Half Ashed Episode 004 Summary
It’s that time of week again, folks, when we gather around the proverbial fireplace of our computer screen (or headsets for you audiophiles) for a relaxing chat over a good smoke. This week on Half Ashed, we begin with our first unbanded cigar, selected by an unwitting chap who happened to be visiting a local tobacconist at an opportune time. Craig and I take our chances at showcasing our aptitude and ineptitude by giving our thoughts concerning an unknown cigar, which turns out to be the Romeo by Romeo y Julieta. We also cover several news items for the week, including some viewer emails, more proposed outlandish legislation in California, new cigar releases from EP Carrillo, L’Atelier, and Montecristo, and current price increases from Fuente and Alec Bradley. We also cover a few interesting cigars that we’ve been smoking this week and take a few minutes to breach the topic of pipesmoking and our enjoyment of it as well. I hope you’ll tune in and check out the show, and as always send us your comments, compliments, complaints and the like to either: [email protected] or [email protected]. I don’t know if we’ll have the answers you’re looking for, but we’ll certainly have an opinion. Lastly, don’t forget to enter our giveaway for this month, which we will be drawing next week before our Live show. To enter, simply send me an email and I’ll get your name into the mix.
Craig has been kind enough to provide the Epilogue Review for this week’s unbanded cigar, which I’ll include below. As mentioned above, the first unbanded was revealed to be the Romeo, and I have to say I enjoyed the second of the samples I smoked much more so than the first, although admittedly my palate was likely compromised to some earlier congestion during the initial trial. It was an interesting experiment, and I look forward to future installments of unbanded cigars. If you have a suggestion or submission for an unbanded you’d like to see us try, you can send your email to [email protected], which is delivered to my wife – she will source the cigars and provide them to us blindly, or if you have cigars to submit she will provide an address for you to send them.
As always, you can find the video of this week’s episode on our YouTube channel, or through the embed below. Audio is available either by downloading above (right-click “Download” and save link) or find us in the iTunes store to subscribe directly to an audio feed of the show as it publishes – be sure to leave us a good review! Don’t forget to tune in LIVE next week (March 8th, 2013) at 9:00pm EST. We will be broadcasting live, and you can join us in the Chatroom. I look forward to hearing from you, and thanks for tuning in!
Craig’s Half Ashed Epilogue Review:
Introduction into our process:
The idea of an accompanying review is to point out that there is a difference between a cigar you smoke and one that you review. On the show we’ll be furiously trying our best to sound entertaining and its quite possible that the cigar itself will just be smoked. These epilogue submissions not only help paint a clearer picture of what the cigar brings to the table, but really (to me at least) are meant to emphasize that smoking one cigar alone does not constitute an adequate qualification for a review. To know what the cigar really means to convey, you must smoke multiple samples. Hopefully, you can smoke many of them, from multiple boxes and different releases. Only then can you claim to start knowing what that cigar intends to provide. While Kip and I are only smoking 2 or 3 specimens on a weekly basis, the first year of our reviews is at least half dedicated to cigars we know and love already. Thus, are qualified to provide a review that can stand for more than just a one-off opinion.
This Week’s Intro:
In the case of our unbanded submissions, as much care as can be taken to appropriately review the cigar has been done. This week’s featured stick is meant to challenge us to be as honest as possible with ourselves. We’re not smoking a band, have no expectations and are devoting as much effort to the review as possible. On the off chance that our diligence pays off, either one of us might just be brash enough to venture a guess. In 4 years of reviewing cigars in this manner, I can count the number of cigars I’ve successfully identified on one hand… and still have fingers left over.
Our first unbanded stick is approximately a robusto in size at exactly 5” long and a 54 ring. The cap is a spinning vortex of tobacco with more layers than I;ve ever seen before. If I had to guess, I’d think it had 4 or 5 of them. The wrappers appearance is mottled and a perfect maduro shade of dark brown. It’s not a beautiful cigar and could be slightly hampered by the fact that the wrapper is rather dry in appearance. I struggle to notice any oily sheen or deposit. The draw is looser than I’d prefer and the cigar feels light in the hand but it does not appear underfilled. In my experience this typically means the cigar will be milder and possibly even somewhat flavorless. Let’s hope I’m wrong…
The initial light is a relief. Vanilla extract is abundant and the liquor aroma that comes along with it is also present. I think that’s a new one for me. I can’t recall ever sensing that before. I’m getting a number of other flavors that lead me to think there is a core of Nicaraguan tobacco within. Some sweetness exists but its not the typical zing that is associated with generic nicaraguan tobacco. A saltiness emerges and dances in and out of the other aromas present. I’m reminded of a well balanced dessert, almost like bread pudding. That analogy certainly allows me to pick up a bready flavor and even some nutmeg. That nutmeg comes across differently than typical spice. I get it less during the retrohale and more intertwined with the bread. It is unique. I’m reminded of an Air bender but then write my credibility off when I realize I just said it reminded me of Nicaraguan tobacco. Did I mention it’s common to make a fool of yourself during this process?
The cigar progresses and stays moderately complex without transitioning much throughout its length. It’s not overly strong but is very full bodied. Very different from last week’s Cuenca 5 Anniversary, this cigar absolutely destroys my tongue. I feel like I could scrape the residue off, its so thick. This is an aspect I do not enjoy very much at all. With the second sample I reviewed this thick residue was much less prominent at the end of the experience. While there, it could almost be classified as an intense finish, more than a detrimental aftertaste. I think the cigar is slightly less consistent than I would prefer but also tend to think that my smoking patterns changed with the second sample.
Since I’ve been speaking recently more about hard and soft flavors, I’ll comment that this cigar was a nice mixture of them both. The type of flavors were typically soft (sweet spice, bread/yeasty components, salty/savory mixtures) but came across in a harder way than the flavor would convey. I like cigars with this complexity; with the ability to walk that line. All in all, I think that leads me to say this cigar was medium flavored, mildly strong and full bodied. Either it doesn’t know what it is trying to be or it accomplishes something otherwise uncommon in the industry. I’ve enjoyed smoking it but must admit that I need more samples to be firm in my opinion of whether or not I actually like the cigar.
The Grand Unveiling:
Romeo by Romeo y Julieta – Dominican filler & binder wrapped in an Ecuadoran Habano leaf.