Toast & Taste

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About Toast & Taste

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    Republic of West Florida

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  1. 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. Big Al
  2. You are too late, there have already been 5674 applicants. 😎 Big Al
  3. Political posturing by Guaido, as he wants to keep his U.S. support. Nothing more. Russia will fill the oil void. There will be no Russian military installation in Cuba. They don't need one. U.S. relations with Cuba need to be normalized, if the free world wants to eventually see it become a democracy of some sort. Normalized relations with Cuba is a highly charged issue, especially in the State of Florida where there is a significant voting population whose family members were murdered by Castro. They want to see a democracy first, then normalized relations. If I were the U.S. President I would find a way to invade Cuba mlitarily, oust the current regime, set the country up as a U.S. territory with a 25 year timeline for sovereignty. I would then install myself as the head of HSA, hire Rob to actually run it while I did quality sampling, and live happily ever after. I'm nuts, I already know this. This will be the totality of my political opining on FOH. Big Al
  4. Toast & Taste

    Coolidor Question

    I have 4 Colman 150 quart units. 3 are stuffed with aging stock and the 4th I use for smoking stock (along with 2 large desktops ). I use a 3rd desktop for dry boxing. The coolers are lined with cedar sheets from dress boxes and cabs, and each has a cedar tray for singles and 2 hygrometers. I calibrate all of the hygrometers every 6 months. 4 to 6 Boveda packs (65 % ) keep things at a very stable 64% humidity, and temp holds at a very stable 67 degrees farenheit. The coolers are kept in office in my home. They take up space, but each time (about once a month ) I start thinking about calling Bob Staebell, I realize that the 4 grand I would spend with him would buy some nice smokes, I always decide to stick with the coolers. I use new ones, and the total cost of the unit with tray, hygrometers, and Bovedas is less than $150USD. I'll be ordering another setup very soon. But I do love those Aristocrats... Big Al
  5. Toast & Taste

    Your last 90 days "go to"

    PSD4. Not by conscious choice. I reckon my inner leaf radar just does its own thing... Big Al
  6. Thanks for the review, Ken. This is one of my 'bucket list' smokes, and if I could find some, and there was no doubt as to provenance, the price would not prohibit a purchase. I might ponder the full box price, but I would move on a few singles without hesitation. They are only cigars, but then again, life is not a dress rehearsal (double homage to Rob 👑). Big Al
  7. Toast & Taste

    1st Box Purchase

    Bottomless Big Al
  8. Toast & Taste

    AP Regional Help

    @Elpresidente - sell them the rights to yer nudies. Por Larranaga bands. 12's, 24's, and cabs of 52. I'll require 2% of gross sales as remuneration for this cracker idea. Big Al
  9. Toast & Taste

    Thoughts on a Monte LE

    I'm a fan of the Dantes. Different, yet still Monte. That reminds me that I need a few more boxes from the next PSP offering. Big Al
  10. Vintage auto parts store Big Al
  11. I'd take a punt on HSA, assuming it was open for investment. And real estate development, as in hotels, restaurants, bars. Big Al
  12. Toast & Taste

    Pics of your Self-Rolled Sticks

    What resources are there for learning? Where do you U.S. based folks source your gear and leaf? Big Al
  13. Toast & Taste

    Creativity Abounds!

    Punchies Big Al
  14. One of the many reasons I love Perth. Big Al

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