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About PointFivePast

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  • Location
    Soccer City, USA
  • Interests
    Cigars, Wine, Spirits, Beer, Timbers FC

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  1. Little behind on getting the review up as I was out with friends this evening but it’s still Sunday night here in the western US so hopefully it counts as the weekend. What a weekend it was with watching my beloved Portland Timbers FC bring themselves back in to playoff contention with a stunning victory last night! Spent the morning recuperating from last night and around 2:00 PM it finally felt right to mix up a rum and coke, grab an RyJ Exhibicion #4 and head to the parking garage which is the designated smoking area in my complex. First solid rain of the autumn season was coming down as I lit up, making for a perfect temperature to smoke and kick back. Initial Observations: Wrapper had a bit of a rustic look to it. I’m not great with color but I would call it a light Colorado with maybe a bit of a reddish hue but not Rosado. Aroma at cold was honeysuckle and faint leather with notes of toast, malt, and stone fruits coming from the foot. Cold draw was mostly hay with a bit of cereal grain. 1st Third: At first this cigar had an incredibly dry smoke with an almost dusty texture dominated by light cedar notes that left a finish in the mouth of sweet cinnamon. This cedar would proved to be a consistent vein that would run through the stick for 3/4 of the duration. It seemed to be a sort of anchor for everything else that was to come. Occasionally a hint of cream would soften the dry nature of the cigar. Towards the end of the first third there was a moment where the cinnamon and cream were joined by a burst of peach given the exact flavor of peaches and cream on cobbler... delightful! About an inch in I had a distinct taste of dark chocolate; the first note that I have been lead to believe is characteristic of some RyJ cigars. I can count on one hand the number of Romeos I have had up to this point so I’m still becoming acquainted with the brand. 2nd Third: Cedar backbone is still present but a mild creaminess has become consistent and softened the smoke to a very palatable level. A tart fruit note reminiscent of an underripe cherry has appeared but is not unpleasant. On a couple of occasions the building cream has been joined by vanilla bean as the tart cherry drops away. Toward the end of this third sweet baking spice (nutmeg?) and barnyard notes began to appear, foreshadowing what was to come. Burn and construction have been solid; a bit of waviness in the burn line but always self-correcting before developing any issues. Final Third: Whoa! A burst of licorice signals the change as the cigar take a turn for the dark and brooding. The high tones of cedar that drove the flavor profile to this point darken and fall in to a supporting role. In their place arrive leather, oat bran, Chinese Five Spice, and notes of smoked meat. This stick just got SAVORY! The character has complete changed and I like where it’s going. Cedar is replaced completely by oak and earthy notes. A medicinal cherry flavor, not unlike cherry chloraseptic spray, takes over for a half an inch or so. Slight crack appears in the wrapper but doesn’t effect the smoking at all... I’d blame it on the sudden humidity caused by a massive downpour that has begun. This stick is so good I’m nubbing it and I’m glad I did as only at the very end did the most powerful honey flavor make itself known, dripping over sweet spice and toasted tobacco. All I can say is WOW! Conclusion and Score: While this cigar started of slow it developed in to a flavor bomb! The first two thirds were filled with brief cameos of intriguing flavors the remained for no more than a few puffs before disappearing again. While the variety of flavors was great it would have been more enjoyable if some of these were more fleshed out. That being said, the final third was a complete Jekyll and Hyde moment. The rich, dark expression that took over made me feel as though I had smoked two different cigars. I’m not sure what further aging might bring about but I do still have a couple of these remaining. At around $10USD per stick I would say the RyJ Exhibicion #4 is not a “Cheap and Cheerful” but in no way breaks the bank. Overall, I’d rate this cigar as a solid 90/100. Increased focus on the early-appearing flavor notes would easily push this to a 92 or 93 for me but only as long as the stunning finale remains untouched! 90/100 Thanks for taking the time read this little review and thanks to Pres for getting me to dig this gem out of my humidor! Hope you all have a great week coming up!
  2. Honestly I switched to box knives/carton cutters with a sharp blade a few years ago and never looked back. Always had one on me for work and realized they can perfectly slice through a standard triple cap without issue. Cutting a little circular line around the cap gives you perfect control over the cut and a nicely rolled cigar has a perfect “dimple” underneath the cap that makes for an excellent draw IMHO. They won’t always work on a torpedo as you have to actually cut through some bunched tobacco and the method required can start the wrapper unraveling but I’ve never been a big torpedo kinda guy anyway. Can’t beat the price at $6USD for a pack of twelve at the local hardware store either! 😄
  3. I’ve always been partial to champagne as a cigar pairing especially with the more delicate flavors of Cubans. The bubbles do a nice job of cleansing the pallet between puffs and I find the flavor notes to be found between both cigars and champagne share a lot of similarity. You can also pair champagne well to the cigar you are smoking; for fruitier cigars, try a champagne with a higher percentage of Pinot Meunier in the blend as the grape is known for the fresh fruit it adds. Conversely, a stronger cigar may take better the brooding power of a Pinot Noir heavy Blanc de Noir. Oh and don’t forget the Rose options available! Hoyo de Monterrey calls me towards a Blanc de Blanc, perhaps one with a little age on it. As with cigars, vintage options can be significantly more expensive.
