Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan
Size: 6 x 52 Box Pressed
Price: $8.50 MSRP (A buck less online)
Today we take a look at the 2012 by Oscar Maduro.
The cigar has rested for 9 weeks, naked, in my humidor.
According to Smoke Inn Cigars:
“Oscar Valladares has had quite the journey to become one of the most respected names in boutique cigars. The man was introduced to the premium cigar industry in the unlikely manner of being a bus driver for Rocky Patel in Honduras. This led to Valladares being hired by Patel to learn the ins and outs of the manufacturing business—which he did for nearly a decade! In 2011, Oscar Valladares left to begin his own cigar shop in Danlí, Honduras. His operations eventually expanded enough to purchase his own factory in downtown Danlí, naming it Oscar Valladares Tobacco & Co. Here, Oscar introduced the company’s first cigar—2012 by Oscar—referencing the Mayan calendar’s prediction for the end of the world.
“Oscar later teamed with popular cigar personality Jim “Island Jim” Robinson and the duo crafted the hugely popular Leaf by Oscar cigars, which served to put Oscar Valladares on the map.”
SIZES AND PRICING:
Short Robusto 4 x 52 $7.50
Sixty 6 x 60 $8.55
Toro 6 x 52 $8.50
In room light, the wrapper is a reddish black with hints of rust and espresso. Under illuminating light, the wrapper glistens with oils. The wrapper has a gorgeous mottled color combination of motor oil, espresso, and rust; with a contrasting color of a lighter medium brown.
The stick feels good in the hand. Solid with a bit of resistance when squeezed. (Squeeze me baby, ’till the juice runs down my leg…The way you squeeze my lemon…”)
Seams are exposed but tight. The wrapper looks extremely toothy, but to the touch, it is fairly smooth with just the lightest sense of fine sandpaper. The box press is sharp…which is a good sign that the rollers used knew what they were doing.
The cap is rounded at the top, like a rectangular dome…but it’s a bit lopsided. No points taken away.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
Immediate dark chocolate smacks my nose first. There are fainter aromas of creaminess, sweetness, black pepper, cedar, barnyard, and baking spices.
The cold draw presents flavors of barnyard, espresso, black pepper, dark cocoa, cedar, and cinnamon…no sweetness.
Construction appears solid as the draw provides just the right resistance for me. I put away my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool.
I reviewed the 2012 Barber Pole recently and loved it. Hope this baby can measure up. But the lack of written reviews worries me. I smoked my first one about two weeks in after receipt and wasn’t impressed. A couple months later…fingers crossed.
The cigar begins with a big punch in the kisser. Complex and flavorful. A lovely chocolate brownie element stands at the front of the line. Then smaller, more nuanced flavors appear…creaminess, black walnuts, café au lait, black pepper…a slight, but premium, mustard component lingers in the background, a light touch of lemon citrus, cedar, and nuances of steak sauce…of which it derives its current sweetness.
The cigar is an active volcano spitting out huge plumes of smoke and native islanders.
Strength is a nice easy going medium. The spiciness is in low key mode…nice.
And while I seem to be the only cigar smoker on the planet whose bane is that my box pressed sticks never burn right…this one is on target and doing nicely. I’m seeking out therapy for the burn jinx, real or imagined.
Transitions have not kicked in. The finish is a mild compendium of the earlier described flavors.
Tom Petty is playing…one of my favorites. It pisses me off how he died at 66. He was touring and had a broken hip. He didn’t want to cancel the tour as so many folks depended on it for their livings. So, the schmuck took more and more pain killers to get on stage, and then he overdosed. Certainly put a crimp on touring. Sad.
I’ve got tree trimmers out back and the noise of the chain saws and the chipper is giving me a headache. Wonder if anyone would notice the flames from my Mossberg when I take out the chipper?
Flavors are decent but not nearly bold enough. The strength is now jam up and jelly tight and at medium/full.
At this point, it appears that the Barber Pole is the better blend. Still, both cigars being in the $8 range, one has to take this into account. It ain’t a Davidoff.
Flavors, surprisingly, are now in stasis. No direction home. What continues to tickle the palate is the Nicaraguan tobacco. I’m not a big fan of Honduran plants. I find most Honduran blends bland. The Mexican wrapper should be applying some sweetness to the mix but is dead behind the wheel. The Nicaraguan leaves are only supplying the punch for the cigar’s strength…although, it is common for Honduran leaves to be in the medium/full range.
Good start. But now it has rolled over and gone to sleep.
There is some zing from the red pepper that just showed up on the tip of my tongue.
Of course, there is hope that the second half of the cigar brings the blend some sorely needed character.
I can detect some sort of strong will on the part of the blend…there is something lurking in the background that is teasing my brain to be patient as the cigar will shine if I just stop whining.
I haven’t written much lately because my hours increased at the cigar shop. I’m beat. It is hard enough trying to be ‘clever and witty’ while wide awake; impossible with one eye glued shut in the morning. But I have some days off and will focus on this bloody blog.
Construction is spot on. No criticisms. I believe Valladares put the emphasis on the wrong element. No, I don’t want a sloppy cigar. But compared to the 2012 Barber Pole, the Maduro isn’t even in the same class as far as taste and character. I did have high expectations. Bummer, moon doggies. Just when you think the cigar is going to hang ten, it nose dives instead.
We are on a linear journey. A one trick pony in E♭. No de-tuning allowed.
And then there is movement beneath the sliding tectonic plates. The flavors seem to be reappearing. Creaminess is up first along with some overdue complexity. Candied lemon peel is up next. A light vanilla toffee adds some rich sweetness. A caramel note is dancing the macarena. The black pepper remains in the background, but the red pepper is the showoff. Walnuts return.
Harrumph. Either the cigar was designed this way or 2 months of humi time wasn’t enough. But back to my lack of reviews comment…reviewers are mostly patient and if this cigar was a real winner, there would be a plethora of reviews online.
The Barber Pole dripped with flavors…and it received a 91. If blind taste tested, I never would have guessed this blend is part of a trifecta release…in which there should have been an equally effective end product that makes the customer want to try the other blends of the 2012 series.
These cigars come without cellos. A good thing. But I’ve noticed at the cigar shop that most smokers stay away from a naked cigar. Not sure of the reasons. But if I’m at a B&M, it is the first sticks I peruse as they are getting a chance to breathe in the humidor instead of cloaked in cellophane.
The strength has diminished back to straight ahead medium. ?
Yet the cigar ain’t that bad. There is an underlying tobacco mix that is pleasing. That may be fine for a $5 cigar by a giant manufacturer. Boutique brands only flourish if their product is uniformly consistent. The Oscar brand is super popular. Lots of good stuff. But I remember all the duds more so than the winners.
This is a frustrating journey. Moments of clarity appear and then dissolve into the ethos. The rest of the time, the cigar blend has no forward momentum.
So now I know why almost no one reviewed it. But that’s not an immediate giveaway. The cigar industry reviewers are busy fellas. And decisions about review choices are done in quick step time. This series has been out a couple years so long enough for any reviewer to be patient with a regular production stick.
A maltiness shows up late to the party. But then milk chocolate reappears along with some needed creaminess. There is now a generic sweetness that is off balance. It doesn’t counter point with the savory aspects. You just know that manufacturers throw out certain blends fully aware that they don’t meet specs. But the investment strikes up a fail-safe point and there is no going back…Sell them all! Worry about the next blend on the drawing board.
A sip of water does not release the dogs of war. It is nothing more than a plump flatworm.
I wanted to find you a great, reasonably priced, cigar today. I fucked up. I will pick more judiciously in my next review. I have a bunch of brand new sticks that I bought online but I don’t want to jump the gun. I might have to.
The 2012 Maduro is a good yard ‘gar and nothing more. But even at the low price of $7.50, it ain’t no bargain. It is in the category of $50 bundled cigars.
Where’s the bridge? Where’s the beef? Where is the inherent sweetness that comes from the Mexican wrapper? It is quickly becoming the clone of chewing on a toothpick.
I made the final tally on my thoughts about this cigar and it ain’t going nowhere. It will not improve. It is not a good cigar. Damn.
And now for something completely different:
The Eddie Munster Chronicles:
Disaster in Hollyweird 1983
Halloween was a big day for my project. For our first Halloween, the record company, Rocshire Records, arranged to take over the Hollywood Palladium. Throw a huge party. And give away a big trip to Transylvania. A ski resort in Romania.
I hired “Grandpa ( Al Lewis ) Munster” to officiate the proceedings. Al was a marvelous old codger who I had met several times through Butch. He even yelled at me once at a famous deli in Hollywood…in front of all the patrons. He liked to make sure that everyone in the room knew he was there.
I was whining about the record company and he slammed his fist down on the table and warned me that maybe I’m not cut out for this business. Of course, he was right, but back then I protested. We got into a heated debate in front of a hundred patrons who were staring at us. You could hear a pin drop if not for Al’s voice.
Al Lewis was a big deal, and everyone loved him. I could feel my face get hot from being turning red.
We settled down, talked about the Jewish holidays, etc., and finished our meal; and for the first time, Al picked up the check. He must have felt guilty about yelling at me.
Anyway, back to topic; I paid Al $2000 ($5000 in 2020 dollars) to be the MC of the party. And he did a marvelous job from the video I watched later.
Butch and I did a short 4-minute video welcoming people to the event that was played on a loop in the lobby of the Palladium.
In it, I get smacked with a real lemon meringue pie. Obviously, it was a one take deal. This is a whole other story that I will tell later.
Rocshire Records, Tiger Beat Magazine, and Life Magazine collaborated to make the party a big deal. There was a country-wide raffle and the winner got to go to the Transylvania in Romania…Dracula’s Castle. Yes. There is a Dracula’s castle. And sight see and ski for two weeks for one person. I never understood that reasoning. Only one person? What if they wanted to take someone with them? I would.
Meanwhile, Butch and I couldn’t attend because we did Saturday Night Live. That, too, is a whole story into itself.
Well, the raffle went completely hay wire.
The winner was notified, and it was a girl who actually lived in Hollywood. Since Tiger Beat was a sponsor, they had a national participation for the raffle. What are the odds that a young pretty girl from Hollywood would win? I smelled a fish in the Kevlar vest.
The girl wanted to take her boyfriend with her. She was told no. She was assured a supervisor would come along. And a still cameraman, and a video crew. No need to worry about her safety.
But she was stubborn. She wouldn’t go if her boyfriend couldn’t go.
Everyone threw up their hands and canceled the whole thing. They wanted nothing to do with the runner up or picking another winner. The trip was off. So, the whole thing was a bull shit scam.
All that free publicity in the wind.
Our friend, the photographer who did our sleeve cover, had already been paid by Life and Tiger Beat upfront for the gig. And guess what? He spent the dough on nose candy, and he couldn’t pay it back. That was the end of his career.
My second in command was my recording studio partner who was more concerned with embezzling and sticking coke up his nose. So, he never called and told me what went on during the week we spent in NYC doing lots of talk shows and then moving west to hit other cities in the country.
I got home and visited my PR guy and he told me the whole ugly story. I went ballistic. He calmed me down by telling me he needed $2000. No. That did not calm me down.
He said he had the senior programmer for the biggest radio station on the line for $2K to put our song into regular rotation. And the meeting was for this afternoon. I rushed to the bank.
When I returned, the slime bucket was already there and promised me medium rotation.
We shook hands and the song was never played once. Not once.
It turned out my PR guy grabbed a friend to pretend to be the program director so he could pocket the dough I gave him. Yeah, real nice.
This guy was such a crook, that at one point near the end of the project, I took my friend Rick the ex-con with me.
To be continued…
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS