Diesel Unholy Cocktail
The Roman commander has returned in glory to his cherished country villa. Trading his armor for a draped toga he step onto his colonnaded porch to look over his lands below; the rolling fields merging into hills then to the mountains in the distance. He extends a silver goblet in the direction of a serving girl, who nervously fills the vessel with cool wine, and seats himself in an elaborated sculpted work he fancies as his throne. His faithful mastiffs pad over to flop themselves at his feet, content to simply be near their long-absent master. Another girl approaches him with an ornate ivory box; lifting the lid she extends it towards him. The aged veteran looks discerningly at the contents, then selects a single cylindrically shaped object from within. With a deft hand, he lops one end off with a dagger and returns the blade to its scabbard. The girl, who has set the ivory box on a table to her master’s right, light’s the end of a long taper of wood from a candle then applies the flame to the short leaf-wrapped wand. When he feels it’s time, the man brings the object to his lips and takes his first exquisite puffs of the DIESEL UNHOLY COCKTAIL!!!
Now, I don’t think Romans had cigars and to be honest, I cant vouch for the historical accuracy of anything I say or write, but damn, that sure the heck is what I was imagining while smoking the D.U.C. This piece of work is an animal, like the Stark’s dire wolves from A Game of Thrones, barely controllable and needs to be reined in as such. BUT, this beauty has an aura of rich, decadent royalty to it as well.
Let’s start at the beginning.
When I first set up my coolerdor, I got into the habit of buying boxes of cigars. I chose the cigars based upon other’s recommendations of those which had the reputation of aging well over time. Some of those were hits, some were misses. The Unholy Cocktails were one of those I bought during that period. I’ve smoked two I think before today, but they were still way too “young”. I don’t remember much other than a lot of pepper and dizziness. It’s been 8 weeks now, So I’m curious to see how they are coming along. BTW, you shouldn’t get into the habit of buying boxes of cigars you’ve never tried no matter what the reputation. Unless, of course, the box is REALLY cool. :)
Some data for you, from Diesel Cigars' site: Binder is Nicaraguan Habano; FIller is a mix of Esteli, Jalapa and Condega ligeros; this goodness is all wrapped in Pennsylvania Broadleaf. The creator was AJ Fernandez
Before lighting this, I'm treated to powerful dark chocolate and spicy espresso aromas. So inviting!
I almost never comment on construction, but I have to say, this is very well put together.
I proceed to the toasting, which again is during the daytime, but I manage to do it right without charring it.
First puffs are delicious; creamy smooth espresso and chocolate with just a hint of salt at the end. Powerful too. I can tell this is very temperature sensitive after just a few puffs. The first is always creamy and mild, the second is a huge bite of pepper, salt and leathers. It's like holding onto the leash of a beast daring me to pull too hard. This beast likes its rest, and with rest comes rewards.
This stick is rich and decadent to be sure, but strong. Salts, spices, chocolates, dark earths rotate across the palate. Here I get bitter coffee, there I get black forest cake. I imagine dark rye bread baked in a dark medieval kitchen. I'm also reminded of that cake they used to have at Frisches' Big Boy, the double chocolate fudge thing that was so rich I couldn't even finish it as a kid.
The retro is surprising smooth at the beginning before picking up strength toward the end.
Billows of smoke roll off this. I'm reminded of steam coming forth from the nostrils of a dragon.
There are some mild burn issues, but easily handled with a few touch ups.
The latter portion of the cigar turns more to toasts, breads and baked goods with the stick getting just a bit tarry. The spices fade, only returning if I really push the heat, then I get a mouthful of salty black pepper. I think I may have tamed the beast!
I really enjoyed this cigar and cant wait to have another in a few months. The strength was about 4.2/5. The draw was pretty easy, about 2/5 for strength of draw. Overall I give this 4.3 out of 5. Box worthy to be sure. Lacks a bit of the creams and butters I would want in a cigar I would score higher than a 4.5. Damn, I forgot to record what time I finished, again. Probably about an hour and a half or thereabouts.
Now THIS is the best cigar I've had so far in my cigar smoking life. Maybe I should take a step back and say, at this point I've been smoking cigars for about 2 years and have only in the past several months have started seriously attempted to pay attention to what I'm smoking and document them. That being said....WOW.
I purchased this from the local B&M, the La Habra Tobacconist, on November 16, 2013; so it's been resting in my humidor for almost 3 months. He has two brothers still sleeping sounding in their shared cedar bed.
I love the look of the cigar. The soft box press, the red ribbon at the end and the decorative band really make me feeling like I'm about to have a very sophisticated experience. It just feels classy. The cellophane is just starting to show a bit of yellow.
I only really got one decent photo of this cigar and I'm rather bummed about this. I'm hoping sometime I can get around to doing some really good studio shots of the beauty.
The end of the cigar is a bit flatter and broader than I'm used to, so I have a tricky time getting it clipped. I noticed under the ribbon at the end there is some minor damage to the wrapper. Take a look at the pic. Does that wrapper seem normal? I'll have to compare it to his brothers when I pull them out in a few months. The pre-light taste is all chocolate and expresso.
At 1:38pm the toast commences. Since I'm doing this in the daylight I decide to go with my touch up torch instead of my bigger flame thrower in order to control the burn. Success! I didn't incinerate the end. Smoke just pours off this bad boy. Wish I had caught it with my camera.
Throughout the cigar I had canoeing issues. After doing some reading I think this may have been my lighting technique by focusing more on the center and not getting the edges hot enough. It required a lot of touch-ups throughout the smoke.
This is definitely a two-stage cigar. That is, after a minute of rest, I puff and get one taste, then a puff shortly following gives me another, usually more peppery. The cigar is moderately temperature sensitive. I paired this with ice water and a Corona light. The draw is relatively easy; about a 2/5 on the strength scale.
Flavors I get in order are:
Dark woodsy tobocco
Black pepper and salt
Retro is moderately strong and spicy
Pepper fades after about half an inch
Really getting a full, three dimensional taste experience
Dashes of salt and pepper
Bailey's and coffee
Very rich and chewy
Black pepper morphs into white pepper after a point
Lots of Baileys/cream
Oh my, what an amazing experience. I stopped writing at some point and just drifted off into my cigar day dreams, but I think you get the point. At about $10 per stick, this is a PHENOMENAL smoke. Not sure how they are "fresh" as this one has rested for awhile. I will be picking up more soon. I actually toyed with the idea of getting a box of them and may still do so, but I wonder if the tastes would fade too much over time? I guess I'll have to experiment and find out!
4.7 out of 5. Points deducted for the canoeing and the minor issues with the wrapper. This cigar is boxworthy.
Don Chuchu Sumatra
As a kid, did you ever roll up a handful of potpourri in leftover cardboard from a roll of toilet paper and try to smoke it? Me neither, but I bet it tasted just like this Dominican Don Chuchu cigar.
The heavy floral and amaretto tastes seemed like they were sprayed into this "tobacco" as heavy as they laid in the air. No, it just didnt taste right. The draw was really poor as well, like trying to pull boba through a normal sized straw.
This stick has no excuses either. It's been resting for months in a well maintained humidor.
This Chuchu pulls into the station with a 1.3 our of 5. I couldnt finish it which drops it to the 1-2 range, but it didnt make me sick, which is why I gave it the bonus 0.3 pts. Move on folks, nothing to see here.
Alec Bradley - Maxx
The Alec Bradley Maxx is a cigar I am already familiar with as it was one I gravitated to even before I knew what I was doing in regards to cigars. Its big bold design and construction commands attention and declares "yes, this is a CIGAR." This one I believe was the toro gordo.
This is a description paraphrased from Cigars International: wrapper is a "dark Nicaraguan maduro leaf" while the tobacco is a blend of Columbian, Honduran, Mexican and Nicaraguan varieties along with binder from Costa Rica.
Before lighting, I get a VERY chocolately taste; much more so than I've experienced so far in my limited cigar smoking life. Just a hint of fresh leather comes through as well.
I smoked this around 2pm on New Year's Eve, meaning it was light outside. I always have trouble telling where the flame of my torch lighter ends during the day, so I've botched the toast a few times in the past and scorched the hell out my stick. I was careful on this one and did a pretty decent job, although I did have a problem getting the tip completely lit. A touch-up with my stand-by low-level torch took care of it.
The initial tastes are deep and smooth cedars and dark woods along with chocolates and coffee. Very nice! The draw is a medium/easy.
Once I manage to get this guy fully lit I start getting the black pepper and toast. The burn settles in nicely so it appears my torch-job was successful!
As I get into this, the tastes are all leathers and woods with a medium pepper background. I find this smoke is fairly temperature resistant, but it really does well for a full minute rest in between puffs. With patience I am rewarded with amarettos and chocolate cake; both with a dash of pepper.
The pepper fades after about an inch into the stick and the taste becomes milder - now catching some dark rum.
I started smoking this with ice water, but for some reason I decided to get a small glass of brandy my wife had given me as a gift. Somehow I reasoned it would go nicely with this delightful rummy stick. Boy was I WRONG. The brandy completely destroyed my palate and after the first sip, I could barely tell I was smoking anything. Back to ice water it was...
The burn on this guy was fantastic. Big, strong ash with beautiful striations.
Additional flavors through the middle included the occasional cinnamon burst, medium strength woods, cedar, light leather, and some curious angel food cake on the retrohale. I have to say the retro on the Maxx was very mild compared to most cigars. First puffs upon picking up are woodsy with a follow-up more peppery. Is that a Hostess Ho-Ho in there? Yes, I think it was!
In comparing this to the La Sirena, I found this much "dryer". The La Sirena made me feel like I was in a dark, old world forest, while the Maxx had me visualizing a tall stand of great redwood trees. T
The Maxx finishes out with all woods and leathers with occasional forays into semi-sweet baked goods. Really a delicious and enjoyable smoke. It had been in the humidor for exactly 2 weeks after having been purchased at the La Habra Tobacconist. I dry boxed it overnight as I keep my sticks just a tad wet.
Overall I give this a 4.3/5. I cant really find anything wrong with it. It was smooth, it was tasty, it didn't make me nauseous, what's not to love? I will definitely be picking more of these up for long term storage!!
Cigar Reviews, Recalibrated
I decided to archive my own reviews online as I find 90% of all cigar reviews to be as useful as a bottle of Jack at a Mormon wedding.