About a week ago, Jimmy Zaid, co-owner of JSR Cigar Distributors, reached out to Casas Fumando to see if we would be interested in taking a look at his Inception cigars. This cigar is not to be confused with Ezra Zion’s Inception. The Inception is the only offering from JSR and is available in three vitolas: 288 Robusto, 518 Corona, and BCD Torpedo. Being the first time I heard about this line of cigars, I went over to their website to see what they are all about. This is what www.inceptioncigars.com has to say:
Founded in 2012 by powerhouse brothers Jimmy and Ronnie Zaid, Inception Cigars is the result of years of hard work and dedication in an effort to to fill a void in the cigar market. Through their company, JSR Cigar Distributors and along with Alec Bradley, the Zaid brothers have crafted a line of cigars that is sure to delight even the most discriminating clientele.
The unique and complex flavors of Inception Cigars come hand selected by the brothers themselves, after hearing firsthand what cigar aficionados are looking for. Truly a rare gem, Inception cigars are as close to perfect in character, aroma and quality as it gets. Made from some of the worlds richest tobaccos from the world’s top producing countries; the blend in Inception will surely appeal to anyone. If you seek a highly refined and luxurious cigar brand for a special occasion or have a moment to enjoy yourself each day, make Inception your cigar of choice.
Samples provided by JSR Cigar Distributors
MSRP: $7.00 per Cigar / $140 per Box of 20
Size: 6 ½ by 46
Wrapper: Nicaraguan – Cuban Seed 98′ Criollo
Binder: Costa Rican – Cuban Seed 98′ Criollo
Filler: Mexican, Honduran & Nicaraguan – Cuban Seed Habano
Smoke Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
The first thing I notice is the heftiness of this Inception 518. While it is stated as a corona, this 6 ½ by 46 cigar feels much more like a Churchill in my hand. The basic band has a black background and the word “Inception”, a crown emblem, and a flame-like design in metallic red. Both sides of the band contain the vitola name “518”, which is also in the metallic red.
The Criollo wrapper has a rustic appeal with a dark red hue much like iron ore. Spending my childhood in a mining town, my clothes were often stained with the rusty red color of iron ore. The cigar is firmly packed, with only one soft spot just above the band. There are two small tears in the wrapper and a small slit down the cap which is otherwise a neatly applied cap. Off the wrapper, I am met with barnyard, earth, and a caramel sweetness. The foot brings out a rich tobacco aroma, while the cold draw highlights a clove flavor and has the least amount of resistance.
Upon torching the foot, I am greeted with a myriad of spices. The spices are ranging from white pepper to cinnamon and nutmeg. I feel a minor spice hit in the very back of my throat. As I make my way down into the first third of the Inception 518, I note some black coffee. There is a little sweetness but it is not standing out enough to put my finger on it. Possibly a honey like flavor. The grey, flaky ash held on for just over an inch. My mouth has been drying out with each puff. Almost like eating a spoonful of cinnamon. I will be keeping a glass of water close by. The burn line has remained wavy throughout the first third requiring one touch-up.
Being the father of two, I am usually interrupted during my “Cigar Time”. So it is much appreciated when a cigar can stay lit for a handful of minutes as I tend to my children. I sat the Inception 518 down for at least three minutes and when I returned it was still producing smoke, and ready to go after a quick puff or two. The flavor has developed to more earthy and woodsy tones, with the cinnamon and nutmeg still hanging around. I continue to pick up on the honey like sweetness as soon as the smoke hits my tongue, but it is quickly overridden by the more dominant flavors. The mouth feel is very chalky, and my large glass of water is coming in handy. The finish is bitter with some citrus notes. The burn continues in its old ways making me pull out the torch one more time.
As I transition into the final third, the cinnamon and nutmeg spices depart from the profile leaving coffee and toasty flavors. I continue to pick up on the pepper but the spice sting has resided. The retrohale is very smooth delivering wood and earth notes. As I approach the final inch and a half, the flavors have become muted, but the strength is still in full force. The mouth feel has shifted from chalky to oily, which is much more enjoyable. The final third of the Inception required no touch-ups and the burn line was just about perfect.
The Inception 518 delivered some unique spices and, overall, the construction held up. The two minor touch-ups took nothing away from the cigar and I loved that it stayed lit even after a few minutes of having my attention elsewhere. Because of the mouth dryness I experienced from this cigar, I will be revisiting the other two vitolas with a drink other than water. When I first lit up this cigar I was instantly reminded of the Gran Habano Habano # 3 which delivers the cinnamon and nutmeg spices and also has the same drying effect on my palate. Here is a list of tobaccos used in the # 3, which is crazy similar to the Inception: Costa Rican, Nicaraguan and Mexican longfillers, Nicaraguan binder and a Nicaraguan criollo wrapper. I know, I know. The above statement is overly simplified, however, I picked up many flavor similarities between the sticks. With JSR Cigar Distributors being a Texas company, I am hopeful to see some of their cigars in my neck of the woods in the near future, as long as they don’t forget that El Paso is part of the State of Texas.
When provided the opportunity to pair a cigar with a beverage of choice, after reviewing with my usual water pairing, I will do a brief review of my experience with either coffee, beer, wine, etc…. I will not focus on the normal breakdown of thirds, but focus on the overall smoking experience.
Being aware of the cinnamon and nutmeg flavors, along with the drying effect the Inception 518 had on my palate, I sought out a beer that would be refreshing and crisp. I grabbed an Ommegang’s BPA (Belgian-style Pale Ale) which weighs in at a 6.2 ABV and the Inception 288 Robusto. The BPA offered a nice crisp fruity profile, much like a cider, that was not only refreshing but left me in anticipation of the next sip. The crisp apple notes balanced nicely with the cinnamon/nutmeg profile of the Inception. Everyone loves cinnamon in their cider, right? The beer assisted in the recovery of my palate but I still caught myself drinking much quicker than I was smoking. The pairing worked well, but I would recommend having a few BPAs on hand.