, charred steak, and an inviting tarty pineapple.

The burn isn’t bad. I just have the worst luck with a box pressed cigar burning evenly. I get comments all the time from readers telling me they never have an issue. Go figure.
Strength is floating around medium/full.

Nice slow-moving transitions. A lovely finish. It gets better with each puff. It becomes more interesting. Now I must admit that if I had blind taste tested this cigar, there would be no way in hell I could tell you what it is. A gazillion blends out there identical to this one…the only difference are the regions of Nic, part of the plant used, aging, etc. Still, a common thread always prevails from these leaf stats.

The big trick is to find a Mex/Nic cigar you like and doesn’t cost you double digits. And I find this cigar to be very reasonable at its price points. Although, I gotta chuckle that the 3 different sizes are only a dime apart. I don’t know…

Creaminess jumps in and takes over. The spiciness relents and moves to a comfortable position. I don’t detect many subtleties or nuance…but this is a solid blend. As it’s been out since 2017, there have to be deals every now and then. Although, this is still a popular cigar.

I’ve not had to do a single touch up of the foot.
The cigar’s complexity becomes more satisfying as I progress. Nice cigar.

SECOND THIRD:
The ash is solid as a rock. But now that I got my money shot, I discard it as my lap always seems to be a target for errant cigar ash. I guess the flatness is appealing.

And the kicker to this review is that I’ve only had the cigars for two weeks. I plan on leaving my remaining sticks to marinate for a couple months. I smoked one the other night and thought the potential was striking and, therefore, I could review it.
So, there you go to all my complaining readers that tell me they have no patience to allow a cigar to sit for months.

Strength is getting close to full tilt. First thing to alert me is blurred vision. I told my doc I might have cataracts and need to use flower. He reminds me this is Wisconsin. I will be long dead before the State Republican House allows this. The governor has tried but is up against the naysayers. I’m afraid to go down to Chicago and get some because I envision storm troopers at the border waiting to put senior citizens in prison for 15 years after a strip and cavity search. I only let Charlotte do that.

Nothing linear about this baby. The more I smoke, the more the flavors and character improve exponentially.

I like this stick much more than AJ’s Man O War series. And better than his several outings with major manufacturers clamoring for him to add a blend by AJ. I’m a fan of Pepin Garcia and My Father and wasn’t expecting an improvement to the older blends. I am pleasantly surprised that there was some passion involved in the development of this cigar.

Sometimes, AJ just cranks them out and they slide into the mist as they become too similar. Other times, he hits the ball out of the park. This is the latter. And damn, he did it for under $8 a stick. If you continue to be curious, you can find a lot of great blends under $10. Personally, I boycott the new cigars coming out of the boutique world whose price points are just fucking insane. So, don’t expect me to spend $75 on a fiver and then beat myself about what I do with the remaining 4 cigars that suck.

I’m going back to work at Prime Cigar here in Milwaukee. Don’t have my schedule yet but the place is opening later this week. I need to get out of isolation before I throttle the mailman. I will be wearing a body condom with a reservoir tip.

The cigar takes a left turn and mellows out dramatically. It is still full strength; but now I can taste blender’s intent. Can’t wait to try my next one in 4 months.

The balance is flawless. Transitions kick into gear. The finish has me doing the tongue thing. Remember when you were young…or maybe you are still young…and after sex, you can’t move or feel your jaw for days?

The second incarnation of the ash is rock solid.

A sip of water and flavors expand: Crème brulee, chocolate mousse, charred steak, a bit of licorice, blackberries, more steak sauce, cedar, black pepper, Indian spices, a touch of lime, and a deep richness that pulls the flavors together.

LAST THIRD:
I’m having a good time…and the cigar feels like it’s flying by. I will absolutely buy more, but this time, I am going for the Toro.

It is here in the last vestiges of my cigar experience that the Murcielago really shines.
Flavors have blossomed into an assault on the beach head. The blend has really strutted its stuff right from the start, with improvements in small incremental steps.

This ain’t the usual Mex/Nic blend. This is special…like being in Ortho Gym classes in high school. Sad to say, that’s where I was put. No, I didn’t need to wear a helmet. But I developed gout in junior high. And none of that stupid big toe shit…it affected the joints in my arms and wrists and in my legs. Kept me out of the service after college. My draft number was 115 that year. And they sent draftees straight to Viet Nam right up to number 115. By my late 20’s, the gout completely disappeared. I sweated while waiting for my reclassification from the draft board. And then I got my 4F and I was never so happy. All my friends that were sent to Nam are either dead or have PTSD so bad they can no longer communicate. And all that survived have a series of cancers caused by Agent Orange.

I was stuck in gym classes that were totally humiliating. Everyone there had a serious disability; either mentally or physically. And of course, we played a lot of volleyball which caused students to stand on the sideline and point and laugh. I wanted to crawl into a hole…and yes, several kids did need to wear helmets.

