Casdagli Cigars Basilica C#1 Maduro | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Corojo
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan, Peruvian
Size: 6 x 52
Strength: Medium
Price: $15.50 by the box. $17 by the five pack.

Today we take a look at the Casdagli Cigars Basilica C #1 Maduro. This is a limited production cigar. Small Batch Cigars sells them online. Use promo code Katman for 10% off.
I’ve given the cigar 2-1/2 months naked humidor time.

I’m jumping now to review this cigar because shortly after I got mine from SBC, they were gone. Jeremy Casdagli told me they would be re-supplying soon. When they appeared recently, I decided to use this opportunity to review the cigar; allowing you a chance to purchase the cigar.

From Casdagli Cigars:
“This cigar is blended especially for Casdagli Cigars by Hendrik Kelner Jr of the famous Kelner family of Master blenders at the Kelner Boutique Factory.

“As with the Grand Café Maduro we utilized the Ecuadorian Corojo leaf and adjusted the binder and some of the filler to balance the cigar. This cigar still has the complex blend of the original Basilica C #1 overlay with a rich fruitiness.

“The original production of Casdagli Cigars in 1990s was produced in Cuba, 100% hand rolled by the master torcedor Carlos Valdez Mosquera – simply one of the best there has ever been. The whole production was initially very small – only 500-1,000 cigars a month destined for the London market. Own label cigars were made for some of the top establishments including The Rib Room at the Carlton Park Tower and The Capital Hotel. Casdagli Cigars also became the choice for certain celebrities and members of the Saudi Royal Family.

“On Carlos’s retirement in 2013 the search for a new trustworthy producer led to the discovery of the newly opened Kelner Boutique Factory operated by Hendrik Kelner Jr of the famous Kelner family of Master blenders. This long-term partnership has led to the launch and development of four cigar lines of Casdagli Cigars: the Traditional Line (2013), the Club Mareva Line (2014), the Basilica Line (2015), the Cabinet Selection (2016). The most recent cigar line of the Daughters of the Wind (2018) is handcrafted in Costa Rica at the exclusive boutique factory IGM in San Jose.”

In room light, the oily wrapper is chocolate brown with hints of rust. In photographic light, the cigar shimmers with various colors of rust and patina. Seams are shut tight. The veins look like the L.A. freeway system in tiny detail. The triple cap is expertly applied. The cigar has a near perfect resistance when squeezed. I took my time dry boxing this cigar so excess humidity would disappear, and it seems it was successful.
And lastly, the cigar has an abbreviated shaggy foot.

Huge wallop of milk chocolate and black pepper. Queuing up behind…creamy butterscotch, malt, cedar, barnyard, hot waffles with maple syrup, espresso, various berries, and a hint of lime citrus.
The cold draw presents flavors of creaminess galore, malt, espresso, black pepper, milk chocolate, cedar, licorice, and pizza crust.

Like all nicely aged Casdaglis, the start drips and drools with complexity. Buttery notes coat my lips. Vanilla bean, espresso, chocolate malt, spiciness, almond paste, cedar, and maple syrup covered waffles complete the leap to my palate.

Strength is straight ahead medium.

This is a smoker. It begins to intertwine with my head allowing my fro to grow back.

And then an avalanche of creaminess enters the picture coating the other flavor elements with pure homemade whipped cream. We have entered the decadent portion of the review. It makes me hungry. I’d give anything for a hot fudge sundae. But on my diet, splurging means I add some Allulose to my cottage cheese breakfast.

The tobacco stands alone. It has its own flavor entity. It is rich and succulent. No ancillary flavors; just good tobacco.

The complexity builds as the flavors spread out…almost in stereo. On one side, there are savory notes of malt, pure tobacco, spiciness, a hearty grain bread, a touch of portabella mushroom that accentuates the soil aspect, and biscuits.
Flip it over and we have licorice, café au lait, cream soda, dark chocolate, candied lime peel, and blueberries.

