So I receive my copy of Cigar Aficionado (October 2017) and I place it on the pile of magazines I have yet to read and the hundreds of pages of torn out articles that are scattered to the left of my small writing space on my desk.
Several days go by and I just keep building the stacks of copy I will use someday in a story. But today was different. For some unknown reason, I decided to pull the issue out and strip off the protective plastic cover. I take a quick look at the front of this cigar magazine. “Inside the NFL: Who will win the Super Bowl? Danny Sheridan picks the winners. How to beat the Bookmakers. Jay Glazer and Dean Blandino – The Fox insiders speak. Super NFL Stadiums. Featuring: Dick Butkus, Jason Taylor, Robert Kraft.” Hmm. I glanced back at the masthead – Cigar Aficionado: The Good Life Magazine for Men.”
Cigars. Cigars. CIGARS!!! WHERE ARE THE ARTICLES ON THE CIGARS?
Insouciantly I flip open the publication and my fingers happen to stop on page 124. In the back – where the cigar reviews have been relegated. Subhead: Churchills. I scan the first five to my left. HEY! Will you looky dat! Third from the top. Nat Cicco’s Anniversario 1965 Liga No. 4 Churchill. Holy shit! A 91! A bloody good 91. And I rep that line! Would you look at that? And I did. You might say I stared at it.
The copy reads: Squarely, symmetrically pressed with an oily wrapper (Ecuador) and chopped pigtail cap (I can see that). Up front acidity (?) disappears (Did it ever appear???) for a leathery, meaty smoke sweetened by notes (What do-re-me?) of molasses and toffee. U.S, $6.50.” Well, I’ll be damned. And wouldn’t you know it, I have that exact same size. So what do you think I did? Thaaaaaat’s right. I went to my humidor and pulled it out. Let’s see how close these guys are to the real thing. (Read my Blog titles, “I think; therefore I am.” just to gain perspective as to why I’m doing this.)
Ok. The CA review has a photo of the cigar, so why bother to tell me it’s square-pressed? Too, it’s quite evident that the pigtail has been clipped. Agreed description so far. But unnecessary to write down. The wrapper is gorgeous, a chocolate-brown hue that invites your lips to start quivering upon entry. Nothing said there. Why?
Now, here’s where the review goes awry. Where does this taster come up with acidic? Even though the “acidity” disappears, why bother to mention it because it isn’t there.
The reviewer tastes a “leathery, meaty smoke sweetened by notes of molasses and toffee.” Ok. I’m smoking this cigar. I have put fire to the folded-in foot (not mentioned in the original review and should have been) and I’m drawing in some of the most luscious (meaty?) smoke produced by the combination of fire, tobacco and Mother Nature.
I get a refreshing dose of viscous chocolate syrup, a hint of cinnamon powder, and a squiggle of sassafras extract. A bubbly blur of spice appears and hovers in the smoke for the remainder of the experience. There’s even a bit of seasoned tobacco pipe residue taste upon the final exhale of smoke – the type of essence that one can get from the first crunch of the sizzling burnt edges of crème brûlée. My palate does detect a dash of toffee. Toffee, as you know, is “a hard but chewy, caramel colored noncrystalline candy made by cooking sugar, water (or cream or milk) and usually butter or other fat. Other ingredients such as nuts or chocolate are sometimes added (Google), but not in this case. And what kind of toffee, Dark English Butter, English Butter Toffee, White English Butter Toffee and who knows how many more. Each has their own unique flavor enhancements.
Ah, and don’t forget the bouquet (but this reviewer did). One of the prime elements in the flavor of any cigar. The bouquet, the whipped cream that tops a sundae with its drizzle of dazzle.
Now I know the editors can’t go into so much detail and I dare say I feel like a jackass just writing this somewhat lengthy personal description. So you know what I would have said had I had the chance to give this cigar a review?
Damn! Great Smoke!
Ah, the serenity of sublime simplicity.
Too, it should have gotten a 95 or better.