Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cohiba Siglo I

4x40 Half Corona

It is a fantastic day outside, and I have decided to smoke something sort of special to enjoy it, the Cohiba Siglo I. In all fairness, this will be my first experience with the Cuban Cohiba brand. Needless to say, I'm excited to see if this little minuto lives up to the brand name hype. The Cohiba brand is certainly one of, if not the most, well known cigar marcas to come out of Cuba. The Siglo line is a series of 6 sizes, ranging from this half corona up to the massive canonazo Siglo VI, with pretty much everything in between filling out the other 4 sizes.

This cigar features a golden caramel colored wrapper, with a fine hairy tooth all over it, and a slick oil sheen to it. The wrapper features only a fine network of veins, and no blemishes or sunspots. The construction is fantastic, featuring a well lined triple cap, and tight, straight seams. The foot offers a fine, bready toast aroma, with just a slight floral nuance, as well as a hearty tobacco scent. The cold draw is just slightly snug, and offers a wide range of subtlety, from acidic citrus and grass flavors, to smooth cream and chocolate.

Lit at 1:40pm

The Siglo I lights very easily, toasting in mere seconds, and immediately offers a big blast of smoke, and flavors of sweet cream, dark chocolate, and a touch of citrus and grass, with a dash of a spice bite on the finish. This cigar is impressively well balanced even right here at the start.

The first third brings cocoa and black coffee core flavors, with citrus and floral dashes here and there (especially through the nose), and a delicate cream undertone to everything ties it all together. The burn is fantastic, never wavering. The draw is just a hair tighter than medium, and produces massive amounts of smoke. The ash holds well for just about the entire first third, and falls, leaving a clean, straight line, in a big chunk into the ash tray.

Getting a few draws into the second third, the basic flavor profile remains the same coffee and cocoa core, with floral and citrus notes, but with the addition of a dark, woody element. The creamy texture, flavor, and overall feel to this cigar still serves to just accentuate the subtle nuances, and really set this one a bit beyond other cigars it's size, which in many cases just do not have time to achieve this sort of complexity. The spicy finish initially present sort of comes and goes, never lingering for long, but popping in just to make sure you are still paying attention every once in a few draws.

In the final third, the only real change is that the stick starts to get a little hot which is likely just due to the size, ring gauge specifically. The burn and draw have remained consistently great throughout, and the flavor profile, while not changing a whole lot, has retained a level of complexity that I have never gotten, and never expected to get, from a cigar of this vitola.

Ended at 2:40, for a total smoke time of an hour. This, admittedly, was smoking pretty slowly, likely slower than many people would smoke a cigar of this size.

Perhaps the only real downside to this cigar is the cost. At 7 or 8 dollars each, they are a bit steep for the size, and resulting smoke time. For me personally, however, the vitola is actually one of my favorites, and the cost is worth it to have some of these on hand for when I want something special, but small.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Liga Privada T-52 Flying Pig

4x60 figurado

One of those (unfortunately) limited release cigars that has gotten a lot of buzz in the last year or two (including the No.9 Flying Pig), the T-52 Flying Pig is certainly a perfect example of what has allowed Drew Estate to really move in and take a position of influence in the traditional cigar world (where before they were known for their infused cigars, the Liga Privada lines, which the Flying Pig is a limited edition portion of, have really put Drew Estate on the map among smokers of... normal cigars)

The T-52 blend features a stalk cut Habano wrapper, a Brazilian binder, and a mix of Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers. As I have noticed with the other LP cigars, the Flying Pig is dark, oily, and toothy, and has a distinct sweet aroma, mixing floral and chocolate notes. The construction on this chubby perfecto is flawless, with a cool tightly wound pig tail cap, and a pig nose foot. The cold draw is free, and gives flavors of sweet chocolate, and a considerable earthy pepper spice. Even the cold draw leaves your palate oily, which really says something about the wrapper leaf used for the T-52.

Lit at 3:55pm.

Right away the flavor profile is spicy and meaty. It literally has a seared meat flavor, as well as an underlying sweetness that balances nicely with the considerable spice kick. The loose draw would be a problem, but smoke production is so impressive that it actually doesn't matter that the draw is almost too loose. Sitting idle in the ashtray, huge puffs of smoke come off the foot. This cigar was built to burn well. Even the tapered foot is burning really easily, and surprisingly evenly for the shape.

Burning just past the rounded foot, the flavor profile starts to change a little bit. The spice has come back a bit, just a gentle tickle that sits in the back of the throat, while the draw offers sweet cocoa, and bitter dark coffee notes. The seared meat flavor is more leathery now. The mouth feel is extremely oily and dense, and the almost overwhelming smoke production only serves to accentuate that.

The ash is firm, and a light grey color, with a ton of tooth visible in little blobs and pockets. The burn line, while not RAZOR sharp, is just shy of it. Draw remains free, and produces massive amounts of rich oily smoke. The flavor profile, just hitting the second third has become even darker, black coffee and earthy cocoa. The spice continues much the same, lingering at the back of the throat.

Just passing the halfway mark, and the ash is still there. It hasn't fallen once, which is likely a combination of the large ring gauge, and the great construction. It's very cool, regardless of the reason, especially so because of the shape. The flavor profile remains the same, black coffee, a bit of bitter dark chocolate, and an earthy leather and pepper finish. Through the nose a floral note, like the one present before lighting is there, sort of in and out, but it is delicate, and doesn't really stand up to the bold powerful flavors that dominate otherwise.

Ash still is holding on at the band point, something that never happens, regardless of what cigar we are talking about, at least in my experience. Flavor profile just gets richer and darker as it burns. Flavors are basically the same as the regular T-52, but accentuated, elevated, richer, bolder... Not something that you would typically think to be the case when the ring gauge is LARGER on a cigar from other sizes in the line, as typically larger rings mean less potency. Another thing that impresses me is just how big and full the body and flavor are on this cigar, without the strength being above medium, maybe medium-full, unlike the regular T-52, which I think of as being a good bit stronger.

Ended at 5:35 for a total smoke time of one hour and forty minutes, which is a long time for any 4 inch cigar, and is great when it is this good. Highly recommended for anyone who has enjoyed any of the Liga Privada cigars in the past. For me, this might be a better release even than the much praised Dirty Rat, released around the same time.