The scent, in this case, is all about coffee. I would have sworn I was smelling a dark French roast. That wasn’t welcome since I don’t drink coffee — can’t stand the stuff, take my caffeine in the form of a Diet Coke IV drip — but you normal people will probably appreciate it.
I have no idea how they get tobacco to smell like coffee. Seriously, it’s like the farmers in Brazil are plowing surplus arabica beans under the soil. I almost wonder what would happen if they tried it with orange peels or left over candy canes.
The first few puffs came very easy and the draw was smooth. This is not a cigar you have to work very hard to smoke, unlike the last box of Cubans I — um — “acquired” from a parking lot attendant near where I work. They were Cohiba Esplendidos, the real thing, but Smoking them was like sucking a milkshake through a cocktail straw. (I learned to poke a very thin steel dowel through the whole length of the cigars to open them up before smoking.)
I’ve always been skeptical of wine connoisseurs who claim to be able to taste everything from black currants to zebra musk in a merlot. Whenever I hear a wine described, I assume the speaker really couldn’t tell the different between a “deep, fruity nose” and a long, hairy arm. (Disclaimer: Saturday marked two years, to the day, since I last had alcohol, so what do I know?)
But with cigars, my taste buds come alive in a way that usually requires Chinese chili peppers — the kind with the little black fermented soybeans. If you haven’t tried them, and you’re into food that makes you sweat, it’s entirely worth the flight to Beijing.
Most of the flavor from a cigar hits your tongue in the very back, where you taste “bitter” foods. This one tasted like coffee and leather — like the smell of a wet ball glove. But a third of the way through, the cigar changed character completely. Where there was once coffee, there is now — get this — chocolate.
I sometimes detect the rich taste of chocolate in maduro cigars. Every time the smoke left my mouth after taking a puff from this one, the “finish” taste was all Hershey’s Special Dark. Note to self for next time: Bring a glass of milk to see if a chocolate-milk flavor results from this odd maduro wrapper.
Note that a maduro wrapper means just that — the wrapper. Most of this cigar is filled with Nicaraguan leaves, and the “binder,” which holds the filler together, is garden-variety Nicaraguan leaf too. Some of those filler leaves added a peppery profile to the taste as I worked my way through the second third.