  4. Indeed no A/C in well shaded house in Portland. Maybe I should just build a locker down there and rent the space the from them permanently 😂
  5. Thank you all for the advice! Seems I may have some gems on my hands here. It was a long few years to get the ship right again but at least there is a treasure trove of cigars to be had. I’ll throw some 62% Bovedas in slowly and beyond that just count my lucky stars!
  6. Going to recalibrate the electronic hygrometer whose batteries had died
  7. Some NC’s were in the cooler though most were in the wooden desktop which is much dryer with a completely dry 320g Boveda. I’ll take a test run on the NCs in the cooler though to be sure before chucking. A few limited run cigars NCs I never had the chance to even taste in there.
  8. About three years ago I went through a nasty break-up, life fell apart, and there wasn’t much joy in the luxury of cigar smoking for me. Somewhere in the turmoil I stopped caring for the 55qt cooler of cigars I had amassed. Since then it’s sat in my parents basement at a pretty consistent 65 degrees Fahrenheit but I assumed it was all done for. The cabs of PLPC, boxes of RA Limitada ‘15, Party Lusis, all of it. Finally at a happy point in life, I took my new partner (best woman ever BTW) down to my local cigar store the other day and introduced her to my old hobby that had brought me so many good times before. Got the itch again and decided that I should work through the shame and regret and start smoking again. Still haunted by the memory of the collection lost, I began again the habit of checking 24:24 daily, dreaming of what could be. Tonight we stopped by my parent’s place after dinner to pick up my old desktop humidor. I was set to chuck everything inside, season it, and recommit myself. She convinced me to open the Chernobyl Sarcophagus that is my 55qt cooler and as I did I couldn't help but open boxes. The hygrometer read 55% which surprised me. I can’t remember if it read high or low before but as I pulled cigars out to feel them, many felt OK and still had an aroma at cold. The wrappers lacked some sheen but none cracked when rolled between my fingers. Even the 65% Bovedas still had a bit of moisture in them even though they were not fully plump. I was shocked to realize that three or so years of neglect hasn’t left me a pile of tobacco dust. Perhaps the humidity of my beloved Pacific Northwest North American climate had been just enough to keep my cigars alive. Having never smoked aged stock and even having forgotten what many of these smokes tasted like, I’m not sure how best to assess the situation. I have hope now but would like some input from more seasoned veterans before I dive in to the process of revival. Is it a fool’s errand to attempt to rehumidfy? Am I simply blinded by the shame of neglecting my babies and not realizing there is still hope? All the non-CCs are toast, hard and brittle but somehow nearly every CC in that cooler seemed to have a bit of life in it. What say the FOH gurus? Do I journey down the road to redemption or cut losses and begin again from scratch? Is there even a need for a massive operation or would a slew of new Bovedas set me right?
  9. Samplers for sure! I dove in and bought boxes but now find myself buying singles, fivers, and samplers to fill in my gaps in knowledge. Definitely smoke a little bit of everything and you'll know when you find something box worthy! As for the fuller flavored options, many have been mentioned. Bolivar and Partagas are solid for a full bodied Cuban with some spice. For sweeter cigar with some richness, try some San Cristobal. The El Príncipe is sweet and rich and reasonably priced. They usually have darker wrappers as well which I find helps contribute a bit of similarity in taste to many of the NC cigars which tend to use darker wrappers.
  10. Fantastic find! I found it especially interesting to see the selection of non-Cubans as well including Mexican, Phillipine, and domestically rolled cigars... even a house brand!
  11. Can confirm that quality is stunning as usual. Recently made my first purchase from the retail shop and the SLR Serie A's I received are gorgeous. That reminds me that I should try one now that they are rested. Looks like I have plans next weekend!
  12. Yes, yes, and yes. RACA are deliciously dark while still surprising you with lighter hits of fruit while staying classy the whole way through. Great again potential too.
  13. Was certain this was the ERDM... but alas! 'Twas not to be. Strange thing is that I've had a few Picadores before but this didn't ring a bell for them. Must be time to revisit and see and what I missed. Oh well, one more chance at redemption!
  14. I've had good luck with BV Coastal Cabernet Sauvignon from Beaulieu Vineyards. Bought a case a while back for CHEAP but even with regular sale prices it's usually around $8-9 here. With mail in rebates you can sometimes get it down to $5 a bottle of you wait for the check haha. Big mocha/cocoa note that works well with the dark red fruit. I've enjoyed the Robert Mondavi Private Selection Meritage as well. When so many $8 red blends are full of sugar and juicy fruit, it's nice to find one (from a huge producer as well) that actually has some restraint and structure. Drinks like a bargain-bin Bordeaux which in this case is a compliment. Finally, keep digging through the import sections of your local wine retailer. Lots of bargains to be had from overseas. Spain is a solid bet for reds as is South America and Australia. Maybe look for a Chilean Carmenere. Excellent little red grape that is still cheap despite American domestic producers charging exorbitant prices for their examples due to its niche status.
  15. This. I too have a box of '14 PLMC and they express much more in terms of caramel than my current cab (early '15?) of PLPC. The PC will show more over time, I'm sure, but I was quite surprised when I lit up the MC and found myself saying, "Ah yes, caramel."

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