|This cigar was enjoyed with Sparkling Water|
Pre-Light: 9 Points of 10 Possible
Prelight aroma was tobacco and faint barnyard from the wrapper, but the foot had a strong chocolate / sweet cocoa aroma. Reminded me of Duncan Hines cake mix.
Prelight taste was tobacco and a faint cocoa note in the background. Surprised there was no sweetened cap on this cigar; instead I got a slight saline note from the wrapper.
An attractive cigar, dark colorado / maduro wrapper, with a couple of small veins visible. A double cap appeared to be well applied. The wrapper had a matte mottled appearance, and a slight toothiness.
A guillotine cut was used without issue.
The cigar had 18 days of humidor time @ 65F / 69%Rh.
Lighting and Burn: 12 Points of 15 Possible
Toasted and lit the cigar with a single torch lighter. Took to light without issues.
1st ash dropped unexpectedly just past 1 inch. Ash is medium grey, loose with many large flakes. After ashing, a small off-center cone remained.
Burn was very wavy throughout the cigar, requiring several touchups past the halfway mark.
Just before the halfway mark, the cigar went out, requiring a relight. After a knock, relight and purge, no further issues encountered, and the relight did not seem to affect the flavor in any significant way.
Construction: 22 Points of 30 Possible
The cigar is a mottled medium chocolate / milk chocolate brown, wrapper line is visible.
The cigar has more give and seems slightly spongy near the foot, worst about an inch from the foot, though not quite a void. As you feel up towards the head, it firms up a decent amount to medium. No bulges detected.
Throughout the cigar the draw was easy, a bit less resistance than I find optimal.
Good smoke production throughout, I wouldn't call it voluminous, but satisfying none-the-less.
Flavor and Aroma: 43 Points of 45 Possible
Upon lighting, strong expresso bitterness up front, with milder black coffee notes in the background. Black pepper notes on the back of the tongue and light-medium black pepper in the retrohale.
1st third: After the first couple of puffs, cocoa notes on both the tongue and retrohale became more apparent as the pepper faded. As I progressed into this third, the cocoa / chocolate somehow seemed slightly off - almost chocolate adjacent, like carob. Not off-putting, just different. The aroma throughout this third was sweet tobacco, with bready / toast notes and occasionally a faint whiff of barnyard. Medium body / light-medium strength.
2nd third: Espresso and cocoa / carob trade off for the dominant flavor. Oak / vanillin notes in the background, without the tannic dryness of oak. Carob is strong in the retrohale. Occasional pepper notes on the tongue, but gone from the retrohale. Aroma is sweet tobacco and wood notes. Body is a medium to medium+ and the strength kicked up to a medium-strong briefly before quieting back down to a medium+.
Final third: Espresso fading quickly, becoming more dark chocolate and dark earth. Carob twang(?) is gone now - all the chocolatey notes are now dark. Smoked the cigar down to just over 1". By the end the smoke got very hot and thin. All chocolate notes and nuance were gone, just dark earth and dark tobacco flavors.
First off I want to thank Brian (@bstessl) for the opportunity to try this interesting infused blind review.
This cigar was a nice departure from the classic cloyingly sweet infusion with sweetened cap cigar I have come to expect from the flavored / infused category.
The cigar hits hard with the chocolate notes, but had some nice complimentary backup flavors along with an interesting evolution of the chocolate flavors themselves. Another plus was the strength picking up in the 2nd half, leaving a nice bit of buzz in its wake.
Where this cigar fell a bit short, was on the construction and burn issues I detailed above, and the disappointingly flat ending.
Overall, I wouldn't mind trying another one of these to see if I got a one-off badly bunched stick. Not knowing the price point on this cigar, I can't comment on value - but I can say, as an after-dinner cigar, this cigar would perform nicely with a digestif like port or sherry.
Like most infused cigars, this, for me, would be what I term a guilty pleasure cigar. Something I might buy as a single or even a 5 pack to have for those occasions when I want something different from the classic cigar palette.