Very Superstitious…Black Cat by Felix Assouline

I was a little late to the party at getting my hands on these but my friend Felix hooked me up this week as he always does. The man knows cigars and customer service for sure. I have reviewed Felix Assouline Cigars in the past and I have been a fan of his work every since. As I patiently await his next release, today we take a look at the Black Cat Habano. (Also available in a Connecticut version)

“The Toro 6×54 Honduran Jamastran Habano wrapper Habano with Honduran Jamastran and Nicaraguan fillers are carefully blended for a medium to full smoke. An incredible smoke at any price at any time of the day.

The Toro 6×54 Ecuador Connecticut wrapper with Honduran Jamastran and Nicaraguan Jalapa fillers are carefully blended for a sweet mild to medium body smoke. Great to start the day or at any time.” Felix Assouline (http://felixassouline.com/)

Black Cat – Habano

Blend Profile: 

Wrapper: Honduran Jamastran Habano

Filler: Honduran and Nicaraguan

Binder: Not disclosed

Size: 6 x 54 Toro

Appearance: This cigar presents a dark, reddish brown wrapper with a colorful band featuring a black cat with an Egyptian feel and ornate design. It is firm with no soft spots, medium veins and a tight seam, open foot and triple cap to round off the top.

20170420_163815-01_20170420192057153[1]

Pre-Light: I pick up heavy notes of barnyard, hay, wood and some pepper. From the foot I pick up more of the same with a unique sweetness I cannot put my finger on. I use a V-cutter to open things up and from the cold draw I find a nice open draw and notes of earth, tobacco, wood and a hint of sweetness.

20170420_163913-01[1] 20170420_163950-01[1]

First Third: Jumping right in I used a wooden match to toast the foot and take a couple of puffs to draw in the flame. Right away I get a heavy note of what I can only describe as grass or wet hay, smokey wood, and a hint of spice and pepper. This is a very “natural” blend meaning it has a very nature based profile of grass, earth, wood and leather. As I move into it a bit more, I start to pick up a blend of different wood flavors coming together. Mostly cedar, hickory and maybe a hint of mesquite. This is a smooth cigar with a nice draw that offers just the right amount of resistance. The burn is slightly wavy all the way around and the ash is holding tight for the first inch. Good smoke production coming off of both ends and mild to medium strength.

20170420_170337-01[1]

Second Third: As I transition into the half way mark there is not much change. Consistent, good flavor and nothing radically changes. I do start to pick up more of a nuttier, smokey wood, leather, grassy blend with a slight coffee bitterness. The little hint of pepper I had has faded away (I am a little disappointed as I am a spice guy but that’s strictly personal preference). This cigar is performing nicely with a solid, slightly wavy burn, nice smoke production and an open draw. There is a familiarity with the blend and I believe the link to the other FAC cigars I have tried is the Jamastran tobacco. It is very distinct and offers a very unique taste on my palate. I am picking up heavy cedar, grass, coffee hints mixed with earth and leather notes.

20170420_171902-01[1]

Final Third: I will not say that I transition into the final third as nothing has changed. This is a very consistent cigar with subtle shifts in flavors here and there. The slight bitterness I pick up is more of a dark chocolate as opposed to coffee beans at this point. The performance has remained steady and unwavering throughout. I am a bit surprised at how consistent the blend has remained from start to finish. The blend is good through and through and it stayed very smooth and finished at a solid medium strength for me.

20170420_182054-01_20170420193010285[1]

Final Thoughts: Another great cigar produced by Felix Assouline Cigars. As I said, this is a very “Natural” cigar with a lot of earthy profiles. I found it to be woodsy, grassy, earthy, with some nuttiness, leather, coffee, dark chocolate and hints of pepper.

These are very limited and the Connecticut version is already sold out so if you plan to try these, order today. I am glad I have 4 left and 1 Connecticut to review. I want to age these a bit and see if the complexity changes some. Overall, I enjoyed my 1 hour 45 minutes with this cigar. I was rudely interrupted by a short rain shower which cut off about 10 minutes. Curse you Mother Nature!

20170420_184013-01[1]

There you have it. I hope you enjoyed my review of the Black Cat. If you order, please let Felix know you read the review. He is great at staying in touch with his clients and is a great guy. Feel free to leave your thoughts, comments, or reviews here as always. Until next time, long ashes and full glasses friends. Peace

“The purpose of this review is to provide a true, honest opinion based on my own experience. I am under no obligation to provide favorable feedback for this product and receive no compensation for doing so. This cigar was purchased by me, for my own enjoyment.”

 

The Tabernacle by Foundation Cigars

I initially wanted to start this review with information taken from the Foundation website but this information is very easily accessible with a quick click here http://foundationcigarcompany.com/the-tabernacle/ You can find out all of the info behind this masterful blend. Nick Melillo is the man behind Foundation Cigars and is known as the “Chief of the Broadleafs” and for good reason. Being from New Haven Connecticut and working with farmers there for over 10 years, in his words “Broadleaf is more than tobacco for me. It is something sacred.”
You may recognize the name from many of the top selling Drew Estate cigars. Nick is the man behind those masterful combinations. Liga No 9, Dirty Rat, Nica Rustica, Feral Flying Pig, etc… Plain and simple, the man is one of the top blenders in the world.
I walked into Famous Smoke Shop a few weeks back and asked one of the guys I know there to pick out a nice quick smoke that wouldn’t cost me a fortune. I wanted something I could easily smoke in under or right at 1 hour in the very cold temps we have here in Pa. He picked out the Charter Oaks by Foundation for me and I was blown away. For a petite corona under $5.00 you simply can’t beat it. Of course this got me interested in learning more about the company, as I always try to do, and I found out why this cigar was so good. When I realized who was behind the brand, I felt like an idiot for not picking up the Tabernacle and the El Guegurnse “The Wise Man” (Pronounced El When When Say). So on the bright side, I made another road trip to Famous. When life hands you lemons…
Now that we got all of that out of the way, let’s get down to why you are reading this page shall we?
20170102_120404-011
The Tabernacle Corona- 5 1/4 x 46 Price $9.00
This work of art features Honduras (Jamastran Valley) Nicaragua (Esteli & Jalapa Valley) fillers, a Mexican San Andres binder, and wrapped in a beautiful Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper.
This is a very dark chocolate wrapper that really stands out against the very unique and elegant black and gold band with super high quality printing. This thing screams elegance and produces notes of rich dark chocolate, almost espresso like, earth and pepper from the broadleaf wrapper. I pick up more dark chocolate (cocoa), a woodsy cedar, earth and pepper from the foot. I decided on a straight guillotine cut and the cold draw reveals a sweet blend of cedar, pepper and earthy notes. The draw offers some resistance. The wrapper is rolled very nicely with very tight seams. It feels firm and solid which explains the resistance on the draw.
I used regular wooden matches to get things going and immediately I pick the familiar cedar and a very smooth cocoa blend. The pepper makes an appearance about a quarter of an inch into it. It blends very nicely with the cedar and the sweetness. The blend is very good and I am enjoying this one a lot. The draw is still a little tight but not bad. It is producing some nice smoke. The ash is holding very tight and is white in color. At the end of the first third, the pepper fades a bit and the dark chocolate and earth notes come to the forefront.
The second third brings more of the same and I am good with that. No huge jumps in flavors moving through the transition. As I get more into the halfway point the full flavor of the blend comes together very nicely. The cedar, earth, pepper and cocoa really pull together and I am reminded of other cigars that utilize tobacco from the Jamastran Valley. The spice of the San Andreas really starts to come through but never enough to overpower the flavor profile.
20170102_184149-011
(Sorry for the lighting but it is under flood lights around my house) The final third is a continuation of the first 2 thirds. Sweet cedar, cocoa, pepper and earth close this cigar out. The draw remained a little tight throughout but helped to extend the burn time to 1 hour 40 minutes. I was outside in a damp, freezing rain (light drizzle) about 38 degrees for the first half of this cigar like a crazy person grilling steaks and burgers. Dedication is something I pride myself on. Lol. The ash held very tight for most of each third and the burn was a little uneven but this is due to the harsh outside conditions and breeze. When I went into my heated garage, it evened out very nicely.
Overall thoughts. This cigar was delicious. Almost dessert like in a sense. The rich dark chocolate mixed with the sweet cedar wood profile is very good and hard to put down. The strength is medium moving into full towards the end but never got harsh or bitter. It certainly ramped up towards the end and I was warned of that prior to having it so I was prepared. The flavor profile is full for sure.
The overall look to this cigar is simply elegant, the construction is great, the draw was a little tight for my personal liking but not bad, the burn was great, the ash held tight, and the flavor was just fantastic. This is an immediate box worthy cigar for me and I would put this into my rotation today. They come in 6 sizes and in boxes of 24 with the exception of the Lancero which comes in a box of 13. This is the second cigar I have tried by Foundation and I can say that I am more than impressed and I am a fan of Foundation Cigars. The hype behind this one was very well deserved which is rare these days. I highly recommend this cigar.
20170102_120630-011
I am going to start adding this declaimer here at the bottom in response to internet warriors that are cowards and hide behind the safety of their computer screen in mom’s basement in their underoos and find ways to try and troll people. If you met them in the streets they would want to buy you a cigar or if confronted, piss themselves. Either way, the more I thought about doing this or not, I decided it is actually a great addition to let people know that I am not being paid, or compensated by these companies to promote their product. I offer EVERYONE the same opportunity after EACH review to leave their own comments, thoughts, AND REVIEWS. No one has sent me one so I can’t post what I don’t have but I have made that offer since day 1. Will their review differ from mine? I certainly hope the hell so. I also don’t block people comments. I approve all of them regardless of content. People can disagree with my review, ultimately I am telling you what I experienced, not what you are going to experience. I would imagine your taste will be different than mine. Sorry for the rant, just felt like I needed to explain that some.
Leave your comments, thoughts and reviews here and as always, long ashes and full glasses friends. Peace!
“This cigar was purchased by me for the purpose of my enjoyment. I did the review on my own for the purpose of providing a true, honest opinion on the product. I am under no obligation to provide favorable reviews for this product and receive no compensation for doing so.” Cigar Hawk
P.S. If it wasn’t great, you would read that also. I just don’t bash peoples work, I can do it tactfully.

