Wrapper: Nicaraguan Broadleaf
Size: 7 x 50 Churchill Box Pressed
Thanks to Peter W. for the dough for these cigars. He is on the Newsletter list.
From Atlantic Cigar:
“La Bomba Cigars are blended by Erik Espinosa and made at AJ Fernandez’s San Lotano factory in Nicaragua. A Full-bodied Nicaraguan puro cigar with lots of spice and pepper, very well made sure to knock your socks off, if you like rich Nicaraguan cigars you got to try these outstanding smokes. The 601 La Bomba Warhead is a limited-edition annual release, and each year a different size is introduced. The blend for the Warhead is comprised of bold full-bodied tobaccos. This year’s release has slight change, now featuring a unique Nicaraguan-grown Broadleaf variant from the acclaimed fields of Master Blender A.J. Fernández. Only 2,000 boxes of 10 cigars have been produced, this cigar showcases a rich flavor profile, good amount of strength and flavors of pepper, chocolate, earth, licorice with a hint of sweetness on the finish.”
This is a Long Tall Sally of a cigar. Espinosa took some real pride in this stick’s presentation. Smooth coffee colored wrapper with an oily sheen not unlike the high polish I keep on the body parts I still use.
Seams are tight. Few veins. A very crisp box press. Perfectly filled from stem to stern. No hard or soft spots. And this baby is going to take me all morning to review. 7 x 50. I can’t get a boner that big.
The triple cap is just fucking nice, my dears. And I love the footer band as seen below:
SMELL THE GLOVE:
Back in the 1840’s, when Espinosa was in his teens, he came up with the 601 La Bomba. I remember buying a box and there was a warning on the lid about its strength. Great marketing idea. Flies swarming to detritus…but in this case, the cigar was pure gold with full color hallucinations.
Since that debut, lots of cigar blenders followed suit and made stronger cigars. The original La Bomba isn’t as strong as I remember. Hence, the release of limited editions over the years that up the strength and finds other sizes to play with.
First to bat is a deep, dark chocolate that is exactly 92% cacao. There is a creaminess along with a sweet caramel that is food for the nostrils. Before I go further, this blend ain’t nothing new in terms of a Nic puro. I smell the same things I smell in most Nic blends: Licorice, espresso, cinnamon, peanuts, bread, heavy malt, lemon citrus, cedar, barnyard, and dried fruit.
The cold draw presents flavors of dark bittersweet chocolate, espresso, licorice, malt, caramel, vanilla, creaminess, dried fruit, sweet bread, and carraway seeds.
Thank goodness the cigar is rolled by professionals instead of ex-prisoners of Abu Ghraib. The flow of air is on the money. I gently lift my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool and place it in its oxygen filled Lucite case, so it doesn’t age. I did use a hyperbaric device for a while, but my electric bills were nuts.
Right away, the cigar blend sings to me…arias from Puccini, symphonics from Bach, violin concertos from Vivaldi, and Best of The Archies 1965-1965.
A tease of complexity hits the airwaves. There are sweet notes of stone fruit, vanilla ice cream, black licorice, chocolate nougat, intense maltiness from an English Guinness, caramel, black cherries, cedar, and black pepper.
The strength is toying with me. It is merely at an easy going medium. As I have smoked two sticks prior to this review, I know the dastardly deed this blend plans for me. The second half will require you hire an Esperanto translator to make any sense of my garbled verbiage.
The cigar is packed to the gullets…gallstones? Mood stones? The pubic bone? In other words, a very slow roll here.
Strength, after only half an inch, strides up to medium/full. I feel the effects of being lost in the inner city and asking folks if they can release the pressure on my brain?
Savory kicks in with notes of beef jerky, buttered corn bread, and marsupial jelly.
So here we have a ten dollar stick that tastes light years better than the $400 OpusX I reviewed yesterday.
The flavor points are exactly what I expected. No surprises. Could be an Espinosa, AJ, Pepin Garcia, or a Quorum XXL blend.
This is a limited stick. I should have bought more but the money is better used buying cigars I want to review.
Balance is invaluable to this blend. Sweet v. Savory is right there and will get better. Strength is heightening and I already feel my vision dissipating. Only 4-1/2” to go.
As strong as the cigar is becoming, it maintains an even keel of smooth and erotic behaviors…I say erotic because my boxers are bunched up around my naughty bits.