Wow. The flavors do not attack…they sneak up on you. It is like a toad’s 10” tongue slurping you in.

This is a different Casdagli blend…different from the slender thread that joins the other blends. Normally, a Casdagli blend blows your hair back from the start. Not here…it creeps up on you. But once it kicks in, your testicles belong to Casdagli.

Strength doesn’t move an inch. Nice morning cigar.

A sip of water exposes semi-sweet components: Graham cracker, cinnamon candy, brioche, and butterscotch. There is a nice chocolate covered raspberry jell candy at play as well. A nice, not too sweet or overwhelming, compilation.

At $17 a pop, I will take the Basilica C #1 Maduro over any of the new overpriced boutique cigars flooding the market.

A leap across dangerous waters is successful. The cigar refuses to become linear. The start of the second third sees a quantum time jump. The aging is right in my face now.

All the usual nouns apply: balance, complexity, subtlety, nuance, and richness.

Construction is dead nuts perfect. No burp5n issues and the stick doesn’t get a too often complaint of becoming spongy as the cigar heats up, especially in muggy weather.

The cigar is solid as a rock; yet totally accessible. I didn’t need my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool for this cigar. Clear sailing.

We have reached the ridiculously delicious part of the program. What a difference smoking a Casdagli compared to most of the cigars I come into contact with. It is like comparing a shallow grave to a black hole. No, I’m not crazy…or at least I don’t allow a medical professional near enough to me to declare this…Instead of the flavor profile finding a short backstop that ends its forward momentum, the Casdagli goes all Star Trek on me and takes me on a journey in which I have no idea where it is leading. There are early clues; but those early perceptions are in constant motion that short circuit all my guesses.

This is one of the best morning cigars I’ve ever smoked. Strength is still medium and just a pleasant, easy going smoke that delivers the goods. Hallucinations need not apply.

Flavors have now morphed into simple savory v. sweet. One big rotating orb that gives my palate only seconds to identify something and then it moves on spitting out treats as it spins.

The char line is flawless.

Holy shit. The blend is nearing overload status. My palate just left the room with a stick and a bandana attached to the end, “You’re on your own, Kohn…I can’t cope.”

Banana…a nice surprise. And walnuts. More blueberries, extraordinary creaminess, a thick chocolate malt, fried mushroom, brioche, and such a deep richness that I want to plotz. I’m verklempt.

No matter how long I leave the cigar in the ashtray to take photos or type, the cigar refuses to go out. Trust me…this is rare while writing a review.
If I had my druthers…I’d smoke this cigar every day.

I love that this is a slow smoke. Nothing is wasted. I’m now in the zone. I shall stop typing for a few minutes and just kick back and enjoy.

A couple days ago, a bunch of twenty somethings were brought to Prime Cigar by their boss who was taking them all on a business trip the next day. He paid for their cigars and drinks. But of the 6 boys and girls, no one knew how to smoke a cigar…let alone light one.
I lined them up military style and taught them. It was hysterical. I really tried my best not to laugh at their concentrated attempts. Getting them to not inhale was madness. A couple guys had to sit down to get rid of the nicotine effects. In the end, they all got it and, man…were they proud of themselves. I saw young guys turn into men right in front of me. Big smiles and future fights with their girlfriends/wives over how much they overspend on monthly cigars.

Goddamm the Pusherman…this cigar is ridiculous. It is so intense that my nipples get hard. I can feel it right through my manziere.

Strength is now medium/full.

As many sweet factors that are present, they do not overwhelm. The sheer decadence of the tobacco is stunning; providing a super savory context to the cigar experience.

Some cigar blends go beyond simple gratification. This cigar causes involuntary relaxation that makes me feel Iike I’ve just spent an hour in a sauna.

From here on, it’s Sweet Home Alabama. The blend has reached its zenith. It’s kicking ass and taking names.

Dark chocolate explodes like a pie in Soupy Sales’ face. The black pepper is slightly stronger now. The list of flavors is non-ending.

Albert King and SRV playing “Call It Stormy Monday.” Nice.

This is one of those blends that ruins your day for subsequent cigars. I will need to wait til much later today before I can smoke another stick. I don’t have anything in my stash that can compare. So, my brain needs the time to forget this morning.

I could go on and on…although, it seems as if I have already done that. There is nothing left to explain about the Basilica C #1 Maduro.
Great cigar. SBC has them…but for how long?
If you decide to purchase some, do not smoke one until it has a few months of humi time.


And now for something completely different:
1965 ~ Tel Aviv, Israel

I was 15. My grandfather took me to Israel and Europe for the summer. I had never left the country before this and getting those outdated typhus and cholera injections every Friday for 5 weeks was awful. I spent my weekends in bed with side effects.

First stop: Tel Aviv.
Man, it was HOT! Arizona hot. Palm Springs hot. And to make it even worse: Humid!
We were right on the Mediterranean Sea.

Kirk Douglas, Angie Dickinson, Yul Brynner, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, and Topol were all in town for the filming of the historical drama, “Cast a Giant Shadow.”

This is the summary of the movie: “An American Army officer is recruited by the yet to exist Israel to help them form an army. He is disturbed by this sudden appeal to his Jewish roots. Each of Israel’s Arab neighbors has vowed to invade the poorly prepared country as soon as partition is granted. He is made commander of the Israeli forces just before the war begins.”

I have photos of all this but in some box in the basement.
We saw Yul Brynner speak at our hotel on the patio. We saw John Wayne and Sinatra at a bar.
And the best part…We were visiting the pre-opening of the Museum of the Holocaust. It was weeks away from its official opening but allowing tourists to get a free look. It was an enormous setting with several buildings.

110° outside and no shade. The buildings did not have running air conditioning yet. I was on a synagogue tour of about 50-60 people. Five of us were teens. So, we hung out with each other and did everything together.

None of us were used to the heat. There were vendors selling cold drinks. Coke and Pepsi had not yet landed in Israel yet and the only sodas available were the local stuff. There was this lemon lime stuff that tasted a little like 7-Up. So that’s what the vendors called it.

We were sweating like pigs. We were beginning to suffer from heat exhaustion. Stupidly, we told our parents or, in my case, my grandfather that we would stay longer and find our own way back to the hotel.

Now what are the odds of this? None of us had any money on us. Not an Israeli penny.
There were plenty of water fountains and none of them had been hooked up yet. Same in the bathrooms.

We were standing together stressing out when one of our group pointed a finger and said, “Look.There is Kirk Douglas.”

Well, shit. It was. He stood with a group of people. One of our group said we should approach him and ask to borrow a few Israeli Pounds so we could buy some sodas.
We all froze and then I made my move. I walked up to the group and interrupted them.

“Mr. Douglas…” I told him our sad story and how we were fellow Americans. I even promised him that we would pay him back. He laughed.

Without blinking an eye, he handed me a wad of dough and told us to go have a good time. We each bought two bottles of “7-Up” and slung them down like thirsty camels.

We had enough money to get something to eat from a vendor and then figured we had to get out of there. We took a bus back to the hotel.
We told our story to the group and no one believed us.

It was a fun month touring Israel. I got mugged once by Arab kids. We rode a boat on the Sea of Galilee, we saw buildings that were thousands of years old, and had two life threatening experiences.

The first was being rocked out of our beds at the King David hotel by explosives in the lobby. And at the Gaza Strip, some Palestinian terrorists tried to sneak across the border. We stood next to our tour bus as the Israeli Defense Forces opened fire into brushy weeds and turned them red with blood.

It was also the first time I had a girlfriend. Her name was Frieda and was Polish/American. Her parents survived Auschwitz and then moved to America where they became rich by owning a swanky apartment building in Beverly Hills.

(Frieda and I standing atop the Eiffel Tower):

I had my first make out session. And I copped my first feel. And it was caught on a dozen movie cameras as it took place in the back of the tour bus.