OK…the cigar. My vision clears. And no nicotine. Yeah, my babies.
Every flavor I’ve mentioned is in play with extreme prejudice. It is glorious.

Erik Espinosa and AJ Fernandez working together on this project was a marvelous idea.
This is a cigar I would love to always have in my humidor. It is consistent, interesting, and wonderfully complex. And for less than $8.

My smart-ass talent seems to have lagged in this review. I’m calling my doc after I publish this review.

RATING: 90

And now for something completely different:
1974

Curved Air’s first tour was with four of the five original members of the band. I was the only new addition. They were very nice people; at first. They treated me well. Of course, that would change. Politics of Dancing.

A PR photo shoot was planned at Miles Copeland’s house in St. John’s Wood. A block away, was the famous EMI Studio, also known as Abbey Road Studio. It was the only road in London that the city stopped putting up street signs. They painted the name of the road on block walls in front of houses. Tourists stole the signs about 15 minutes after they were installed.

Stewart Copeland lived in a flat about 3 doors down from the studio. We were poor musicians even while playing in a major Brit prog band. Management only paid us 50£ a week ($624 in 2020 dollars) to survive on. But they also paid our rent and expenses. On the road, the pay doubled.

Stew and I hung out together a lot. So, we had dinner together all the time. He showed me his poor man’s dinner of cooked spaghetti with melted butter and four brussel sprouts on it. Actually, it was very tasty. And cheap. That’s right. Only 4 brussel sprouts. Two per man.

I had only known the band a week when we did the first photo shoot. We hadn’t even rehearsed yet. Darryl, the leader and violinist of the band, picked me up in his little Triumph. A two-seater with a bit of a tiny storage area behind the seats.

After picking me up, we headed to Miles’ house. The shoot was a lot of fun because I had never done anything like this before. I was only 24. And my first foray into big time music. Plus, it was my chance to meet the band and SONJA!

Getting into his car required a can opener and a shoehorn. When the photo shoot was over, we immediately went to Miles’ bar and helped ourselves. Miles wasn’t around. Miles had one of those 200-year-old houses that was lavish and historical.

This photo was taken in Miles’ kitchen.

It was time to leave and Sonja asked for a ride home to Hampton Heath…a very hoity toity area; lots of rock stars lived there. Our agent, middle Copeland brother, Ian…lived there as well. We would hang out with him and all sorts of Brit stars would hang out and get high and listen to records. Country Joe McDonald lived in the guest house and he was always a hoot.

I allowed her the front seat and I found myself jammed into the back like a small piece of luggage or a rat dog. Man, that was uncomfortable.

It began to pour buckets of rain on the way. And it was rush hour. Both smoked cigarettes and I have never smoked a cig in my entire life, hand to God.

The windows had to be closed because of the torrential rain. Not even a tiny crack open. Pretty soon, I got car sick. The cigarette smoke and the cramped quarters and the stopping and going really did a number on me. I begged them to open a window but when they tried, the rain came in.

We finally dropped Sonja off. I was sick as a dog and it had taken us over an hour to get her home.
She invited us in, and Darryl accepted because he wanted a drink. He was an alcoholic. Sonja immediately came on to me. I must have been pale as a ghost and ready to blow chunks. She rubbed herself up and down against me. First time I couldn’t get a boner.

This is the only other photo I have of that photo shoot. L-R Florian Pilkington-Miksa, Francis Monkman, Sonja Kristina, Darryl Way, and me:

I got in the front seat and I told Darryl how car sick I was. He laughed and told me he had the cure. We stopped at a pub. He told me the cure was a snifter of brandy. I had my doubts, but I was new to the band and played along. I felt anything untoward on my part could get me fired.

Well, as you can imagine, the brandy only made it worse. We got back in his car where I immediately puked on his floor. We pulled over, in the pouring rain, and he made me clean it up. He was gagging from the smell, and sight, of what I did. I started to get the dry heaves.

All I could think…I was making a lousy impression on my boss.

The car’s windshield wipers didn’t work for shit and Darryl had to keep putting his arm out of the window and use a rag on the glass so he could see. Meanwhile, I used another rag to get rid of the fogged wind screen.

We got to a four way stop controlled by Bobbies. Darryl couldn’t see and went right through the stop. A Bobbie in the middle of the road stopped us and began to yell.

Darryl explained and the cop let us go. Darryl drove another 30 feet and actually hit a different Bobbie controlling traffic. He was going slow and just knocked him over. All the cops descended on us and the yelling did not help my stomach. But they let us go with a warning. In America, we would have both been gunned down in the car. Bobbies were even keeled blokes. They had to be. NO guns. Just a night stick.

An hour later, I was finally home. I went straight to bed and lay there moaning for God knows how long.
They never let me hear the end of that. For over two years, that story came up every 20 minutes in mixed company.



Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

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2 replies

  1. It’s good to see you back at it.

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