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  1. So I pulled a big gun out of my collection. This was a celebratory cigar. I wanted to do a distanced smoking hang with my buddy @wailbait. I brought my own drinks. My own glass. My own lemon to garnish my martini. And I brought the Diplomaticos Bushido. The 109 format is obviously very popular. Large and good smoking. I’ve smoked three or four of these. Each had the same impeccable construction and that tapering point that somehow resolves to a flat cap. The wrapper is a mesmerizing nearly matte appearance but has some oil to the leaf. It’s a neat trick. The cigar is nearly five years old and I suspect, as discussed by @Wailbait, this stick is actually a product of 2014 it has some of that year’s now weol-known excellence Cold draw is a touch peppery and sone deeper baking spice. Lighting was easy, draw perfect Cuban. Clove, cinnamon and some nutmeg. There’s tremendous balance. Lots of folks talk about walnuts and it does have a tannic nutty quality. First third was a gorgeous, medium plus taste. The balance just keeps going. The second third began to have tea and dried mint a bit, some acid and more but flavors. The woody bits show up here and the baking spices are still present, particularly on the retrohale. You just know this is a special experience. Last third ramps a bit but never gets strong. It’s a smooth smoking ride right down to the last inch. This cigar is a legend. I pair it here with Brad Mehldau, a jazz favorite of mine. Here, the rare sounds of him in his youth at The Village Vanguard in New York City. The sounds of a modern genius. His hands still at apex deftness and power. I loved the Bushido. It’s always special; this was a terrific example. Score: 96
  2. Love this. Such a classy cigar. And Henderson was a sly magician.
  3. Such a great memory; that box split was our first. Not to be our last. Yeah, sometime in the future, we will smoke together again.
  4. great review, the memories of a first trip to Cuba. Feels so alive when you describe it.
  5. So bring out the big guns, Rob said. I’ve been refraining from smoking; this is a respiratory disease and I was ill. I’m recovered now (I don’t know if I had SARS CoV2 or not) and decided: If I’m gonna smoke one and enjoy it, it’s gonna be a big gun regardless. Great to see a big guns competition happening so...happenstance. The Mag 56 is pretty legendary in its own right. It’s not so rare, it’s like an Ivory billed woodpecker. But it isn’ a run-of-the-mill cigar. I’d venture most Uppman enthusiasts have tried it but most average cigar smokers probably haven’t. It’s a cigar that’s been rewarding to smoke since its release, which is very rare as I find most limitadas require age just like most any other Cuban cigar. The Magnum 56 has copious amounts of smoke which makes sense given it’s ring gauge and length. It’s smokes with intensity and yet still has complexity: notes of Spicebox, leather, cedar. Soft fruits: some pear and fruit wood into the second third. This is where it just has flavor for days. Twang, sure. But it’s pulling orange peel, a touch of coffee and some lactic acid cream. It’s pushing strength a bit too but never gets last medium/medium plus even in the last bit. The last third is darker chocolate nearly. Not quite but I sensed it. More leather. Musk. It finished all the way through as a delight. The cigar smoking in perfect condition right now. I like that even when it came out. Now, it’s perfection. It probably could hold this, right where it is right now, for our 3 to 4 years. But I don’t think the cigar goes 10 or 15 years after this. It would mellow out too much and lose so many of its flavor profiles. If you have one, you know you’re lucky, smoke ’em. We’re living in an odd and strange time I think we’re gonna be all right. But there’s a lot of stress, a lot of anxiety in the world is turned upside down. In the Yawning maw of a pandemic what one cigar is over another may not matter very much, but a small pleasure, a little delight reminds us of the joy we feel and how connected we are to each other through this forum and the camaraderie of smoking cigars. Hope everyone is safe, and keep us healthy.
  6. Three years of age in and this box has been smoking like gangbusters since it arrived. On visual inspection, not one example had the ‘look’ of a great cigar (the idea is pretty ill founded and has little merit to it, but we all know what we think). They have a matte, slightly pale look to them. But the smell of the uncut cigar is deep with leather and aged wood. Lighting was easy and smoke production from the first to the last voluminous. Great flavors of medium cacao, coffee, and some mild baking spices. The spices faded in favor of more cacao and deep floral notes. Some reviewers have said it has a sense of a Chinese aged tea and that’s not wrong. Its floral notes are not the perfume of youth but something older and more refined. Like a pressed flower. It has power for days— it ramps hard in the last third but was stronger than expected from my memory of these but was very enjoyable. Last third was denser. Ashier. I think this last third could use a bit of time (if they survive my greedy hands) to differentiate the flavors and yield up the ashy quality of the taste. Still, an absolute gem. Coming into its prime. I put it at 93/94.
  7. This is utter nonsense. I live in California, in Los Angeles and I smoke in a lounge daily. If you don't like the politics of a place, fine but we do more harm to each other and ourselves just typifying people and then castigated them falsely for being idiots. I enjoy a good cigar; I've not had trouble finding places to smoke. I also understand that some people don't want to have it near them. Live and let live. We're doing great here.
  8. Thanks a ton for this. Really appreciate it.
  9. How crazy are we talking at No. 6 Cavendish?
  10. The Diplo 2 is about as great a standard of excellence as a regular cigar smoker can expect. I’ve never had one I hated. I’ve had some astonishing examples. Some, in fact, out of this very box. This example, dear reader, was not of that ilk. it began with an strange draw. About twenty percent tougher than ‘standard Cuban’ which I always think is just enough restraint so you taste the full bolus of a puff. Keeps you honest. This was too tough. Like trying to pull the proverbial golf ball through a garden hose. Not that bad, but not far off. As a result, the cigar did not burn at the proper temperature, did not produce the full volume of smoke, nor the spectrum of flavors I’m used to, Diplo 2. I have loved this box, I spoke to another one on another day and it was excellent. But this was the example that shows the smoke for this review. There was a muted sense of cedar and darker woods but they were lost due to the lack of a proper burn. Normally fruitwood, some cherry, even coffee and light cocoa notes have shone from this box. But dear reader, I cannot say that was so here. I will let another later this week or early next and report back. The middle third became tougher to smoke; I never actually got around whatever the plug was. It smoked just well enough to continue and not put down, but it was not enjoyable to the full.
  11. I will be traveling to London in March and wanted to know where folks smoke cigars in the city? I've been told the Lanesborough is fantastic (if spendy) and have a notion to check it out. Of course, I will check out JJ Fox. Where else? Always obliged for the great knowhow and where on the forums, cheers leepers
  12. Punch 898 Asia Pacific Regional 2018 What’s not to like. It’s very rare that a cigar presents as both incredible on release AND suggests it could take a long nap and be great with age. This example (again, all caveats, this is but a single example, etc) smoked with earthiness and spice box complexity from first light. I should note that construction was flawless and draw Cuban exactly. The cigar’s first third was baking spices (nutmeg, cassia, clove) and gently glided into some light chocolate notes. Smoke production was excellent and the room note (balcony note) was of cedar and baking spice bread. Second third was increasing in strength with some of the milder flavors fading into woodsier scents and tastes. Cedar and ash. As strength built it was pleasant and still giving good depth. Clove and a touch of darker sugars. Burned evenly throughout. The last third was stronger yet and began to eclipse almost all the other flavors as it went to the end. This last bit isn’t just char and strength. It’s complex but very tight. I think this is where age could definitely give it something else we can’t quite taste yet. A wonderful experience. 93.
  13. Stick was in perfect shape. Pre light had a heavy whiff of raw cherrywood. First light was flawless. Draw was a bit firm but nothing so awful as true tight draws. This gently attenuated a bit over time but I may have just gotten used to it. Early tasting notes held more fruitwood, developed baking spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. The room note felt like the holidays with someone you love making a pie. More smoke later. Cream and touches of brighter lemon peel. At this point the burn was still terrific owing a good deal to great construction and perfect care. This example came to me from wailbait’s humidor. His collection is rock solid in that regard. Final third was denser, stronger with the cream and done fruitwood remaining but a bit compressed by a growing touch of acridity. Nothing that would ruin a smoke but it came in like a lurker in the fog. A touch resinous. Some smokes are such classics, we can remember our first ones. I smoked my first Epi 2 as a gift 9 years ago at the after party for a film I was in, proffered by the very generous star. It had some age. Smoked beautifully and had those broke citrus and fruitwood notes. Whilst that night was very special, every cigar of its mark and vitola I’ve smoked since has had a strong familial resemblance to that first one. Epi 2 will always be dear to me.
  14. This cigar was from a box that was gang busters cigar to cigar as I smoked them. But like all luck, it eventually runs out. construction was terrific and storage and burn were impeccable. This example wasn’t quite as gorgeous as the previous seven or eight I’ve had. Not quite was perfectly resolved and there was a harsher tone. Still, all the terrific flavors of cedar and gentle citrus peel were present. But the vanilla and complexity were overwhelmed by some harshness. It was a bummer because I love this box and this cigar so maybe some of my disappointment with this example come from better expectations. As it smoked, it strengthened and was never going to get where others had. I still enjoyed it but, as any cigar smoker knows, we are haunted not by waters but by the ghosts of cigars past. I didn’t see Mssrs Fezziwig nor my younger self. I’ll still regard this as an aberration and believe the rest to the box smoked like aces.

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