Leche de Mama MADURO by Cigar Federation | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Undisclosed
Filler: Undisclosed
Size: 5 x 50
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $10.00

It’s been 3 weeks since my last review as this old man had the flu, for a change.
I picked something easy to review. Not too strong and not much nicotine.

I bought a fiver on March 5. Received it on March 11. Using advanced geometry, the math tells us I’ve allowed the cigars exactly 18 days of humidor time. That being said, I wanted to review the cigar while it is still available. I did purchase my sticks the same day I received the CF email announcing their sale. Only 22 fivers were available for this blend. I thought, for sure, by now, they would have sold out. Nope. They haven’t. Is this a good sign? Is this cigar smoker fatigue from the typical CF P.R. endorsement that this is the best cigar they’ve ever been lucky enough to release? Let’s see.

Directly from the Cigar Federation website:
“We just had to get some more LECHE DE MAMA MADURO! We begged and pleaded for months to get the tobaccos we need for this amazing blend.
Good News…we have some Leche De Mama MADURO.
Bad News…we only had enough tobacco to make 110 of them! (So, we’re talking like 22 five-packs.)

“Leche de Mama is Spanish for “Mother’s Milk”. The idea for this project started way-backa-when while we were blending cigars and listening the Red Hot Chili Peppers album–Mother’s Milk.
So how do you take THE creamiest and most uber-delicious cigar in the Cigar Federation Tobaccos line-up and make it even better? It all comes down to the tobacco, my friend. Beautiful, glorious tobacco!

“And we got our hands on some of the best! (From places we can’t even tell you about!)
So, what’s different you ask? Well, Leche de Mama MADURO is richer and stronger than the original Leche de Mama blend. Don’t get me wrong…it still has all those creamy, sweet, decadent flavors that you know and love…but we added some fuerte ligeros and a gorgeous maduro wrapper to the mix.
The result is nothing short of phenomenal!

“Leche de Mama is a full bodied, med/full strength closed foot 5×50 short toro with freakin’ monumental flavors!
It features a 6-year-aged Broadleaf maduro wrapper draped over the smoothest and most sultry mix of tobaccos we’ve ever produced!

“Leche de Mama opens with rich leathery waves, espresso beans, and black pepper. Notes of macadamia nuts followed by a cinnamon spice.
The finish lingers long on the tongue adding vanilla and caramel notes.
As the second third begins, big flavors of chocolate become dominate. The caramel grows larger with hints of brown sugar. It’s balanced by subtle notes of cedar. This cigar tastes a lot like candy!
The last third finishes magnificently! Gentle toffee notes are added to the blend. A warming white pepper tingles the tongue. You won’t want to put it down. It’s creamy and bursting with flavor all the way down to the nub!

“Believe me when I tell you…Leche de Mama MADURO is one of the best cigars you’ve ever set fire to. No joke! It’s effing legendary!
Don’t miss out on Leche de Mama MADURO! Hurry and Get Yours NOW!
Total Production: 110”

Not a great looking cigar; construction-wise. Sloppy seams, funky triple caps, and multiple soft spots. Take a look at the fiver photo CF uses. They look much worse than my sticks. They look like something Frankenstein’s monster squeezed out of his butt cheeks. My photos are nicer and complimentary.

In room light, they are a drab chocolate brown. With the magic of photographic light, the maduro wrapper pops with glistening oils and mottled dark colors that range from 10-40 oil to a caramel sheen. Veinage reminds me of the aftereffects of an autopsy finished hastily.

The cigar is very light in the hand. I smoked one last night and it was definitely underfilled. It got squishy at the halfway point. The wrapper is toothy in places and smooth in others. And the cigar band is not glued to itself…it is held on with Scotch tape.

Guess what? Chocolate dominates the aroma. But there is a gorgeous floral scent that smells like a spring garden. Rich espresso at hand. A very malty hoppy scent causes my nose to wiggle. There is more…caramel, creaminess, white pepper, barnyard, a scoche of peppermint, and raisins. Its aromas impress.

The cold draw presents flavors of dark chocolate and strong black pepper. That mintyness hangs in the background. Barnyard is apparent. Some malt, raisins, espresso, caramel, and a nice dollop of creaminess.

