Wrapper: Nicaraguan Shade Grown
Size: 5.5 x 50 Robusto
Long before Southern Draw, Isabela Cigar, AJ, and Casdagli, Don Pepin Garcia was my favorite blender. His style of cigar making was directly in my wheelhouse. I don’t know if my palate has grown or some of the cigars made by Garcia long ago, and still with us, have changed. Some don’t feel like the old construction. Some don’t taste as I remember them. I’m sure me being 103 years old might have something to do with it. But this cigar is a good one…how good? Read on, my dears.
Photo courtesy of Atlantic Cigar:
From Atlantic Cigar:
“The La Aroma de Cuba Pasión boasts a stunning Shade Grown wrapper from the celebrated fields of Namanji, where tobacco plants thrive in a unique microclimate 18 miles east of Estelí. The Garcias recognized the region’s untapped potential more than a decade ago. Warm days, cool nights, and fertile black soils produce tobaccos of exceptional flavor, quality, and aroma. Today, over one-third of the private 300-acre estate is dedicated to Shade Grown wrapper on plots shielded from direct sunlight and nourished by the basin’s snaking river. Every leaf of wrapper, binder, and filler harvested for Pasión undergoes a meticulous Triple Fermentation with respect to traditional methods. Profound notes of smoked cashew, leather, cedar, and molasses layer the palate with an extravagant spice and a medium to full-bodied finish. Savor a shining specimen of Garcia family terroir guided by an unwavering dedication to growing, aging, and blending the finest tobaccos in the world.”
SIZES AND PRICING:
Robusto 5.5 x 50 $10.00
Corona Gorda 5.625 x 46 $9.50
Marveloso 6 x 52 $10.75
Encanto 6 x 60 $11.50
Box-Pressed Torpedo 6.125 x 54 $10.95
Churchill 7 x 49 $10.85
The look of the cigar is nothing special. Lots of veinage and seams that are a bit slapdash. It’s light in the hand which means this will be a quick smoke. The triple cap is adequate. The showstopper is the huge Gurkha-like double cigar bands with a teal background, full of gold lettering, and vista backgrounds. The paper brown bag hued wrapper has a nice slice of oiliness covering the entire doughnut.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
Aromas are faint. I do pick up lovely notes of exotic fruits (Fruit Loops), white pepper, milk chocolate, malt, cedar, creamy malt notes, and root beer.
The cold draw presents flavors of milk chocolate, espresso, black pepper, contrasting Caribbean fruit, cedar, and that creamy malt.
The draw is wide open…a bit too much for my tastes; but better than being hard as charcoal. I ignore my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool while it pleads with me to stab something, anything…
THE WHOLE MEGILLAH:
It begins with a touch of sourness. My lips look like Angelina Jolie’s and my cheeks collapse in on themselves. And then moments later, it passes.
The cigar doesn’t give your palate any type of reward at the start. It hinges on some generic sweetness, creaminess, black pepper, milk chocolate, malt, and cedar.
I’ve reviewed some blends lately that couldn’t get their shit together till the second half. I hope we are not going down that same road…but the fact that I don’t get a wake-up call at the beginning of the smoke tells me the cigar is going to be just OK.
With half an inch burned, the cigar seeks out life. A balance of sorts kicks in. Hints of complexity and character are forming themselves out of primordial mud.
The cigar immediately reminds me of mission statement at the start of this review. The cigar feels underfilled and the burn is too warm, which blots out the good stuff. I was hoping not to say this, but it seems most of Garcia’s blends don’t have the quality control they had in their heyday.
The cigar is burning quickly as predicted. I think it will be a 40-minute smoke. Too little for a decent sized Robusto.
The burn goes wonky as it will in poorly constructed cigars.
Self-intrinsic interest by the cigar sends out incremental signs that it wants to be better. I get flashes of character, but they are sporadic at best.
Garcia was AJ before AJ was AJ. I don’t know who is controlling Pepin’s best interests at heart, but they are sloughing off on the job.
It’s taken 10 minutes to smoke 1-3/4”. Using my abacus, I figure this will be less than a 40-minute experience. Bummer.
The cigar, at $10.00, behaves like a $5 stick. Passion for the art of blending is missing.
Due to lack of leaves, there is a constant retort by my palate trying to explain to the bloody cigar that it doesn’t like smoking hot.
Improvement minded; the cigar begins to show some life. Flavors are nearly invisible. I get a finish that is a conundrum of creaminess and cardboard box.
But it does continue on its quest to change my mind.
Character finally appears. Shady, but character, nonetheless.
The mustiness goes back to the rally point and hovers in shame.
That South Pacific and Caribbean fruitiness begins to illuminate the direction this cigar is heading.
Maybe a couple months or so of naked humi time is not enough. Regardless, additional humidor aging will not redact the insufficient guts the cigar possesses.
Typically, a funky burn tells the world “I wasn’t rolled correctly.”
I had truly hoped this review would have been chock full of praise and appreciation. The cigar doesn’t even belong in the $10 price range.
It lumbers along like the time I was on a chain gang in Alabama. (I had flashed the peace sign to a white woman on the street).
This reminds me of an old Groucho Marx quote: “We tried to remove the tusks. But they were embedded so firmly we couldn’t budge them. Of course, in Alabama the Tuscaloosa. But that’s entirely irrelephant to what I’m talking about.”
The burn slows. Clearly, the top half of the cigar is closer to being properly filled than the bottom half.
I want to tell you I can taste some serious blender’s intent here…but I cannot.
It’s becoming like one of those cigars, being pushed by some boutique brands, that it is made of flotsam and jetsam from some obscure Nicaraguan farmer’s barn…long forgotten.
And the cigar has the nerve to be a regular production stick. Holy shit.
The blend struggles like crazy to present a solid front; yet it lingers and reclines in the ‘never was’ category. Double bummer.
This blend is going to fade into a cigar easily gotten on sale or laid bare on cigar auction sites.
Moments increase in which I can taste solid and willful blending.
But it is stopped in its tracks as the heat from the cherry moves quickly to the cap where my delicate lips take up home. If flavors were dominant, the heat might be overlooked. Flavors are strictly there to be pretty but bring no substance to the party.
It is frustrating to get dots, dabs, and dribbles of complexity…only to see them get lost in the mist.
I swear that I thought this was going to be a high praise review. I hate it when a cigar does a double cross.
The cloud of mediocrity causes disinterest on my part, and hence, I have no enthusiasm for the review.
Pandora never lies. The music is blah and never catches my attention.
With only a couple inches to go, I am left disheartened. There is no sweet spot. In fact, there is no spot at all, just a mysterious black hole.
Even a quickly burning cigar seems to go on forever. I’m late on my reviewer union fees so I must keep going.
Strength is negligible. A medium with the goal to fade away completely.
As I near the finish, the cigar proves to be only a 45-minute smoke. A well built Robusto should have at least another 30-45 minutes on top of that. This pisses me off.
Hints of what it could have been, and should have been, glints in little peripheral vision doses.
Even a cigar not truly marinated long enough would have presented me with its vision for the future. The cigar is stuck in quicksand.
The last 1-1/2” is hot. No harshness per se…but still has no redeeming factors.
I see no point in continuing.
You don’t want this cigar.
Big sigh of disappointment.
See y’all on the flip side…
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS