Cigar Federation’s PUNK ROCK | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés, Connecticut
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6.5 x 54
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $6.00

Today we take a look at Cigar Federation’s PUNK ROCK.
I’ve had samples marinating in my humidor for over 6 months.

This is the understated press release from Cigar Federation (Ezra Zion):
“To those who are about to rock…we salute you!
TRUE STORY…The first time I was handed this cigar to try at a factory I was not expecting much.
The wrappers were rough and not that pretty. The caps were a little sloppy. I thought “here we go again with another lousy cigar someone wants me to try.”
BOY WAS I WRONG! (And I was so glad I was.)

“This cigar absolutely impressed the hell outta me! Deep rich flavors. Long complex finish and perfectly balanced. I “judged a book by it’s cover”….and I was wrong.
It was edgy. It was delicious. It was…so damn PUNK ROCK!
BUT!…we went back to the factory and told them we wanted more but we wanted it to be prettied up! So now PUNK ROCK has gorgeous wrappers with even better tobaccos! It’s 10x better than before!

“PUNK ROCK is a super-toro barber pole made with San Andres, Connecticut, and Nicaraguan tobaccos. Full-bodied with med/full strength.
Flavors of leather, cocoa, clove, cinnamon, black pepper, espresso, heavy cream, and sugar.
We were able to wrestle another few bundles of these–325 cigars in total–from this factory. The reason there are so few is because the tobaccos are very limited and rare. But we had to get at least a little taste for the FedHeads!”

So, there you have it…this cigar will cure warts and pimples.

Well, it is only a $6 cigar, so I need to temper my criticisms appropriately…(Yeah, like that’s going to happen).

6 months of humi time has not been kind to the look of this cigar. The barber pole design of laying Connie strips over the Mexican wrapper is a disaster. I haven’t show you how bad it is on the other side of the cigar in the photos…it is just a $6 cigar. I needed to glue some of the Connie strips to keep them in place.

But the wrapper, under the right light, shimmers with oil. The Mexican oozes sexiness. The Connie strips ooze infidelity.
Seams are tight…lots of small veins cover the stick…The cap is nicely done but remains only a double cap.
Lastly, the cigar is smooth as glass. Not a lick of toothiness.

There are light aromas of floral, milk chocolate, creaminess, spicy cinnamon, espresso, cedar, malt, barnyard, and black pepper.

The cold draw presents flavors of…nothing…this stick is jam packed with clots. I bring out my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool to the rescue. A couple pelvic thrusts with the tool and the plugs seem mostly gone; but I won’t be sure until I light up.

Once again, with feeling…the cold draw…Creaminess, black pepper, espresso, milk chocolate, malt, cedar, and an odd woody flavor.

I can’t remember when I smoked the first one. Regardless, I decided it needed lots of naked humi time before trying again.

The draw is nearly impossible…back to the PerfecDraw. One last thrust and the freeway is clear.

Upfront is a mustiness that I always find appealing. Behind the dust mop are elements of creaminess, black pepper, chocolate, malt, vanilla, molasses, and some kind of dried fruit.

Please God…I will go to church every day if this cigar is decent. They couldn’t have found these lostlings, that some tobacco farmer forgot about and CF picked them up, in a smaller size? If this cigar is a dud, at 6.5 x 54, I’m in for a long and winding road that will leave me disgruntled.

Baking spices show up. Salty pretzel pops up.

I put Pandora on the Led Zep channel to mitigate any dissatisfaction coming up.

The cigar is really, really full of tobacco. This baby burns like a wet broom. Maybe my first 5-hour, 62,000-word essay?

I must allow that this is a big cigar and that the odds of anything coming through during the first inch, or first third for that matter, may be subdued.
Strength is straight ahead medium.

Creaminess is leading the pack. Smooth and non-offensive describes the character so far.
Mustiness returns. Drat.

Methinks that this may be a blend that doesn’t do well with any naked humidor time. If I were to guess, I’d say these cigars had been sitting in storage for a long time.

It is amazing to me how many expensive cigars don’t do well under the same circumstances. And yet others flourish. I’ve found that most AJ blends don’t do well with extensive aging. A year after receipt, the zest is gone. And I’m a huge AJ fan. There must be a golden hour in which these blends are optimum. No idea when that is.

Flavors are disappearing into the mist. But not the mustiness. Big manufacturers crank out a lot of crap mixed in with their better blends to attract the smoker on a strict budget.

But CF has a less than stellar batting record on their house blends. I’ve reviewed plenty and some were outstanding in their field. But too many are just junk. I believe this blend is the latter.

The flavor profile has turned to dust. Nothing there.

I find this amusing…this isn’t the first time CF released this blend in a micro batch supply. The PR says only 325 are available. I’ve seen this on their web site for months. Clearly, the word is out. Even those on limited budgets aren’t chipping in. Or maybe there are more than 325 and that number is used as a bait and switch. “Ooh, ooh…gotta get some before they run out…did you see the description on the CF web site? These gotta be gold.”

I’m going to see how the blend behaves just barely into the second half. If nothing has changed, I’m packing it in. No point in torturing myself with a crap cigar…or bore you silly.

To their credit, the char line burn has been exemplary.

Unless the cigar gets better, I’m not wasting my time taking ‘third’ photos of this cigar. You saw what it looks like at the beginning of my review.

Lava moves faster than the burn of this cigar.

There is zero forward momentum. This is one of those cheap hay-flavored cigars I despise so much. I’d rather smoke a Quorum.

Based upon feedback I get; a lot of smokers laugh at the over the top descriptions of the blend. Manufacturers should appoint a committee to come up with a boiler plate description for the greatest cigar blend in the world…and all the individual blends will have blank spaces for the copywriter to fill in the specifics of the cigar. Then again, maybe they do have a template for this, and I just haven’t noticed…as my eyes generally roll up in my head halfway through the press release.

Ever wonder why there is no online cigar review of a blend you’d like to try? Three guesses. 1) It is an extremely limited production, 2) Reviewers don’t dissect $6 cigars, and 3) The cigar is pure shit. We certainly don’t want to upset our advertisers and friends in the cigar industry…especially when we have access to hard to get, very expensive blends to review; that most people will never buy.

The Israeli 6 Day War was shorter than the burn on this cigar.

That’s it. The PUNK ROCK tastes like rolled up matzo. And not even Streit’s…but rather, Manischewitz.

The cigar is in a death spiral.
There will be no improvement. This is a giant dog turd of immense proportions.
I can’t go on. I have a life to live.
Sorry I made you go through this.

RATING: $1.50 Bundle Cigar

And now for something completely different:
More Curved Air…

Our first stop in Europe, for an 8-week tour, was always Amsterdam. It was 1974. We were lucky. We could have easily been forced to tour non-stop as the demand was there. Instead, we’d go out for a couple months, come home for 2-3 weeks and do it all over again. Time to decompress and relax.

It was perfect. We went to Amsterdam’s Paradiso Club and stocked up on substances we knew would be difficult to procure in other European countries. Ever see the movie, “Midnight Express?” Thankfully, we never toured Turkey.

While perambulating the red-light district one night out of curiosity, we went into one of the many sex shops. Sonja bought a tiny vibrator (2”-3”) that one can turn on and then just slide the whole damn thing right into the quedgie…and leave it there. This was always a breakfast ritual at the hotel.

Stew came up with the idea of buying a giant rubber penis and he would tape it to his pants while playing drums.
The moment arrived, and he chickened out.

The last song of the night, before encores of course, was Darryl’s instrumental theme song “Vivaldi.”

In the middle, Darryl would take off on a violin induced psychedelic tour of the universe using all the electronic pedals available back in 1974. The audience was stoned, or drunk, or both. And they were enthralled with the dissonant noise he could produce. Sounded like WWII sirens warning the British public that the V-2 was inbound.

The band would run off stage and Stewart and I would light up a bowl and wait for the horrible 10-minute solo to be over. Then we would run back on stage as Darryl began playing the “Sailor’s Horn Pipe.” Which led back into “Vivaldi” at triple time speed.

The song was a circle of fifths. Musicians will know what this is. But when stoned, you can get confused very easily. You start, for example, on the A chord. E is the 5th. Then B is the 5th. Then F# is the 5th. Then C is the 5th. Then G is the 5th. Then D is the 5th. And we would end on the original A chord.

To make things more confusing, we would have to go up half a step and have a whole new set of 5ths to remember…and so on, til we came all the way back around in a total of 8 different keys. If you got lost, you were screwed. Absolutely no way to get it right after that. Happened only once to me. After that, I focused.

Stew refused to put the rubber penis on, so I took the responsibility of dazzling the audience.
I always took my bass off stage with me during Darryl’s solos.
Roadie, Beric Wickens, nearly used an entire roll of duct tape to get that thing on me. I stood there in the wings with my pants dropped. I wore patch suede leather pants that my girlfriend sewed by hand for me. And it took an act of God to get them on each gig. (After the gig, which was always 2-1/2 hours, I was soaked to the bone. I had to use two roadies to help pull the leather pants off.)

And not a single dry cleaner in Europe would touch them so they never got cleaned in 2-1/2 years. I’d hang them up and spray deodorant on them. God knows what they must have smelled like. (I still have them and will pass them on to my grandson so when he is 18 in 2035, he can wear them to impress the ladies).

I could barely breathe by the time he was done strapping the dong in place…
I ran out on stage with my bass hanging from my shoulders. The rubber penis was hidden by the bass…even though it did jut out a bit.
Sonja was at the mic thanking the audience.
We started our first encore number called “Stretch.” How appropriate.
It was my only bass solo the entire gig.

Right in the middle of my solo, I flipped my bass up towards my chest exposing the rubber penis. The lighting guy was cued to put a pin sized spotlight on my crotch.
The audience went nuts.
And then I got arrested.

It wasn’t uncommon for Bobbies to be in attendance of any concert. British and European crowds drank way too much beer and were known for getting very rowdy.
The Bobbies didn’t wait for us to finish the song. These two idiots walked on to the stage and grabbed each of my arms.

I then pulled what I call my Marx Bros. move. I did a Captain Spaulding running around the front of the stage dragging the Bobbies along with me. The applause was deafening.

Of course, Bobbies don’t carry guns. Just batons. Things might have been different if they carried firearms.

The managing director of the European (in Amsterdam) British Talent Management agency was not happy when he got the call from the Amsterdam Police. He drove from home, in the middle of the night, and got me out.

He started to yell at me once we were in his big fancy, company Jaguar. And then he just started to laugh uncontrollably. I still had duct tape all over the front of my pants. The cops confiscated my giant wiener.
I got back to our hotel as the sun was rising….

When the band got back to London, 8 weeks later, I was called on the carpet in Miles Copeland’s office. I stood there and was warned. Dire consequences were promised.
I behaved inappropriately and promised I would never do that again. (I thought that next time would be Stewart’s turn).
So, I didn’t.
Ahh…the wild freedom of youth!
Now I only wear a giant rubber penis when I’m at the market.


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9 replies

  1. I’m sure that odd “woody” favor was the floor swiping’s! I typically buy (5) packs, so a BIG thanks for saving my ass (3) Hamilton’s to spend on some Southern draws!

  2. Hi Steven,
    Believe it or not, I’d prefer to find everyone some great bargain smokes that are worth the hard earned dough.
    It’s just that CF is so inconsistent with their house blends that it makes me crazy. Unless something comes down the pipe that sounds really exciting (Wait. The descriptions make them all sound like the second coming)…I’m done taking the word of the copywriter who does CF’s cigar descriptions. Once you break that trust, there is no going back…and unfortunately, I’ve gone back to that well way too many times. A pattern has arisen. No more CF house blends to waste my time or money on.

  3. Thanks for the review, I agree 100%………they (CF boutique bundle blends) are very inconsistent. The Original Steampunks and the original Mexican Hot Chocolates were pretty awesome, otherwise MEH.
    I have not tried any of the Ezra Zion special releases, not sure how those fair.
    I think Ezra Zion and CF are the same company but I am too lazy to verify that. Lol

  4. What Schlemiel could have burdened you with this horrible experience? I had virtually the same experience with the Punk Rock. The difference being about 1/2 way thru the stick I dropped it in my glass of water to put both of us out of our misery. Whats funny is when they had just come in I smoked one and it was okay (not great) and had a reasonable draw. After 5+ months in the humi it turned into a petrified cat turd (no offense to our feline friends). At the same time I bought the Hendrix another CF house blend that they seem to have found after a month long trek on the Zambizi river to a secret tobacco plot in an enchanted forest. The Hendrix is about the same as the Punk Rock just okay when fresh and awful after a few months in the humi. What cigar turns to stone in a 68% humi? Crazzzy! Im with you Phil no more CF house blends that promise to give you a woody, however, instead are one.

    There are so many sticks you can spend $5-6 or less and derive a much more enjoyable and relaxing experience. I do want to add CFs customer service has always been great.

    Congrats to you and your family on the grandson!

  5. Phil, you’ve put the nail in the coffin for me re: CF house blends…I got sucked in for the last time on “Chick Magnet”. Compounding the problem, this cigar is big so once you start smoking it and then you realize you’re doomed as doomed can be, it hurt$ to put it in the ashtray after less than a third in. Thanks for the wake up call, I shoulda been smarter.

    Regards, Kevin

  6. Hi Aaron,
    Yep, Ezra Zion bought Cigar Federation. They made their dough by selling small limited batches, like you now see on CF, and selling the cigar for a very consistent $12 a pop.
    Except the Ezra Zion cigars were much more consistent. But that was a while back…can’t speak for the product now.
    I believe the smoking public is a little tired of “This is the best cigar I’ve ever had and we found them from some old blind tobacco farmer who let us have the cigars for pennies on the dollar to get rid of them.” Or something like that.

  7. Hi Andy,
    I couldn’t have said it better. For $7, you can have my job.
    And thanks for the good wishes for grandson #2.
    All the best,

  8. Hi Kevin,
    We all should have been smarter the minute it was announced that Ezra Zion took over CF. Except I was fooled into thinking that the same quality of cigars would be made available to CF.
    Instead, they have now sunk to the Rocky Patel level of cranking out anything they can no matter the quality. A shame. Instead of elevating CF, it’s become a mockery by smokers everywhere due to their way over the top cigar descriptions that are complete bullshit.
    All the best,

  9. Definitely not a Punk Cigar. A punk cigar would have felt like someone had kicked you in your face after trying to get into the circle pit only to have someone spit in your face while you are lying on the ground bleeding. So yeah, definitely a horrible name for a dud of a cigar.

    Or, it could be the punk cigar lost its mojo because you were playing Zepplin! HA!

    Talking about cigars in punk music, here’s a mention of cigars in the lyrics of this great song from LA’s legendary The Circle Jerks.

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