Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nick's Sticks Maduro Robusto

Size: 5 X 52
Shape: Robusto
Origin: Nicaragua
Body: Medium
Wrapper: Triple Fermented Nicaraguan Maduro
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Smoke Clock: 52 mins

Nicks Sticks

After a long week of 12 hour days, things finally started to slow down and I was able to take some time to relax. I woke up ready to relax, only to discover that it was raining. Fortunately, this didn’t damper my spirits too much because I knew how I’d be spending the morning relaxing with a great cigar.

The stick for the morning turned out to be another Nick’s Stick, only this time the Maduro. This stick turned out to be significantly different than its brother, but the differences are what make this stick sing.

Sliding this cigar out of the cellophane, I noticed how dark and oily the wrapper was. Light gleamed from the reflective surface of this oily smooth beauty. Needless to say, this stick was love at first sight.

Once I had a look at it, I couldn’t wait to put a flame to it. Having already brewed some tea, I quickly poured a cup, stepped outside, put this stick to my lips, and lit. First light flavors were of caramel and cocoa. MmmmMmmmm! These flavors continued throughout the cigar, intermingling with a rich earthen background and the occasional leather note.

Into the second quarter, I made note of how consistent the caramel and cocoa flavors were. They remained pure, rich, and dominant while allowing for a great deal of depth to exist beneath them. Occasionally sipping on my green tea with honey elevated the caramel notes to beautiful heights before allowing them to slip gently back into the mix. Despite the fantastic flavors of this stick, this was about the time that the runs began and unfortunately, they never stopped.

Despite the runs, the flavor profile of this stick continued to woo me with its sweet depth and complexity, allowing the rain to become a soothing, cleansing presence. The third quarter remained much the same, with some leather notes peaking out and then retreating into the background to allow the caramel and cocoa to remain the fore-runners in the blend.

When I put this stick down, I was left incredibly impressed by the experience this cigar had given me. Particularly impressive were the purity, consistency, and depth of the flavor profile as well as the overwhelmingly smooth draw.

Remaining outdoors for a few minutes longer, I reveled in the peace of the falling rain, savoring the lingering flavors of heaven on my lips

Presentation: 8/10 – Although not particularly classy, the band on this stick has a certain character to it that I appreciate. It makes me think brick and mortar and I like that.

Appearance: 8/10 – This wrapper is oily, smooth, and consistent in color. The rich earthen tone that the wrapper has is truly beautiful. Top notch.

Construction: 32/35 – This was a tough one. The pack of the cigar was rock solid despite some softening at the foot. The draw was incredibly wide open, making for an effortless and easy smoke. The problem here was the burn. The burn was incredibly uneven, resulting in two huge runs that needed the attention of a lighter.

Flavor: 44/45 – The profile that this cigar offers is impeccable. Caramel and cocoa flavors supported by rich earth tones which were incredibly deep and complex. Light wafts of leather helped to keep the smoke interesting. The profile never became bitter, even towards the end. The body actually caught me towards the end, which makes me thing this cigar is more medium-full than a solid medium. This was a fantastic smoke, to say the least.

Overall: 92/100 – The only drawback to this cigar was the burn. Other than that, you’re looking at another fantastic offering by Padron. One thing I do feel warrants mentioning is the price point. For quality like this, you’re getting a serious bargain. I’d say that Nick’s Sticks maduro is comparable to the 1926, and at a significantly lower price. I’ve already ordered my box from Rocky’s and I highly recommend you do the same. I have a feeling that these sticks are going to age extremely well. This is a deal that you just can’t beat.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Kurt Kendal 's 7-20-4

Size: 5 5/8 X 46
Shape: 7-20-4
Origin: Honduras
Body: Medium - Full
Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina
Binder: Columbia
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran, Mexican
Smoke Clock: 1 hr

7-20-4 Cigars

It was a clear and breezy day in the city when a man, clad only in blue jeans and a light jacket, crept outdoors onto the terrace of his apartment building to stealthily enjoy his cigar. What was the cigar that crept along with him, you might ask. Why none other than K.A. Kendall’s 7-20-4.

With finesse he flicked open his torch lighter, providing flame to fuel the burning beauty he so sought. As the fumes rose high, the first impressions he received were of leather and caramel. Both of these notes carried through the first quarter of this stick, dancing around each other in a mysterious tango full of beauty and seduction.

He puffed with decadence, allowing the breeze to waft and carry away the smokey tendrils as he blew into the passing wind. Delight carried him along as the leather and caramel notes from the first quarter had carried over into the second. But wait, interrupting his solitude and harmony came a note of bitterness which slowly overcame the previous beauty of the blend.

This bitterness continued into the third quarter of his smoke, disturbing him deeply. Suddenly, a dark toasted caramel note appeared, support by some light compost. Sadly, both of these delectable notes surfaced deep within the profile, allowing the bitterness to maintain dominance through the end of the stick.

In defense of this stick, the man justified that the bitterness aspired to become coffee and chocolate notes. However, the amount of bitterness was just too much and he finally set the stick down.

Despite the rough ending to his smoke, the man found 7-20-4 to be satisfying up to the mid-point and hung onto the pleasure he experienced then. Considering a second attempt in the future, he snuck his way back indoors, away from the bitter memory of the 7-20-4’s end and onto other tasty conquests.

Presentation: 8/10 – The band is lovely and classic and an excellent reproduction of the original band on the original 7-20-4 from the early 1900s. A cedar sleeve is nice for aging, but, in this reviewer’s opinion, not for presentation. Sure, it looks nice, but it obscures what I really want to see: the wrapper.

Appearance: 8/10 – Upon removal of the cedar sleeve, a beautiful dark brown, oily, and toothy wrapper is revealed. The color on the wrapper is consistent, 1 vein runs the length of the cigar, and the oily sheen is simply mouth watering.

Construction: 32/35 – This stick was firm throughout with no soft or hard spots, the draw was very good, and the burn very even. Nice construction.

Flavor: 35/45 – Prelight notes were vegetal with earth and caramel in the background. The first 2 quarters were great until a powerful bitter note crept in and muddied up the whole experience. After reading a few other reviews, I am surprised by this, as no one else seems to have had an experience like this.

Overall: 82/100 – This stick was well constructed, presented a beautiful wrapper, and provided a great smoke through nearly the first half of the cigar. The second half really messed it up for me. I am seriously considering trying another as no one else seems to have had an experience like mine. I’m willing to chalk it up to random chance, but can’t in good conscience give this stick a score based on presumption. I’d recommend giving this stick a try though. Even if you wind up having a similar experience to mine, the first half is totally worth it.