 

Something Special…

Felix Assouline has 2 brands that really push the envelope with their names, Ego and Something Special. With names like this, you have to produce a quality product that holds up to the name. The Ego Spirit I have had and reviewed and it was terrific. I have the Ego Maniac waiting in the humidor along with a few others. The L.R Something Special I had not, until the other day. It ended in disaster and I did not review it. No fault of anyone but me and the post office (kind of). Long story but it ended with it falling onto the cold concrete, the cigar being cold from being in the mailbox and the fall causing the wrapper and binder to break open. Almost shattering. I was able to smoke it, but no chance of taking photos and no chance of saving the wrapper so I had to take it off and smoke it as it was. Not the ideal conditions for a review by any means. So anyway…

The Something Special was 1 of 2 brands by Felix that I had not yet tried. The other was the Ringo. We will get to that soon. The Limited Reserve Something Special Triumph was the cigar of choice for today.

20161229_152749-011

The L.R.S.S. Triumph 6 1/2 x 56 is a Nicaraguan, Medium to Full bodied, box pressed beauty with Nicaragua/Honduras fillers, Indonesian binder and a Habano Criollo 98 wrapper. It is priced at $7.50 and available at http://felixassouline.com/store/lrss_Triumph.html

Taking this cigar out of the cellophane, it smells heavily of barnyard straw/hay and a semi-sweet cocoa, much like the semi-sweet chocolate morsels used in cookies. I opted for my Colibri V-cutter (love that thing) and wooden matches to get things started.

The cold draw after the cut revealed an earthy, barnyard almost manure smell but it wasn’t harsh or overbearing. Once toasted, we got things started. First pull brought some pepper notes immediately to my palate along with rich cedar. It was very creamy and produced a lot of heavy white smoke. Further into the first third, the pepper toned down a lot and the cedar mixed with the cocoa and earthy notes making this a nice medium bodied, medium to full flavored smoke.

It has been snowing since early this am and now the sun is finally coming through a little making it a nice 35 degrees outside. These cold temps really play havoc on cigars that are use to their warm 70 degree 70% humidity home. The draw remains perfect, the ash is jagged and slightly uneven but in these conditions, any cigar will do the exact same thing. I long to be in a climate where I no longer have to contend with this foolishness. If anyone knows of good jobs in Tennessee or the Carolinas, hit me up please. Lol. Moving on.

One of the biggest misconceptions about premium cigars right now, is the belief that there needs to be huge, swinging flavor profile changes between each third. Personally I don’t like that at all. If I like the flavor profile and all of a sudden it transitions completely to something else and I have to get through it to see what the last third brings me, more times than not, I am not going to smoke it again. I much prefer consistency with subtle changes or no change at all. Luckily for me, Felix has managed to produce some of the most consistent cigars I have tried. Nothing different with this one either. The second and final third bring about some minor shifts with the pepper coming back to the forefront at times then taking a backseat to the cocoa and leathery earth notes. Nothing drastic, nothing crazy. If you like those kind of radical changes, don’t smoke these. If you like the flavor profile of the first third, you will like this cigar from start to finish.

I read reviews all the time and I see some of the craziest descriptions from cedar to burnt marshmallows mixed with crushed almond shells wrapped in raisins dripped in espresso and finished with a fresh citrus squeeze. WHAT? I would need to be on acid to find these flavor profiles. And if these are legit descriptions, I certainly want no part of a cigar that taste like that.  Maybe my palate needs some work. I have noticed lately that many of the cigars I have tried really have some of the same traits. I am not sure if that is because I am leaning towards certain types of cigars or if it’s my palate. Either way, it is what it is and the thing about cigars is that everyone will experience the exact same cigar in their own unique way. My perfect 10 cigar may be the worst cigar you ever tried.

20161229_164948-011

My final thought on the L.R.S.S. Triumph. This is a wonderful medium to medium-full bodied cigar that produces an excellent, woodsy, earthy, creamy cocoa profile with some pepper notes that show up from time to time. It is a beautiful cigar with small veins and very tight seams. The box press really gives it a luxury feel. It was light and firm throughout with no soft spots. The burn was great, although uneven at times (simply due to the outdoor conditions), required no touchups, the construction and performance were excellent all the way through. The flavor profile was great and remained consistent throughout the entire cigar. The draw was open with a touch of resistance. I could not put this cigar down and burn time was a fairly quick 1 hour 10 minutes. Keep in mind the temp was mid (and dropping) 30’s and I was drawing pretty frequently on it. It never burned hot, the ash held for over 2 inches at one point with a nice white/grey ash. I really enjoyed this cigar and I will put this in my regular rotation for sure. It is available in 7 different sizes and I plan to try them all.  The Elegant I had the disaster with was very consistent with the Triumph as far as flavor went, but was slightly milder, which is expected with a smaller ring gauge cigar. I highly recommend this cigar when you are in the mood for Something Special, it won’t disappoint. Until next time, long ashes and full glasses friends. Peace!

20161229_161122-011