This is a first from a box of QDO 50s that have been resting at 62% rh for about 4 months. It was dry boxed for 2 days at about 50% rh.
Pre-light draw: The draw was a bit on the firm side, but figured I would wait to see how things go before breaking out the PerfectDraw. Not getting much flavor wise, a bit of sweet hay and leather.
1st third: Caramel right off the bat. This was odd because I usually needs few puffs to start noticing the flavors. The tight draw is making me work for it, so I decide to cave and use the PerfectDraw.
Draw is better now, but I’m not getting a ton of smoke. The burn is a little uneven initially, but not enough to touch it up yet.
Now getting a fair amount of sweet grass and hay. Medium-light at this point. The burn doesn’t even out, so I decide to touch it up. Almost immediately I get the caramel back, now with some cocoa and a bit of spice. As a recent point of comparison, I had a Vigia last night but am enjoying this much more flavor-wise.
About halfway through the 1st third, the burn worsens and starts canoeing badly. It also seems to be a bit on the fire-proof side.
After another touch-up, we’re back in business. Lots of nice white smoke now!
But before the end of the 1st third full blown re-light is required . . .
2nd third: Burn is starting to even out. Not much change flavor-wise. A tad spicier, perhaps from the re-light and touch-ups.
More nice, white smoke, but the draw is still on the firm side so I decide to break out the PerfectDraw again. Another re-light required . . .
Continuing in the 2nd third, the flavor is very consistent even after the re-lights. It never gets edgy, which is impressive. But, unbelievably, we’re back to canoeing! Another touch-up required.
This one is stubborn. It still doesn’t want to stay lit, as if I’m smoking too slowly, but I don’t think I am. Really making me work for this one.
Final third: Here we get more of the same. A very ‘clean’ flavor profile, mild to mild-medium now, but it just doesn’t want to stay lit. I never get back that initial caramel flavor, unfortunately. Mostly sweet hay and grass, with a bit of cream.
I’m really torn on a grade here. The taste and flavor profile would warrant an 87, but the burn issues warrant a failing grade. Overall, I’ll give it a 75 and call it a day. This one took a lot work. I’m exhausted.