Saturday, 31 August 2019

Review ~ Ave Maria Divinia on my 2nd Alaska Cruise (7/10)


 I'm finally getting round to posting this review from my 2019 cruise reviews and stuff notes! You know what would be SUPER awesome?? A cigar cruise, departing from Seattle, that I could hope to afford! Or even a well planned cigar event or two on a cruise that I can take. I mean, there are always at least a couple other cigar smokers on the smoking deck at some point in the time it takes to enjoy a stick, but it's just not the same as an intentional gathering.
Not much beats relaxing with my dog after a great meal with a fine cigar, awesome coffee, and the wind in my hair in the middle of the sea! 

I didn't get the chance to smoke as many cigars as planned on my most recent cruise, but this was definitely a good stick for the 2 hours I had free to smoke on the day in question. 

Right out of the cellophane, I noticed great, solid construction, no defects on the cap, as some seem to have noted, and a delicious smell. 
The dry draw was also promising, tasting of well aged tobacco, with a mellow, earthy sweetness and just a hint of spice. 

It lit pretty well, especially considering that I was on an open deck and we were travelling at around 21 nautical miles per hour at the time. First puff delivered as promised - mellow, silky, slightly sweet, earthy, with more of a smell than taste of coffee grounds, and full of undefined, but full bodied flavour. From the beginning, the burn was nice and even, despite the wind factor, and produced a good, firm, grey white ash that wouldn't let go before the 1.5" mark, at least. The spice wasn't really evident at all until almost into the second third, which is also when some of the other, previously undefined flavours began to take shape. Alongside the mild, black pepper, a roasty, toasty (not to be confused with toast), mildly sweet, almost creamy taste began coating the roof of my mouth, and shortly after, hints of strong coffee and dark chocolate than came and went until the last third. 
Overall, the flavour is far more mild than I had been anticipating, and would have preferred it to pack more of a punch, but I do tend to favour sticks on the very strong end of the spectrum, so others may disagree with me there. 
Either way, the mild profile did not negate its great taste, mouthfeel, draw, or burn. 
All in all, a nice smoke for an afternoon, a probably a good intro to "fuller bodied" cigars too, for those who want to venture out a bit and put a toe in stronger waters. 
I'm giving it a solid 7/10.


Saturday, 24 August 2019

Review ~ Nub 460 Connecticut (7/10)



This isn't really the sort of cigar I generally buy, as it just doesn't fit my preferred flavour, strength, or type profiles in the least, but it came in a sampler a long time ago, and I had decided to start smoking some of the sticks in my humis that fall outside of my normal rotation.

Cigars International describes it thusly;

"smooth, silky wrapper. Mellow and creamy to start, with a rich, somewhat sweet core. The aftertaste is toasty, but crisp. Toasted cedar through the nose. Medium-bodied with a rich, milky texture."

I'm just gonna go with a "stream of consciousness", sort of vibe on this review, and transcribe my thoughts and comments as I smoked it. Is this the way reviews are "normally" done? No. Do I look normal to you?? That's what I thought!


By the way, I didn't read any descriptions of the stick before I smoked it, as I didn't want any unconscious bias butting in, especially considering I was already starting out with my own bias, ready to put my nose in the air and declare it "boring" just on principle, due to my typical preferred smokes. 


Paired with single origin, organic, Peruvian, meduim-dark roast coffee, served hot with a bit of Milo and 1/2 & 1/2.

"Hmm... Toast.

Ooh. Creamy.

Oh, it's buttery... Like BUTTERED toast!

*smack smack smacking lips*

So much toast! And it's so buttery and creamy!

Oh! And now it's kinda sweet too.

*more lip smacking*

Look at all these huge billows of creamy, white smoke!

Mmmm. Now there's this hint of woodsy cedar adding to the mix.
This is actually pretty nice!

It's like... having sweet cream, buttered toast with my coffee on the back deck of a forest cabin.

