Size: 5 x 54/58 Figurado
Thanks to Robert B. for the cigar donation. All hail Robert!
I’ve had the cigars for nearly 3 months.
Released June 2021
From the Casdagli Cigars website:
“To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Casdagli Cigars in 2017, a sub brand the Villa Casdagli Collection was launched focusing on the production of luxury cigar smoking accessories.
“Commissioned by the Casdagli family in the early 1900s, Villa Casdagli became legendary for its parties epitomizing the golden age of cigar smoking. The imitation of Byzantine pattern adorning the walls of the grand reception room of Villa Casdagli decorates the Villa Casdagli Collection cigar accessories.
“It was back in 2012 when Jeremy first met Don Olman at what was then known as the Vegas Santiago factory up in the hills of Puriscal, Costa Rica. “This was where I was first introduced to the Peruvian tobacco which as many know soon became my favorite tobacco when it comes to the blending process,” says Jeremy.
“In 2018, when on a visit to the factory, now called Tabacos de Costa Rica, Jeremy became aware of Don Olman’s “mejorado” (improvement) process where many of his tobaccos that he imports go through a further fermentation process for up to 4 months in the “pilon”. Although expensive in time and labour the tobaccos that go through this process are further enriched.
“The Villa Casdagli Line blends consist of “mejorado” tobaccos from Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Peru. These complex cigars are amongst our strongest with a rich body – a perfect celebration of the beautiful and exotic Villa Casdagli in Cairo.”
From Halfwheel.com (9-1-2021):
“Blend-wise, the Villa Casdagli is actually a modified version of the Daughters of the Wind Robusto, which was released for the first time in December 2018. The Villa Casdagli—which is rolled at the Tabacos de Costa Rica S.A. factory—incorporates an Ecuadorian wrapper covering a binder from Ecuador and a combination of filler tobaccos sourced from the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Peru. However, the ratio of tobacco used in the filler are different for each vitola; for example, the Robusto and Pigasus sizes include two Peruvian fillers, while the other two vitolas only feature one.”
SIZES AND PRICING:
Robusto 5 x 52 $12.50
Pigasus 5 x 54/58 $16.00
Corona Gorda 5.5 x 46 $13.50
Toro 6 x 54 $15.00
Not a very pretty cigar. Festooned with Frankenstein’s Monster veins that look like parts of a body were sewn back together. Cloris Leachman would approve. Seams are tight. The Figurado shape is nicely constructed. The triple cap is a bit funky looking, but I am nit picking. The showstopper of this cigar is the all that oil dripping down my leg. The sheen acts like a crystal reflecting light causing a barrage of colors: It has a pale paper brown bag hue, there are reddish notes seen better in the light than in my photos, and touches of chocolate syrup.
The cigar is smooth, baby, smooth. And it has the usual closed foot that is a regular staple on Casdagli blends.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
Big fat jelly roll doughnuts of dark chocolate, Trix cereal, a sweet black raisin component, very pudding-like creaminess, malt, rich espresso, cedar, barnyard, and black licorice.
I try the cold draw and the cigar is totally plugged. Not an iota of air moves through the stick. Yes, I removed the closed foot. Out comes the PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool to the rescue. Normally, plugs are around the cigar band area. As I plunge the draw tool into the cigar, it is inserted to the hilt. The entire cigar is plugged instead of just one area. I don’t think I’ve ever had this issue with a Casdagli before. And I have reviewed Casdagli blends 16 times since 2016. But the PerfecDraw does its stuff and I have the Holland Tunnel.
OK. Once again…The cold draw presents flavors of dark cocoa, malt, licorice, assorted nuts, espresso, creaminess, black pepper, cedar, and barnyard.
As experienced in all Casdagli blends, the cigar starts with a nice peek into some serious complexity and character. Strength is a noticeable potent medium. Smoke deluges the space around me. Flavors of buttered graham cracker with cinnamon take center stage.
A vanilla ice cream sundae plays darts with a vengeance. All I need is a banana.
I taste nuttiness that is all hazelnut and cashews. Sweet and savory at the same time. The spiciness from the black pepper is a bit too strong, but it’s early.
I rail about the ridiculous price of cigars; especially lately as the new cigars have been unveiled at PCA last summer. Casdagli has always been on the pricey side. They easily go into the $20+ price range. But, like anything else, Casdagli proves the old adage that you get what you pay for. He always delivers a very sophisticated smoke.
Blends are carefully designed. No picking blind from a conference room table of examples that the farmer grew and rolled. Jeremy continues to have his passion for cigar tobacco intact.
Because the cigar is packed to the hilt, it is a very slow smoke allowing me to savor every puff.
I believe I saw a couple of reviews of this cigar, and nobody went gaga over it. One reviewer gave it a thumbs down because of no air flow. But a tool to fix that! So, because it was plugged, it caused a lower rating. That’s nuts.
Now about the price…so far, this is a very good cigar. Lots of the goodies that all smokers enjoy. But I just finished reviewing a bunch of cigars in the $9-$11 range that were every bit as good, if not better, than the $16 Villa Casdagli.
The burn is absolutely perfect. If I were a moil, I could clip off that end with my eyes closed…which might explain my situation. My parents never should have used a partially blind moil to make me Jewish.
Jeremy has said in print that his blends are good to go after 3-4 months. I agree. Any time these blends get smoked before that mark makes you realize that you are a numbskull. And this ain’t no $6 Torano.
There is a lovely balance of sweet v. savory. But not a flavor bomb. They are consistent but act more like a baseline for the blend rather than exhibiting big explosive flavors.
Strength remains at potent medium.
This blend falls into the category of a full tilt relaxation stick. It wraps you up in its tobacco blankey and whispers nursery rhymes into your ear while you masturbate like a Spider Monkey.
The ash hasn’t moved. It is structurally sound. Hang on…I’ll run the numbers. My math tells me that this cigar can be used as pilons to support a 90-story skyscraper. No wonder I can’t get a gig as a structural engineer anymore. I gotta’ buy a new calculator.
As comforting as this blend is, I don’t sense any grandiose plan it has laid out for me. Transitions are minimal. The flavor profile is minimalist. The finish is OK, but I can only taste cinnamon, graham cracker, and lemon citrus.
I reviewed the ReviveR by Cigar Dojo and Atlantic Cigar and I recently reviewed the Southern Draw Kudzu Lustrum Lonsdale and the Alec Bradley Black Market Estelí Diamond L.E. 2020. All three in the price range of $10-$11. They were much more complex at this point (1-1/2” burned) than the Casdagli. Maybe more naked humi time is needed…Don’t know.
The Villa Casdagli feels more like a venture into more mainstream cigar blends. The rest of the Casdagli catalog is very special. I recently reviewed the Casdagli Cigars Daughters of the Wind Wide Churchill, and it got a 94 from me.
This cigar may have to struggle to reach that rating.
Same flavors at work. Nothing added that my palate can perceive.
Still, a very nice cigar. I just don’t think it is up to Casdagli’s usual performance.
It took a good 35 minutes to smoke the first third…it is jam packed and it is also the thickest part of the Figurado. The stick begins to slim down as I begin the second third. It will pick up speed from this point forward.
Flavors begin to express themselves with better definition than the first third.
My dad was bringing me home from camp in San Francisco early because I was so homesick. I was 10. That would have been in 1952. We are on a prop DC-3 plane that was so noisy, you couldn’t hear yourself think. There could not have been more than 5 people on the plane. One was Lloyd Bridges (Jeff’s father). Back then, Lloyd Bridges had a huge TV show called “Sea Hunt.” A good show. He sat a few rows back and my dad told me to go ask for his autograph. I grabbed the little post card with the photo of the plane on it. All airlines did this back then.
I approached Mr. Bridges and asked. He was very polite and cordial. He asked my name as he began to write. He handed it to me and shook my small hand. I was on cloud 9.
I get back to my seat and my dad looks at the card. It said, “Nice riding on the same plane with you Bill. All the best, Lloyd Bridges. Fucking Bill?
He couldn’t hear me because of the damn noise. My dad told me to go back and ask again. I was too chicken. I showed my prize to all my friends and all they could say was “Who’s Bill?” No one ever believed I sat on a plane with the star of Sea Hunt.
The Villa Casdagli…Because the cigar is packed like a fat guy in a convenience store at midnight with the munchies, no matter how long I allow the stick to rest in the ashtray, it does not go out. I hate relighting cigars over and over.
There is no major improvement of the complexity. It gets stuck in first gear.
The over all tobacco flavor is pleasing to my palate. I don’t fixate on trying to find all the flavors. I’m trying to just enjoy a well-designed blend.
And here I go again…$16. I got all this plus more from the aforementioned sawbuck priced cigars.
The blend just ain’t fancy enough for this price range. It should be grabbing my nads and won’t release until ecstasy begins.
The music I have on with Pandora is just OK. Haven’t heard a song that pulls on my leggings. A sign.
Strength remains at medium. No nicotine yet. A good morning cigar.
There is coffee, creaminess, chocolate, nuttiness, citrus, raisins, and graham cracker.
The spiciness is at a non-life-threatening level.
I was in a good mood last night. Charlotte got home around 7pm from a bruising day at the Polish deli. I met her at the door with just a bow. I explained what I wanted. She demanded $20. It seemed fair. She fell asleep twice with my schmekel in her mouth. I called out the cat’s name…He entered the room. New prey. Sex is a lot easier if your male pet has missing gonads. A great reason for neutering your best friend.
This is a very pleasant cigar. I expected more than just pleasant. It is a Casdagli after all.
If the price point was around $10, I’d be singing its name. But even so, the blend is not as good as the three blends I pointed out previously.
Every Casdagli blend I’ve smoked in the past took my breath away. Every one.
This is a shocking first for me.
The transitions from the beginning to only 2” to go has been mundane. It should be exploding with possibilities with every inch smoked. Instead, it remains in a pleasant stasis.
While Curved Air always headlined, once in a while, our manager would grab at an opportunity to get us to be the support act for the super rock groups of the 70’s. We did gigs with Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Jethro Tull. One night after the gig, Deep Purple and Curved Air decided to take a 3am swim in the hotel pool. The police were called as someone complained that a bunch of naked women were in the pool. There were no women. We were long hairs. The police arrived and got autographs from everyone.
“Look at Little Sister” by SRV. Puts me in a better mood.
I’m killing time now because the Pigasus isn’t progressing as I would like. I like the easy-going overall flavor but it is not a super cigar.
The thing it is missing is the sweet spot. There is basically no difference from my first impressions. I want the Casdagli to shoot for the moon, but the cigar is shooting blanks.
I’m bummed. These were not cheap cigars.
I’m hoping that the blend makes its last stand in the last third. I am probably overly optimistic because I’m a big fan of Casdagli cigars.
The spiciness nearly disappears. Which takes it from a potent medium strength to a weak stick medium.
I always take the price point into consideration which all cigar professionals tell us is wrong. Bullshit.
I sense no sweet spot on the horizon.
It is simple syrup.
The wrapper begins to disintegrate. Wonderful.
The complexity lessens. What is going on?
The wrapper is so messed up that it would take coating the entire nub with my PerfecRepair cigar glue to fix it. Not going to do that.
This is the first Casdagli blend that disappoints.
And now for something completely different:
I’ve played in countless bands. But my favorite band I played in was “Homegrown,” Circa 1970-1972. I’ve told stories about them before. A 5-piece hard rock band that was booked all the time. We could mimic the best hard rock from Zep to Black Sabbath to the Stones to the Beatles. And everything in between.
I just noticed for the first time in 50 years that if you look at the top left photo of me in this picture…I have a camel toe. This should explain a lot.
We played the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in Tustin, CA all the time for the EM club. Our idiot booker put us in the officer’s club for one night. It was more dough and she thought it would be a welcome reprieve from the Lawrence Welk type of music usually played there. And we were young and dumb and believed her.
It was like a hooker’s bar. Lots of black leather and red velvet. The officers wore their dress uniforms, and their women wore their best dresses.
Immediately, we knew we were in the wrong place. Halfway through the first song, an officer approached the band stand and told us to turn down. Naturally, we turned up.
We were really pissing everyone off. They wanted to hear country music. WTF?
Our booker must have had brain damage.
Our lead singer, Mark Baird, handed us all one hit of acid each and we popped them. Might as well make the best of things.
45 minutes later, God knows what we were playing but we were having a great time. Long extended solos on every instrument that drove the crowd apoplectic.
They tried to make us stop but we ignored them. Mark got on the mic and began spewing poetry from various beat generation poets.
A call was made to our booker. They tried to get us to stop but we wouldn’t. The booker showed up around 30 minutes later. She had a confab with the boss at the club and she came over and told us to shut ‘er down.
We were frying and just laughed. We played one last song…I remember. It was “Wild Thing.”
Now here is where the real problem set in. We were flying and couldn’t figure out how to pack up our gear. We laughed continuously. Took us almost 90 minutes to figure it out.
We had two roadies with us. One guy, Rich, was about 6’-6 and muscle bound. One of the officers tried to stuff our gear away without asking permission. Rich, who was also frying, picked him up and threw him across the room.
The MPs were called. They stood there bouncing their night sticks into the palms of their hands while they made sure we packed up and got out. One of the MP’s was a regular when we played the EM club. It was Eddie!
Eddie knew right away we were high. And he asked for some. So, Mark gave him a hit of LSD which he immediately swallowed.
He sneaked over to the side of the stage and drank an entire pint of beer in one swallow. This facilitated the acid working faster.
We were fumbling around when we heard Eddie laughing at nothing. The other MP asked if he was OK?
The drum kit was partially set up and Eddie went over to it and grabbed a pair of sticks and started to bang the snare drum and cymbal.
All hell broke loose as more MP’s were called. One of the new MP’s got in our big roadie’s face and a fight broke out. The booker stood there with her hands in her face.
We were banned from the Officer’s club forever. Like we gave a shit. The next weekend, we were booked for the EM club where they loved us. They had actually tried to ban us from the EM club, but the Marines made such a huge deal over this action that they reinstated us and just shook their heads and threw up their hands.
It took us 2 hours to drive the 15-minute way home. We kept getting lost. We saw a Taco Bell that was open and stopped and fed our faces. Mike, the guitarist, pulled out a joint and we smoked it and woops…we were really frying now.
We managed to all get home around daylight.
It was a really fun night.
El Toro has been shut down. Not our fault.
And now for something completely different; Part 2:
Another rock n roll story….
I passed the audition and was now a member of the band. I had never heard of Curved Air. They were/are huge all over Europe, South America, and Japan. But they bombed in the U.S. No idea why. Over the band’s lifetime, 18 albums were produced, and all did well in those markets. I have to beg and threat to get my royalties every 6 months from London.
Yet hardcore fans of British progressive rock still look up to Curved Air as a mover and shaker in this genre of British progressive music.
The band had to complete a record deal with Decca. The path of least resistance was a live album. Again, I had no idea who Curved Air was. No idea how huge they were.
All of the original members joined up for one last hurrah…and me. They had problems with bassists like Spinal Tap had problems with drummers. I was always afraid I’d spontaneously combust. Or choke on someone else’s vomit.
The band hadn’t played together in two years but remembered the songs like they played them yesterday. Only two weeks were reserved at a rehearsal hall in Covent Garden. And those rehearsals were lax, very lax. Lots of tea and biscuit breaks.
I wasn’t learning the songs. This was a progressive band in which all the members had classical degrees. They were brilliant musicians and their music proved that out. Lots of chordal changes, complex time signatures, and very complicated themes.
The keys player, Francis Monkman, was very patient with me and helped me tremendously in learning the tunes. We rehearsed two dozen songs so we could change the 90-minute line up if we chose. Amazingly, the band averaged 5 encores per concert.
At the end of the two weeks, they were ready, but I wasn’t. I made copious notes on my own handwritten charts. In their songs, the bass was out front a lot. And the riffs had to be exact.
Our first gig was at the Royal Albert Hall. Sort of the Carnegie Hall of England.
Only I didn’t know that. I thought we were going to play some decent sized club. Again, I had no idea who they were.
I had moved into the suburbs of London to Edgeware. A very nice, modern apartment. One day, my young neighbor came to visit, and we sat in my living room where I had a couple CA posters from gigs.
He was in the British Air Force. He asked what I did. I pointed at the posters and said I was with them.
“What do you mean? You’re a roadie?”
“No, I’m with them. I play bass in the band.”
His face dropped and he nervously promised me that he would tell no one where I lived. I laughed hard and told him not to worry. No groupies were piled up on my doorstep. But I couldn’t get him to act naturally around me from that point forward. That was my first realization of the enormity and popularity of Curved Air.
The night of my first gig, the band’s road manager picked us all up and we drove to the gig. As we got closer to the hall, I kept asking, “Where are we going? What’s going on? Where are we going?” No one replied. I was ignored like an errant mosquito.
We were inside the hall and the roadies had finished setting up all the equipment. The stage was humongous. I looked out to the seats and saw thousands of them, including a huge balcony.
I had a panic attack. Thinking it would be a club, I had brought my charts and a music stand that I could set up next to me. I couldn’t set a music stand on this stage. Holy shit!!
We were the headliners and a couple other bands played before us. Then we were up.
“For the first time in two years…CURVED AIR!!!!”
We dove immediately into the first song. The lights and the giant PA system and all those people. The gig was sold out. I was dying inside. I barely knew the songs and now I had to do it without cheat sheets.
But…it went off without a hitch. I hit a few clams, but they weren’t noticed. Thankfully, they were in the same key as the song.
At the end of the gig, I was soaked in sweat. I left the dressing room and went back out to the stage, sat down on its edge, with my feet dangling…and just watched as people exited. They were all staring at me wondering what the hell I was doing.
I was drinking it in.
Two gigs later, we began recording for the live album. It was recorded from two gigs. Not only did I not make any mistakes, but I soared with the eagles. My playing was so good that the managing director told everyone that I was the star of the album. Heads twisted convulsively as the band members looked at him like he was crazy. Egos. That comment did not go down well with the band members.
That single comment started the slow, torturous end to my rock star career.
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