The air flow is a little too open for my preferences and doesn’t need my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool. I’m going to take a wild guess here and say that last night’s first try came off as underfilled is déjà vu all over again this morning.

There are a couple of reasons that cigars are released with no leaf stats. One is that they might be proprietary and a secret. Another is no one fucking knows. (“Hey look what we found behind the women’s bathroom!”). To their credit, they at least knew that the wrapper has 7 years of age on it. As far as the “…most sultry mix of tobaccos we’ve ever produced!”…Uh-huh. Sure, boys. Definition of sultry: “Hot and humid…or attractive in a way that suggests a passionate nature.” May I expect anal from this cigar? I hope not.

The first puffs are sultry (Guess I am getting anal). A kick in the ‘nads from black pepper. Then, followed by dark baking chocolate, a nice creaminess, malt, espresso, a touch of black licorice, cedar, and the addition of red pepper. Two peppers for the price of one.

I remember last night’s foray into this blend found that the second half was empirically better than the first. Expectations are aligned and form a queue.

A nice sweetness envelops the flavor profile. Sort of a molasses v. caramel thing. Savory is balanced nicely. CF’s description calls out macadamia nuts. Not yet for me so early on but that would be a nice touch…especially as those nut meats are inherently very creamy.

A first sip of water and the smooth flavor profile coats my mouth. Very nice. Strength is medium.
Some mustiness appears. Oy gevalt. So far, the construction is doing much better than my first stick. A nice clean char line.

Another sip of water to see if it disperses. Nope. I pour gasoline over my head and light a match. The mustiness has dissipated.

At a little over an inch burned, and zero complexity. Transitions are primarily the chocolate, espresso, and peppers. As this is obviously an aged set of tobaccos, I don’t know if extended humidor time will do this blend any favors. That’s one reason I’m reviewing it so early in my possession.

Gotta stop. SRV. “Pride and Joy.” I can’t smoke while my head is bopping…and my feet are doing the Mashed Potato.

I do not taste the advertised vanilla but never no mind. Palates are a wondrous thing. No one is ever wrong about what they taste. Unless it’s wrong.

Took less than 15 minutes for the first third. Underfilled.
No leaps forward. Pretty much a knockaround blend…for $10.
The burn line is light years ahead of last night’s stick.

Ahh…damn…mustiness returns. I don’t remember this from last night. Is this the stick with the floor sweepings in it? Just kidding CF…take a deep breath.
Ugh. Now it’s bitter. Hey, Passover seder was two nights ago…no need for Maror in my cigar.

I put the cigar down. Hopefully, it allows that yucky taste to go away. Again, didn’t experience this with the first cigar.
In fact, by now, last night’s cigar was beginning to shine. Hold the shine and the fried onions.

A weird taste comes from the Black Lagoon…sandpaper with a chaser of ether. WTF?

This is not the same cigar I enjoyed last night. I’m starting to think my Freudian joke about floor sweepings might be spot on. Just kidding, CF. (No, I’m not).

I got a bevy of flavors all ensconced around the chocolatines last night. This morning, it is a blank slate. I’m bummed.

I do a 20 second rinse of hydrogen peroxide to get rid of any offending bacteria that might be affecting flavors. And then wait a couple minutes.
I need to re-light.

Oh God…bad to the bone. Bitter. How can the same cigar be so different 16 hours apart?
The chocolate is missing in action. The halfway point was a gateway last night. Now it’s quicksand.

The bitterness has camped out. The fiver was lying in one place in my humidor. I swear I didn’t dunk any of them in my Heartfelt beads.

Strength begins to ramp up. The black pepper is trapped in the back of my throat overturning any chance of nuance to emerge.

Now this release is at least the second time CF has put them up for sale. But only 22 fivers. Why even release it? They’ve been on sale for 26 days and they are still for sale. They can’t sell 22 fivers? What does the bulk of CF customers know that I don’t?

Discounting the bitterness, chocolate does return, thankfully. The creaminess is gone with the wind. The espresso influence tastes strong…and bitter.

If I had this experience with the stick I smoked last night, I would not have bothered reviewing this cigar. Man, I spent $50 on this fiver. I could have used that dough as a down payment for a penile plumping extension. I’ve always been hesitant to try the mystery cigars that Ezra Zion/Cigar Federation sell. A couple weren’t bad at all. But to roll the dice every time a new blend is released, never again.

They have to stop with the ridiculous descriptions on the CF site. It’s apparent they will say anything. The thing is…Ezra Zion has made some incredible blends over the years. Now, if it looks like a cigar, it pops up on CF.

I’ve reviewed 27 Ezra Zion blends over the years, and all were either pretty good to damn fine cigars.

I got it. I finally figured out what the odd taste is: Garbanzo beans.

I allow the cigar to go out and hope that when I relight, it has settled down. The Phoenix shall rise.

Now I’m healthy after the recent flu battle. You can drive a truck through my open sinuses. There is no permanent damage from Nyquil. I can taste flavors just fine.
I try something I never do during a review…I pop open a Diet Coke to see if dispatches the bitterness. It helps a little.
The cigar is out, and it lingers in my mouth. The dry draw reeks of that terrible bitter almond.

Luckily, I’ve been hoarding some decent review cigars for the near future. I truly expected to give this cigar a decent review. Consistency. I don’t have a clue for its absence in this blend.

Send me some Bearer Bonds and I will send the remaining three sticks to you.

C’mon Mr. Cigar…redeem yourself. I cast you out unclean spirit! The power of Christ compels you! Maybe if I was a priest that would have worked.

Bitterness and garbanzo beans. A new food group.

Now we have full tilt medium/full with a pile-on nicotine frenzy. Of course, why not?
I had planned on giving this cigar a rating in the mid-80’s last night. Now? No clue.
I’m tiring of smoking this cigar. It’s just bad. The bitterness just won’t leave. I’m not sure how much more I can take.

If you want to take a look at the cigars on Cigar Federation, click here.

I’ve returned to smoking for three days now. I’m hypersensitive to the nicotine after weeks of not smoking.
With an inch to go, I give up. What a disappointment.
I guess another year in which I don’t get a Christmas card from CF. Sorry, boys.


And now for something completely different:

I was in a band called The Attitude. It was the early 80’s. We only played our original material…except for our kick ass version of “Hound Dog.”

We had decided to record our first album in a high falutin’ recording studio: Sunset Gower in Hollywood. $250 an hour in 1981.

Rick Tunstall, our band leader, composer, singer, and guitarist had managed to get hold of world famous, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer, Hal Blaine. Rick had worked for a cartage company that handled Blaine’s drums. A cartage company is what rich musicians use to get their gear moved around from gig to gig so they don’t have to lug it. It’s not cheap.

I had worshiped this man since I was 16.

I’d put on all my favorite records and lay in my bed reading the liner notes on all of those albums. He was part of a rhythm team that played on all the Simon & Garfunkel albums, all of the Mamas & Papas albums, the Beach Boys, the Monkees, Nancy Sinatra, Jan and Dean, Elvis Presley, John Denver, the Ronettes, the Carpenters, the Grass Roots, the 5th Dimension, the Partridge Family, and Steely Dan, Frank Sinatra, The Byrds, The Supremes, The Association, Neil Diamond, Cher, Barbra Streisand, J.J. Cale, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, Sam Cooke, Bobby Darin, Sammy Davis, Jr., The Everly Brothers, John Lennon, Dean Martin, Roy Orbison, Louis Prima, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Ike and Tina Turner, and lastly: Sonny & Cher….And just about everyone else in the music business. He was a brilliant drummer. If you look at a photo of Hal’s drum kit, it is the exact same as Ringo’s kit. Ringo copied Hal’s setup…and in fact, Hal played on quite a few Beatles songs.

Rick and I were already at the studio. The cartage company had arrived with Hal’s drum set. We were charged $250 for them to move Hal’s drums and set them up how he liked it. They worked like clockwork to assemble it properly….and then…The Man showed up.

I had been in contact with all of my rock n roll heroes while I played in the English band, Curved Air in the mid 70’s so I knew how to keep my cool…but with Hal, it was difficult.

The man was not very tall but had a slim build. He is Jewish so I let him know I was, as well….what was I thinking? “Ooh, I’m a Jew too!” Oh brother. I’m such a schmuck.

We kibitzed for a while and we explained the tunes we would be recording.
Hal sat at his kit fine tuning it. He reached into his stick bag, hanging from the snare, and pulled out some sheet music. He motioned me over and showed it to me.

It was the drummer’s sheet music written by hand. By Paul Simon’s hand. It was “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” I was in shock. Hal let me hold it. I stared at it like it was the Holy Grail.

We rehearsed the first song one time and Hal had it. Just before we hit the “Record” button, Hal said to me, “Phil, you’re a pretty good bassist. Have you done session work?”
I gurgled something that basically meant nothing significant.
“I can get you some work if you want?”
I think that meant, “Would I? Hell, yes!”

We spent a month recording an album’s worth of material. And Hal was there for about 2 weeks to do the rhythm tracks.

Hal and I would sit in the booth while things were fiddled with by the engineer between tracks. He told me stories that kept me rapt in wonder. It was like sitting at the feet of Moses as preached. He could drop names like it meant nothing to him at all. He told me inside stories that had me wide eyed and impressed. Meanwhile, my partner Rick, took me into the lounge and proceeded to scream at me…”Do you know that the 15-minute story Hal told you cost us $85?”

I bowed my head in shame, but I didn’t care.

And Hal was true to his word getting me big session work in L.A. He later went on to become my mentor doing all sorts of things for me at my own recording studio in Long Beach. We became good friends. He took scale money from me for recordings that made me a big shot in my customer’s eyes. At the time, there were only two recording studios in Long Beach…a town with around 400,000 residents. The other studio was inconsequential.

Hal and me at my recording studio in Long Beach, CA; Drummer and high school buddy Stephen Hodges loaned us his kit and is setting it up for Hal:

We became big shots in the Long Beach musical community for having Hal Blaine on call.
It was the most wonderful time.

I have quite a few copies of his own handwritten charts from my sessions. But they are carefully stored away. I found this pair of charts he wrote for a big project at my studio that was paid for by The Teague Family. For those older than dirt like me, Will Teague was one of the original members of the 1960’s folk group, The New Christy Minstrels.

Will decided to record 20 songs. And did not want to use a rhythm section during the recordings. What a schmuck. I told him so. I told him that the timing was all over the place. So, I called Hal and he agreed to come in and do the session.

He listened to the songs and shook his head. He asked why not even a friggin time keeping device (Click track) was used? I thought he was going to split but I calmed him down from his high level of being exposed to unprofessionalism.
He listened a second time taking notes and writing charts.

He managed to pull all the songs together, so they sounded like they were played in correct time. A real miracle and testament to the man’s brilliance on percussion.

As I was producing, I couldn’t play bass at the same time. So, I came in after the studio closed, late, and spent my nights laying down bass lines all by myself in the studio. It was a real pain in the ass sitting in the booth with my bass…going direct…and operating the equipment at the same time.

Paul McCartney did the same thing starting with “Revolver.” It gave him the freedom to be more melodic.

I managed to get some nice lines down. And they paid me well.

Every 10 years, I pull out the cassette of the final mix and listen to the songs. I remember thinking how good the rhythm section sounded. I was proud as a peacock.

I asked Hal if he wanted a copy? I had wanted him to hear my bass playing against his miraculous mish mosh of trying to fix the songs.
He responded quickly to my offer:
“No. I don’t want to listen to that music ever again. Sorry Phil.”


3 replies

  1. Thanks for the review Phil. Are any of the CF blends good? I’m pretty sure whoever does the CF ads is also in charge of the North Korean propaganda machine, but don’t quote me on that.

  2. Lol…James…
    I don’t know. I’ve reviewed 12 CF house blends since 2015.
    Out of those 12, I liked two:
    Kama Sutra
    Green Go
    The rest were terrible.
    Here is a link to all of my CF reviews: click here
    I do know that the silent director of operations for CF is named Oh Yoo-Suk.

  3. It is now 4 months since I wrote the above review. I am smoking the last of the fiver. A total of 5 months naked humidor time.
    It is no better now than it was when I reviewed it.
    It is a major dog turd. No idea where they found this crappy tobacco or who the fuck blended it…but charging $10 for this piece of shit should be punishable by law under the umbrella of fraud.
    All that bullshit P.R is canned and might as well be The Unabomber’s Manifesto.
    Horrible cigar.

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