- Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Size: 5.5 x 54
- Strength: Medium/Full
- Price: $11.99
Today we take a look at the HVC La Rosa 520 Maduro Magicos.
This is a limited production cigar but plenty of online stores and a lot of B&M’s still got ‘em. I got a deal on my 10 pack, but I can’t remember who I bought them from. I checked the usual suspects and nothing…I’ve had them for 3 months.
Room light shows off a consistent oily sheen to the wrapper. The hues are reddish/orange and milk chocolate. Under better light, the wrapper explodes with color…hints of rust, copper penny, and the inside of a toxic spill oil drum. Seams are tighter than a ferret’s quedgie. Veinage is minimal. The triple cap is a work of art. I say that too much but, in this case, there isn’t a thing out of place with a beautiful symmetry. The cigar is rough to the touch making it a very toothy cigar. It is heavy in the hand and will take some time to smoke.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
Aromas flood the gates with gentle floral notes, dark cocoa, malt, raisins, cinnamon graham cracker, cedar, barnyard, red pepper, a bit of espresso, and a bunch of creaminess.
The cold draw presents flavors of nothing. The cigar is packed as tightly as my first day on D Block in Quentin. I grab my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool to remedy the situation. As usual, the plug occurs at the cigar band location. The PerfecDraw fixes the problem in one attempt. Everything is cool…once more with feeling: Dark chocolate is absolutely astounding, creaminess brings up the rear…in between are notes of raisins, black licorice, red and black pepper, a small touch of citrus, cedar, and malted milk balls.
Right off the bat, I’m forced to listen to Peter Frampton mimicking The Beatles by doing their version of Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” He makes no attempt to make it his own thereby causing the song to suffer. If I have to listen one more time to his “Show Me the Way,” I will begin firing random .45 bullets out of my moon roof.
OK. I’m back.
The resistance is tighter than I like, so I re-skewer the stick with my PerfecDraw. This tool makes one a real snob but at the same time gives you exactly the draw you prefer every time. Can’t beat that with a ferret.
If you are not careful with the tool, you can pierce the wrapper like I just did. I grab my PerfecRepair glue and schmear the offending piercing. Now you will see some Suzy Cream Cheese in the photos.
Black pepper takes charge. A very hearty blend. Big wallops of the Nic tobacco slam home a rich and thick flavor. The blend gets down like K.C. and the Sunshine Band immediately. Big notes of caramel, creaminess, dark chocolate, fat black raisins, licorice, malt by the gob full, cedar, black coffee, and graham cracker. There is an oakiness, but faint. I now keep a box full of wood samples so I can lick them while I write my reviews. I also have a box of leather belts…and a box of dirt to sample the earthiness.
Complexity kicks in with nearly an inch burned. An excellent balance of the potent flavor elements. Nice even platform. Again, very rich. Not much in the arena of nuances and subtleties…more like a ballpeen hammer to the ‘nads.
I’ve given up trying to figure out where I got the 10 pack. But I know I got them for far less than $12 a pop. Still, for a $12 stick, it is exactly where it should be this early on.
The char line is behaving with consummate dignity.
Our daughter called the day after we got our first vaccine to see how we were. I responded ‘pretty damn good;’ except for my sudden craving for ferret flesh. She then asked how I felt about having a chip implanted in me by the government? We raised her right. She was a good kid. Still a good kid with a husband and two small boys. I think we spoiled her as she is our only kid. Daddy’s girl. And then she asks about the government chip. It took the government 5 days to get water to the Superdome.
“Harvest Moon” by Neil Young. Beautiful.
I’m getting a big sampling of lemon citrus. A bit sweet so maybe lemon crème pie? The creaminess is Big Mama taking care of the other flavor components.
I love this cigar. Did I say that out loud? Not even begun the second third and I am blathering. Anything can happen between now and the finale.
HVC is a solid and consistent cigar manufacturer.
