An Epic Maduro, A Cohiba and a Couple of Joyas and a Rant

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and had plenty to eat and adequate cigars! I took some along to the feast I attended, but it was too windy and cold to enjoy one, so I waited until I got home and enjoyed an Ashton VSG on the porch. I usually reach for a classic cigar of some sort on days such as this, and after spending over five hours in the car and a long day of eating, the VSG was a delightful end to a long day. Because of the holiday it was a slow news week, and I was lazy about a midweek post, so I slacked off this week. Let’s make up for it today. Early in the week I dug deep in the humidor and pulled out one of the original Epic Maduro Double Coronas from my stash of Epic cigars. I knew it was an old one because it only had the Epic band, no second band with the “maduro” designation. Oddly, the website incorrectly lists the Double Corona as 5″ x 54, when it’s clearly 6″, Dean will need to look into that. This maduro is a Brazilian Arapiraca, over a Cameroon binder with Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers made in the Charles Fairmorn Factory in the DR, the same factory that makes Kristoff cigars. I think the Cameroon binder is one of the things that makes me love this cigar, I’m drawn to maduros with a Cameroon binder, Cro-Magnon immediately comes to mind. Age has been kind to this cigar, it was smooth, rich, with coffee and sweetness and some earthiness. According to Dean Parsons, Epic Cigars have been in “10x production” and have something new planned for 2020. I’m excited as I’ve never met an Epic cigar I didn’t enjoy! 

Also this week I smoked a Cohiba Connecticut again. I had listened to Sean Williams on a podcast and he talked about this cigar and I realized I hadn’t smoked it in a long time, so I thought I’d smoke one. Funny thing is I had hung out with both Sean and Dean at a shop in Philly a few years back, before Sean was with General Cigars, I hadn’t made that connection until just now. Anyway, I like their idea of a Robusto, it’s 5½” x 50, and it has an Ecuador Connecticut wrapper, San Andrés binder and the fillers are Brazilian Matafina, Jalapa, Nicaragua and Piloto Cubano and Olor from the DR.  I actually found this to be almost off-puttingly strong to start! Maybe my expectation of a mild cigar was the problem, but it just seemed overly powerful. It settled down, and was very good. It isn’t a mild cigar, it has some oomph, but it does have the creamy, grassy flavor of the Ecuador Connecticut. Overall it was a very good, satisfying cigar and, of course, the construction was spot on, and for a $16 stick, it certainly should be, heck, and $8 cigar should be constructed right, or a $4 cigar for that matter. If it isn’t made right, what’s the point? In another website gripe, Cohiba needs to update their website.

Let’s take a break and let me get something off my chest.  Long time reader Bob L. brought up a great point on a Facebook group yesterday regarding the etiquette behind using a product I’ve promoted here on my site. I feel that since I’ve used the product and endorsed it, I should weigh in here in more detail than I did in response to his post. Bob’s question was, more or less (I was going to quote it verbatim, but the post must have been deleted from the facebook group because I can’t find any reference to it!), is it appropriate to use the Cigarmedics HumidiMeter on a cigar in a store before you buy it? The short answer is “NO”, but I think some common sense reasoning and explanation is in order. After you buy the cigar it’s yours to do with as you please, but once you stick the probes of the Cigarmedics HumidiMeter in the cigar it belongs to you in my opinion. You’ve “broken the seal” by penetrating the cigar, no different from licking it or cutting it. In that thread there was some discussion of the utility of the tool in general, bruoght up by Skip Martin, who made some valid points. It’s important to know that this tool should be used to set a baseline. Different blends will smoke better at different moisture contents. It takes a while to get to know the acceptable range where generally cigars can be expected to perform well. Too wet and too dry should stick out like a sore thumb. Remember, as nice a tool as the HumidiMeter is, it’s a consumer item and is inexpensive, it’s not a lab grade instrument like Saka has, and Saka knows what absolute moisture level each one of his blends (he would say “ligas”), should be to smoke right. Also keep in mind that the HumidiMeter converts the absolute moisture number to a Relative Humidity equivalent number that we can relate to our humidors. This is all going a long way to say not to use the HumidiMeter in a store before you buy a cigar! 

OK,  The last two cigars I smoked were, once again, from my friends at Joya de Nicaragua. It seems like just last week I included a pair of Joyas in my Sunday Post, in actuality, it was. For some reason, some Joya de Nicaragua Numero Uno L’Ambassadeur ended up in my humidor, and I really needed to smoke one. This was originally the Number 1, only available as an event only cigar, or, before that, as a diplomatic gift for ambassadors from Nicaragua. It’s a Lonsdale with a fantail cap, measuring 6 5/8″ x 44, and has an Ecuador Connecticut wrapper over Nicaraguan fillers, just like the Joya de Nicaragua Classico. These are not a cheap date either, and come in a beautiful blue lacquer box. Like the above mentioned Cohiba, also not inexpensive, this is a Connecticut cigar with some strength and loads of flavor. Skip the narrow ring gauge, wrapper to filler ration BS, smoked slower, this was a smooth as silk smoke, creamy, elegant with enough spice to keep it interesting. Super yummy, and deserving of the accolades it’s received, and many thanks to my friends at JdN for sharing these with me! 

Finally, I decided to give the Joya Black another try. Since these came out I wanted to like them. It has a San Andrés wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and filler, what’s not to like, right?  It’s always perplexed me why I didn’t love this cigar. OK, the first few I smoked I struggled with poor draws, tight, either over-humidified, or over-filled, not sure which. I let them sit in the humidor for a long time, smoked some from different batches, couldn’t really get any flavor. I decided to give one another go, this time in the Double Robusto shape, 5″ x 56. Draw was perfect, burn was perfect, it was either very mild, or there just wasn’t a lot of flavor. I remain perplexed. There is a sour note when I do get some flavor, and it just doesn’t seem to be a cigar I enjoy very much. I don’t get it. This is a real scratcher for me. I should absolutely love this cigar, it’s from Joya, it’s got the right components, what the heck? I the “Joya” series, I really like the Silver and Cabinetta, and I’m pretty apathetic about the Red, and the one that should be at the top of my list based upon my overall likes, is at the bottom. Weird stuff, man.  

That’s should about do it for today, until the next time,