Category Archives: Cigar Reviews

Right On Henshaw Street.

henshaw street

Flatbed’s (latest) release: HENSHAW STREET (is) a back road tribute. (No.  I don’t know what the latter means and the latest is 2016.  I printed this straight from the copy.) Perfectly rolled with a perfect burn…razor sharp.  An earthy, countryfied, old-school blend.  It’ll take you back to when cigars were cigars.  Just leaf.  No coloring, no flavoring, no “infusing.”  No trying to hide, flavor, or cover up an inferior leaf.  This cigar is going to rival our “Kentucky Fire Cured”, and “Peacemaker” meteoric releases!  Flatbedders have been ravin’ ’bout (sic) it already! Grab this cigar and your favorite chair.  Put on some Allman Brothers or Lynyrd Skynyrd and just kick back.  You”ll see why I call it a …back road tribute.  (I’ll have to give that phrase some serious thought.)

The dark, chocolaty (sic) wrapper is from Mexico’s San Andres Valley.  Binder is Cuban seed, Dominican grown.  The filler is Pennsylvania 41; Dominican and Nicaraguan Ligero, and Seco Cubano.  

Box of 20!

Cigar Size is 6 1/2 x 53

********

Ok.  That’s what Paul Bush of Flatbed Cigars has to say.  Now it’s my turn.

henshaw st

Clip!  Spicey from the first draw.  Habanero. West Virginia.  Decent draw.  (I never could figure out why “Moon River” was included in Capote’s classic short story “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” that morphed into a movie anyway.)

What does smooth and creamy really mean? Synonymous with smooth: mellow, mild, agreeable or pleasant.  I chose the latter. Creamy: velvety, whipped, or buttery.  I’ll go for velvety.

I don’t get the chocolate yet.  I get more of a coffee lilt.  And countrified?  What did Billy Joe McAllister throw off the Tallahatchie Bridge?  No answer since the sultry Bobbie Gentry released her classic hit “Ode to Billie Joe” in 1967.  Similar, uh?

Burns like a champ.  No distasteful bitterness despite the PA tobacco that weaves its way through the Dominican and Nicaraguan ligero.  That’s an art.  Pennsylvania tobacco can be a bitch to blend with balanced success.  I’d say Paul has this challenge behind him.  

The beginning offbeat rhythm of Simon and Garfunkel’s hit “Cecilia” reminds me of this cigar’s resultant experience.  Unbalanced?  Né rather teetering on an Ellington-like counterpoint in the beginning but it eventually finds its tempo.  

I have to say it’s a bit rugged halfway through.  Now if that’s what Paul’s referring to when he says “back road tribute,” then he’s right on target.  If not then I’ll switch the experience to the dictionary’s definition: “rough, hilly, jagged.”

It’s the William F. Buckley etymological-based rule.  Every word has a specific origin, ergo meaning.   Be cautious.  Henshaw Street.  Why?

You decide.  I’ll go for Paul’s interpretation.  Like the late Mayor Daley of Chicago once said to a reporter during one of his infamous press conferences, “Don’t write what I said, write what I mean.”  They had to “Chuckle, chuckle.” 

The cigar may be beginning to head down that “tribute”  road now.  Still spicy, but it’s dragging along some of that royal characteristic Pennsylvanian machismo.   How do you define that?  A man’s smoke.  This is not a bad thing.  I’m sure he knew exactly what he was going for when he wrote his description and thankfully it wasn’t an attempt at Johnny Cash’s monotonous vocal pulsation of, “I Walk the Line.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xObSJWIWui0

 

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A love affair to remember.

jtaime

You can’t buy this cigar.  I own the last two.  I know this.  I’m smoking one.  It is Honduran.  It has absorbed about four to six years of age.  And it is absolutely seductive.

Its rapture is that of the romance between Rick and Ilsa’s in Casablanca.  To touch the smooth, burnt sienna-shaded wrapper is like caressing a snoozing baby lamb.

It has no band, the only distinguishing mark is its tight pigtail.  I know it was made in the Dominican Republic at the Connshade Cigar factory.

Its flavor is literally indescribable.  And what it returns is beyond sensuality. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlpDf6XX_j0

El Beest.

beest band

Smoking El Beest by Marvin Wright of Blue Mountain Cigars.  Sixty.  What’s to say save for the fact that this is a hell of a line.  Each stick is phenomenal. Flavors on point. Construction completed by men or women who have to be master rollers.  

I’ve only had four cigars.  I’m leaving the flavored one to my imagination.  What?

“The Fantastic Four.”  (Can I say that?)

Kudos Marvin.

While we’re on movies.  To paraphrase  “Will Success Spoil Marvin Wright?”

We’ll see.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiKj1FNBE3Q

 

There are more. There are always more.

padron

Peggy Lee once sang a song called “Is that all there is?”  And it’s all about the relative simplicity of what at the time may seem to be major moments or catastrophes.  But when placed in perspective everything is just a part of the whole.  Everything is just a speck of life and it’s how we cope with these remnants of reality that molds us into who we are.

Smoked a Padrón Series Delicias 46 x 4 ⅞, 26 per box the other day.  It was a well-aged specimen of a great cigar.  The cellophane was the color of the tincture of iodine.  Within reason. Just as an aside, I had a guy send me samples he wanted me to represent and when I received them I noticed that the cello was so yellow that the odds of any of the original oils in the tobacco still being contained within the cigar were next to nil.

So I slipped the cello off and the aroma was intoxicating.  I was actually anxious to light it up. And that I did. The draw was impeccable.  The first puff was perfectly balanced. And that’s where the flavor hovered. Somewhere between ultra-smooth notes of chocolate, espresso, caramel, and cocoa.  I detected a wisp of a woodsy note now and then. The burn was textbook.  The aroma was that which you breathe in as you walked the streets of this island nation.  “. . . its tropical beauty—and tropical beauties—made American tourism a natural and flowing source of revenue. A 1956 issue of Cabaret Quarterly, a now-defunct tourism magazine, describes Havana as ‘a mistress of pleasure, the lush and opulent goddess of delights.’” (Smithsonian.com.)

Is that all there is, is that all there is

If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing

Let’s break out the booze and have a ball

If that’s all there is

I touched upon a fantasy.  My basket of imagination was overflowing with fruits, nuts, fragrant flowers, and of course, loosed cigars to be gently removed from where they once rested.

Is that all there is, is that all there is

If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing

Let’s break out the booze and have a ball

If that’s all there is

Padrón hit the nail right on the head.  But . . .

Is that all there is, is that all there is

If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing

Let’s break out the booze and have a ball

If that’s all there is . . .

Then let’s keep smoking and bring out another brand . . . 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCRZZC-DH7M

It IS perfect before you light it.

amcq

Andrew Wilson writes in his book “Alexander McQueen: Blood Beneath the Skin,” on page 20, “But like many things in Lee’s life the romance of the idea was more alluring than the reality.”  That sentence BOINGED!!!! out at me like the Jester in a Jack-in-a-Box! Read it. I know I ask you to do this often, but really read it. “But like many things in Lee’s life the romance was more alluring than the reality.”

It really doesn’t matter in what context this sentence is enmeshed in what is becoming one of the best biographies I’ve read in a long time.  This is the first book written about Alexander McQueen. And, if I may quote from the front cover fold, “When Alexander McQueen committed suicide in February 2010, aged just forty, a shocked world mourned the loss of its most visionary fashion designer.”

Heady words to say when there’s so much talent bubbling over within the world of fashion without him.  “McQueen had risen from humble beginnings as the youngest child of an East London taxi driver (Amy Winehouse’s Dad was a taxi driver, too.) to scale the heights of fame, fortune, and glamour. He designed clothes for the world’s most beautiful women and created a multimillion-pound luxury brand that became a favorite with celebrities and royalty.”

Did he yearn for this position of royalty or was it thrust upon him by the mere genius of his imagination forcing him to live up to the “remorseful world of fashion . . . with (the) constant demands to produce ever more creative collections . . .” succumbing to “the pressures of work . . . ‘ to become’ . . . increasingly dependent on the drugs that finally contributed to his tragic end.”

Personalities all differ.  Everyone handles the daily grind and the pricey egos that natural talent can produce.  I doubt very much that there is a cigar maker that has the kind of blatant intense intimidation that the fashion industry spikes through a designer’s flesh every day to produce a better and more elegant cigar over and over again.

So when I read that line, “. . . the idea was more alluring than the reality,” I would think not only of the blender but the bloke who is responsible for spreading the brand to the stores in whatever territory he or she calls his or her domain.

The blender?  Yes, there is pressure to produce the next great cigar, but without the rep, that blend will sit until it is allowed to test the trends of taste demanded by the cigar consumer.  And the consumers?  They are relentless in their zeal to be the cock of the walk and preen about the blue-clouded cigar lounge with what they believe is the best – for now.

What is the reality?  Fastidious foolishness.  It was before the cedar spill ignited the foot that was the most alluring moment in the life of the cigar.  And forever will that be the truth that transcends the tattler.

Contemplative Cuban Cigar Chatter.

cccc

Listen.  I’m smoking a Cuban cigar in the PRESTO Cigar Lounge  (Open 24/7).  Listen. Toastycaramelwithatingeoflicoracemmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmcardamonmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmredflakepeppermmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmroughgroundexplosionofspicemmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmtanninmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Eyes closed.

 

Aged Oliveros Gold Series Bourbon

irv and olivaros

Description

5 3/4 x 50 Box of 10

Strength: Mild Bodied

Origin: Dominican Republic

Wrapper: Colorado Claro

Shape: Straight

Flavor: Bourbon

Found.  In my desk drawer.  The office was to be painted and I had to clear the place out.  During the excavation, I find this cigar relic at the back of the center drawer and since it had been sealed in a glass tube, I figured it would be fine to smoke. 

I could not find reliable resources when it was released.  Regardless, it’s been hidden away under no special conditions.   No humidification.  Nothing.  Zero.  Taken care of like an old pencil.

So today after I cleaned out the drawer, I decided to give it up to the gods of fire and exorcise its spirit of who knows how many years and see what it had to offer.   Being of the bourbon-flavored species, this was obviously given to me and I simply stashed it in my drawer – and forgot about it.

But when I did release it from its “cigarphagus” believe it or not, the cigar was delicious. I will give it full marks for flavor, subtleness, and draw.  It was a perfect smoke from what I could tell never having one before.

I was with my son when I smoked it and I was so surprised that it still had some kick to it despite the conditions it had been stored.  I heard myself saying to him, “Damn, this is a good cigar.”  Now it could be my taste buds are shot, but I won’t go to that extreme.  I’m taking into consideration the entire history of the cigar and while it may have been stressed it still had a lot to offer.  My son and I headed for lunch.

I parked the car and I secured the cigar between my windshield blades and the windshield so I could continue to smoke it when I got out. When I did relight it – adding to its already stressed condition, the cigar held up and continued to give me an enjoyable, almost whimsical experience.

So maybe it was curious luck, being in the glass tube, whatever, but this is proof positive that all the cigar aficionados out there that are so quirky about having their cigars in perfect conditions should take note – chill.