Prologue: This is my first review on FOH, or anywhere for that matter, so be gentle 😆. When it comes to cigars, I am devoid of a palate which can distinguish multiple and often nuanced levels of taste and texture. I am amply equipped to do so with wines and spirits, but when it comes to the glorious leaf I possess no such capacity. I do enjoy the different taste profiles and flavor expressions that quality Cuban leaf provides. On average I smoke 3 sticks per day, covering a range of marcas and vitolas, though my bent is toward Partagas and Cohiba. Enough blathering, now on to the review.
The Candidate: A fine example of HDM Epicure No. 2 from a 50 Cab PAL JUN 08 box, courtesy of our host. Construction was very good, nice symmetry with just the right amount of 'give' when gently squeezed, and an even feel throughout with no tight or loose portions. The wrapper was very good, though I managed to nick it when removing the bands. I dislike cigar bands, and would cheer their elimination.
The Toast: The draw at cold was perfect, being effortless and even. A wonderful tingle of lightly toasted sugar graces the lips. Ignition required little effort, vetted by the use of a standard Bic lighter instead of the typical turbocharged flame thrower we all hold so dear.
The Taste: The abscense of bitterness or any hint of pepper is happily welcomed with the first draw. There is a woody caramel wash of the palate, pleasantly intensified around the base of the tongue upon gentle discharge. And that wonderful, beautiful, delicious toasted sugar on the lips becomes amplified in a campaign toward glory that marches on throughout the session.
The burn is even and the ash a whitish gray, both reflections of quality leaf and construction.
The wood is there; with American breakfast biscuits topped with just a drizzle of honey, or is it caramel? Have I mentioned the toasted sugar imparted to the lips?
The smoke has been ample, but not overly viscous. Light, yet plentiful; sustained in both quantity and quality.
The final third sees the woody sweetness giving way to toasted pumpernickel with cream cheese; which couples nicely with the continuous toasted sugar delivered to the lips from the wrapper. The flawless burn becomes corrupted, but the delicious quality of the experience forbids any torching simply for the sake of evening things up.
There were no hot draws or peppery flavors, not even at the nub. No burning of my highly customized nubbing tool, nor collection of tar in the draw end of the cigar.
Conclusion: An outstanding smoke. I don't give much weight to numerical scores for cigars. I will saythat if you are sitting on some HDM Epicure No. 2's of this or similar vintage, it might be time to reward yourself with one.