Wow! Who knew such a mild little cigar could be so yummy?
Oh, well, I guess Oliva knew - Duhhhh.
Man! This is really nice for such a mild stick.

I might actually have to get a few more of these for breakfast/morning coffee cigars."
I smoked it alllll the way down to the.. well, Nub!

So, there you have it!

 Even for this die-hard, bold and strong fanatic/snob, the Nub 460 is a treat, and it's getting, believe it or not, a 7/10, which is practically unheard of from me, for something this low key.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Review ~ JFR Lunatic Habano Short Robusto (5/10)

This was the featured cigar at this months Tulalip Resort Casino Cigar Night.

Coming in at #7 in Cigar Aficionado's top 10 rated cigars of 2018, and boasting a CA rating of 93, the JFR Lunatic Habano should have been something to write home about - one would think.

On initial inspection, the stick looks beautiful - smooth and sleek, with a nice, slight sheen, solid construction, and is presented with a golden, foil wrap, which, when removed, reveals a lovely,  partially closed foot.

According to Cigar Aficionado,

    "The cigar is profoundly nutty (no pun intended) with precise notes of cashew and walnut wonderfully layered atop a core of coffee bean",
 and Cigars International says it is,
    "Exploding with notes of roasted nuts, earth, toast and coffee".

 Taking in the aroma of the unlit beauty, it seems all those promises will be delivered, in abundance. It smells like a high end sweets store, specialising in chocolates and nuts, and my expectations are in line with the rating.

The light was practically effortless (I use the light and cut method - AKA, La Méthode de Jacques Puisais), and the draw was smooth right off the bat, though it didn't really seem to taste like much at all. No biggie - That is often the case at the beginning of a stick, though less common with the medium to full bodied smokes, as this one purports to be.

After the first several puffs though, the only description I could come up with for the flavour profile was, "confusing".

Initially, there was a very slight peppery hint, followed by just kind of generic, any-cigar flavour, light and smooth, with a decent amount of smoke and solid ash. Pleasant, but not especially noteworthy.

Once it got to about 1/3rd down, a bit of an earthy, almost grassy flavour revealed itself. Not quite earth and not quite grass, but more, as I described to a fellow attendee, kind of tasted like the scent of the bottom of a piece of sod. Now, I know that may not sound very nice out loud (or in print), but it really isn't at all an  unpleasant aroma. If you've ever done landscaping, you know what I mean. If not, just take my word that it is a nice, early summertime, outdoorsy, nostalgic kind of smell that feels like lying on the lawn after a good day's work.

As it got closer to the last 1/3rd, the pepper resurfaced, this time more distinguishable as perhaps white pepper. Again, not strongly at all. Just a touch to linger on the tongue and back of the throat.

It was smokable all the way down to just into the last 1/4, before it tasted "done".
My initial instinct was to label this stick as "bland" or "boring", but the truth is that it is simply a lot milder and more subtle than I tend to prefer in my smokes.

Bottom line, despite my disappointment (my sponsor says the definition of expectations is premeditated disappointment. I concur!), it is a decent tasting, pleasant cigar, and,  at $6 a stick, if you like mild to medium, not too complex cigars, worth a try, as long as you're not expecting it to taste like the unlit version smells, or like the advertisers say it does.

While I wont be buying any more of the habanos, I actually DID buy a couple of the Maduros to try, figuring they may be more to my liking. One to smoke in a few days, and another to leave in the humidor for a few months and see how it ages. So, we'll see how those go.

I give this one a 5/10, meaning just average, but not at all bad. YMMV. 



As an addendum, seeing as pretty much everyone at the event I spoke to or overheard seemed to have a very similar experience, combined with the fact that there was some issue with this shipment being late in arriving, meaning that it may have spent more time in transit than usual, and the box may NOT have spent as much time in the humi before we got them... It occurs to me that this could have been a factor. So, if the Maduro versions are good after some time in my humidor, I may see about trying another one of these, or at least giving them the benefit of the doubt.