Today I am smoking an un-banded stick that Paul gave me. Consequently, I am going to start with the review and let him fill in the blanks at the end. Let's get to burning this baby!
This cigar is a 6.5 x 52 box pressed Toro. It is a light maduro brown, has several veins, and a triple cap. The pre-light aroma on the foot is sweet and spicy with some sourness evident. The pre-light draw is free flowing and from the flavors, I would guess this cigar has some Nicaraguan tobacco in the filler.
I start by thoroughly toasting the foot which produces a nice white ash. The initial draw has equal amounts of spice and sweetness, but sequential draws immediately give me some bitter and sour notes. I decide I am going to give this stick a chance before I throw it under my lawn mower. As the first third progresses, some wood and spice enter the flavor profile the sourness is gone. The the bitterness is still present and is still overpowering the other flavors. The finish is short (thank goodness for little things). The burn is good, but the draw is only average. I say average as I would expect better from a box pressed Toro.
After about an inch and half the bitterness is less prominent and I am detecting a lot of wood and some leather, earth, and hay. This is what I would refer to as barnyard and I am generally not a fan of this flavor profile. It is a bit too "in your face" for me but I continue with hopes that this stick changes up.
The ash falls for the first time at the two inch mark and the flavor profile seems to become a little smoother. I swear I am picking up some minty undertones here and there (which is pleasant). The bitterness is still coming and going but I would describe it as more grassy now. There is less leather and wood but the spice and earth continue. The first third ends on a more positive note.
The second third continues on with some wood, spice, bitter grass, and the occasional minty undertones. The flavors are more balanced and the finish is much longer. The draw has opened up a bit, the burn continues to be straight, and the ash holds for about an inch. My palate is getting raped from the longer finish and I am wishing a grabbed a Dr. Pepper before coming out.
The last third begins with the return of leather and earth. The grassy notes quickly re-enter the mix and the burn and draw continue to be good. I smoke the cigar down to the one inch mark and the nub is cool and firm. My palate is trashed and I suspect I wont be partaking in another cigar until later this evening.
So what is it? If I had to guess, the flavor profile reminded me of a EO 601 Blue (which Paul knows I am not a fan of). I actually called him to curse him out during the first third because I was convinced it was a 601 Blue but he swears it is not. A quick check of the length of the 601 Blue Toro confirms that this cigar was a quarter inch longer. Maybe I should have measured twice and only cut once?
In the end, I have no clue. While I did not enjoy the first and last third, I did find the flavor profile of the middle enjoyable and unique. All the same if I had to rate the cigar, this would have to go into the "Lawn Mulch" category. If it had been a cigar I had purchased, I would have been chucked at the first third.
Lets get on with the reveal!
Paul texted me the info on the smoke once I posted my draft. The cigar is a Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 Toro 2nd’s. It was purchased in 2009 in a seconds bundle of 15 cigars for $49.95. Typically, seconds do not pass quality control and are bundled and sold at a reduced price. Here is the information on the blend.
Wrapper: Honduran Broadleaf
Filler: Dominican & Nicaragua
Format: Boxed-Pressed Toro
Size: 6 1/2 x 52?
Age: 2 years
MSRP: Too much IMHO
In all fairness, I have smoked many Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 series cigars and have never detected any bitterness or sourness. So I am surprised. I am more fond of the Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper on the Vintage 1992, but 1990 series is good too. I am curious if this cigars unpleasantness was due to it being a seconds or something just went wrong with this smoke. Paul also noted that this cigar went through being stored in several humidors.