Young people should see the world, or at least a part of it. But even with high tensions in Israel and Europe in the 1960’s, it was nothing like today where carrying an American passport could mean your death if caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
That’s a shame.


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10 replies

  1. What a Great review of a sensational blend, and followed by a refreshingly wonderful story of a young Kats journey, replete with perfect atmospheric pictures,,,,!! Thank You Great One !!

  2. Thank you, John.
    All the best,
    …The Grape Juan

  3. Kirk was probably trolling for under aged girls as he was known to do. His son picked up his bad habit of forcing himself on women as well.

    Back to cigars, how is the mask regulation your Mayor just signed affecting the cigar lounge?

  4. No one knows if it is the entire county or just the city. The lounge is not in Milwaukee proper…an upscale suburb.
    I’ve gotten no word if we are to wear masks or not.
    Management is hard at work circle jerking themselves.

  5. Dude when you rate a cigar like this one I can’t not buy it I have to order some immediately, love the descriptions You come up with, and I buy anything you write over 95 any day of the week! Hope the cigar companies are giving you a lot of freebies.By the way you didn’t mentioned any nicotine and I’ve always wondered exactly what it is you mean when the nicotine sets in. Is that the Harshness and bitterness I sometimes experience in the last third of my smokes?

  6. Hi Skip,
    First, thank you for the kind words.
    Second, I have never smoked a cigarette so I’m especially sensitive to nicotine. It makes me dizzy, off balance, skews my vision, and can make me nauseated.
    Nicotine has no inherent harshness or bitterness. Harshness is usually due to the amount of tar brought forth; which can happen if you smoke the cigar too fast. Constant puffing, or chomping, will heat up the cherry and send the lovely tar to your mouth, so by the end of the cigar, you can pave a road with your lips. But the harshness can also come via the way of poor rolling, insufficient tobacco in the stick, or crap tobacco.

    This is the dictionary definition of nicotine:
    “A toxic colorless or yellowish oily liquid which is the chief active constituent of tobacco. It acts as a stimulant in small doses, but in larger amounts blocks the action of autonomic nerve and skeletal muscle cells.”

  7. Phil, thanks for the info, now I understand what you mean. I’ve found I can’t smoke a cigar while walking my lab Vinnie any more cuz I end up inhaling some smoke and get really dizzy…must be the nicotine! Anyway wanted to let you know I found these Basilica C#1’s At Cigar City for $16 ea (singles) and on a lark I typed in “Katman” as a coupon code and it was accepted! Saved me shipping cost of $6.50 or a buck thirty a stick…you are well known!

  8. Hey Skip,
    Well dang me…I had no idea Cigar City carried Casdagli…and even more of a surprise is that my moniker gets you a discount. No one tells me anything.
    If I open the cigar lounge, there is lots of housekeeping chores that takes 45 minutes before opening. I find myself a bit winded each time I finish. I’ve had to stop smoking a cigar as soon as I sit down because that tiny bit of exercise opens up my lungs and I’m much more affected by the strength of the cigar. I now wait an hour before I light up.
    Take care,

  9. Hey Katman,

    Another great review. I have to thank you for turning me on to the Casdagli (formerly Bespoke) brand. I’ve had the Basilica C but not the maduro. I’ve never had a Casdagli cigar that didn’t take me on a magic carpet ride! Any time Small Batch runs a good holiday sale I try to buy a box. Wouldn’t smoke anything else if I had your rock star money! Also grateful for you getting me to try the Southern Draw brand. They aren’t Casdagli’s but very good for the price point. Keep up the great work and stay healthy!


  10. Hey Kerry,
    Yes, rock star money…I am often seen in the company of Princess Grace of Monaco when I get together with Salvador Dali at Errol Flynn’s hideaway.
    They’re good cigars. Jeremy and Hendrik Kelner work really well together.
    And Robert Holt puts out stunning blends. I have some Kudzu Lustrums that I’m having trouble keeping my hands off. But the 3-4 months is worth it.
    You and your family stay just as well…

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