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I have a box of Trini Media Luna TLU ABR 2020 that I bought from our host and received Jan 4th. I let it rest in a tupperdor at 65% (double checked the hygrometer + using Boveda packs) for the customary 60 days, then proceeded to take one out to smoke around a week ago. After the cut the cigar looked very tightly packed and not surprisingly the draw was extremely tight. So tight in fact that I was not able to really get but a wisp of smoke out of it in spite of my best efforts, and said smoke was so thin that it provided pretty much zero flavor. No amount of drilling with a PerfecDraw was able to fix it so the cigar got tossed.

After a few more days I figure I’d try a second one, trying to pick one that from the foot didn’t look super packed. After the cut the draw was marginally better than the first but still very tight, so this time I tried the freezer trick instead. After 1h in the freezer when I tested the draw again it got significantly better, a perfectly serviceable draw! I lit the cigar and I was greeted by a very pronounced sweetness. Unfortunately this sweetness was not accompanied by much in terms of flavor. I got a hint of cream, hint of natural tobacco and a hint of some other very muted and indistinguishable flavors. It reminded me of a very boring and mild Connecticut Shade NC + the sweetness.

Since these are my first Trini and I’m not at all familiar with this marca, I’m wondering what is the general consensus on how long to rest the Media Lunas before smoking. I’m considering dry boxing or trying 62% Boveda packs to alleviate the tight draw I suspect they all have (looking at the foot on several of the other cigars in the box they look packed tight), but with the second cigar the draw was not a problem after the freezer trick, the lack of flavors was. So, do Media Lunas need some aging to develop their flavors or is potentially a bad box? I’m not going to judge the whole box based on 2 cigars but at the same time if it’s unusual for Media Lunas to smoke very poorly and be very bland when young, I won’t get my hopes up for the remaining 10.

Thanks!

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IMHO 62 is good for CCs especially those with small ring gauge.

Personally I don’t smoke Cuban cigars with less than 3 years. I feel money is better spent on a lot of good non Cuban cigars compare to burning a young Cuban.

Just my 2 cents.


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Be patient. It could be a couple months, it could be a few years. Storage humidity is a personal thing, 65 may be perfect, it may be a bit high for your tastes. 

I prefer to wait a few years before I break into a box. Some boxes are ready to smoke before that, plenty aren't. 

The cigars have gone through a lot in the last 11 months. Several trips from humid islands in cold dry airplanes, storage in different conditions between those trips. I'd give them a few more months, then try another. All hope isn't lost yet. 

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This is pretty unfortunate but to me rare occurrence with large ring gauge cigars. Very common with smaller ring gauge cigars. Draw does loosen over time (years unfortunately).

I have a box of TLU ABR 20 and I've had 2 so far and no draw issues yet.

 

As to the flavours, yes bland is a bit unusual, at least from the two examples I've tried from the same box code.

Here are my reviews of them:

 

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44 minutes ago, Bijan said:

This is pretty unfortunate but to me rare occurrence with large ring gauge cigars. Very common with smaller ring gauge cigars. Draw does loosen over time (years unfortunately).

I have a box of TLU ABR 20 and I've had 2 so far and no draw issues yet.

 

I have experienced the loosening of the draw with many years of aging, I bought some leftover old stock of Camacho Corojo Robustos in 2011 right after Camacho sold their brand in and got crappier. Those cigars were very tasty but they all had a fairly tight draw. I smoked one of those a few months ago and the draw is now perfect! I might just try to do the same with these Media Lunas and forget about them for a few years, but I have to say the lack of flavor concerns me. I don't think I ever had cigars going from tasteless to full of flavors, but I know it can happen. 

I have to say it's funny that we have the same box code and you got all the flavors and no sweetness, I got all the sweetness and no flavors ha!

 

34 minutes ago, Kaptain Karl said:

I'm primarily smoking CC's with under 3 years of age. 19-20 production is smoking exceptionally well young, you should rethink that timeline with how amazing so many young CC's are smoking right now. 

 

Having read about how the 19-20 are smoking is the main reason why I'm testing boxes without too much aging. That and since I've just gotten back into the CC game after a few years on the NC side, I do want to taste and choose a few boxes to buy and stash away since this past 2020 vintage seems so good. If I wait until my current cigars are 3 or so years old before tasting them, I'll be harder to stock up on 2020 boxes!

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60 days isn't that much time.  Give 'em a few more months and try again.  I've had a couple media luna (BSM ABR 20) with only 30-60 days on them, they changed quite a bit with another 60-90 days.  Strange thing about some of the vitolas.  Some just require a few more months rather than years to blossom.    

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Yeah I'm planning to give the rest of the box some more time, I'm just a bit puzzled by the results I got in contrast to what I read in terms of flavor or lack thereof. I'm not unfamiliar with young cigars that need some age to get better, these cigars don't quite match what I experienced with other young cigars. The details of how I will age them depends on what I think I'm dealing with:

- if I believe the cigars to be good but just plugged, I will age them at sub 62%to see if that helps and smoke them at regular intervals to see how they develop 

- if I believe the cigars to be good but needing some proper age, and maybe only a couple were actually plugged, I would age them at either 62% or 65% and not touch them for 3-5 years.

- if I believe the cigars to not be good, ie bad box, I will keep them at whatever RH I'm keeping what I have room in. Then in a few years I would try one a day where I have nothing better to smoke and see if I'm in for a pleasant surprise or if they still suck. 

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Yeah I'm planning to give the rest of the box some more time, I'm just a bit puzzled by the results I got in contrast to what I read in terms of flavor or lack thereof. I'm not unfamiliar with young cigars that need some age to get better, these cigars don't quite match what I experienced with other young cigars. The details of how I will age them depends on what I think I'm dealing with:
- if I believe the cigars to be good but just plugged, I will age them at sub 62%to see if that helps and smoke them at regular intervals to see how they develop 
- if I believe the cigars to be good but needing some proper age, and maybe only a couple were actually plugged, I would age them at either 62% or 65% and not touch them for 3-5 years.
- if I believe the cigars to not be good, ie bad box, I will keep them at whatever RH I'm keeping what I have room in. Then in a few years I would try one a day where I have nothing better to smoke and see if I'm in for a pleasant surprise or if they still suck. 

I would wait a few more months then try again. The next one try leaving it out on your counter for a few days to dry out if your ambient humidity is lower than your humidor.
If you still have an issue, I could very well be that you got some dowels or tent pegs.


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I'm primarily smoking CC's with under 3 years of age. 19-20 production is smoking exceptionally well young, you should rethink that timeline with how amazing so many young CC's are smoking right now. 

I did not buy anything for 2019 and 2020. Maybe I should order some and try.

Thank you


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2 hours ago, Enduin said:

I don't think I ever had cigars going from tasteless to full of flavors, but I know it can happen. 

 

 

 

This used to happen to me all the time with Cubans--before I got a lot more patience.

At a minimum you want the humidity to stabilize after travel--out host recommends ninety days to get that done.     My experience (fwiw) is that waiting a full year gives the best results.

 

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This used to happen to me all the time with Cubans--before I got a lot more patience.
At a minimum you want the humidity to stabilize after travel--out host recommends ninety days to get that done.     My experience (fwiw) is that waiting a full year gives the best results.
 

Yup a full year is most definitely going to make a world of difference


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Thanks for the answers! I think I'm going to adopt a mixed approach. I will forget about them for a few months. I will keep them at 62% and I will dry box one for a few days before smoking it. If still no good I will probably get a different box and forget about this one for a few years. 

FWIW I smoked a 2017 RASCC after 3 weeks from the arrival and it was wonderful, and a 2020 Bolivar 3 tubo after 1 month and it was also wonderful. My expectation with the Media Lunas was that maybe they were not going to be at their best but certainly not unsmokeable. Then again, different cigars, different behavior, which is why I figure I'd ask the fine folks here on FOH.

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21 minutes ago, Enduin said:

Thanks for the answers! I think I'm going to adopt a mixed approach. I will forget about them for a few months. I will keep them at 62% and I will dry box one for a few days before smoking it. If still no good I will probably get a different box and forget about this one for a few years. 

FWIW I smoked a 2017 RASCC after 3 weeks from the arrival and it was wonderful, and a 2020 Bolivar 3 tubo after 1 month and it was also wonderful. My expectation with the Media Lunas was that maybe they were not going to be at their best but certainly not unsmokeable. Then again, different cigars, different behavior, which is why I figure I'd ask the fine folks here on FOH.

IMO, age is overrated, rest is underrated.  

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If anybody is curious I measured the weight of the remaining cigars.

Top layer:

10.33g

10.79g

10.77g

11.46g

Bottom layer:

12.44g

11.52g

12.25g

10.29g

9.01g

12.45g

 

 

I have to say I'm now tempted to smoke the 9g outlier...

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FWIW while I usually prefer to smoke at ~62%, in my experience Trinidad tastes better closer to 65%. I stopped dry-boxing my Trinis a while ago and have found them just as flavorful with less mongrel. Might be heat related, but I am a pretty slow smoker. 

Generally sticks - at least narrower ones - loosen up a bit after 12-18 months of age. @Habana Mike recently shared a tip with me for using a Perfect Draw - I don't like boring too deep into a thinner cigar because I find it leads to tar build up in the borehole, but Mike suggested using the PD and then letting the cigar rest for a few weeks so the tobacco can "even out." Haven't had an opportunity to try it. But as others have said, your best bet for now is giving them more rest.

I personally don't find 65% vs 62% makes a HUGE draw difference - I would rather smoke at the best humidity for flavor and deal with a tighter draw, but that's just me. Drying cigars beyond my preferred RH is a last resort. 

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14 hours ago, rcarlson said:

IMO, age is overrated, rest is underrated.  

  The first few years of age can be RH acclimatization. Old wet cigars don't suck much less that new wet cigars.

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I've only had one Media Luna and I really enjoyed it. I want to get some more of them and Esmeralda/Vigia/Fundadores. I'm starting to get into Trinidad, they seem awesome. Premo stuff, they're not cheap but they're good from what I've smoked and heard. Premium price in the same vein as Cohiba, although not *as* expensive.

That Media Luna wasn't in my possession for long, only a couple of weeks or something like that. It was smooth, creamy, sweet. Maybe a bit spicy (baking spice/baked goods?). I can't remember what else I detected but it was very enjoyable. Seems a bit like your experience but I actually enjoyed those flavours! I'm ok with stable/not-overly-complex cigars if the flavours are pleasant. There is one big difference though (between our experiences). The draw on my single was perfect. I simply removed the pigtail, I didn't even cut it IIRC. I personally use 65% Bovedas and my hygrometers read 63-65% the majority of the time. I smoke both CC+NC and I store both in that tupperdor storage. That's the sweet spot IMHO and works for both.

Anyway, I wouldn't give up on them yet. Lay them down for some time. Try those tricks like dry-boxing etc. if necessary.

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Totally agree on not giving up yet. I decided I will smoke the underweight one juts to have another point of data, as long as the draw is acceptable. If that is also too tight I'll dry box it until it becomes acceptable. 

Smooth/creamy/sweet with some spices sounds wonderful to me! One of the best cigars I smoked in the last few months was a Hoyo Coronation tubo that had that cream/latte coffee notes in spades and some marzipan in the last third. Unfortunately my Media Luna was sweet and tasteless, I mean when I really have to put effort into thinking if I'm even tasting any flavors that's not a good smoking experience IMHO.

Btw I also found that 65% works well with NCs as well. I used to keep NC at 70% according to the general consensus but also found that they smoke much better at 65%. 

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14 hours ago, Enduin said:

If anybody is curious I measured the weight of the remaining cigars.

Top layer:

10.33g

10.79g

10.77g

11.46g

Bottom layer:

12.44g

11.52g

12.25g

10.29g

9.01g

12.45g

 

 

I have to say I'm now tempted to smoke the 9g outlier...

according to the official weight guide, just about all of these are well over....as you know lol.................crazy how they would pack that much tobacoo into these but yet other boxes are underfilled wind tunnels......idk whats more frustrating tbh.....i tend to end up giving away all my apparently tighter or underfilled sticks ....its a real shame....sometimes you really do pay a premium for a box and end up with a ton of these stinkers...its maddening 

 

image.thumb.png.210b811237c235bd7ed435e64aa56fea.png

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32 minutes ago, Lrabold89 said:

according to the official weight guide, just about all of these are well over....as you know lol.................crazy how they would pack that much tobacoo into these but yet other boxes are underfilled wind tunnels......idk whats more frustrating tbh.....i tend to end up giving away all my apparently tighter or underfilled sticks ....its a real shame....sometimes you really do pay a premium for a box and end up with a ton of these stinkers...its maddening 

 

image.thumb.png.210b811237c235bd7ed435e64aa56fea.png

To be honest normal weight is really 10% over official. With Robustos 20% over is still fine. The last Media Luna I smoked was almost 12g and it was absolutely fine.

Official weight is pretty much the lower limit, 10% under is almost absolute limit. From 10% under to official weight has most risk of wind tunnels.

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I know! I looked up the official weight and the ones in the 12s are really quite a lot above average, granted Bijan smoked a 11.5 and had no draw issues, so it's not like the weight is a clear cut indicator. Which is why I decided I'm going to smoke the only one below average and see how it is. 

I am not unfamiliar with the CC inconsistency, and like I posted in my introduction, this is what made me move to NCs years ago. Unfortunately I've found myself wasting an equal if not worse amount of money on NCs in the past 2 years, where I would either get a cigar that was flavorful but "peppery" which would go straight in the garbage, or a cigar that was smooth but super boring, which would go in the garbage after I would find myself thinking "why am I still smoking this if I'm not enjoying it?". Those cigars were not cheap, they were all in the $10-15 range because at this point most good NCs are equal if not often more expensive than CCs, in spite of people still complaining that CCs are overpriced. 

This is ultimately what led me back to CCs: at least when I can find one that is well made, I REALLY like it! The frustration, as we all know, is all part of the game. 

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