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Monthly Archives: July 2011

NUb Habano 358 by Oliva

Greetings and Salutations Fellow Lovers of the Leaf!

Wow, I tell you it is a hot summer here in the Heartland as far as I am concerned. It almost makes it unpleasant to smoke a cigar outside … note I said almost. Today was a very calm and collected 86 degrees, which to me was perfect for smoking a cigar. I’ve included a tasting wheel for those of you that would like to do your own “in-home” taste test. Now, I have to admit, I am in no way as “gifted” as these folks are – some of these tastes don’t make any sense to me, and if I tasted them in a cigar (I’m thinking “Feline Musk”) I’d put the stick down and never smoke it again. Nor do I know what Rhubard tastes like with regards to the cigar world, but take it as you will. There are lots of tastes out there and there are rarely right answers when it comes to cigars!

And not to disappoint friends of mine on the Studio Tobac forum – I smoked a NUb as promised!

“Rather than wait for a cigar to develop and evolve, which typically occurs an inch to two inches in, the idea behind Nub was to specifically blend it to hit its sweet spot right off the bat and remain at its peak right through to the end. Each size is short and stout in stature. That’s by design – not for novelty – as blends and sizes were worked and re-worked a thousand ways from Sunday in order for Nub creator Sam Leccia and the Oliva family to capture the essence of each Nub blend. Anyone can create unusual shapes, each of the Nub blends and accompanying shapes was instead created to summon and deliver the blend’s sweet spot. Nub comes in three varieties. Each variety shares three common sizes, as well as a special vitola specially crafted to accentuate the blend.
Habano – glossy, milk chocolate-brown wrapper. Rich tobacco core with a smoky aftertaste. Hints of peanuts are supported by a baked bread component. Spice through the nose. Medium to full-bodied with a rich, creamy character throughout.” Let’s see how our NUb stacked up. I also have to note, typically when we review cigars we divide them into thirds, and with the diminutive shape of the NUb I decided that I would divide it instead into halves. So, there you go… enough of my talking – time for a review!

SPECIFICATIONS

Size: 3.75 x 58

Ring: 58

Country of Origin: Nicaragua

Wrapper: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Binder: Nicaraguan

Cost: About $5.50

PRELIGHT RITUAL

Wrapper: The wrapper was really sexy- seriously oily with a rich milk-chocolate sheen, and have several pronounced veins.

Cap: The cap was slightly uneven, I’ve seen better and I’ve seen worse..

Band: Simple, stylish, and classic. I enjoyed the band.

Smell: The prelight smell was earthy and barnyardy with all the lovely smells of manure and hay.

Pre-light Draw and Lighting: Barnyard and the draw was even and had hints of spicy tobacco.

SCORE: 8/10

FIRST HALF

The first half of this cigar was very enjoyable. It combined notes of cedar and oak, and was earthy and rich. The ash was tightly wound and a dark gray. Indicative of a wet tobacco or perhaps some moisture that got into the cello on my part. Either way it was pleasant. The tasting notes were a pronounced smoky and woodsy flavor, with a tinge of baked bread, and hints of a peanut aftertaste. Towards the middle of the burn it was uneven so I had to reignite and even it up. This relight might have triggered a bitterness that I was not exactly fond of, but it was not really unpleasant either. It transitioned into a full figured (ha!) final half.

THE SECOND HALF

The burn remained uneven and had to be touched up even more, a total of three times on the entire length of the cigar – if you’re keeping track at home, that’s almost 1 time per inch. And it went out twice … when it went out the second time – I just called it quits. The tasting notes were velvety, a creamy peanut and baked bread aroma (almost a bit like a sandwich) though the bitter aftertaste was still rather pronounced. NUbs are renowned for putting up a ton of ash and you can even stand the cigars on them – unfortunately, mine didn’t do that. So – no NUbstands for us today.

OVERALL EXPERIENCE

The NUb was a solid cigar, I think. It was a decent smoke, and timed in at just around 1 hour and 15 minutes. While it said it was designed to hit the “sweet” spot, this particular NUb (and it wasn’t true for the others that I have smoked) left me wanting. With that undercurrent of “mineral and metallic” tastes it was rather unpleasant of a way to end. And the fact that the thing kept going out on me made it sort of a downer as well. But, as with everything you win some and you lose some. Here’s the play-by-play from the scoresheet.

SCORING GUIDE

Pre-Light: 8/10 – the fact that the cap was a little messy and there were visible and distinguished veins in the wrapper showed the roller was careless or in a hurry. I’d like to think it was the latter.