And then Courtney Cox jumps on stage with The Boss. A deeper, richer complexity hits my palate like a moil out of control and drunk. I’ve been circumcised 3 times. By accident of course. Unfortunately, there was no Krazy Glue in 1950. My dad used a caulking gun to put back some of the penile flesh that looked like sauteed mushrooms.
The cigar is holding steady at a potent medium/full. I’m in fear that when the cigar goes for broke, all those lost plugs will do the cha cha in my lower intestine. I mean…how do you get those things out once they find a home?
The blend becomes a stunning example of richness, transitions and finish. I get a slit of root beer now. As well as a Fleet enema cocktail.
Sammy the cat stands nearby holding the defibrillator paddles. He is a patient feline. I just never know when he yells, “Clear!”
Black cherries and dried apricot come out of nowhere. Transitions are as fast as a 13-year-old boy with his first Playboy.
We now have full tilt.
The live version of “Crossroads” by Cream is playing. It was Jack Bruce, in the 60’s, that taught me improvisation on the bass. I can now play the “Can Can” and Chick Corea’s “Spain” at the same time.
This behemoth of strength cauterizes my natural openings. And then my colostomy bag fills instantly with katman juice.
The cigar is a bona fide flavor bomb. Keeping track of the flavors is difficult as they whizz by at the speed of the drum solo in “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.
Every band I played with in the 1960’s always used that drum solo to step outside and smoke a J.
Have I ever mentioned that it was Copeland and I that played on the old hit, “Year of the Cat” by Al Stewart? We got conned into playing with him in the studio when we were mixing the 1975 Curved Air Live album at Air Studio. Naturally, we got no credit and no dough. The first time I heard that song was after I returned to the States and wondered why the song sounded so familiar. And when I saw Copeland in Santa Barbara in 1980, the first thing I asked Stewart was if that was us playing? His older brother, Miles, just smiled and walked away.
I’ve just passed the halfway point and I’m happy as a clam. A delicious cigar. I will need 30 minutes to walk off its effects.
The cigar now changes directions and discards the flavor bomb profile. The sum of its parts takes over. The La Bomba has a brain.
What a great cigar. But only stout and hearty smokers need apply. This stick will decimate the golfer set and their Macanudos.
I keep finding myself just staring at the laptop screen. I can’t move. I can’t write. We could have killed Castro with this cigar.
The burn is exemplary. No char line issues at all.
I couldn’t finish the first two sticks I smoked. But today, I’m going for the gold. I will finish this cigar even if it causes brain damage and turns me into a trombone player.
No idea how I got here.
This is the strongest cigar I’ve smoked in years.
I need to pee, but I can’t get up from my chair.
Sips of water unleash a cornucopia of flavors. Everything I’ve described is in the mix.
It is difficult to be funny or clever when the brain shuts down. I’m struggling just to stay conscious.
I’m now further into the cigar that I’ve gotten previously. I’m now in the unassailable mode.
Still, a very smooth blend. No sudden lurches. I try to slow down and be more careful of my input. Remember when you were 12 and you got your first BJ with a girl wearing braces…it’s like that.
I still carry those scars.
Rob Jones of Cigar Talk contacted me and talked me into doing 30 minutes on his video podcast. I warned him I have no filter. And that I will need a make up expert along with professional lighting. It will be a Zoom interview. I don’t know if I can keep it clean. It will air sometime in November. I will keep you posted. Pretty sure I will make a complete ass of myself. But since I am at the age that I could drop dead at any time, I’m not overly concerned.
The complex nature of this cigar has been on a true path. Never wavering. Always balanced and smooth. No nipping at or sniffing my genitals.
I don’t recommend smoking this cigar on an empty stomach…like me. What was I thinking?
When I mentioned I find it very difficult to be clever, I’m not bullshitting you. I feel lucky that I can even type at all…let alone be light and entertaining. This cigar puts you into survival mode.
1-1/2” to go. I plan to nub it as masochism runs in my gene pool.
The strength goes nuclear.
I see people I don’t know in that tunnel of light. Most wave me on by.
I know why Espinosa made this a limited edition…Liability and illegal aftereffects.
I’m done now that my personality dissolves into a flaccid no man’s land.
If you can man up and aren’t prone to sudden crying, this is the cigar for you.
And now for something completely different:
One of my many experiences with drugs and corruption in the music industry.
Long ago and far away…Early 1980’s.
Rick was an ex-con. And he was my friend. He did some serious time in Quentin for boosting cars. But by the time I met him, he had been a free man for 10 years. To be honest, I really don’t know what Rick was in for…I took him at his word and left it alone.
I met him at a friend’s party. We started talking music and hit it off. A very clever and funny guy.
Rick was a gentle giant. But he could turn on an imposing and menacing appearance if he needed to project a scarier than shit demeanor. I saw that happen a couple times and I’m pretty sure no one fucked with him in prison.
Rick was loyal to a fault. Whenever the rigors of running a recording studio seven days a week got to me, I’d take a mental health break and visit him for a couple of hours.
When I arrived, he always shooed away the coke whores so we wouldn’t be uninterrupted.
We’d sit on his patio, in the sun, smoke cigars and drink his homemade lemonade. I could leave and be able to return to my studio and deal with all the bullshit in a calmer, more relaxed, frame of mind.
Rick was the kind of guy who made it clear there was nothing he wouldn’t do for you. But if you cheated him, or crossed him, God help you.
I was in the middle of my Butch “Eddie Munster” Patrick project and running my recording studio at the same time. I was also producing acts and doing bass sessions both in my studio and L.A.
There weren’t enough hours in the day, and this had me pulling my hair out. Rick always provided sound advice and became my consigliere. I was surrounded at the studio by “yes” men. I had no one that would openly speak their mind because of their fear of being fired by me.
Corruption in the music industry, in the 1980’s, had not changed an iota since the scandals of the 1950’s. Payola was in force, and no one fucked with that concept. Bribery was an everyday affair. Blackmail came in a close second.
Record companies cheated their artists. Clubs cheated their artists. Entertainment lawyers cheated their clients. Getting a record played on the radio demanded definitive actions: Juice, payola, drugs, and crooked DJ’s.
In 1983, I had just completed the production of the Butch Patrick single, “Whatever Happened to Eddie?”
After the recording project had a pretty bow tied around it and all the ancillary PR material was complete, I ventured into unknown territory…the music video. Mind you, this was the era of the start of MTV.
This was my first try at writing, producing, and directing a rock music video and the end result was better than expected. It was a real bitch, but we pulled it off. I had a great team to help me flesh out my vision of a silly novelty song.
I’m rather proud of what was accomplished. The song is only 2 minutes long, but the video has 33 scenes. An edit every 3.6 seconds. We beat the “Bourne” series of films that was the dawn of the lightning-fast edit, by three decades.
As a side note, you can now find the video on YouTube
For several years, I sold the entire package of vintage Eddie Munster items on eBay. I have kept a lot of 45’s, signed promo photos, T shirts, and copies of the videos in mint condition all these years.
Since my copyright is good for life +65 years, I can pass it down to my daughter, Katie. That way, if Butch climbs a tall clock tower with a scoped rifle, she can make a fortune selling licensing rights to the video.
My copyright was for the video only. Universal Studios owns the right to the music…as we used the Munster theme and added lyrics about Butch. Negotiating those rights was a horror movie and took more time than expected. They don’t call Universal Studios “The Black Tower” for no reason.
Over the years, I’ve gotten frantic phone calls and messages from friends who said they heard the song played on the radio and I should get my royalties. I don’t own the “The Munsters” theme. Universal does. I can only go after someone that played the video without my permission. Butch would go on TV talk shows or those washed-up child actor documentaries, and he lied and told them he owned the rights to the video. It put me in the perfect position to go after the production company after the fact. It gave me a great bargaining advantage as they had already shown the video.
We were signed by a shiny new record label that had been started by big shots from some prestigious record companies…all backed by the mob. The owner, Rocky Davis was an ex-con…and basically a front man for the organization. His wife Shirley was his partner (In name only). The name of the record company was taken from their names: Rocky and Shirley = Rocshire.
I don’t know the full extent of the mob ties, but my guess is that Rocshire blew their wad signing dozens of acts. They grew too quickly; too soon. And got into serious money trouble. So, Shirley, who worked for Hughes Aircraft, embezzled $15 million and funneled it to an unknown group of people to keep them happy.
Of course, at the time, I had no idea of these shenanigans.
Rocshire Records sent Butch and me all over the country doing TV and radio and public appearances. I didn’t want to go but Butch had substance abuse issues and needed a full-time babysitter…Me. The record label insisted I go with him.
The band, “Eddie & the Monsters” was strictly Milli Vanilli. Butch can’t sing. One of the Monsters did the vocals on both songs on the 45. Butch was also credited with playing bass. Give you one guess who really did the bass playing. The only other Monster that actually played on the record was drummer Reek Havok (Google him). I used session players for both songs.
Rocshire instructed me on the art of corruption and bribery. I always had to have some coke and cash ready to distribute to the radio DJ’s and program directors as we toured the country. Rick was my connection. He took a cut of the project to be one of my financial partners. He had no shortage of dough or coke.
If you saw the movie, “Blow” with Johnny Depp…all that shit was true. Coke hit L.A. in the early 80’s like a blinding blizzard. Everyone was doing it. It was chic. And then it spread to the rest of the country.
The whole time I played in a rock band in England during the 1970’s, I never saw coke once. It was always hash or pot.
Rick got the biggest kick that I always turned down his offers to do a snoot full when I visited. I came to get away and relax…not get all amped up. Plus, I just didn’t like the way it made my nose and face feel numb. And it made me paranoid. The stuff accentuated the manic behavior that had become my lifestyle as a result of too much on my professional plate.
One day, Rick took me up to his bedroom’s walk-in closet that had a huge lock on the door. Inside, he had a 4-drawer chest. On it rested his paraphernalia and digital scale.
So, this one particular day, he wanted to show off how he processed his coke. He was able to take the plain looking white powder and give it an opalescent appearance that customers equated with perfection and purity.
I sat next to him as he showed me the steps required. He had this huge mirror with about 3 ounces of cocaine on it. Right in the middle of explaining the steps, he elbowed the mirror and 3 ounces of coke exploded into the air. It became a snowstorm.
Some of the chest’s drawers were open and the white powder coated the clothes inside. The carpet and our shoes were covered by it.
I remember hyperventilating. I don’t remember what the drug cost back then but that much coke had to have been worth a lot of dough.
Rick never lost a beat as he continued to explain his process. I finally choked out the words, “Rick. Your coke is everywhere!!”
In a calming voice, he told me not to worry. He told me that he had a special hand vacuum that would pick up 95% of it. I really hoped so because Rick was a big man, and I didn’t want to be there if he went postal due to his klutziness.
Meanwhile, all I could think was that this would be the exact moment that a SWAT team would enter and find the both of us covered in white powder and I’d end up being some guy named Swifty’s bitch in prison for the next 20 years.
I had a real piece of shit press agent named John Collins…a Brit. I went through a bunch of PR agents before I settled on this one shark of a fuck. And he was involved with the mob activities and a talent scout for Rocshire. I had no idea at the time.
After “Whatever Happened to Eddie?” was released, I got a call from John, and he told me to immediately bring him $3000. He had the program director from the big radio L.A. station KROQ in his office who agreed to put our Eddie Munster record in heavy rotation…for a price.
I called Rick and told him to bring some money. We were about to negotiate. Of course, what I didn’t know at the time was that it was all bullshit. John just needed the dough for himself, and the radio guy was a scam.
We got there and did the transaction. It felt slimy. We were promised to see the record played 3-4 times per day depending on the reaction from their listening audience.
The program director must have been all coked up because he was like a human jack-in-the-box…never stopped moving, speed talking, and jumping around. Rick and I looked at each other and read each other’s minds…program director, my ass.
Weeks passed, and of course, not once did we hear the song on KROQ.
Rick was furious. I mean he was enraged.
Rick showed up unexpectedly at my studio and said we had to go talk to my press agent. Now!
I made the call and we left immediately for Hollywood. I knew what was going to transpire. Rick felt betrayed. This was something Rick didn’t tolerate. I knew Rick was going to scare the shit out of this asshole and hopefully get the money back. Rick yelled all the way…a good 45-minute drive. I kept quiet and smiled. This fucker in Hollywood had no idea I was about to introduce him to King Kong.
Rick and I walked past the receptionist, and we barged into the press agent’s office.
“We want our money back now!!” Rick put both his huge hands on the shoulders of this guy keeping him from getting out of his chair. I saw a fire storm in Rick’s eyes.
The press agent made a bunch of lousy excuses, told us to chill, told us to be patient, and just dug the hole deeper and deeper. He still didn’t get that I brought the Grim Reaper with me to his office.
Rick removed his hands from the agent and pulled back his jacket and showed the guy a huge stainless steel .357 magnum revolver in his shoulder holster. I didn’t see that coming.
I couldn’t stand the arrogance of this British wanker.
But then things got out of control quickly. Rick’s inner demons rushed to the forefront.
Rick pulled the revolver out and slammed the 6” barrel into the side of John’s head causing him to fall backwards in his chair. He slammed into the floor like he was hit by a train.
Rick then went around the desk and hit him once more…this time with his giant fist.
“Get our money!! NOW!!”
John cried uncontrollably. I didn’t blame him. But I was beginning to seriously worry about what we had just gotten ourselves into. But this guy was so dirty and tied so tightly to Rocshire Records…and the mob, that he couldn’t do shit. What would he say to the police, if called? “These guys wanted their illegal payola money back because I lied and scammed them.” His mob bosses and Rocshire would be pissed off.
The press agent thought Rick was going to kill him. I sort of wondered the same thing.
While crying, John kept asking Rick not to hurt him anymore. Rick screamed at him saying it was the last time he would ask for his money.
The press agent reached into his desk and grabbed a cash box and handed all the cash to Rick. It was way more than $3000. Rick counted out what he was owed and threw the rest of the cash into the face of the prick…who had crawled underneath his desk for safety. I couldn’t help it…I started laughing. Then Rick started laughing. The PR agent was still crying.
Rick left his with these words: “You ever try to cheat us again and I’m going to bury you in the desert…Alive!”
Obviously, we never had another problem with this guy. He was too afraid to call the police.
Of course, Rocshire Records got the last word in later…when they were taken down by the FBI. We sold 181,000 units in a couple months and I got 25 cents per single right up front.
I had a production deal. So, I provided all finished material to the record company: Mastered tapes, finished 45 single sleeve, promo photos, T-shirts, and the music video. So, they only had to press it, distribute it, and promote it.
I got $900 for two weeks of sale in the first quarter. My second quarter earnings should have been close to $50K. But alas, the FBI swooped in and shut everything down. That brouhaha over the $3K seemed like chump change at that point. I never got paid my royalties.
I was interrogated by the FBI twice. I told the truth and they never contacted me again. Clearly, I was just some stupid musician patsy for Rocshire.
I lost touch with Rick over the years. He called me in the late 80’s and asked if he could borrow $500. I told him “Of course.” We met and had a great time reminiscing.
But Rick was now making a living gambling in the legal poker palaces in Gardena. His wife had left him. And he no longer did drugs. Plus, the market had changed drastically from those early days in the early 80’s. Demand was low.
I have no idea where he is now. Hopefully, it’s not prison…or worse.
A week after my last FBI interview, Butch showed up drunk at my house in Long Beach. It was barely noon, and he was sloshed.
He wagged our contract in my face demanding I pay him the basic minimum of $10K guaranteed to him in my management deal with him.
I had just lost $50K. I was behind on my mortgage and car payments. My recording studio partner, Dave Glenn, was embezzling studio income while I was on the fucking road with Butch. I was broke.
And now this shit heel, has-been washed up child actor was demanding I pay him $10,000.
Everything went black after that. I have no idea how I responded. But it was the last time I ever saw Butch.
A few weeks later, Butch had a meeting with NBC. He was pitching my project to them about a new Munsters show. They loved it. He forgot to mention that except for appearing in the video and posing for promo photos, he had nothing to do with the project besides promoting it.
They called him back a week later and said the project was a go. But Butch would not be included in the project. He was out.
They did a few episodes, but they were so bad they scrapped them.
I got a phone call from Butch telling me how he got scammed. He wanted my help to negotiate. He did all this shit behind my back and now because they fucked him, I was now his best friend once again.
I hung up on him.
While the Eddie and the Monsters project was scrapped, they decided to do a new Munsters show with all new actors. It was in syndication for a couple years before it was cancelled. It was a desecration of the original show.
So now you know whose fault it is that NBC foisted a new and terrible version of The Munsters on an unsuspecting public.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS