Wrapper: Nicaragua Habano
Size: 5 x 50 Robusto “Rondo”
Price: $12.70 MSRP ($11.40 online)
I paid $8 per stick in a fiver online.
Today we take a look at the Aging Room Pura Cepa.
As usual, I’m behind everyone else when it comes to reviewing this 2018 cigar. It received stellar ratings so this should be easy.
From Halfwheel.com (10-9-2018):
“While Rafael Nodal and his Aging Room brand—which is co-owned by Nodal’s wife Alina along with Hank Bischoff and Jochy Blanco—have long been associated with the Dominican Republic, he has been exploring Nicaragua more and more as of late. In particular, just before this summer’s IPCPR Convention & Trade Show he released a new line, the Aging Room Small Batch Pura Cepa. The line’s name means pure bred in Spanish, though the tobacco comes from four growing regions within the country: Condega, Estelí, Jalapa and Ometepe.
“The cigars are produced at Plasencia Cigars S.A. in Estelí, further deepening the Nicaraguan connection. The Aging Room Small Batch Pura Cepa is offered in three sizes.”
From Cigar Aficionado (8-27-2018):
“Nodal wanted a cigar that captured the essence of Nicaragua’s growing regions, as the cigar is a Nicaraguan puro. But he was also inspired by the Cuban Montecristo 80 Aniversario. He was impressed by its character and structure. So, the Cuban Monte 80th was also on his mind when formulating the blend with Plasencia.”
SIZES AND PRICING (MSRP):
Grande 6 x 60 $13.70
Mezzo 6 x 54 $13.15
Rondo 5 x 50 $11.40
In plain room light, the cigar looks like a paper bag lunch. In the right light, the oiliness pops til I must shield my eyes lest I am blinded by the light. The wrapper is a mottled conglomeration of dark spots, root beer, orange, and light tones of red.
The cigar is hard in spots but basically feels like a nicely packed cigar. The triple cap is aces. There is a main cigar band, a secondary band, and a gold ribbon footer. All dressed up and nowhere to go…
SMELL THE GLOVE:
There is an initial meaty floral note…never thought I’d say that in public. Aromas are very light and difficult to discern. There is a touch of the following: creaminess, black pepper, almond, espresso, fruitiness, cedar, malt, and chocolate.
The cold draw presents flavors of root beer ice cream soda, cloves, creaminess, meaty, nutty, chocolate, malt, cedar, and barnyard.
The draw has a slightly more resistance than I prefer but I go with it. I will keep my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool handy just in case.
Flavors waste no time. The first hints of complexity jump into the center of the bubbling pie. It is bitch slapping my palate. If this level of intensity maintains itself throughout the cigar’s life span, I will be a flat, spent old man upon completion.
Due to the immediate character of the blend, flavors are not screaming out their names. Instead, we are in mind meld mode. The cigar can look deep into my mind and find…nothing. Shit, I gave it a shot.
After being so startled at the way this cigar began, my shrunken brain is picking up on individual flavors components: Twinkies (really), malty Double IPA, a decadent creaminess that stands alone…without the cheese, a scoche of milk chocolate, rich honey, Almond Roca, and a nicely balanced black pepper.
Construction is top notch as is the burn line.
Creaminess leaps to the front of the pack. Strength is a solid medium.
The intensity of the ever increasing, spot on balance is impressive. Pretty much like the first time I had sex. It was in the back of my 1960 Pontiac Bonneville. That car was so big that the back seat could seat 17 spider monkeys or one elephant turd. I remember my first reaction was “Is this right? Shouldn’t it be tighter? WTF?” I had to look down during the act to see if my schlong was in the right place.
I am an Aging Room fan as most cigars are very consistent in their quality and price points. I have no idea how I missed this cigar when it came out…now and again, a series of acid flashbacks will cause me to succumb to extreme stupidity.
The star of the stick’s complexity is the varied nuances and subtleties that make it difficult to bullet point them as they move faster than light. Not even close to a flavor bomb…but that’s OK. This blend is so subtle that you don’t have to scrunch up your face to catch everything going on. You climb on board, buckle up, and let the Pura Cepa do the rest.
I didn’t find any info on the aging of the tobacco in this cigar. It has all the adornments of something that has been given the gift of a long sleep after rolling.
There is nothing typical of a Nicaraguan puro in its presentation. IF I had blind taste tested this, I never would have guessed.
As with most excellent cigars, this one is evaporating before my eyes in quick step time.
“Kashmir” is playing. I must stop writing. Time out…
First sip of water…blam. The spiciness picks up a beat or two, creamy malt is upfront, the Twinkie Syndrome is still in play, a mild milk chocolate steers the blend into supporting the complex balance, honey roasted almonds are now very distinct, and a flatulent smoked meatiness emerges as a contender for the first time.
Transitions are marching through my mouth in an orderly fashion. But oh, the finish…yep, I’m smacking my lips like a thirsty dog. I thought of that because that is what she calls me in the sack. I’m afraid to ask her what that means…maybe something to do with licking her jack boots while flailing.
Strength is a tad above medium.
Buffalo Springfield on the speakers. 1966. They were the first band I saw in concert…Anaheim, CA. Front row seats for $3.50. They had just released their first top 10 hit, “Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing.” I could not believe a band could play that loud and not have their brains scrambled. I was digging it. I knew I was experiencing something special. Ever wonder why the originals never did a one-off reunion tour? That would be a Madison Square Garden event…they must hate each other too much.
The Pura Cepa has made a quantum leap in terms of its complexity. My mouth is overwhelmed by spectacular instances of brilliance.
I have a new favorite Aging Room blend.
Because the blend has been released for two years, the prices are falling. I’ve found these cigars for as much as $3+ below MSRP.
And now it’s time for some mild nicotine to fuck up my morning. As I’m sitting, it is only noticeable from my vision getting blurry.
Some cigars are destined to be relaxing. I know that we all smoke cigars to relax; but only a special few insert their earwig into your palate and brain to goad the relaxation experience to kick in with gusto.
I’m dripping gusto. (Charlotte will clean it up later).
You know the joke about old men and their elongated testicles…I’ve been ever so proud that mine have not endured this embarrassment. Then I looked into the mirror this morning to see how slim and trim I now look…yeah, the balls are dangling free with no restraints; gravity is having a field day. This would be no big deal if not for the fact that no one understands why you scream in anguish when you bump your shin on the bar stool. I tell them it’s an old war injury.
Yes, I fought in Grenada…but on the wrong side.
Each sip of water allows the blend to flourish and bellow George Carlin jokes.
Ever have a conversation with your own cigar? I didn’t think I’d done this til Charlotte asked what the hell I was doing? So, me neither.
An alternate take of “All Along The Watchtower.” Affirmation that the cigar is bringing good vibrations to the surfer dudes. Growing up in SoCal, I surfed. Then I fell off the board and quit for good.
Strength is medium/full.
The nicotine is mopping my head all over the floor.
Despite my hallucinogenic visions, the blend continues to pump out big notes of flavor and character.
A bizarre element of hot buttered brioche joins the band. Probably a drummer.
I’’ve slowed my smoking so I don’t face plant on my keyboard.
Medium/full is cast aside as the cigar goes full tilt.
The complexity is now so powerful that distinct flavors are thrown out the window. It is a mish mosh of wonderful components that any cigar smoker will love…except for those guys that come into Prime Cigar and tell me they only smoke mild cigars. My heart sinks when this happens.
If I was any more relaxed, I’d be dead…did I just hear a million cigar manufacturers just scream “YES!”
I read a few reviews of this cigar and everyone loves it. Me too.
Scout around if you plan on purchasing this cigar. Prices fluctuate greatly.
I had a good time. After I hit publish, I will get into a cold shower to shock my brain into working again.
And now for something completely different:
Skip Behind the Wheel…
I had just passed the audition. A band was being formed around the famed violinist, Darryl Way. On drums was Stewart Copeland. On guitar was Mick Jacques. Our singer was an American named Butch Hatcher. And me, on bass.
We called ourselves Stark Naked. A band in the Berkeley area had that name and since Stewart had gone to school there, he remembered that name. So, he suggested it. After all, we were 5000 miles away.
We rehearsed in Miles Copeland’s house in St John’s Wood. A block away from the famous EMI Studio…or Abbey Road Studio.
Stewart got himself a bachelor flat about 5 doors down from the studio. We would sit on his stoop, smoking hash, and watch the tourists risk life and limb trying to get that famous Beatles’ crosswalk photo. But drivers rarely slowed down and it appeared to be a sport to see how close they could come to running them down.
Our first gig got booked in Nottingham. The money was lousy, but Miles supplied us with equipment and roadies….sort of.
Nottingham was a couple hours’ drive north. Butch Hatcher got his best buddy to roadie but we needed one more. I asked my best friend, Skip, if he wanted to make 10 Quid? He said yes. Skip never roadied and took the gig for fun…and the $25.
The two roadies drove a huge lorry with the equipment. Neither had driven a stick on a big truck…let alone drive on the left side of the road. Skip learned on the job. He was a complete wreck on arrival.
There was no freeway to Nottingham so one had to take the “A” roads through towns and neighborhoods.
Not only had he not learned to drive a stick, but he had to do it with his left hand and backwards. Apparently, there was a lot of screaming during the trip.
Meanwhile, the band was driven to the gig by our road manager.
The gig went really well. Butch had worked in carnivals in the Southern U.S. And he knew how to spew fire from his mouth. We decided to add that during our encore. As the band played furiously, he turned his back to the audience, slathered some Vaseline on his lips and chin, and then squirted lighter fluid into his mouth. A lot of lighter fluid.
He turned around. His buddy lit a torch for him, and Butch held it to his mouth and out came fire. The crowd went absolutely bonkers. He did it a couple more times because he liked the applause.
The band was on Cloud 9 afterwards and decided to hit a restaurant for food and drink. Back then, most restaurants closed by 10 and it was only the Indian and Chinese places that stayed open til midnight, so we had to hurry.
The roadies had a couple hours of packing…plus the horrifying drive back. Only this time in pitch blackness. There were no streetlights then. You took your life in your hands driving those A roads in total blackness.
I still remember the look on Skip’s face when I told him I was going with the band. He was crestfallen. I wanted to stay with my best friend, but the band expected me to come with them. I was new to the band and this was not the time to act out. Butch had no problems with saying nighty night to his buddy.
The next day, (we lived in the same flat); Skip would not talk to me. I didn’t blame him. I felt pretty guilty and apologized.
We did several more gigs as Stark Naked but when I asked Skip if he wanted to roadie again, he politely told me to go fuck myself. A short, but brilliant, career as a roadie.
During a band rehearsal, Darryl told us that there would be a 3-month hiatus. Apparently, his old band (Curved Air) had one record deal to finish. They owed Decca Records an album, so the decision was to put all of the original members back together and do a tour and record it giving them a live album. The easiest way to get that commitment out of the way.
And as Darryl finished telling this, he looked at me and said, “Kohn. You are going to be our bassist.”
Just like that.
I had no idea what he was talking about or what I was getting myself in to.
And now for something completely different Part 2:
February 1975, the day after my 25th birthday, and the huge LSD fest we had the night before still lingered in our blood stream.
We had our first gig of the European tour in London. Most tours were 7-8 weeks long. We’d take a month break and hit it again. I went crazy in that month. Once you’ve tasted the exhilaration of playing live, improvising, and the audience…well…it’s an addiction.
You wander the city or drive all day from gig to gig. But you live for those 2 hours on stage that night.
The band Renaissance had also taken the same acid as my bandmates. Another Miles Copeland band with a lead singer that was a chick; Annie Haslam. While her band was a bunch of regular guys who smoked the ganja like us, Annie did not.
Apparently, the potent dose of Berkeley California acid that Stewart passed around was too much for the Renaissance guys. They were too fucked up the next day to do anything and ended up canceling their first gig of the tour that night in London.
Of course, Curved Air members were tough fuckers. What’s a little LSD to idiots like us. We went on stage that night, high of course, and did 5 encores.
Now I didn’t hand out the acid. Stewart did. But it was my birthday party and the dumb bitch Annie decided it was my fault that they had to cancel their gig. Miles was furious with Stewart and the boys in Renaissance.
Just before going on that night, Stewart decided to smoke a huge bowl of hash. Well, there were consequences to pay for that. It brought all that LSD rushing back.
We had the same boring set list every night. No spontaneity whatsoever. Just one night it would have been nice if Darryl called out a different song. But no. It was deemed by the All Mighty that we did the same songs in the same order every fucking night.
Throughout the 2-hour set, Stew kept doing long extended drum solos. Not only when they were designated, but during the songs. Stewart Copeland would go on to be a beloved drummer by the masses once he was in The Police. But while in Curved Air, he was an out of control mad man.
The violinist and guitarist did a lot of woodshedding by trading riffs during the instrumental breaks. Darryl would play 4 bars. Mick would play 4 bars, etc.
Stew would do a Keith Moon through the whole thing and the boys couldn’t find “1”. The first beat of the bar. They were completely lost because of Stew’s incessant soloing through their solos.
They were just completely lost and couldn’t find the beginning of each bar. I saw Darryl, the violinist, give Stew the stink eye a’ plenty.
But Stew was as high as a kite. He didn’t care. After all, his brother was our manager. And he was hooked up with the lead singer. So, his place in the band was secure.
I had to save the day. Instead of me playing what I would normally play, I hit quarter notes with the emphasis of hitting the 1 at each new bar. This allowed the boys to find their way back to the start of each bar.
After the gig, in the dressing room, Darryl fired Stew.
This was nothing new.
Stew got fired every week. Yes, the drummer from The Police got fired weekly.
But since Stew and Sonja were an item, Sonja would threaten to quit. This happened over and over. It got very tiring.
It basically gave Stew carte blanche to do whatever he wanted.
It was at this concert, that at the end of a song, Stew raised his arms to signify that the song was about to end and then bring his arms down with a flourish on top of the kit. But the acid threw him off his balance and he fell backwards off the stage.
Most stages were 6-8 feet or so off the ground. But even farther on the back side.
The roadies always stored the drum cases behind the stage and drum riser. The drum riser was about four feet tall making it about a 10-foot drop to the stage floor. Fortunately for Stew, the drum cases broke his fall as he tumbled through them; all the way to the floor.
Sonja went running backstage to see if he was alive. We stopped playing.
He jumped up with large dinner plate sized eyes, and said he was alright…meanwhile, blood dripped from his forearms where he scraped long layers of skin away from the drum case latches.
He jumped back on stage and we finished.
The audience, of course, loved it thinking it was part of the show.
The entire couple years I was with the band, we never did a gig where we weren’t high on hash or weed.
But this night was a most memorable experience.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS