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Over the holiday season it was pretty windy and/or cold but I was able to step out one night and light up an HU Connie 1. I grabbed this from a box pass a little over a year ago. Since I hadn't had one in a while, I paired it with a Coke. Pre-light: Wrapper was super smooth and oily. Smell was of light cedar and barnyard. Used a v-cut, which has become a new favorite of mine, and took a cold draw. Draw was a little snug, flavors of hay and wood came through. First Third: The cigar was very mild and smooth. Smoke wasnt too thick, at first I wasn't sure if the cigar was completely lit. The main flavor I picked up was a light toasted tobacco. Some hints of grass with a touch of pepper at times. Second Third: The flavor of wood was still present but secondary flavors like grass and a touch of sweetness gained some notoriety. There was a slight burn issue on one side that seemed like it wanted to take its sweet time. With the cigar being so mild I was worried if I'd have to touch it up but after a while I was forced to. It threw off the next few puffs but the cigar regained its flavors after. Final Third: The final third didnt add much to the table. Same flavors of wood with a little grass. Sometimes some sweet and sometimes some pepper. The burn was a little wavy but didnt require any attention. Once the stick heated up, I pitched it. Overall I enjoyed the mildness of the cigar. It was a nice smooth relaxing smoke. There wasnt much complexity to it, but that doesnt bother me. Nothing that blew my socks off either. I think these are probably like all HUs, IMO. I think young they are consistently ok but with age, they get pretty complex and can become some top tier cigars. Score: 84/100
One of my late year smoking goals was to revisit some of the really memorable cigars from 2019. So I am late... as usual! Enter the Monte Esp. #2 vintage 2001. I have noticed a few near '01 vintage cigars showing up in this review series. So, lets talk a little about these cigars. Over and over again I see 99 to 01 vintage cigars maligned over the internet. I realize that I am an 'anti-establishment' smoker, but I have to wonder if any of these people parroting such rhetoric have actually smoked any of these cigars. In my time smoking Cuban cigars, I have to say that year over year, 01 vintage cigars prove themselves over and over as being some of the most complex, memorable cigar experiences. I covet mine... Considering how much I read about rH and temperature and storage from those without a clue, representing that they do have a clue, it would not surprise me that this is another case of internet puffing of knowledge not actually had. You don't have to go far to find an expert of everything here on the net. A recent thread about trying to tie cigar condition to aH tickles me as a recent example... I digress! I have smoked several of these this year. Look at what is left in the box. I hate to see them go, but I am not big on storing largely empty boxes. In this case I am making some exceptions. These cigars are so good, that I really don't want to commingle them with a bunch of nameless, homeless singles. They are simply too special for that. These cigars, including the one that I smoked this day, epitomize what I consider to be the Cuban cigar. This is a rich, firm drawing robust cigar. As you likely know, I store cigars rather dry. As a result, these have little bouquet. This does not mean the cigar is finished, over the hill, nor any of the many other prejudices that follow with 'nose' and a fine cigar. If you passed up on this cigar over your nose... you made a grave error. There was no 'foreplay' with this cigar! It opened, and opened to what might well have been the last third. It just turned on and stayed on. This was a rich, unctuous, high mouthfeel, lush and 'thick' tasting cigar. While the cigar had a moderately stiff draw, she breathed, thick, viscous, white smoke. The smoke was heavy and lingered. You could almost see it fall... The taste was bursting with stone fruit, plumb and peach but not sweet. Dried fruit is more accurate. Dense and lightly oily describes it best. The mouth feel is worth mentioning. While the last one of these was more complex with a bit more character, this slightly lesser sibling was no runt. I did not time my smoke. I enjoyed the beautiful weather, my wife and dog's company. The interesting elements from the cigar varied as if with the conversation and the music that we listened to. The tastes of spices, fruits and nuts all came to the table to serve me. This was a sublime smoke. I say this over and over. It was not the missing 22 ring of shallow filler that made this cigar what it was. You don't need 50 plus ring cigars to deliver like this. You need quality tobacco of the proper blend and a roller who knows and cares about what he/she is doing. If that is magic, well this cigar had that... Thanks for reading and sharing my experience. Cheers! -the Pig
In the spirit of the holiday season, let me quote from the classic movie "A Christmas Story" as related by our hero Ralphie: "Now it is well known throughout the midwest that the old man is a turkey junky, a bonafide golly turkacnis freak." It may be well known in the Southeast, or at least on my street, that I am a Partagas Short junkie. A bonafide party minuto freak I do truly love these things. This is from my oldest box, which as you see is dwindling. After the FOH video this year about dipping in water, I've taken to doing that with ones that seem a tad ... dry. Maybe not as dry as the turkey that Catherine made in that other holiday classic "Christmas Vacation", but dry nonetheless. So this one got a dip, and you can see a prelude to the flavor with my crock of sourdough on the counter. Partagas. Pepper, spice, sourdough. A wonderful 30ish minute smoke in the out of doors a mere few days before Christmas. A tad squishy under the band, but a nice even burn and excellent smoke. I've found that the size of the ash is directly related to me getting my phone ready to take a picture (the longest ash ALWAYS falls right before the pic), but I also find that dipping in water tends to make super long ashes more rare. Which I suppose makes sense. I've yet to get a 50 cabinet of these, my two holy grails (are you listening Santa?) are a cab of these and a cab of the PLPC's. Someday. I've bought so many damn cigars this year that I feel like the cabs will come in time. But I know that I will be smoking these shorts until I'm done smoking cigars. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all! My wife and I will be on an anniversary trip through Europe in a few days, so expect some reviews or notes about shops in Berlin, Prague, Budapest, and/or Vienna. I'll keep my eyes peeled for any RE's, and may buy a party short to smoke there, but my coin mostly comes here nowadays.