Plasencia Alma del Fuego | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown (Jalapa)
  • Binder: Nicaraguan (Double Binder)
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Size: 5 X 50 Robusto (Box-Pressed)
  • Strength: Medium/Full
  • Price: $15.00

Today we take a look at the Plasencia Alma del Fuego.

BACKGROUND:

From Cigar Aficionado (2019):

“The Alma del Fuego Concepción was created by prolific tobacco grower Nestor Andrés Plasencia to emphasize Nicaraguan leaf from the volcanic island of Ometepe. This is the third installment of Plasencia’s Alma Series and made with only Nicaraguan tobacco. One of the two binders is from Ometepe as is half the filler. According to Plasencia, all the Ometepe tobacco was aged for seven years, which is longer than the rest of the components in the blend.

“I love tobacco from Ometepe,” he says, “but you really need to age it well if you want it to reach its full potential.” It’s spicy and woody with touches of coffee bean, dried fruit and cloves. The finish is nutty and sweet.”

SIZES AND PRICING:

Candente 5 x 50 $15.00

Concepción 6 x 54 $16.00

Flama 6.5 x 38 $17.00

APPEARANCE:

I have the Robusto, so the triple bands make the cigar look like a 1940’s feather fan dancer. But observing what I can see looks just fine. Seams are tighter than my ass when the doc says bend over. The shape is a very soft box press. Veinage is minimal. The wrapper color is dull in room light. Get in under the right tanning light and it exhibits a gorgeous oiliness, hints of rust and copper penny with intertwining spots of garage floor oil markings. And lastly, the triple cap is nicely done.

SMELL THE GLOVE:

A very typical variety of Nic aromas fill my schnoz…floral, chocolate, malt, cedar, espresso, raisins, nuts, barnyard, creaminess, black pepper, and black cherries.

The cold draw presents flavors of black cherries, espresso, black pepper, cream, chocolate, raisins, cedar, malt, and charred meat.

FIRST THIRD:

There is a slight plug reducing the air flow. I use my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool and find the plug in the usual place: the area of the cigar band. I gently insert my tool, guiding it carefully so as not to bruise, I turn it slowly, and pull it out even more gently. Whew. Excuse me for a moment. Where is the Lubriderm? I found it. Now, I have the air resistance exactly how I like it.

I reviewed the Plasencia Alma del Campo back in October 2029 and loved it.

But then this line from Plasencia ain’t cheap. I expect it to twirl my merkin. And then leave a mark.

This cigar has gotten at least 6 months of naked humi time.

And I can tell at liftoff…rich tobacco taste along with some medium strength spiciness, malt, cream, espresso, and cedar. Good start. Keep on keeping on you $15 cigar.

Know what’s a pain in the arse when you review a cigar? Remembering to measure it so you hit the thirds on target. Measuring a 5” stick is ridiculous…Each third is 1-5/8” long. So, two thirds is a bit less than 3-3/8”. And you thought writing cigar reviews was easy.

I agree with Marvin Gaye…”Got to Give it Up.” I’m so friggin’ old school.

Strength is a nice medium.

I just realized I’m sitting here with my Stanley tape in my lap. Where am I? Who’s my daddy?

The burn is crisp like the pancakes Charlotte makes me once a year. Woman cannot cook.

The start of the del Fuego is good but not earthshaking. The Plasencia web site describes flavors of: “…tangerine, roasted cashews, and guava wood.” What the hell is guava wood? Do guavas get boners?

Now that I have those flavors plastered to my brain, I do taste a tangy citrus but unidentifiable at this point. No cashews at this point. And guava wood galore…Pussy’s great aunt.

Good cigar but not as good as the del Campo. This baby is more of a straight ahead Nic puro. Something that AJ Fernandez would blend. It could be some kind of Man O’ War or anything he touches for the most part. More in the $9-$10 range kind of stick.

There is no bombardment of stellar complexity…balance is so so, transitions are not moving, and the finish is mostly black pepper.

I’m an inch in. (“More! More!” “I can’t. That’s all there is!”). And I really expected to be blown away by now. I’m not. If it were an $8 stick, I might be singing its praises.

What old people won’t do to get their Covid vaccines…Charlotte got an appointment today at 3:45. We expect to get 3-5” of snow right around then. So, the trip should be fun and startling as we mosey down the freeway like bumper cars.

There is really no significant forward movement in the blend. It’s stuck in stasis. How odd. Every reviewer loved this cigar and it got great scores. Maybe something will kick in shortly that will cause heart palpitations and change my mind that this is a good cigar but doesn’t give oral.

When you were single, did you ever have this experience? You date a fine girl and finally make it to the bedroom…everything seems promising. And then she tells you she doesn’t like giving oral sex. You get whiplash. Your arms and legs quiver. Your heart shrinks to the size of one testicle…and all you can think is how do I get her out of here?

SECOND THIRD:

I should be writing more about the cigar. Honestly, it’s OK but I don’t get the high ratings. I check my review of the del Campo. Similar experience. Although, the del Campo hit me in the puss from the start…but it dithered for a bit and then took off near the halfway point. Maybe this is Plasencia Redux.

First sip of water. Much better now. Flavors spread out. Complexity has clearly decided to step into the ring. The balance is white knuckle deep in behaving cohesively. No change in the finish.

I smoked two of these sticks over the past few months and decided the review could wait. I do believe I’m getting all that the cigar was designed to do. A very pleasant stick with some nice flavors and growing character. I’m sorry but after being hit with a $15 bill for this stick and leaving it alone for 6 months, it should have been a better cigar. All I can think is AJ could have done this for $8.

It is improving with each puff, but I should have experienced total combustion at the very start.

Strength is still medium.

Black licorice. Another Nic horse in the race.

I can taste the PR report of tangerine, but it is so faint that I can’t tell if my brain is playing tricks on my palate. I’m very easily persuaded.

The blend is sweeter now. Creaminess surges and coats my teeth like eating radishes out of the ground. What? You’ve never done that? Me neither.

I believe Cigar Aficionado gave it a 90. And they are very chintzy with their scores. But then I trust CA’s ratings like I trust Charlotte after I get home with a wallet full of money.

I noticed at least one reviewer gave it a 93. Go figure. This is why it is so important to read more than one review of any cigar you are considering. Palates are a wondrous and dangerous thing.

I’m at the halfway point. This is certainly not a flavor bomb. It is a subtle nuanced blend. Maybe a little too nuanced. I expect that if the cigar were truly remarkable in its complexity, I would be looking out of a different eyehole.

Just like the del Campo, things pick up at this point. Sweet spot has been reached.

Strength is now medium/full.

I hate to pound sand…but once again, if this were less expensive, its rating might be different. Most reviewers say never to figure in price. Horseshit. Everyone wants their money’s worth. The only smokers who don’t care about price are the guys that get mugged on a dark street and then tip the mugger afterwards.

Construction is immaculate.

The cigar just cruises along. Getting better with each consecutive puff. Right at this point is where the flavor profile and complexity should have started. Not wait til I’m half done with the thing.

More humi time won’t make a difference. I get where the blend wants to go, but something is holding it back from breaking out.

I stop and check other reviewers. Scores go from 87-94. That’s strange. I read some of the tasting notes and I wonder why I am not experiencing them.

My palate finds that the flavors are mild. Nothing sticks out. I wrap my head in aluminum foil to see if it helps.

Cinnamon enters. A touch of caramel. Fruitiness like Robert B. He graciously sent me the sticks for review. Creaminess comes and goes without an ankle bracelet.

My money shot for the last third ends up on the carpet.

Prior to the review, I gargled with garlic to cleanse my palate. So, I have no idea why I’m not getting the glorious flavors others describe.

“Slow Ride” by Foghat. A real back in the day moment for this old man. Love that song.

LAST THIRD:

The second half is a big improvement over the first half. It’s missing consistency. I’d be less critical if I didn’t expect more from a cigar in this price range.

It is in the last third that the blend takes off. Complexity is through the roof now. Out of service for most of the smoke. Transitions really kick into gear. Whizzing by like the cabs that won’t stop for you. It finally has a tasty finish.

I have no idea how long other reviewers allowed the cigar to rest. Maybe it’s better with only 3 months of humi time. I make a face that says WTF?

It’s pretty damn good now. If the cigar began with a big bang, I’d be extolling its wonderfulness. Flavors exert self-control by not standing out. Instead, they become a whole greater than its parts.

Naming the cigar Fuego, I thought I’d be smoking a very powerful cigar. Rather, it is smooth and I haven’t seen enough nicotine to make me need to wear a horse feeding bag in case I barf.

I’m enjoying it. But then my rating is also based on the whole rather than its parts.

I’d rate the first half as an 86. So far, the second half deserves a 91. A bi-polar cigar blend. I gave the del Campo a 95.

A sip of water and there are notes of black cherries, creaminess, cinnamon, caramel, dark cocoa, espresso, licorice, nuts, cedar, raisins, black pepper, and citrus. Pretty much what I’d expect from any decent Nic puro…for $8.

The sweetness factor outweighs the savory factors. That’s OK…I guess.

The last third is excellent. The power inches up to full. Nicotine settles in and there goes my vision.

The del Fuego is doing cartwheels now. Figures. I have an inch to go.

I bought Charlotte a sex toy. I woke up this morning with it stuck up my ass. Forced me to reassess her anniversary gift on Tuesday. Lord. 36 years with the same broad. 37 if you count the courting period.

You see on TV how some couples have stayed married for over 50 years. It is amazing that neither killed each other in that time and there could be a shallow grave out back.

Hunkering down inside because of Covid has been rough on all of us. There are physiological changes occurring. Charlotte is growing a schmekel. And mine is shrinking.

I’d love to have reported that this was a great cigar. I would have loved to describe a myriad of flavor changes. I’d love to go on and on about its balance, nuances, clarity, etc…but this list of inclusions weren’t meant to be for me.

RATING: 89

And now for something completely different:

I took this sweet young thing to see The Doors concert at the L.A. Forum in Inglewood, CA. She was something else. I had just bought a brand new 1969 Chevy Impala Custom. It was yellow with a black tonneau roof. I had the dough to trick it out completely.

For some reason, the promoter thought putting Jerry Lee Lewis as the opener was a good idea. Now if he had played his oldies; that would have been a show. But he was in his country phase. A big band all wearing the same country styled suits. And all the audience heard was country music.
He played for an hour and when he finished, he said good-bye. The crowd went nuts because he was done. Lewis mistook this for praise.

He asked the audience if they wanted more? In unison, 25,000 people yelled, “NO!!!”
He was clearly taken aback. And then he leaned into the mic and told everyone to go to hell. As he stomped off the stage, the crowd erupted in applause.

The Doors had a wall of sound. Literally. They had speaker cabinets stacked 20 feet tall. And covered the stage from one end to the other.
The band came on to thunderous applause.

Throughout the concert, Morrison drank from a bottle of whiskey. He kept a cardboard box nearby so he could throw up in it. Lovely.
I was lucky to see the band in their heyday.

Move forward to the early 80’s when I was single and hanging in the Hollywood clubs. I was playing in my original band The Attitude.
A buddy that was a big radio DJ and I hung out a lot and was always my wing man when we hit the Sunset Strip clubs.

There was a small one. The name eludes me. The band played upstairs. The Fabulous Thunderbirds were the house band and I saw Jimmy Vaughan a lot.
Upstairs only sat around 40 people at tables with four chairs.

One night, we sat down at the same table with Ray Manzarek. He was the keyboard player for the Doors.
He had gotten into producing and managing acts. Very down to earth and we saw him every time we went to that club and always sat with him.

I gave him the 45 single of Hound Dog that The Attitude recorded. I got the feeling that his attitude was, “Yeah, sure. Leave your name and number in the ashtray and I will get back to you.”
Regardless of his not caring about my group, we got to hear lots of inside dirt about the Doors. That was priceless.

He was managing the L.A. band “X” at the time. They were the “it” band in L.A. Plus they were a big deal nationwide.

He arranged for my buddy to interview them at their house. The chick singer (Exene Cervenka) and leader (John Doe) of the band lived together. Doe went on to become a movie actor. You’ve seen him dozens of times. He played the asshole bartender in “Road House.” Probably didn’t know it.
We got to their house and they let us in.

It was the biggest pig sty I had ever seen. Unfinished plates of old food were everywhere, and it was furnished by the Salvation Army.
After leaving, I was disgusted. I got vomit in my mouth a couple times.

I left something out. That honey I took to the Doors concert? I took her back to my parent’s house. I tried to screw her but she was a virgin.
And then for some reason, I asked her age.
“I’m 15.”
“!!&^$#$%$#(_(&^@@#$!!!!!”
I threw her off the bed and took her home. Her mother called me and told me to stay away from her. No problem lady. I prefer to use my time out of prison wisely.
Had it been another time, she would have had me arrested.



Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

2 replies

  1. Thanks for another classic Katman review. Good or bad your opinion is worth the read. I completely agree with you about price playing a part in deciding the overall success or failure of a cigar….how can it not? Cigars, whiskey, cars, watches….whatever the product is the consumer expects more when they pay a premium price and they are justified in feeling let down when the product doesn’t deliver. Conversely I know when I find a cigar that blows my hair back and it’s priced in the magic $3 – $6 per stick range I get a boner this big and buy multiple boxes. Thanks for another great review Katman and congratulations to you and the lovely Charlotte on your upcoming Anniversary!

    • Dammit…Eric…you said it more simple, clear, succinct, and bringing the truth…that I could ever hope to express.
      Amen, brother.
      You get what you pay for. (As a rule).
      Once in a while you luck out too.
      I read so many preachers and others argue that price should never matter when judging a cigar…That is an elitist argument. Your mini thesis is the reality of the world. Most of us will treat ourselves now and again…but have a good bunch of reasonably priced go-to cigar blends. Buying expensive cigars incessantly would be wonderful. First and foremost, you gotta be single.
      Thanks for the comment.
      Phil

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