Thursday, April 28, 2011

Berger & Argenti Classico Rothchild

Size: 5 X 50
Shape: Rothschild
Origin: Esteli, Nicaragua
Body: Medium - Full
Wrapper: Ecuadorian "Desflorado" Connecticut
Binder: Nicaraguan Corjo
Filler: Nicaraguan

Now that the frigid days of winter are behind us, one would think they could venture outside for a smoke with the temperature hanging out in the 50s and 60s for the last week. However, you have to remember that it is April and we all know what that means. I think an old idiom says it best, “April showers bring May flowers.”

So with my tail firmly between my legs I retreated indoors once again to the comfortable confines of my local tobacconist. The smoke for the day: the Berger & Argenti Clasico Rothschild.

I'll tell you what, Berger & Argenti make one good looking cigar. Sliding this guy out of its cellophane, I immediately noticed how smooth, silky, and evenly colored the wrapper on this stick was.

After that cursory glance at this beautiful stick, I went straight for the head. Snip! Prelight flavors in the nose were of sugar cane and rich, fertile earth. Drawing on this guy displayed notes of sugar cane and leather on the palate. This was shaping up to be one sweet little smoke.

Without a moment to spare, I put flame to the foot of this baby. Immediately, I was soothed by the sweet sugar cane flavor, awakened by the coffee notes, and saddled with the notes of leather that flooded my palate on first light.

Progressing through the first quarter, the notes of sugar cane, earth, and leather held strong and mingled, creating a complex experience on the palate. Pure notes of unsullied tobacco goodness made themselves present at first as well. These were most noticeable when the three main flavor notes mingled perfectly.

Once the second quarter began, I started to take note of the body of this stick. At first it felt like a medium bodied cigar at best, but by the second quarter, it became clear that I was smoking a delicious medium-full bodied smoke. As I made this discovery, I also noted how well the flavors were holding on. No bitterness had crept in and I continued to be in a state of pure cigar heaven.

Unfortunately, my bliss was not to last. A sharp note accompanied by a lingering bitterness became present during the third quarter of the Rothschild, taking focus away from the delicious flavors that this cigar was providing. By the end of the third quarter, I could no longer stand to smoke this stick due to the intensity of the bitterness in the profile.

Setting this guy down, I pondered how a cigar that could start off with such a phenomenal profile could deteriorate to quickly towards the end. I suppose this could be likened to a runner with poor training. If you sprint out of the gate and don't pace yourself, you're sure to lose in the end. Sadly for this smoker, this is just what the Clasico Rothschild did.

Presentation: 8/10 – I really love Berger & Argenti's bands. They're classy and simple and I like that. I have to take a point off because there is nothing attention grabbing about it. Spotting this stick from across the room may be a challenge.

Appearance: 9/10 – This is a great looking cigar. The wrapper is smooth and unwrinkled, there are very few visible veins, it has a nice oily sheen, and the color is very consistent. Top notch.

Construction: 33/35 – The draw was effortless on this firmly packed beauty. I did have a few burn problems though.

Flavor: 38/45 – This smoke started off very strong with sugar cane, earth, and leather notes dominating the profile. Unfortunately, the delicious experience that I started out with deteriorated into an extremely bitter one by the end.

Overall: 88/100 – As usual, Berger & Argenti nail the presentation and appearance of the cigar. The construction is very good, providing an effortless draw. This time, the flavor was even wonderful... right up until the half way point. I think that this is a cigar that I may try again, but just for the first half. I guarantee that the second half of a Clasico Rothschild and I will probably never cross paths again.