Sunday, September 5, 2010

Berger & Argenti Classico Belicoso

Size: 5 ¾ X 50
Shape: Belicoso
Origin: Nicaragua
Body: Medium - Full
Wrapper: Equadoran “Desflorado” Connecticut
Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo
Filler: Nicaraguan
Smoke Clock: 1 hr 2 mins

As most of you know, I’ve working in Cortland all summer. With the season at Cortland Repertory drawing to a close, we all find temporary housing with members of the theatre’s board. The fellow that I’m staying with has a gorgeous home and a fantastic open air balcony on which to smoke, and, taking full advantage of this new convenience, I found my way onto the balcony, still in my night wear, with a delicious Berger & Argenti Clasico to keep me company.

Before I pulled this stick out of the cellophane, I thought it was pretty attractive. After I actually removed it, I discovered that the cellophane had hidden this cigar’s true beauty. The wrapper is a gorgeous light brown with only slight darkening towards the head, deliciously oily, and smooth as a baby’s bottom.

The pre-light aroma revealed scents of subtly sweet spice, earth, and leather with hints of fruit and manure (a scent that I associate with excellent tobacco). There was spice in the draw pre-light with hints of minerals which reminded me a little of a multi-vitamin. I knew cigars were good for you!

After gently toasting the foot, I lit up and experienced leather, pepper, and a subtle raisin note which were supported by a subdued sweetness which remained throughout the smoke.

The first quarter revealed how a good cigar can establish itself at first light and then interweave and develop those flavors. Raisin notes slowly transformed into an overall fruit like experience, allowing me to experience peach, fig, and raisin notes at different periods in the first quarter. Spice mingled with the fruit flavors to create a piquant sweetness that was both delightful and surprising. Pepper still stood out on its own with leather still hanging around in the background. What a way to begin!

Even though motorcycles buzzed, cars zipped, and trucks roared by on the little road below, my focus remained fastened to the evolution that this cigar was making. As this smoke eased into the second quarter, the piquant fruit notes slowly gave way to an overall toasted butter experience with leather emerging as the dominant focus in the profile. A slight cashew note crept in as the smoke become full and chewy.

The third quarter and finish remained fairly true to second quarter, even though the most subtle cocoa note crept in just before the finish began.

I finally set down the nub of this tasty smoke with a full sense of satisfaction, ready to actually get dressed and start the day. This cigar was an excellent smoke, and one that I may soon repeat.

Presentation: 6/10 – This cigar is presented simply and elegantly, with a band that makes me think I’ll be smoking a law firm instead of a cigar. Not a whole lot of points for creativity or originality though.

Appearance: 9/10 – The wrapper on this stick is a gorgeous light brown color with some slight darkening towards the head. It is smooth and mouth wateringly oily with no cracks, bumps or dents. A nice long vein runs the length of this stick.

Construction: 30/35 – The pack was firm and consistent with no soft spots detected. However, the draw was a little tight but didn’t ultimately negatively affect the experience.

Flavor: 43/45 – The flavors in this cigar were well presented and blended, providing an excellent sense of evolution and cohesion in the blend. Even though the smoke starts off complex, it eases the smoker into a soft and comforting euphoria which I highly recommend you experience for yourself.

Overall: 88/100 – This is a beautiful cigar which is well constructed and masterfully blended. If you haven’t given this stick a try, I highly recommend that you pick up a few to experience this stick for yourself. Trust me, you won’t regret it.


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