Monthly Recap – January 2015 – Jeremy Hensley Edition
At the start of 2014, I began tracking each and every cigar I have smoked. Well, I may have missed one or two. Based on discussions I’ve seen on Twitter and questions on this site and others, I decided to compile some information that I thought you might find interesting.
January 2015 Recap
Number of Cigars Smoked: 14
Of those smoked:
- Purchased: 5 or 36%
- Gifted: 3 or 21%
- Samples Provided: 6 or 43%
Of those purchased:
- Brick & Mortar: 1 or 20%
- Online: 4 or 80%
The frigid cold weather that swept through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan during the month of January significantly reduced the number of cigars I was able to smoke. I found myself pulling out my pipe most evenings rather than lighting up a cigar. Having more control of the smoking time with a pipe, I found it to be much more convenient as an hour and a half smoke was out of question. Kip Fisher of Half Ashed recommended several pipe tobaccos to me, which I purchased and have been smoking through. Once I develop my palate a bit more with pipes and pipe tobacco, I would like to begin publishing monthly pipe reviews. Hopefully sometime around the 2nd quarter of the year, I will have my first pipe tobacco review up!
I was pleasantly surprised by the King David. The mild to medium flavors were easy on the palate and the natural tobacco sweetness rounded out the profile. The performance was exceptional with a mostly even burn, firm ash, and copious amount of smoke production. The only downfall I noted was the bitterness in the final third that can be easily avoided by slowing my pace. This is a cigar I would reach for first thing in the morning as the sweetness in the cigar would compliment a black cup o’ Joe.
The cigar evolved in each third but it never lost its identity made up with sweet woodsy notes and pepper spice. Each sample I smoked delivered consistent profiles, but one performed exceptional in the area of performance with its burn and smoke production, while the other rated only fair. For a price around $8, I can recommend a box-slit of the Bull & Bear.
The chalky mouth-feel and non-evolving flavor profile did not strike me as a $13 cigar. However, the flavors the stick showcased were all well balanced and easily enjoyed. As I mentioned above, the sweetness finally came into play in the final third eliminating the chalky mouth-feel. The second sample I smoked for pictures had a sweetness from the first puff to the very end and no chalk mouth was experienced. If the Edicion Maduro 1962 commonly smokes like the second sample with the added sweetness, I can see this being an option for a celebratory smoke. But if the intentional profile is that of the first sample (which is the one I reviewed), I would be celebrating with a different cigar.
Right off the bat you are smacked in the face with a huge, huge pepper blast that I didn’t expect. After the pepper settles down a bit the cigar shows off some great cedar flavors wrapped around cashew, pine, and lots of natural tobacco. The more I smoke this cigar the more I pick up some saltiness and mossy flavors buried in there. The cigar finishes nice and bold which isn’t usually the case in Ecuadorian shade cigars.
This is a seriously good cigar. The deep flavors, complex profile, and unique characteristics makes it a great cigar to have in your regular rotation for those time when you are craving something a little different. While I had some slight issues with the burn, it wasn’t anything that ever really turned me off of the cigar, and as I stated before the flavor trade off was well worth it.
While the Montecristo Relentless is a good cigar, it left quite a bit to be desired, especially in the flavor department. The cigar seldom switched up, and the flavors became pretty muted and muddy from the halfway point on. This may actually be appealing to those who want a solid, medium body cigar and especially those of you who are looking for a great morning coffee smoke
It’s a strong cigar that delivers a bold experience and probably isn’t recommended for those new to smoking. This is another great addition to the Microblend series and I jumped all over Illusione being inducted into the series as they are probably one of, if not my favorite cigar company out right now. The Pactum, to me, seemed liked an Ultra/Gigantes hybrid, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s a great cigar, at a great price, with a great experience.
Guest Reviews by Jeff Oda
Despite the somewhat inauspicious pre-light character, the Vault D-042 proved to be a solid, if not “wow”-type cigar, with flavors that I found enjoyable and the construction, draw, and burn were all very good. Only a couple of quick touch-ups were required, and no re-lights.
The construction of the cigar was great and only required one re-light when I let it sit a bit too long. I also really like the size of this little pudgy guy (hey, that’s me!), although I would like to see what it would be like in a corona-ish size. I would also like to pick up a few more to let sit in my humidor for a few months or so to see how that might meld everything a bit more. The price tag may seem a bit high for a 4” stick, but an hour and a quarter of smoke time puts it right in the realm of a standard robusto and close to a toro, so I think it’s a reasonable asking price. I think it’s a cigar that is well worth checking out.