Strength is a potent medium. Any moment to pop into medium/full mode.
Only -165 degrees in Milwaukee this morning. Finally. It’s warmed up.
The finish coats my teeth and lips with stripper’s panties. No, I’ve never done that…recently.
First sip of water and my gonads begin a sword fight using toothpicks and dental floss.
The gorgeous ash falls apart. I fail to keep it up. If I only had a nickel…
There are written reviews out there but not as many as I expected. All give praise to the cigar.
The blend has reached a point where the $12 means nothing. If this was a bigger company, the price tag would have been higher. And I would have bitched about that.
I didn’t care about the Super Bowl this year. And to make it worse, it was a blowout. You get the cream of the crop and it’s all one sided. The commercials were good.
That was a great first third. A portent of things to come.
This blend of Mexican and Nicaraguan tobaccos is something we’ve all smoked in spades. Not everyone does it right. HVC did. Flavors are what we expect from this blend of leaves. But the complexity keeps holding its hand up signaling the teacher it just took a dump.
The important stuff that makes us all like a cigar is in place…nuances, balance, richness, subtleties, and a perfectly spaced-out flavor profile are in play. Don’t need an aficionado’s palate for this baby. Another fine example of the whole outweighing the individual elements.
Damn. A leap takes me by surprise. We are now on the planet Concrete Rain. It is in the multiverse of Bubbles Does Dallas. That planet was the first choice for Prince’s first movie title. It changed for some reason.
We have medium/full and about to hit nuclear hot zone. But as potent as it is becoming, the blend remains smooth and even.
Sip of water and my palate feels fresh and invigorated. Creaminess and chocolate and dried fruit dominate. The spiciness has been held at bay, thankfully. A black pepper that understands. If black pepper could change out brains with a movie star, would it end up being Ashton Kutcher?
I still have half a cigar to go and it’s is blowing my addled brain. This is better than a circle jerk with five cross dressers…and Peter Frampton.
Maybe you’ve tried this cigar. Maybe you haven’t. I recommend you snag some before the limited production disappears. Let them rest, my dears. Show the same patience you showed during your last colonoscopy. If you haven’t had one yet, call me…I know a guy. He uses Fentanyl and Propofol from Mozambique.
Nothing linear. The cigar improves with each puff making this a very sublime experience.
I found nothing about the backstory of this blend. But it sure seems like some of the tobacco was seriously aged.
I’ve got the window open, so I don’t choke to death on cigar smoke. The cat is hiding in my boxers. Feels fuzzy.
Today is our 36th anniversary. Wednesday is my birthday. I will be 82. We will celebrate with a luscious meal and then pure nonstop sex for 12 minutes. I hope Charlotte will approve. I will be wearing my gladiator costume and she will dress like Eva Braun.
The strength is now full tilt. Nicotine enters. I’m sure I can get through the last third without wetting myself. You know, like Flashdance.
I change Pandora to the Connie Francis channel. Now we’re rockin’.
The HVC La Rosa 520 Maduro does not disappoint.
Flavors of charred meat, dark chocolate, malt, creaminess, dried fruit, graham cracker, cinnamon, cedar, roasted ferret, boiled roly poly fish heads, and strong espresso are way out front now.
Despite its strength of Chernobyl rising, the spiciness is in the background and gives no reason to cause distress.
“Dear Mr. fantasy” by Traffic. I had no idea this would be on the Connie Francis channel. All you old guys raise your hand and nod.
The cigar is the complete package. Not a single criticism. A nearly out of control freight train heading for the washed-out bridge. And I’m shoveling coal while screaming “I’m too old to die!”
The nicotine isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I can still see. And I still have an erection.
Another drag on the water bottle…flavors twinkle in the sunshine. I twinkle when I’m wearing Charlotte’s Spanx but I’m not going to post any photos. They’re all on Tinder.
Even as the cigar begins to see its own death, it never lets up. The complexity is through the roof. Transitions are moving like a comet. One of the strongest finishes I’ve tasted. The balance of the flavor profile is in total balance.
I’m looking forward to those 12 minutes tomorrow.
And I still have a bunch more in my humidor. As my hero, Bullwinkle the Moose said, “Well, this is a pickle…actually, it’s more of a cumquat.”
The citrus expands beyond lemony and there are notes of sweet orange and tart lime.
The cat is moving around in my boxers…so, this is time for me to stand up and shake it off. And I believe I’ve rambled enough.
And now for something completely different:
I was at George Martin’s (The Beatles’ producer) recording studio, AIR Studios, in London participating in the mixing of the 1975 “Curved Air Live” album. For those of you who know, and for those that don’t….half the fun of recording an album is just hanging in the control booth watching and listening to the exciting mix of the music. Hanging.
It beats the hell out of staying home and watching TV. You never know who you will run in to. Plus, they feed you. Free food. The production assistants will light your doob. And did I mention free food?
Since it was a live album, the recording was finished. Now it was just watching the producer and engineer mix it. At age 24, I didn’t have any producing experience yet; so, this was pretty much Alice peering through the Looking Glass. I asked a lot of questions which annoyed the producer who was a real schmuck. Miles Copeland was a cheap bastard and got a ‘C’ rated producer because his monetary needs saved money for Copeland. But of course, passed on to the band.
I kept telling him that he was mixing the bassline old school…in the background. He hadn’t caught up with the times, especially from the likes of the jazz fusion bands breaking through in America. I played well and I wanted to be able to hear it pounding away. He kept telling me to be patient which was his way of saying, “Get away from me boy, you’re bothering me.”
I sealed my fate with the band, and not in a good way, when during a playback with management, and the band present, the managing director of BTM Records announced to the group “I guess we know who the star of this album is.” Hand to God he said that.
I cringed. The leader, Darryl Way, had a look of disgust on his face at that declaration. I kept my mouth shut. I stared at my shoes. Way was totally insulted that a backwater California boy had stolen the spotlight from his classical violin playing. He was backwards in his thinking too about the way rhythm sections were recorded and mixed.
After the album had been released, I ran into our producer at some club. The first thing he said to me was: “You were right. I should have had the bass more upfront.”
I thought: “You rat bastard fuck face cock sucker.” I certainly appreciated his smug comment during mixing that he relayed while laughing; “Bassists always want to hear more bass. Sit down and let me do my job.” I hope he got an STD that looked like tarantulas.
I am proud to say that while the others in the band had to come in, and spend hours, to overdub their mistakes, I had one single dub. One note. Just one note had to be fixed on a live recording. The others gave me the stink eye because I sat back and watched them struggle with placing new notes on an already recorded song. Timing had to be perfect. Sort of like lip syncing.
I was the new member. And I played some very complicated bass lines. So, my near perfection caused some temporary jealousy. I had only been with the band two weeks before we took off on the road. And the live album was recorded over two gigs in the first week of the tour. I feared I’d become self-conscious and play a ton of clams. But the music took me away on a magic carpet ride and I lived in the moment…playing my ass off. I literally led the band during a couple songs when there were very long improv segments in the middle of the tunes.
Air Studios had two studios in the same location. Next to each other. While we were using Studio B, Pete Townshend was using Studio A to mix the movie soundtrack to the movie, “Tommy.”
One late night, Sonja and I were sitting on the floor with our backs against one of the plush sofas. We had just smoked a doob and were conversing about life. The sofa was in the farthest location from the door. And the room was huge. George Martin spared no dough in making this booth a plush living room.
I noticed the door opening, about 20 feet away, and looked up. The studio was dimly lit. For mood, I guess. Helps with the artistry.
In walks a man who I can’t quite make out. As he looks our way, he heads toward us. The closer he came, the more my jaw dropped. It was Pete Townshend coming over for a visit with Sonja. Curved Air was a legendary band in Europe from the late 60’s to the late 70’s. And Pete and Sonja were good friends.
Pete was thin. Very thin. I later found out that this was the period in his life where he did a lot of heroin.
He sat down next to Sonja making it a Sonja sandwich putting her between the two of us. They hugged and exchanged kisses. I was close to shitting myself. I didn’t blink or take a breath. Fucking Pete Townshend was sitting two feet from me.
Now if you want to be taken seriously in any business, you must act natural at meeting anyone of note or your presence is ignored, so I did my best to be cool. Be a peer, not a fan…be the ball, be the ball.
A minute or two in, Sonja nodded in my direction and introduced me to Pete. We grasped hands. I was literally shaking. I muttered something unintelligible. Clicks and whistles.
We sat there for a couple of hours, rolling and lighting one joint after another. I normally did not chain smoke joints. But in the presence of greatness, one did not say “Sorry. I’ve had enough.”
Before long, all three of us were laughing like idiots and Pete told Sonja that he thought I was an all-right chap. He was high.
Pete got to listen to my playing on the play back in the studio and when he felt it was time to leave, he stood above me, shook my hand, and asked if I wanted to jam tomorrow night?
Of course, I said yes and told him I would make sure our drummer, Stewart Copeland, was there.
I barely slept or ate in the next 24 hours in anticipation. Back then, long distance calls to America were really expensive. But I didn’t care and called every friend I could think of to tell them what was about to happen.
The night came and we played for countless hours. Time had no meaning except when we stopped to light one up. We were in their little side studio of Studio A (8 x 12) and I was touching distance to Keith Moon’s drums, John Entwistle’s basses, and a mic stand belonging to Roger Daltrey with a schmata/scarf wrapped around the shaft. But the band hadn’t even come into the studio that day. They were fabulously rich and didn’t need to hang out in the studio for fun.
We didn’t play one Who song. We just jammed. And because I was into the jazz fusion scene which really hadn’t made it the English shores quite yet, I had the responsibility of providing pounding Stanley Clarke-like riffs for us to woodshed on.
At one point, he teased us with the offer to produce our next album, which never happened. My only regret was that while tape was running the whole time, I never asked for a copy.
I was in the mode of: “I will always be in the music biz and this was only the start.”
The strange musings of a naïve 24-year-old.
I ran into George Martin a few times. He was there to see The Who, not Curved Air. But after a couple visits and he heard what we had recorded, he became more familiar and comfortable with us.
Mind you, even if you are buzzed on hash, getting the opportunity to speak to Martin immediately disposed of any THC in your system. I have always been a smart ass. And so, I jumped in about the band America. Martin had begun to produce them in 1974. I couldn’t stand the band. Here is the main man for The Beatles and he is helming the outcome of a band that released “A Horse with No Name.” Ugh.
I pressed him about it. I first asked what he saw in them. At some point, all I could see was his mouth moving and nothing coming out. I was so star struck. Then I told him I didn’t care for the band. He laughed hard. He didn’t care what I thought but he liked that someone spoke up and wasn’t polishing his apple.
I explained that I thought they were a one trick pony (No pun intended). Everything sounded the same to me. And none of it excited me. It was like elevator music to my ears. He listened while I rambled on. While the bosses were futzing with the Live album songs, he asked me which one I would like him to listen to? I told him “Young Mother” because it was a 9-minute song with some great improv in the middle.
Martin asked our producer if he would please play that song. Our crack producer had to stop what he was doing and did what Martin asked. The producer gave me the stink eye.
Martin listened without ever changing facial expressions. When it was over, he said he had to leave and got up. Hands were shaken. And he leaned into my ear and told me, “Nice bass playing.”
I had a fucking heart attack right there. It flew out of my ass and slid on the floor.
As he was moving his head away from me, I pulled him back and whispered, “Mr. Martin…please don’t say anything like that to my band.” He laughed and I never saw him again.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS