Barreda Cigars Don Chico Maduro | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: Indonesian
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Size: 6 x 52 Toro
  • Strength: Medium/full
  • Price: $10.92

BACKGROUND:

I’ve had a couple sticks that a friend gave me around 6 months ago. As far as my research goes, the cigars are only available at B&M’s as shown on the Barreda website.

Factory: Tabacalera Diamond Cigars, S.A

From the Barreda Cigar web site:

“Don Francisco Barreda first developed his taste for tobacco thanks to his established friendship with Cubans, who had settled in the northern Nicaraguan city of Estelí during the 70s.

“It was his grandson, Oscar Barreda, who converted that passion into a business, giving rise to Barreda Cigars. For more than five years, Barreda Cigars has been one of the few 100% Nicaraguan companies that offers a variety of the finest cigars to the world while also contributing to the generation of employment for inhabitants of the area.”

There are only a couple reviews online. Both liked the cigar. I’ve had a couple sticks for over 6 months, but I don’t remember how I got them…long term senior moment. I wasn’t familiar with the brand and you can check out their wares at Barreda Cigars.

SIZES AND PRICING:

Robusto 5 x 50 $8.80

Toro 6 x 52 $10.92

Chairman 6 x 60 $11.82

APPEARANCE:

Very little resistance when squeezed. Seams are obvious but tight. Veinage is not overboard so the presentation is quite uniform. The triple cap is very nicely applied. The hue in room light is a slightly oily cherry wood with mottled tones of black ice. In bright light, the cigar explodes with color…the oiliness squirts like an octopus. The cherry wood hue is enticed to include colors of burnt umber and deep polished walnut…hints of orange are the highlights. The cigar is adorned with two cigar bands and a gold footer ribbon.

SMELL THE GLOVE:

Very typical aromas of Mexican San Andrés wrappers and Nic fillers…dark chocolate, big floral notes, vanilla, café au lait, malt, black pepper, barnyard, rich salted caramel, malt, cinnamon, honey, cedar, black olives, and nuts. If this cigar can produce half the aromas in the taste department, I will be very impressed.

The cold draw drops dead in front of me. Plugged. Out comes my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool to the rescue. Fortunately, the plug was right at the usual crime scene spot…the cigar band level. One swipe and the air resistance is perfect.

The cold draw presents flavors of dark chocolate, malt, espresso, black pepper, cedar, cream, cinnamon, black olives, and nuts.

FIRST THIRD:

Van Morrison…”So Quiet In Here” starts me off. Love Van the Man.

Immediate tasty beginning…dark baking cocoa, loads of creaminess, vanilla, café au lait, malt by the bushel, black pepper, cinnamon, cedar, and caramel. Love to see this at the very start of any cigar. Punch me in the gut and don’t let up.

Complexity wastes no time putting in its two cents. A broad spectrum of tobacco influences that incorporate a myriad of flavors. Richness seems to be built in. The finish cracks the whip and a nice toothy taste lingers between puffs.

“Midnight Rider” by the Allmans. My last band were good at their tunes, audiences dug it, so we played a lot of their songs. This is us at some Milwaukee music festival in 2012 I believe. Yes, I came close to weighing in at a metric ton back then. On the upside, I managed to dodge every bullet that came my way once audience members realized I was wearing a cap with a Star of David on it.

Rich chocolaty cigar. Just wonderful. The balance is spot on. I’m happy. Don’t let me down Don Chico.

Strength is a solid medium.

More flavors pile on…the chocolate morphs into teeth sticking taffy, Kalamata olives is ever present…I don’t believe I’ve tasted this in a cigar blend before, but the olive and its spices are right up front, toasted rye bread and the element of carraway seeds is a treat, the honey is a platform for other flavors giving the cigar a piquant sweetness that is very pleasing…and lastly, black walnuts are unavoidable in their presence.

Construction is very good. The ash hangs tight like Archie Bell & The Drells.

Alright. Cream doing “Born Under a Bad Sign.” Bands that could cover Cream with distinction were always impressive. During college, I was blessed with a lead guitarist who could mimic anyone. We were popular. Unfortunately, Mike looked like a beaver with giant teeth outstretched 6” in front of his jaw.

The character keeps building without shame. Everything builds in the right order and sequence. Strong complexity, transitions galore, and a gorgeous toothy finish. Flavors become stronger so there is no squinching of the face to detect them.

A sip of water and my eyeballs roll back. That palate refresher causes flavors to explode. Meanwhile, I sit here quietly.

SECOND THIRD:

I put the cigar down for my 2nd third photo and needed to repeat the process due to being a bad photographer. Nearly 5 minutes passed, and I return to a cigar that is still lit and not a girly man.

More flavors…the creaminess has a tang and turns into my arch nemesis: cheesecake. I detect some sweet cola. Interesting. And now the honey is schmeared on sourdough. As a kid, it was a real treat when after school and I got some Wonder Bread with honey on it. And yes, I walked 42 miles to school in the snow without shoes.

Strength is ramping up. We now have medium/full; but a delicate one. The blend has been smooth throughout. Nothing goes over the top. Good balance of sweet v. savory. Complexity is not slowing down.

There is a touch of savory soy sauce. That opens the door to some black licorice with a cinnamon chaser. There is Charlotte’s favorite Chinese dish: Honey Walnut Shrimp…except I taste no shrimp. Transitions are so overwhelmed that it becomes confused as to what its intentions are. Good for the smoker.

And another element enters…good coffee with caramel creamer.

This has turned out to be quite the cigar and well worth the $11 price for the Toro. The spiciness is somewhat contained appropriately. It hovers in the background giving the blend some punch but never touching the hems of other flavors and covering them up.

I smoked one last night and it didn’t come close to tasting like this morning’s stick. Crispy evening palate. This is why I stress that I must write reviews in the morning before eating so that my palate is not influenced by shoveling food down my gullet. Makes a big difference.

I’m getting a bit of cotton mouth, so I gladly take a sip of water and its déjà vu all over again. The flavor profile jolts me like battery cables to the ‘nads. Charlotte finally got me to stop doing that a couple years ago.

A slow burning cigar. I’ve got over an hour invested at the halfway point.

Cinnamon gets spicy. Like a meat-a-ball.

The cigar makes a big transition. The complexity and the tobacco goodness are sky high now. It reminds me of a good Padron, Herrera Estelï Brazilian Maduro, or the Ashton Aged Maduro.

The richness is like a fine meal of everything cooked in butter.

The cinnamon and black pepper intertwine like a DNA strand.

Strength hovers at the medium/full range without harshness or mustiness. Just more punch to the blend.

LAST THIRD:

What an excellent cigar. What a shame you have to hunt for it. I need to try more of the Barreda blends.

This is one of those blends that provides total relaxation. The mind drifts and the muscles go limp. Meanwhile, nicotine has kicked in and finally my second testicle descends.

No new flavors but everything I accounted for previously is in play…causing a tremendous intensity that I love.

You don’t need to know shit about flavor profiles. You’ll dig this cigar even if you can’t pick out a single flavor I’ve described.

After last night’s foray into this blend, I gotta be honest…I was concerned the cigar might not pull its weight for the review. I love to be wrong. I guess I’m used to it because Charlotte is always telling me I’m wrong.

Creamy dark chocolate malted milk shake, honey, black walnuts, café au lait, caramel, Kalamata olives, cinnamon, cedar, rye bread, vanilla, licorice, the denseness of a Portabella mushroom, and black pepper.

I can taste each individual flavor. They are all nicely compartmentalized for my pleasure. Strength does not reach for full tilt.

It is nearly a universal law with cigars…leave them alone in your humidor and ye shall be rewarded.

There is a Gordo size and I’m seriously considering it for the sole fact that I want this cigar to last longer. It never lets up. A continuous parade of balance and a beautiful upward trajectory.

Now I read shit. A lot of smokers don’t get the myriad of flavors a reviewer might describe. The thing that surprises me is that they write angry. Making fun of reviewers whose palates are superior to theirs. Who cares? Did you like the cigar or not? That’s all that counts. I don’t expect you to find all the flavor components I did. I’m one guy and taste is subjective. There is no right or wrong…unless it is an overpriced dog turd. If you can tell a good blend from a not so good blend, that’s all that matters. I’m just relaying my experience. Yours may be totally different.

Strength does hit full tilt. Nicotine blurs my vision. No shit. And I get very buzzed. I wish it wasn’t so.

I’m down to around an inch left and the blend shows no signs of giving up. Still movin’ on up.

I love the Don Chico Maduro. The price is right for this quality. A delightful smoke. I have no idea why Barreda isn’t sold online like the usual suspects.

Check out the Barreda Cigars website.

If you can find these cigars, snag at least a fiver.

RATING: 95

And now for something completely different:

In 1982, Long Beach, California had around 400,000 inhabitants.
And only two recording studios.
One small; but doing business. My studio was busy as hell all the time.
The studio was called Sound Sorcery. I didn’t like the name, but it had already been established.
It was in downtown Long Beach only blocks away from the beach. We had to shut down every year, for a whole week, during the Long Beach Gran Prix.

My partner did most of the engineering. I did everything else…which included producing all the bands that came in. And shoveling money into modernizing the place.
The state of the place was a friggin wreck when I walked in. Totally disorganized. And needing serious updates to equipment and design.

So, I did my thing and transformed the place into a modern, efficient company that turned a profit. We tore up the entire guts of the recording area and rebuilt it, so it had perfect acoustics. I even brought in an acoustics engineer to redesign it for us.

We ripped the walls down from the ceiling down to about 5 feet from the floor. We then brought a dump truck full of sand and filled the inside of the walls with it…then closed it up again. We reshaped the walls and corners so that they bounced sound perfectly or deadened it perfectly.

We owned a used 1960’s “Wally Heider Studio” 8 track reel to reel recorder. 3” tape. That damn tape cost a fortune even back then. Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead all recorded using our machine.
We bought a brand new 16 track board. A Carvin. And lots of electronic doo dads. And we got as high tech as the 80’s would allow. My partner was a true journeyman engineer.

We worked 12–15-hour days 7 days a week.
As it was the early 1980’s, you don’t have to guess how we stayed alert during grueling recording sessions…sometimes 3 per day running 4-8 hours each.

On top of that, I was picking up session work on my bass for a lot of bands that had no bassist. I couldn’t play while they recorded, but instead, I would come in around 11pm, when the studio was closed, and I would lay down the tracks sometimes seeing the sun come up through the glass block windows in the lobby. It was my favorite time in the studio. Alone in the booth, just my bass, headphones, and I ran the recorder and the board while I found the right bass lines for the song.
I’d then go home and catch 4 hours sleep and then be back at the studio by 10am.

I sometimes brought in members of the famous L.A. Wrecking Crew, and also some local musician friends that went on to the big time, to help me when we had clients that were flush with dough.

It didn’t take long til our studio became its own rock star.

We did a lot of advertising and it worked. I wrote music columns for the two underground newspapers. And I bartered that for lots of free advertising.

We recorded bands, radio commercials, soloists, and video production; pre-MTV.

This cracked me up….Right in front of the door to the booth, we nailed a nickel to the floor. Countless clients tried to remove it and struggled…but never got it. When they walked into the booth, they found my partner laughing at them. It never failed to amuse. People not giving up on a free nickel taking minutes out of their lives to remove it.

My partner was previously head engineer at a film company in Hollywood. He engineered the sound for the only type of films they made: Pornography.
The actors in these films would come in and overdub moaning and groaning and slurpy sounds while watching themselves on the big screen. They brought vats of lotion to rub on their hands and fingers to get that sound. My partner said it was pretty gross and that all the women were horrifyingly skanky.
New engineer hires were tested to the max. They were forced to start off engineering the sound for gay porno. Most never lasted more than a few days. They sat in the booth facing a big movie screen watching guys doing guys while gay men overdubbed all the sounds.

When my partner told me about this, the very thought of that gave me the shivers. It’s something you’d never be able to get out of your head for the rest of your life.

I got tired of my partner embezzling while I was on the road promoting the Eddie Munster project, so I dissolved the partnership. Each time I went on the road, he stole and no matter how I threatened him, he ignored me.

I discovered a band playing out in Orange County headed by a guitarist I had known in high school. Excellent band. I was impressed. Two brothers. One played drums and the other keys. A bassist. And my buddy who was leader, vocalist, guitarist and played violin. All sang perfect harmonies and they were just a killer band playing the hippest and coolest music around.

Every time they broke into The Who’s “Baba O’Reilly” or Charlie Daniel’s “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” the club would go nuts. They had a great sound system so that is what I began doing; running the board…in addition to managing them.
They played locally for a couple months while I did their sound. But their headquarters was in South Lake Tahoe, Ca.

I had nothing to lose so I went with them. I was in dire need for some decompression.

The band leader’s wife’s parents owned a gorgeous multi-bedroom cabin in Tahoe and that’s where we lived from May to October.

The band was a big deal in Tahoe and had lots of gigs lined up. I got a cut as a 5th member of the band. Didn’t get rich but I fed myself. And if you’ve never seen, in person, the gorgeous mountains, lake, and forests of Tahoe, you’ve missed out on one of the great experiences of life.

While setting up for the first night’s gig, I was introduced to Charlotte Reichardt. A friend of the band.
The band had a plan. Set the Jew up with a German Catholic. Should be hilarious.

We took a break from hauling the gear and sat down for a beer in a big half circle booth. In walked Charlotte. Caught my eye right away.
She sat down opposite me and gave the boys hugs while saying hello.
Then she spoke.

A steel worker, or dock worker, would be offended by the way she talked.
She dropped four F* bombs per sentence.
The boys told me that my mouth was hanging open the whole time she was there.
We all swore of course, but I had never heard a woman swear like this.

Within a couple weeks, she asked me out. She claims it was the other way around. We had set a date and then I had to cancel as the band was going into the recording studio and I promised to produce them.
We did go out the following week and hit it off. Really smart lady and very funny. Made me laugh.

She felt bad for me because I was sleeping on the floor of that cabin, so she took me in and I became a kept man. She had a condo right on the shore of the lake. Just feet away….Beautiful.

I grew very bored with the band and music. The novelty had melted away. Four months was enough.
Charlotte and I high tailed it down to Long Beach and I went to work for my father at his steel shop as a project manager.

I had had it with the music business. It was no longer fun. It was a chore. I tired of constantly dealing with big egos and assholes. “The customer is always right” syndrome wore thin. Plus, since I had become totally engrossed into the business end, as my rep became legit…I found myself becoming ruthless. Ruthless is the only way to succeed. I didn’t like this being part of the new me. I loved the music. But the business end was terrible for me.


6 months later, Charlotte and I got married at Indio City Hall. The county seat for the Palm Springs area. My dad had a condo there.

They had no courtrooms available, so we got married by an official in a clerk’s office with a huge picture window that overlooked people in line paying their traffic tickets. It was so humiliating.
We started out our lives together like 18-year-olds. Small apartment. Saving money. And then had a baby 11 months later. But nothing compares to having a steady paycheck and having health insurance. It took a couple years before I was ready to go back to playing. By then, all the bad shit had been compartmentalized.
I was happy. And I was playing dates regularly…without the politics or nasty business dealings. I was more than happy.



Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

5 replies

    • Whenever I read a review from the Katman like this review I am struck by how intimately and how intensely you receive what a good cigar offers. You absorb it and describe it so clearly and expertly that I am reminded why I enjoy cigars so much. A great cigar bathes the senses with enjoyment in a way that allows the smoker to back away from the detritus of everyday life and exist in the moment with no objective other than to receive the pleasure it has to offer. I may not yet be able to discern the layers of enjoyment at the depths that you do but I enjoy the pursuit non the less. The comedy and prose make me smile while the stories entertain me to no end. Thank you Katman.

      • That is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me…except for that hooker I tipped an extra $2K back in 2020.
        I am truly humbled by your kind words…and you know how hard it is for me to be humble and shy.
        I really liked Humble Pie in the 1970’s.
        Right. Thank you for this tome. I am having it framed. (Expect it to do 5-10 years at the Supermax in Colorado).
        Bésame Mucho,
        Phil

  1. Yeah, I looked for this guy, and found an online… but they were selling in boxes, for ren minh bi — Chinese currency. Guess Barreda found a better market!

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