Smoking: 6/10 – there were some odd flavors that were present in this tobacco, which lead me to believe it was one of the “less quality” that had gone through. Oliva is known for it’s attention to detail and it’s great cigar making tradition. This cigar fell slightly short of that on the uptake. It was just an OK tasting smoke, and the burn was nasty requiring 2 re-lights, and 3 touch ups. And it caused me to end the smoke early.

Overall Experience: 6/10 – I just, and I’m sorry guys, couldn’t get into this smoke. Unfortunately, maybe for me, I think I had such high expectations from all of the “hype” that had been provided by the boards and the cigar smoking world for the NUb. I have had a NUb before and I found it to be an amazing experience, so I can only hope that this one is just “the one that got away” from the quality control inspector. Either way – it was just a sad experience. I didn’t enjoy having to relight the thing about a million times, nor did the tinny metallic aftertaste please my palate.

SCORE: 20/30. This cigar could use some work. Mediocre.

Enjoy your weeks Cigar friends, and as always. Stay well!

‘//otan

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2011 in Cigars Rated

 

Illusione 4/2g Church

Greetings and Salutations!

Wotan here, my friends, and this week we’re going to smoking a real gem. No one answered my “ambiance” smoke, but I’ll continue to ask questions of you anyway.

This week’s is: Where is your smoking “den”? Mine is outside on my deck – with no real ashtray (just an empty pie pan) and a table and chairs. But, it’s mine, and I enjoy it. So where’s yours?

The Illusione 4/2 G Church. This cigar is made by Dion Giolito.  “This was the cigar that got me thinking about brand identity and packaging. The “4” stood for 2004 the year I opened my own store. “2g” referred to the style of cigar I wanted it to be. I always liked how RAGs had “2 gears’ in the smoking journey, mild/medium in the first 2/3s of the cigar then – BAM rich, full and spicy in the last 1/3. Even though it isn’t a Churchill per-se, more a double corona, I decided to put “church” on the side of the box. It mostly reminded me that I am a bad Catholic and that I need to get my ass to Church more often.”

This did not disappoint, so I wont either. On with the review

Specifications:

Style: Double Corona (Churchill misnamed)

Size: 7.5/49

Country of Origin: Nicaragua

Wrapper: Nicaraguan

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Price: $9-10 a stick

PRE-Light Ritual

The wrapper was clean and oily. It wasn’t torn nor did it have large veins that were discernible to the eye. The cap was slightly uneven. The band? I like this band, its really quite simple and even a little sexy. The pre-light smell was very sweet and almost raisiny, and then it had the really nice earthy finish. The pre-light draw gave notes of coffee and toast. It was rich and delicious.

FIRST THIRD

The first third was everything that was presented in the research I did. It was coffee, toasted bread and a little nuttiness. Not very peppery, but maybe some hints there. The pepper slid and gave way into a cocoa-y flavor that complimented the toasted bread. The cigar produced a thick white ash, and an elegant velvety smoke, delicious.

SECOND THIRD

Flavors shifted from coffee and cocoa with that toasted bread to a sort of roasted nuttiness. Almost like peanut butter, the bread taste remains which was really enjoyable. There was a slightly uneven burn. I had to touch it up a little, but overall it was a nice smoke. It had a nice mouthfeel but had very little aftertaste, which was nice.

FINAL THIRD

Wow – BAM was right. The toasted bread and roasted nuts slammed into the peppery notes. It hit hard. The body was medium to medium-full. I really enjoyed this smoke. Again I had to touch it up a little a few times, but it was really quite nice in the way it felt in the mouth.  There were other flavors mingling as well, maybe some woody cedarness, and some leatheriness that was really quite pleasant.

Unfortunately, the rain made me snub out early and take cover. It was like a monsoon.

Final Score

Prelight: 9.5/10

Smoking: 9/10 What I liked about this smoke  is that it had a nice medium/mild feel to it. The creamy mouth feel of the cigar was everything that I look for in the finest cigars. Dion is doing a bang-up job.

Overall Impression: 9/10 – This cigar was really quite nice. The cigar is medium to full in body – and it’s delicious. Nicaraguan puros are some of my favorites and this one fit that profile to a “T” It was enjoyable to smoke out and watch the rain roll in. It didn’t have a fully complex flavor profile, but it was a solid smoke, and at about 10 bucks a stick, I think it was worth while.

Score: 27.5 Very distinguished smoke. Highly Recommended.

Pick some of these up at your local brick and mortar. You’ll enjoy them.

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2011 in Cigars Rated